Hudon down again, but not out

Dave Hudon could not be blamed if he feels snake-bit. 

Only a couple of days more than a month after suffering substantial injuries in a race track spill at Fraser Downs, Hudon hit the ground last Friday in another – spookily similar – accident. 

Hudon, while driving Artic Dawn A, had the misfortune to be closest to X L B Janelle when she made a sudden break. The wheel of Hudon’s bike rode up the one with Janelle and driver Daniel St Amand and he was thrown to the inside of the track. 

Luckily, the next horse and bike passed over him, despite the fact the trailing Glenn White, driving Outlaw Romance, unfortunately went the same direction in an effort to miss Dave.  

Hudon suffered a bruised and scraped a knee, on the opposite side of his body from where he suffered cracked ribs. 

He was back on his next drive but has been warned by wife Kelly, “I can’t take any more of those.” 

TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO CENTRE ICE: Fraser Downs’ patrons who take in the Vancouver Canucks-Colorado Avalanche NHL game on Friday, Jan. 2 at GM Place will see a familiar face at centre ice. 

He won’t be playing, but Chuck Keeling, general manager of the Downs, will present the Molson Player of the Month award to a Canuck prior to the opening faceoff. 

“I think it shows that horse racing has mainstream appeal,” Keeling said. “It is interesting that recognition of our industry would be approached.” 

SALUTE THE ADMIRAL: Red Star Admiral is back. The giant six-year-old gelded son of Storm Prince, owned by Robert Murphy, captured the Invite Saturday over a strong field. 

Starting from the trailing nine hole with trainer Bill Davis in the bike, Admiral was third early and grabbed the lead by the three-quarter mark. Haras Colta Cola, who took the early lead, held it until passed by Admiral on the back stretch. Cola was behind by two lengths at the head of the home stretch but came back and failed by a neck to catch Admiral. 

The winning time on a sloppy track was 1:55.3 with Infinite Dreams taking third. 

Co-track record holders Bre X, starting from the outside seven hole, and Red Star Justice, were fifth and sixth respectively. 

“He was pretty good today,” Davis said after the race. “Last week (his first back after an absence of several months) was a good tightener.” 

The girls should be saluted too. 

In fact, Make Some Noise won the fillies and mares open the same day -- in 1:55.2 (equaling her all-time best). 

Racing for the same combination as Admiral, Make Some Noise, came from outside, to beat stablemate Arturos Choice by three quarters of a length. Princess Jessica N was third.

ANOTHER TOUGH TRAINER: Vianney Archambault, the veteran trainer hurt in a shed row accident in August, is back on the job.

“It’s good to be back,” said Vianney with a big grin as he worked fastidiously on a horse last week. 

“The leg is a little stiff and sore,” he said and it should be as he added that seven screws and a foot-long medal rod are still – and will remain – in his right leg. 

“The doctor decided at my age (71) that they might as well stay,” Archambault explained. “But he’s (the doctor) happy. He at first said it could be as long as a year before I was back but it’s only four and a half months.” 

He also said it’s a little more sore when it rains – he’s in trouble there – but it’s really stiff when he gets up after sitting for awhile. That helps explain why he is back in shed row and in the training cart. 

HINDSHIGHT IS 50/50: Downs’ trainer/driver Tim Brown isn’t sure whether he should thank the judges or not. 

Brown received a one-day driving suspension – served last Friday – for going inside the pylons with Rbuck on Dec. 12. 

Tim and wife Sandra decided to spend the Friday evening watching the action from the Homestretch in the grandstand. When in Rome do as . . . so he purchased a 50/50 ticket to aid Greener Pastures. 

You guessed, he won the draw and $537. 

When asked if that was his best night in a while, he said with a grin, “I think it’s my best Friday anyway.” 

DAVIS UPDATE: Bill Davis’ stream roller appears set to finish 2003 on a huge roll. 

Davis had another banner weekend atop the driver and trainer derbies at the Downs, winning nine times as a driver and six as a trainer. He now has 344 driving victories, and 223 wins as a trainer, for the year. 

Jim Marino had a good weekend, capturing four driving triumphs while Jim Burke and Larry Micallef had three each. Brad Watt, Grant Hollingsworth and Daniel St Amand had two apiece. 

After Davis’ six trips to the winner’s enclosure as a trainer, the only others with one more than one were Dave Smith and Bob Merschback, each with two. 

HELLO DON: Another driver/trainer has decided to give B.C. a try. 

Don O’Dwyer, who raced most recently at Rideau Carleton race track at Ottawa, was in action last weekend as a driver at the Downs. He had five drives but did not get on the board. 

O’Dwyer, 53, who has raced through much of North America such as Dover (Delaware) and Cal-Expo (California), has 1873 lifetime victories as a driver. He had nine wins in 148 starts and a universal driver rating of .192 in 2003 before arriving here.  

O’Dwyer, who has been to B.C. to race before in 1970 and 1980, is from a racing family which includes brothers Bob and Jimmy. 

He expects to have 10 horses arriving from California just after New Years. 

GET YOUR TICKETS: 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 is Northview Golf Course in Surrey. Tickets, which are again $40, are on sale at the BCSA and BCSBS office. 

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week we picked Lo N Jo but she finished sixth. This time we will try Jomars Nagano, 12-1 shot, in the ninth race Sunday.