Driver honors shared

For one of the few times this meet, honors were shared in the Downs driver win derby last weekend.

Tim Brown and Bill Davis each had six wins (three each night) to narrowly edge Dave Hudon who had five.

The trainer results were even tighter as four shared top spot with three trips each to the winner’s enclosure. Hudon, Davis, Andy Arsenault and Ray Gemmill led the way.

Mike Glover, Jim Wiggins and Bob Merschback each had two victories.

Davis, Brown and Hudon are 1-2-3 for the meet in driver wins with 52, 29 and 18 respectively while Davis dominates the trainers with 32 and a lead of 20.

SOLD TO YOU: The stallion auction will once again be held and the popular raffle for a sale credit will also take place at the annual B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society Yearling Sale on Nov. 18, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Agriplex.

One lucky person will receive a $2,500 credit and another a $1,500 voucher either of which can be used for a yearling or a broodmare. Tickets for the raffle are on sale at the SA and SBS office.

Bev Mohorich, office manager for the BCSBS, reports that 136 horses have been listed, a record number. Mohorich also said that Bill Pambrum, president of the society, heads once again to the Nov. 1 Harrisburg sale in the U.S. to search for in-foal broodmares to add to the sale.

Some big-name sires are on the list of the yearlings up for sale. In addition to such top local stallions as Dal Reo Hop Sing, Daylon Marshal and Dancing Puddles there is offspring from out-of-province sires Camluck, As Promised, Albert Albert, Northern Luck and Blissful Hall.

GOOD TIMES ETC.: The B.C. Standardbred Association and the B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society have set Feb. 14 for the annual standardbred industry awards banquet. This year the venue will be moved to Northview Golf Course. Tickets, which are again $40, are on sale at the BCSA and BCSBS office.

EPO TESTS REQUESTED: The B.C. Standardbred Association (BCSA) has requested the racing division to begin testing for the presence of EPO (erythropoetin) and darbepoetin.

The main motivation for the request is the desire to keep the playing field as level as possible for trainers and to ensure that our horses are not subjected to the dangers thought to accompany EPO use.

Director of Racing Sam Hawkins is now actively investigating the request and will meet with the BCSA board at its November meeting to discuss implementation of a program here.

The Ontario Racing Commission will begin testing all racehorses, thoroughbred and standardbred, for the presence of EPO on Nov. 1.  Those medications increase the presence of red blood cells in a horse's system and can cause severe health consequences, including anemia. 

“Right now, we pull two vials of blood from about 40,000 horses a year for the TC02 test (which tests for high bicarbonate levels)," says commission executive director Jean Major. "Of those 40,000, there are about a dozen positive tests.  The second vial is for re-testing if the first vial is positive.  Otherwise they're not used, so that is what we're going to use."  All horses being claimed will also be tested and the claiming owner can rescind the claim in the event of a positive test. 

"Horses [with a positive test] will be put on the vet's list and cannot race until the antibodies [that indicate presence of EPO and darbepoetin] are no longer present.  That could be as long as 120 days."     

MIND MUSCLING: The Ironman Handicapping Contest starts this Saturday.

Each Saturday from Nov. 1 to Dec. 6, patrons will have a chance to win cash prizes.

All that needs to be accomplished is to pick a horse in a designated race from eight different race tracks (such as Woodbine, Santa Anita, Mohawk, Bay Meadows) and receive points for a win, place or show finish. Each week there will be three winners with prize money of $250 for first, $150 for second and $100 for third.

Entrants can get a special Ironman program for free and entries must be in by 11:30 a.m. each contest day. Programs for the contest will be available at the Welcome Centre at noon Friday.

Five Grand Friday returns this Friday to the Downs. Five lucky patrons will win $1,000 each when their names are drawn and then horses they are coupled with win races. Patrons can enter in the Grandstand lobby.

ANOTHER KO FOR LENNIX: Arts Card Shark gelding Lennix Lewes won the Black Gold final for three-year-old pacers at Calgary’s Stampede Park’s Sunday.

It was the second Black Gold victory for Lennix Lewes, owned by Victoria’s Garden Gate Stables, Comstat Stables out of Langley and Mary Jane Wiggins of Surrey.

Lennix Lewes, an odds-on favorite, picked up the winner’s share of the $71,046 purse with Cool Hand Art second and Fingers Crossed third.

WANNA BUILD A RACETRACK: Horse Racing Alberta has issued another request for proposal for parties interested in applying for a licence to conduct horse racing in the Calgary market area in the year 2006 and beyond.

This is the second such RFP issued for the Calgary area in the last two years. HRA received a number of applications during the first round and had narrowed down the list to two, the current operator, Stampede Park and the Calgary Racing Entertainment Group (CREG). However, it was decided to grant Stampede Park a short-term licence to operate and re-issue another RFP. Stampede Park is currently licensed to conduct racing by the HRA through to the end of 2005.

The deadline for proposals to be submitted to HRA is Oct. 30.

SPEED RATINGS ENHANCED: TrackMaster, a subsidiary of Equibase Company LLC and electronic handicapping and PP information provider, has announced that it is releasing newly enhanced speed ratings for harness racing.

The services include a post position adjustment factor and new and improved pace ratings breaking down the speed ratings over each fraction of the race.

In the release, David Siegel, president of the company, says, "After studying many races and understanding the huge affect post position has in harness racing, it made complete sense to add a post position adjustment factor to complement our speed ratings. Many harness racing observers feel they are a significantly more accurate depiction of a horse’s true performance in the race."

Similarly, Greg Robinson, TrackMaster’s harness racing product manager, is quoted as saying, "Pace is a very important handicapping factor most often overlooked by many players. If you are able to analyze how horses race along different parts of the mile, you can better predict how races in the future might set up and which horses may be in the best positions to win.”

GOOD GROOMING: Nominations are now being accepted for the 22nd annual Caretaker of the Year Award.

The award, sponsored annually since 1982 by the Harness Tracks of America, and now jointly by the HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport—the caretakers (grooms) who maintain the health and welfare of the sport’s horses.

According to the release, all that is needed to nominate a groom is a letter from an individual or group to the HTA detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner receives an oil painting of him or herself with the horse of their choice. All nominees receive a certificate of excellence and the first 50 grooms nominated will receive an HTA/Hanover Shoe Farms embroidered jacket.

Linda Coleman, groom for B.C.’s Monster Mare, Fast Lane Cruizin, won in 2001.

Nominations can be mailed to Harness Tracks of America, 4640 East Sunrise, Suite 200

Tucson, AZ, 85718, or faxed: 520-529-3235, or e-mailed [email protected] .

Deadline for nominations is Dec. 31.

DID YOU KNOW? That on Oct. 24, 1993, Hardie Hanover, driven by Tim Twaddle, equals the world record for two-year-old fillies pacing on a five-eighths of a mile track by winning in 1:53.3 at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont.

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week Papas Reflection just could not get going and finished seventh. This week we will take a shot with Outlawflybynight, a 10-1 morning line choice, in the third race on Friday.