Driver/trainer Serge Masse has roared off to a big start after three weeks of the Fraser Downs live race meet. The biggest noise was made last weekend by his filly Furious Five with a track record performance.


The daughter of Faldo Hanover-Big Five put her name into the Downs' record book when she zipped around the five-eighths mile oval in a time of 1:54.1 last Friday.


The clocking shaved a fifth of a second off Fast Lane Cruizin's track mark of 1:54.2 for three-year-old fillies. The former mark was set on April 9, 2000, making it the longest-standing record – until Furious Five’s furious mile.


The victory was the ninth lifetime for Furious Five, who captured the $132,000 Alberta Breeders three-year-old filly event on Sept. 17. She now has bagged $201,032 for owners Jarm Investments Ltd. of Edmonton.


Masse has always been known as one of the best at getting his horse away from the starting gate in a hurry. Today, as a trainer, he has his whole stable away quickly in the new meet at the Downs.


Masse has startling figures after three weeks of the campaign. He leads in all three categories (wins, earnings and universal rating) as both trainer and driver.


As top conditioner he has 14 wins (Dave Hudon is next at eight), $59,259 in earnings (Barry Treen has $43,778) and a .680 UTRS (David Woolley is at .555). His leading driver stats are 23 victories (Hudon has 10), $86,987 in earnings (Jim Marino is at $46,708) and .459 UDRS (Hudon is .389).


On Sept. 22 and 23, Masse had five wins on each day of the 11-race cards with the five on the 23rd coming in the first five races. The next weekend he had nine victories.


Meanwhile, other Masse horses keep rolling.


Leanback Coco, another three-year-old filly, has won five of her last six and set a life mark of 1:54 in the process. Cher The Wealth, a six-year-old mare, was claimed on Sept. 16 by Masse and has won two since including a 1:55.3 lifetime best. Follow Your Bliss, a five-year-old mare, has captured the last two fillies and mares’ opens. Rodeo King, a three-year-old colt, also has two straight wins and a new life best of 1:55.3.


Masse does not, however, have exclusivity on good showings.


The Mike Bourgeois trained and driven three-year-old colt Red Star Samper now has three victories (two at the Downs) in succession with the latest a 1:54.4 new life mark.


Big T Machine, a three-year-old trained and driven by Gord Abbott, made it three straight wins last Saturday. An interesting sidelight is that she won the two previous back in May.


Tahuya Panda, a three-year-old colt trained by Erik Neyhart and driven by Mike Short, now has two triumphs in a row to start his career. Two-dollar win tickets have brought $90.70 and $40.10.


With Barry Treen training and Scott Knight driving, Armbro Blacktie had won two opens in succession.


Ken Dorman’s Daves Showboat, driven by Andy Arsenault, and Ann Cooper’s Madpan, piloted by Masse, have won their last two, setting a life best on each occasion.  


ONLY FOUR FOR ARBUTUS: Masse’s big early showing has seemed to scare away opponents for the first stake race of the meet.

The Arbutus Stake, usually raced at Sandown Park but switched to the Downs for this year, has attracted a tiny field of four for the event for three-year-old fillies. The field will bypass eliminations and go to the final on Oct. 14 for a purse expected to be in the neighborhood of $20,000.

Joining the aforementioned Furious and Coco will be Red Star Dixie and Sweetypea.

Other stake dates set are the Breeders on Nov. 11, the Sales on Dec. 9 and 10 and the Stallion on April 20 and 21.

At press time it was believed that an agreement had been reached on the contentious conditions of the remaining (eight) stakes events. 


MURPHY BUSY AT SALE: Top B.C. owner and breeder Bob Murphy may not have consigned any horses for the recent annual Pacific Yearling Sale in Surrey but he was still the most active. This time he did the bulk of the buying.


Murphy had the four highest purchase prices as but 10 horses changed hands. Murphy, who heads Red Star Stable, doled out $12,000 to purchase Brees Viento, a filly by Village Jiffy out of Sumwerovrtherainbo, from Jim and Ross Findlay. He also spent $10,500 for At First Light, a colt by Scruffy Ben out of Light The Fuse, consigned by Bryn Muir. Murphy also made purchases of $9,500 and $6,000.


The largest bid was $25,000 as Rick White and John and June Kauffman bought back the filly Samanthas Cam. She is a daughter of top Canadian sire Camluck and a many-time winner at the Downs, mare Samantha Square.


Three yearlings – filly Austinsfirstpeace (Austin Carr-Peaceful Life), filly Pedal Boy (As Promised-Big Five) and colt B Realistic (Real Artist-Property Damage) – each were bought back for $15,000 by their consignors.


Eight horses in all were bought back with the other 35 not attaining their reserve. 

Nine horses also went through a mixed sale following the yearling sale and four changed hands including a yearling that was not entered in time for the main event.