Duca, a newcomer to Fraser Downs was highly impressive in winning the open at Fraser Downs last Saturday. 

Owner Niele Jiwan recently shipped Duca to the Downs from Ontario where he had campaigned and registered a lifetime mark of 1:52. 

The five-year-old son of Western Hanover was not quite that fast Saturday but his 1:53.4 clocking was the fastest in 2006 on the five-eighth mile track. Saturday’s start was his first of 2006 after a couple of impressive qualifying races with trainer/driver Bill Davis. 

Duca, a 6-5 second choice in the field of six, rushed to the front from his two spot on the gate and went gate to wire for the 2˝-length victory. 

Armbro Blacktie finished second but was placed back to fifth for a violation of the breaking rule and causing interference to Grand Bend Turbo. 

Red Star Senator, a 25-1 shot, was third, placed second, and Sucha Smooth Deal, a 44-1 choice, was fourth, placed third. 

Duke Is Duke, winner of the previous two opens, runner-up in the Clash of the Pacific and 4-5 favorite, threw a shoe in the race after holding second early and was pulled up. 

CRUSER CRUISES AND MOVES: Westwood Cruser, a six-year-old daughter of Freedoms Pass, won her third in a row and fourth in her last six (all in 2006) last Friday for trainer/driver Bill Davis. Cruser, who has won more than $20,000 in 2006 and more than $143,500 in her career, was claimed out of the race for $22,500. 

Accent Seelster, a four-year-old son of Camluck, captured his third straight (along with a second and third in six starts in 2006) for trainer Mike Glover and driver Jim Marino. 

Tnt Mattie, a four-year-old son of Distinguishedbaron, won his second consecutive race – and equaled his lifetime mark of 1:58.2 -- for Marino and trainer Tim Brown. 

Maxillas Future is another who has enjoyed the turning of the calendar. The four-year-old daughter of Falcons Future has won two straight and three of six (along with two seconds) in 2006 for trainer/driver Rick Lancaster. 

Red Star Soprano won her second in a row and ran her 06 record to 5-2-1-2, and set a lifetime mark of 1:57 for trainer/driver Brad Watt. Then the five-year-old son of Barnett Hanover was claimed in a four-way shake. 

It was a good night for Lancaster as his Dancelikeahos got his first victory of 2006 in a new life mark of 1:56.2. 

Celtic Rayne continued her red-hot 2006. The five-year-daughter of Mattduff won her second straight last Saturday, to go along with two other wins and two seconds, for trainer/driver Barry Treen. She also covered the mile in 1:58.4, beating her previous best lifetime mark by more than two seconds. 

Another Treen horse, Rhythm Queen, a four-year-old daughter of Collector Rd, won her second in succession, also in a new life mark, 1:57.1. 

Rayne and Queen were among seven life marks set Saturday. 

The others were: Rocketdoodledoo (1:56), You Da Man Cam (1:58.1), Dal Reo Bailey (1:59.4), Enqvist Blue Chip (1:59, four seconds lower) and Tahuya Childer (1:58.2). 

Rich As Promised, a three-year-old son of As Promised and a half brother to B.C. Stakes winner Rich Cam, made it two straight and a new life mark of 1:59.2 for trainer Jim Mohorich and driver Scott Knight last Sunday. 

Cher The Wealth also set a life mark, 1:56.2, for trainer/driver Tim Brown. 

When the favorite went off stride and forced two other horses to also make a break it left five horses in the second race last Sunday. They all decided they had a chance and crossed the finish line separated by half a length. The winner was 14-1 shot Shannons Scoobydoo with 21-1 shot Freedom Whisper second by a head. 

DRIVER RACE CLOSE: The drivers’ race for wins remained close at the Downs as the leaders switched positions last weekend. 

Jim Marino started the weekend with a margin of one over Bill Davis. Next weekend it will be Davis who holds the one-win margin. 

Davis picked up two wins each day and his six pushed his meet total to 84, one ahead of Marino who started the weekend with three wins Friday but only managed one more. 

Tim Brown, who is rounding back into top form, was next to Davis on the weekend with five.  

Scott Knight had three victories, all on Sunday, while Rick Lancaster, Barry Treen, Glenn White, Andy Arsenault, Dave McKellar, Brad Watt and Dave Hudon had two apiece. 

Brown led all trainers with four trips to the winner’s enclosure and now has 34 for the meet, good enough for third.

Lancaster, Treen, Davis, Marino, Arsenault, White and Hudon shared two each. 

McNULTY IN DREAMIN’ FINAL: Mark McNulty of Burnaby captured week seven of the California Dreamin’ Handicapping Contest last Saturday at Fraser Downs. 

McNulty had a total of $467 and received the $250 weekly prize.  

Pat Smith was second with $448 while four competitors – J. W. Freeman, Robert Glenn, Tom Mohammed (a previous week’s winner) and Gerald Williams -- shared third with $420. At $413 were Manohar Singh and Fred Lester. 

McNulty will join Lloyd Burbridge, Ian Barrie, Koji Kariya, Tom Mohammed, Len Zurowski, Bob Kosolofski and Art Worsfold in the contest final where contestants will battle head-to-head on Saturday, March 11 in the Homestretch Party Zone.  

The contest, which will result in the winner spending a weekend at Santa Anita racetrack in California for the Santa Anita Derby on April 8, has three more weeks in the 10-week event.  

Each Saturday until March 4, contestants will handicap a series of races from Santa Anita. Entry ballots are available at Guest Services the morning of each contest day and entry forms must be submitted before the scheduled post of the second race at Santa Anita.  

The contest consists of six races from the Santa Anita card, races three through eight, of which three must be handicapped. For each of the three horses selected, a mythical $20 win/place/show bet will be placed.  At the end of each contest day, scores will be tallied and the entrant with the highest total for that contest day will be crowned a finalist and will receive the weekly $250 prize money. 

BREEDERS INCENTIVE BACK: The B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society’s B.C. stallion incentive program has been brought back for the 2006 breeding season. The BCSBS will contribute – with some conditions -- $500 toward the stud fee for any stallion standing in the province. Application forms are available from the BCSBS office.  

SASKATCHEWAN ADDS DATES: The Saskatchewan Standardbred Horsemen's Association announced this week that its horsemen will be able to race at home through the summer and into the fall this year.  

For the first time in many years, racing will return to Yorkton Exhibition Park beginning on June 24. Racing will shift to Craven from the end of July into September and the meet will be extended for six weeks at Saskatoon, ending on Oct. 21.  

This summer-long meet is in comparison to just six weeks of racing in the province last year.   

The 2006 harness racing dates in Saskatchewan are: Yorkton Exhibition Park -- qualify June 10, opening day June 24, July 1, 7, 8, 14, 15; Craven -- July 23, 30,

Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27, Sept. 2, 3, 9, 10; Marquis Downs (Saskatoon) – Sept. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30, Oct. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21.