Hudon the trader


If the Vancouver Canucks are looking for an assistant to general manager Dave Nonis they should be looking at Dave Hudon.


No, it’s not that Hudon has developed greater knowledge of the game of hockey -- it’s because of his skills in making a trade.


Hudon, the top driver and trainer at the present Sandown Park meet, had his trading acumen displayed last Sunday when La Ocasey captured the $20,200 Oak Tree Stake.


Fresh off his impressive performance in the previous week’s eliminations when he won, La (pronounced L A as in the city) Ocasey, a four-year-old gelded son of Jate Lobell, was dominant again.


Trained and driven by Hudon, La Ocasey, part of a 2-1 entry, won by 2½ lengths, covering the mile in 1:56. It was his fourth win in nine starts in 2005 and ran his season earnings to more than $18,000.


La Ocasey, owned by Nigel Holmes and Kelly Hudon (Dave’s wife for anyone new to the area), was again well back early (seventh at the quarter) but started a big move outside well before the half. By three quarters he had the lead and kept coming to pull away from the field. Lunar TKO, the slight favorite, came late for second and Tahuya Emory A, an 8-1 shot, was third.


Hudon, adding the Trader tag to his Hollywood moniker (his poses at the wire are classic), admitted getting La Ocasey while he was at Northlands in Edmonton in early June was “a good trade.”


“I was tired of Dexter (Red Star) as it seemed he was running every second week,” Hudon explained. “So I went to Johnny (owner/trainer/driver Chappell) and said, ‘Have you any horse you want to trade?’”


“He said, ‘Yeah, three actually’ and told me who they were. So I went and had a look at La Ocasey and liked him.”

“He raced big for me once there and today he raced huge.


“I thought about leaving but when Treenie left and then his horse made a break I took back. Then I decided to pull early, put him (Ocasey) in the middle of the track, which he seems to like, and go from there.”


Hudon admitted he did not know much about the horse’s life before Chappell. “I think he got him at a sale in the East and I do know his lifetime best is 1:53.1 at Balmoral, near Chicago.


Now, Hudon will give Ocasey a week off, pay him up for the Dogwood (the final is Aug. 20) and try him there. 


MARINO, DAVIS SHARE: Jim Marino and Bill Davis shared honors as top driver last weekend at Sandown Park.

Marino and Davis each had three wins as victories were well split among the driver colony.


Dave Hudon was among those with two triumphs and maintained early command of the driver -- and trainer -- standings.

Hudon now has 10 wins as a driver, two ahead of Davis. Scott Knight has six and Marino five.


Others with two wins last weekend were Knight, Andy Arsenault and Clint Warrington.


Knight, Davis and Warrington each had two victories to pace the training division. Hudon leads the meet with seven, two ahead of Knight. 


HORSE TALES: Meekos Trucker likes Sandown.


The four-year-old son of Storm Compensation is owned by Shale Stables and trained by Barry Treen. Though forced by health problems to take much of 2005 off, he showed last Sunday that he still likes Sandown.


He took his life mark of 1:56.2 at Sandown as a three-year-old. Then on July 9 he had a qualifier (after he was off through May and June) and raced to a 32-length decision in1:57.


Last Sunday he went one better. He picked up a new lifetime mark of 1:55 – the fastest clocking to date at the Vancouver Island oval.


Regents Glow, a six-year-old gelded son of Northern Luck, also paced to a lifetime mark, 1:57.1 as did Nicoles Reign, Pennys Dancer, Path To Success, Deal Me Sevens, Garden Gate Admiral and Without Rules.


Itsallaboutthemoney won her third straight at Sandown (and fourth straight overall) for lessee Bill Davis and trainer Billy Davis. But she was claimed out of the race for $9,000.


Gold Cole made it two successive wins at Sandown for trainer Scott Knight. 


CASIE CLOSE: Casie Coleman’s American Ideal did not win last Saturday’s $1 million Meadowlands Pace and therefore she did not become the first woman trainer to win it. But she and the three-year-old son of Western Ideal picked up a lot of admirers along the way.


Coleman trains American Ideal for owners Mac Nichol of Edmonton and Brittany Farms of the U.S. and, despite starting from the outside 10-hole in the powerful field, American Ideal finished an impressive fourth.


He had his third driver – this time George Brennan – in his last three starts but that did not deter from his effort. He was outside the mile, 10th (11 back) at the quarter, ninth at the half and sixth at the three-quarter mark.


He closed the final quarter in 27.1 seconds for a personal time of 1:49.4, narrowly missing third.


Only the winner, odds-on favorite Rocknroll Hanover, closed faster. With Brian Sears in the sulky, Rocknroll Hanover was the best, covering the mile in 1:48.3 and winning by three lengths over Village Jolt. Stonebridge Regal was third.


Coleman told Race Night on the Score’s Ken Middleton that she was proud of her horse. She said he showed his heart and added that he also has speed and admitted she is looking forward to some upcoming stakes races. She also figured he was due for a better post position soon. In the eliminations he drew the nine-hole and in last month’s $1.5 million North America Cup final also started from 10.


Coleman is a 25-year-old native of B.C. who competed as a driver and trainer at Fraser Downs.