Careers

J J J STRONG BUT UPSETS SHARE SPOTLIGHT 

What follows is blanket coverage – or more precisely -- coverage of blankets. 

After winning three of five Sales Stakes races for two-year-olds on Friday, the ownership combo of J J J Stables and Alan Anderson swept both races for three-year-olds on Saturday. 

The wins continued their domination in stakes events over the past two years in B.C. A domination that has prompted Rick Mowles, the man behind J J J to say that he is turning the latest set of blankets into curtains – for his trophy room one would suspect.

Wild Rumour and Active Pass, both odds-on favorites, were the best in the eliminations for three-year-old colts and geldings. 

Driven by Serge Masse, Wild Rumour, son of Key Prospect, overcame the outside eight post to win his elim by half a length over Better Days.  

It was the seventh win in 19 starts in 2005 for the Al Anderson-trained Wild Rumour, who now has won more than $114,000 in his career.  

Luckys Lil Dude, a 60-1 shot, came from well back to finish third. 

As impressive as Wild Rumour was, stablemate Active Pass was probably as good or better. 

Active Pass, a son of Kents On Nuke, went gate to wire in 1:55.2, closed in 28.3 seconds and won by four lengths for driver Bill Davis. The 1-5 betting choice has now won eight of 14 starts this year and more than $109,000. 

C C Maxim finished second and We Winnie Winston was third. 

The top nine finishers will now advance to the $30,000 final on Dec. 11. On the fillies and mares side, there were fewer than 10 entries so nominees advance directly to the final. 

J J J etc showed their Stakes race success with three victories Friday in the eliminations for two-year-olds but two upsets in other elims garnered much of the attention.

Mendosino County, a 25-1 shot, got his maiden victory, winning by a nose in an exciting stretch battle in one of three events for colts and geldings. The son of Stutzpan-Nuclear Freedom is owned by Ann and Jackie Scheepbouwer, trained by Jackie and was driven by Jim Marino and covered the mile in 2:01.3. He now has a win, second and third in seven starts. 

Rogerthedodger was second and Superfecta Kid was a half length back. 

Solar Wind, a 13-1 shot, was the other upset winner for E S Stables, trainer John Currie and driver Dave Hudon. The son of Usher Hanover-Rather Regal made it two wins in a row, prevailing by 3 ½ lengths in 2:01.2. He now has two wins, a second and a third in six career starts. 

Red Star Gladiator, the Breeders Stakes king and a 9-5 favorite, was second and Double Stutz third. 

Badtimingthatsall won the other colt and gelding event for J J J et al. The son of Kents On Nuke-Scruffian went gate to wire to win by five lengths in 2:00.3. He is trained by co-owner Al Anderson was driven by Marino. It was the third career win for BTTA who has already earned more than $30,000. 

Silk Puddles was second and Cash Account third. 

Muddy Waters also went gate to wire to win a filly division for the blanket-crazed J J J crew. The 6-5 second choice, by Kents On Nuke out of Sparks Will Fly N, covered the mile with driver Bill Davis in 1:59.3 and won by 3½ lengths. 

Even-money favorite Furious Five was second and A Midnight Promise third. 

Rounding out the J J J and Anderson triple – and upsetting a 1-9 favorite – was Whisper What Then. The daughter of Scruffy Hanover-Shirlene Lobell got her first win in seven career starts, winning by two lengths in 2:01.3. 

Favored Sweetypea was second and Silvery Belle, a 40-1 shot, third. 

The top nine from the fillies will go right to the Dec. 11 final but the boys will need another set of elims this Friday. 

DUKE CAPTURES OPEN: Duke Is Duke was king in the open event last Friday at the Downs. 

The seven-year-old son of Jennas Beach Boy made it two wins in a row as he beat a strong field of nine. (The event was also missing such stalwarts as Armbro Bach and Seven Seas Cruiser). 

Duke Is Duke, owned by Joe Lin of Edmonton and trained and driven by Serge Masse, won by ¾ of a length in 1:55.3 on a track only rated as good. It was his seventh win of the year and pushed his earnings for 2005 to more than $50,000. 

Lil Dude Starrbuck, the 1-5 favorite, went to the front from the gate with Duke Is Duke, an 18-1 shot, rushing up from the six-spot on the gate to get the two-hole. It stayed like that until Duke Is Duke started a challenge late on the backstretch. 

Duke Is Duke caught Starrbuck turning for home and held off a challenge from the late-charging Red Star Senator. Armbro Bolton was third. 

The race marked the return of Starrbuck to the local racing scene after a fine stint in Ontario. Owned by Lil Dude Ranch, the son of Threefold, set a lifetime mark of 1:49.3 on the eastern circuit. He tired Friday in his first start in a month and finished fifth. 

Alldressedinvelvet, a three-year-old daughter of Richess Hanover, was impressive Thursday with a lifetime mark win of 1:57.4. Velvet is owned by Crimson Racing Stable, trained by Jane Kelly and was driven by Jim Burke.

I The Undersigned, returned to her winning ways Saturday after having to settle for second the week before. The six-year old daughter of Thatll Be Me won a fillies and mares $6,000 claimer for trainer Wayne Isbister and driver Gord Abbott. Claimed by owner Robert Murphy on Oct. 14, she now has eight wins and a second in her last 10 starts. 

Murphy’s Red Star Turbulent captured his third win in a row, taking a $6,500 claimer for trainer Bob Meschback and driver Jim Burke. 

MARINO WEEK’S BEST: Jim Marino led all drivers last weekend with a six pack although it did not make a huge bite into the lead of top driver Serge Masse. 

Marino’s six victories gave him 26 for the meet but Masse was able to collar five wins, pushing his leading total to 31. 

Bill Davis and Jim Burke also had five wins apiece as the Downs’ top drivers had good weekends. Davis is tied with Marino while Burke, who had a slow start, now has 18. Tim Brown and Dave Hudon each picked up three triumphs and now have 21 and 19 respectively. Scott Knight had two wins. 

With Stakes events large on the cards, Alan Anderson continued his strong showing among the trainers. Anderson had five wins, all in the Sales Stakes eliminations. 

Masse still leads the meet – at 28 -- after getting four wins last weekend while Wayne Isbister had three. Davis, John Currie and Bob Merschback each had two. 

CALLING ALL HANDICAPPERS: Fraser Downs will have a new one-day handicapping contest this meet. Entrants will handicap races from several harness tracks on Feb. 3 and the winner and runner-up will represent the Downs at the National Harness Handicapping Contest at the Meadowlands in New Jersey in April. More details are to come. 

The contest will replace the Downs’ Harness Pool, which has been held the past few years.

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