“He’s a nice horse.”


That’s Bill Davis, at his succinct best, in describing his charge Duca who broke the Fraser Downs track record last Friday.


Davis is just back from Alberta and making his presence felt already and the trainer/driver looked familiar as he smartly piloted his impressive pacer Duca to the fastest mile in the history of the Downs. They covered the 5/8-mile oval in a blistering time of 1:51.4 to win the $14,300 open pace.


Davis took the five-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover-Five Oclock Cindy to the front and was never headed, roaring through quarters of 26.4, 55.2 and 1:24.1 in the record setting performance. A 27.3-second closing quarter completed the show.


Heavy Rain Warning was second, 7¾ lengths back, while entry mate Active Pass finished another half-length back in third in the field of nine.


Infinite Dreams who flashed to a 1:52.1 clocking on April 9, 2004 held the previous mark.


Duca, bred in Michigan and a half-brother to Jennas Beach Boy (1:47.3 - $1,972,172), has 10 wins in 21 starts this season for owner Niele Jiwan. The $7,150 bumps the pacer's 2006 earnings to $102,560 and brings his career total to $270,425.


Davis was asked if Duca is the best horse he ever trained and it was a tough decision between Bosuns Mate, a horse he had when in Ontario, and Duca.


“He’s certainly the best horse I’ve ever had in Western Canada,” Davis said.


Ironically, it was not Duca’s life mark as he had a 1:51.2 clocking in Edmonton earlier this year. (Davis’ personal best was behind Panoramic in 1:51.1 in Edmonton).


“I wasn’t going for the track record,” Davis said of Duca’s race Friday. “After the 27.2 first quarter I wanted to give him a breather,” added Davis, who seemed to be adding that Duca didn’t want one. “And I didn’t think he’d pace home like that.”

Davis said he and owner Jiwan, “didn’t expect him to be that good” when he first arrived in B.C.


“Bill Robinson had him as a two and three year in Ontario where he was probably just average, 52 was his quickest in Toronto.


“Joe Pereira (Duca’s trainer when Jiwan purchased him) filled me in on a couple of things that were bothering him, allergies was probably the biggest thing,” Davis explained. “In time he seemed to come around.”


Duca will stay in B.C. and compete in the open and “will get some time off during the meet when Niele decides.” 


BREEDERS STAKES TIME: The battle for the big bucks ($100,000 purses for the three-year-old finals) and plenty of prestige begins this Friday.


The first eliminations for the Breeders Stakes will start with races for two year olds on Friday and three year olds on Saturday. There will be second eliminations the next weekend with all four finals (each age, each gender) on Breeders Cup Day on Nov. 11.


Twenty-five horses are entered for the elims for two-year-old colts and geldings and 17 for the fillies. The breakdown for three-year-olds is 26 colts and geldings and 13 fillies.


The fields on Friday run the gamut from stakes winners – Red Star Quadra and Schadenfreude in the Sandown Breeders – to several first-time starters.


Saturday there are more known contenders although Furious Five, the recent track record holder and stakes champ, and Sweetypea, a stakes winner, will lead others as Twentyten, Dianes Desire, Red Star Tomboy, Red Star Disco, Red Star Dixie in the filly division.


The colts battle is likely more wide open although some to watch include Red Star Samper, Madpan, Silk Puddles and Joe Millionaire. 


RECORD FOR TWO-YEAR-OLD COLTS FALLS: Duca’s mark wasn’t the only record added to the book on Friday’s card as Speedin Ian raced to a 1:56.3 winning clocking for trainer/driver Serge Masse.


The two-year-old colt by Cambest out of Tennessee Snow, despite starting from the seven hole, went gate to wire with fractions of 28, 59 and 1:27.1 before a final quarter of 29.2 seconds.


The mark equaled the track standard for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, previously set by both Rich Cam (Oct. 26, 2002) and Red Star Senator (Nov. 11, 2004).


Masse co-owns Ian, who was making only his third lifetime start, with Jarm Investments Ltd of Edmonton. 


SMOOTH AS VELVET: Alldressedinvelvet, always a tough opponent, has also turned into a top-flight performer.


The four-year-old daughter of Richess Hanover has jumped into the fillies and mares open clashes and last Saturday she showed that she could more than compete. Driven and trained by Bill Davis, and owned by Niele Jiwan (he had a good weekend), ADIV ended the two-race run of Betterfrombehind in the open event.


Davis, from the rail, allowed the 1-5 favorite BFB to go to the front from the four-hole and then stalked the pacesetter. Velvet attacked as they turned for home and went on to a 1¾-length win in a time of 1:54.3.


That was a new life mark for the winner who now has a 6-3-2 mark in 15 starts and earnings of more than $60,000 in 2006.

Follow Your Bliss was third and Maker Some Noise fourth in the field of six. 


MASSE MAGIC: Serge Masse continues to pace the way in the battle for top driver honors at the Downs meet.


Masse picked up a leading six victories in the three days of racing last weekend to run his meet total to 34, 11 ahead of Gord Abbott.


Abbott was deadlocked as runner-up for the week at four wins with Bill Davis and Tim Brown. Barry Treen was next at three while Andy Arsenault, Jim Burke, and Darren Howald had two apiece.


Ann Cooper maintained her fine showing among the Downs’ conditioners, chalking up four wins for the weekend. That helped her share top billing with Davis and Masse and moved her into second place for the meet.


Cooper has made 13 visits to the winner’s enclosure, nine behind Masse’s leading 22.


John Abbott, Ken Dorman, Wayne Isbister and Treen had two wins each last weekend. 


COCO HOT: One week after capturing the Arbutus Stake final at the Downs, Leanback Coco, with trainer Serge Masse driving, made it four wins in a row last Saturday.


The win in 1:55.4 for the three-year-old daughter of Cambest, was her eighth in 17 starts in 2006 and the 11th of her career.

She now has career earnings of more than $45,000.


Masse has also driven Madpan, a three-year-old son of Stutzpan, to his fourth in a row. Trainer Ann Cooper has guided Madpan to a 17-5-3-4 mark in 2006.


Hurricane Pat made it two in a row and 10 wins in 2006 for trainer/driver Bill Davis and owner Jiwan. The four-year-old daughter of Falcons Future, set a life mark of 1:54.


Southwind Milton, a six-year-old son of Falcon Seelster, made it three wins in a row and four of his last five and ninth of the year for trainer Barry Treen.


Sail The Sevenseas won his second straight for trainer/driver Tim Brown and owner John Heras and then was claimed. The five-year-old son of Scruffy Hanover has 16 wins and earnings of more than $140,000 in his career.


Preferred Share, trained by Cooper and driven by Brown got her second consecutive victory and 10th of’06, before also being claimed. The six-year-old by Safe N Rich is 29-Ross Ridge Beauty (f3, Albert Albert) made it two in a row in a new life mark of 1:55.4.


Chrissy Can Do (m5, Deamons Bell) got her first win of 06 in a career best of 1:58.1, Cam And Dave (g6, Magical Mike) captured his second in a row and ninth of 2006 while equaling his best of 1:55, KC Kirby (g5, Cams Magic Trick) made it two straight, Umm Whoareyou (g6, Falcon Seelster) established a life mark of 1:55.3, Carwins C E O (g6, Die Laughing) won his second in a row, Richs Pride (c3, Safe N Rich) grabbed his first of the year in a career best 1:59.3 and Red Star Lynn (m5, Just Camelot) won her second consecutive race.


Maxillas Future (m4, Falcons Future) remains busy and good. She made her 32nd start of 2006 her 10th victory and pushed her year’s earnings to more than $20,000.