IT'S BLISS IN MR
Prime Time Bliss has
made a big impression early in his prime time racing at
The son of Blissfull
Hall out of Armbro Knots registered a mild upset in
capturing the $30,000 Mr Vancouver stake for four-year-old
horses and geldings last Friday.
Prime Time Bliss,
who was making just his second start at the Downs (his
first was a victory in 1:54 on Dec. 1), won by a half a
length over Red Star Senator. His time was 1:55.2 over a
track rated as good, off two seconds.
Senator, fresh from
his win the previous week victory in the open event, was a
6-5 morning line favorite but the two contenders went off
at post time as co-even-money choices.
Prime Time Bliss,
who is owned by Verve Racing of Victoria and trained by
Wally Slopianka, started from the rail but top driver Bill
Davis decided to take the two-hole trip behind Senator who
raced to the lead from the five hole.
Bliss stayed 1½
lengths behind at every call including turning for home.
But he turned on the jets to take the two-horse duel,
covering the last quarter mile in 28.4 seconds. The 15-1
choice entry of Accent Seelster and El Toro finished third
(4¼ lengths back) and fourth respectively.
Davis failed to take
a lot of credit for the win, explaining in the winner’s
enclosure that he was not necessarily the better horse
but “We got the better trip.”
Prime Time Bliss,
who raced to a life best mark of 1:52.2 earlier this year
at Mohawk racetrack in Ontario, now has 10 wins in his
career. He has earned more than $148,000 in his career,
$96,247 coming in 2006.
He was a private
purchase in October for Verve who won the Mr Vancouver a
year ago with Armbro Blacktie.
FIRST WIN BIG FOR
FROGGY: Even though your horse has made just one
career start you enter him in a stakes race.
Then he wins.
That’s what Al and
Shelley Eng’s Shale Stables did with Shales Froggy in last
Saturday’s $30,000 Sales Stake final for two-year-old
colts and geldings.
Froggy, a son of As
Promised, had four qualifiers and just one start, that in
the Nov. 24 Sales Stake elimination where he was second
despite making a break right after the start of the race.
Then last Saturday
from the four hole in the field of eight, the second
longest choice on the board went gate to wire for the
victory. With trainer Barry Treen in the sulky, he won in
a time of 1:57.4 by a length over Red Star Outwest with
Nazko Summer third.
battled 8-5 favorite Tessters OddSock for the early lead
but refused to give it up. Odd Sock unfortunately never
did find a hole and driver Rick White shut down the winner
of five straight late on the backstretch.
As far as really
being simple, Al Eng explained that was far from the case.
In fact, he said, “It was a long time coming.”
He didn’t mean the
win, he meant just getting to the races.
Froggy (then Red Star Rene) at the 2005 B.C. yearling
“We bought him for
$1,000,” Eng said. “We knew he had bone chips in more than
one leg and we spent $5,000 getting him ready.”
However, the $15,000
winner’s shares of the purse money, and the bragging
rights, have brought big smiles to the owners’ faces.
The battle for the
two-year-old fillies was much different. It was expected
to be a two-horse race and it was between even-money
favorite Garden Gate Tina and 6-5 choice Red Star Cindy.
starting from the seven hole, went for the lead. She got
it before the quarter but was outside and did not clear
until the head of the stretch. She went on to make it five
wins in succession, taking a three-length decision over
Cindy. The latter had slid into third early and did not
attack until the three-quarter mark but for the second
straight stakes final had to settle for second.
Tina, a daughter of
Rustler Hanover, was trained and driven by Bill Davis for
owner Niele Jiwan. She now has won more than $56,000 in
“She raced pretty
good,” Davis said. “I was trying to get a hole but she
just kept going. She’s a great filly and Jim (previous
trainer Marino) did a nice job of training her down.”
Tina covered the
mile in 1:59.2 on the sloppy track. Schadenfreude was
third, 7¾ lengths behind the winner.
Treen, the trainer,
made it two Sales Stakes wins when his Solar Wind went
gate to wire to capture the event for three-year old colts
Solar Wind, a son of
Usher Hanover and part of a 4-1 fourth-choice entry, raced
away from the two hole with driver Tim Brown and was never
headed. He won in 1:58.3 by 1¼ lengths over 2-1 favorite
Nazko Daytona with The Funk Brothers third.
Solar Wind, who is
owned by the ES Stables, registered his fifth career win
and pushed his career earnings to more than $65,000.
“We tried the front
end and he was strong all the way,” Brown said in the
winner’s enclosure. “He was a Cadillac to drive.”
In the filly final
for three-year-olds, Hold On Tonite, a 3-5 favorite, added
to her impressive resume with a gate-to-wire decision.
The daughter of Key
Prospect, owned by J J J Stables and Al and Mark Anderson,
trained by Debbie McCarthy and driven by Bill Davis,
captured her fifth career win along with two seconds in 10
She went the mile in
2:00, beating Silvery Belle by 2¼ lengths and gaining a
measure of revenge after Belle won the elimination by a
half length. Sweetypea was third.
Hold On Tonite, who
was unraced as a two-year-old, now has won more than
“She had some
trouble on the turns and in getting hold of the track,”
Davis said after the race. “ But I asked her in the
stretch and she responded.”
PAT TOP CLAIMER:
Hurricane Pat grabbed her second straight win at the Downs
as she took the top non-stakes event last weekend.
Also with no open
events (of either gender) Pat’s win in the $35,000 with
allowances claimer was a top race with no surprises.
Only four others,
including stablemate Alldressedinvelvet, challenged Pat
who is owned by Niele Jiwan and trained and driven by Bill
Davis. Her win by three lengths was her 13th of 2006 and
pushed her earnings to more than $70,000 for the year. The
entry was a 1-9 favorite as Pat started from the rail
although not taking the lead until after the first
Coco Bongo was
second and Make Some Noise third.
DAVIS ON FIRE:
That sound you hear is anyone getting burned if they
even get close to the sizzling hot Bill Davis.
Davis set the pace
for the fourth week in a row, winning a startling 14 times
(six last Sunday), in his drive for the top in the Fraser
Downs driver standings. In the last four weeks he has 38
victories and now has vaulted into the lead with 63.
He is eight ahead of
early leader Serge Masse, who, with a bad leg and other
business interests, has missed the last two weekends. Jim
Marino, who was second for the week with four, now has 40
at the meet.
The race for fourth
is a beauty with Gord Abbott at 30, Scott Knight, Tim
Brown and Dave Hudon at 28, and Jim Burke at 26. Brown and
Knight had three apiece last weekend and Burke and Hudon
Davis, after making
eight trips to the winner’s enclosure as a trainer, has
also taken over the top spot in that category. He has 47,
six more than Masse. Ann Cooper and Hudon share third at
Wally Slopianka and
Barry Treen had three wins last weekend while Hudon, Erik
Neyhart and Wayne Isbister had two each.
In 2006 Davis has
229 driving victories, a .404 universal rating and more
than $1.5 million in earnings along with 171 training
decisions, a .472 rating and more than $1 million earned.
His universal ratings are both second best in the
SIX STRAIGHT FOR
TURBULENT: Winning streaks continue at the Downs.
Red Star Turbulent,
a six-year-old son of Pacific Fella, registered his sixth
straight victory and his fourth in a row since taking the
summer off. He now has a 19-11-3-1 2006 record for trainer
Red Star Soprano
continues to sing sweetly and is a big hit on the Downs
charts. The five-year-old son of Barnett Hanover, trained
by Bill Davis, raced to his fifth victory in a row and
10th of the year (he has been in the top three in 20 of
his 30 starts). He moved past $96,000 in career earnings.
Beggars Opera, a
four-year-old son of Splendid Splinter and another Davis
trained horse, won his second straight and third in his
last four starts; Red Star Pristine, a four-year-old mare
by Gothic Dream, trained by guess who (Davis), made it two
straight and 10 in the year; Intrepid Kate, a
three-year-old daughter of Intrepid Seelster, made it
three wins in succession for trainer Wally Slopianka;
Kootenay Finale, a four-year-old daughter of Safe N Rich,
won her second consecutive, and 10th of 2006 for trainer
Jason Smith; Miracle Five, a four-year-old daughter of
Dole Hanover, captured her first win of the year (in her
23rd start of the year and first ever at the Downs) and
Regal Intention (c3 As Promised) lowered his life best to
1:58.1 for trainer Barry Treen.
Despite being blanked for the week, Dolly Lemke retained,
for the fourth straight week, her lead in the Downs’
Harness Horse Pool contest.
In a week where
points were extremely hard to come by, Lemke remained at
54 after seven weeks. She still leads Fernando Ciarniello,
who also was blanked, by four. Darcy Smith remained in
third but inched up by getting one point and has 49. Werne
Kaare is next with 47, just one head of Ray Hall and
Shirley Setter, who were shut out but were joined by Mike
The contest had
entrants – 265 in all -- pick one of six horses from each
of six boxes with five points awarded when a horse wins,
three for a second and one for a third. The contest ends
on this weekend.