Hennessy happy to race

The latest Alberta invader at Fraser Downs could easily be described as a young gun.

Joining the fray at the Downs, bringing a stable of nine, is 19-year-old trainer Mike Hennessy and he carries all the good characteristics of youthful exuberance.

Mike is the son of Rod, a veteran driver/trainer known to Downs patrons. The elder Hennessy is plying his trade now on the Ontario circuit but he gave the Downs (nee Cloverdale Raceway) a shot back in the early 1980s.

"He hated it," Mike said with a grin, "he hated the rain."

Mike and partner/groom Morgan Devlin (a former winner of groom of the year at Fraser Downs) have a different take on their time in B.C.

"It's just like a holiday," Morgan said and Mike nodded in agreement. "There's nothing to do there (Alberta where racing has stopped until Edmonton resumes in late March) now. The big stables there have farms and they turn out their horses. We weren't able to do that so we decided to come here."

Not that they will be allowed to relax too much at the track as the nine horses will keep them plenty busy.

"We are in Boxing Day," Hennessy said in hopes of having at least three horses in on the afternoon card for his first action here.

They have two better horses among the nine. Leap Year Promise, a six-year-old gelding, will likely race in the winners over division while Promises Above, a mare who will turn five on Jan. 1, will probably take on the Downs open fillies and mares.

They have rented a basement suite and will be here until the middle of February.

"Then we will go home to get work done with some two-year-olds."
Meanwhile, Mike hopes to have some success as well as fun at Fraser Downs.
"We have had a great year at home for our first year and we hope we can keep things rolling."
DAVIS, BROWN SHARE HONOURS: Bill Davis was out last Friday with a one-day suspension but still managed to get a share of top driver honours.

Davis picked up five wins, the same total as Tim Brown, and now has 67 for the meet, 13 ahead of Brown. Bobby Clark, with three, and Jim Marino, John Vukelich and Daniel St Amand, each with two, round out the top reinsmen for the week.

Davis widened his leadership in the trainer win standings, making six trips to the winner's enclosure. He now has 46, 17 ahead of Wayne Isbister. Vukelich had two victories as a trainer while 24 others tied with one each.

After last weekend, Davis had 205 wins this year as a trainer and, with four racing days left, needed 15 to get 300 as a driver.

MR. K BATTLES: Popular trainer Efstratios Kallianiotis, the man also known as Mr. K with the continuous smile, is battling cancer. Kallianiotis is in Peace Arch Hospital where is on chemotherapy.

"He is doing better than when he first went in," said Tim Jacobson, who drives for Mr. K, helps with his horses and has taken over the training duties.

"They took out a lot of tubes, like the IV, he was on and he has been eating. They still want to get his blood count up and he has to put some weight back on."

Jacobson said if they can do that he might be able to have treatment on an outpatient basis.

Mr. K has such horses as Control Yourself, Dontpush Your Luck, Bruno The Banker and Feeling Strong, seven weanlings, stud Quanah Parker, "Probably 31 or 32 in total," Jacobson said.
CRUIZIN WINS: Fast Lane Cruizin has returned to the winner's enclosure. The five-year-old mare owned by Jerry Blanchet and Phil Coleman paced to victory Friday, Dec. 20 at Woodbine in a mile pace, purse $20,000, for fillies and mares, non winners of $17,000 in their last six starts or non winners of $80,000 lifetime. 

Cruizin, the 2-1 favourite, driven by Mike Saftic, was never worse than third and held off the fast-closing Brittster to win by half a length. Time for the mile was 1:55.

The last win for Cruizin, who has battled illness, prior to Friday came on Aug. 27 at Georgian Downs -- seven races ago.
MIXED SALE SET: The second annual B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society mixed sale in set for Monday, Feb. 10 at the Cloverdale Agriplex. The deadline for entries is Jan. 31 for catalogued and Feb. 7 for non-catalogued with a fee of $100. The BCSBS reserves the right to cancel the sale in there are insufficient entries.