Trainer/driver Dave Hudon may not have
achieved his Dogwood Cup double at Sandown Park last weekend
(on Aug. 7-8) but he did get a race to remember.
Favored Meekos Trucker just missed the
board in the colts and geldings division on the Saturday but
Keystone Romola, also a favorite, came up with a stunning
performance the next day to win the stake for fillies and
Romola, a daughter of Western Hanover
bred in Pennsylvania, owned by Bill Boden and Gerry Hudon
and trained and driven by Dave, set a lifetime mark of
1:55.2 in winning the $22,100 final.
But it’s how she won that tells a
Starting from the six-hole (on the
seven-hole gate) she gunned away, hoping for a hole, which
never came. She raced on the outside, third by three at the
quarter and second by one at the half, before clearing into
the lead late on the backstretch.
With quick fractions of 27.4 and 56.3 –
and Red Star Finalee getting a garden-spot trip, things did
not look good.
But you probably would have guessed.
She went on from third-quarter lead of two to win by 3½
lengths over Finalee with Red Star Cowgirl third, 11½
“She raced great, she’s a real nice
horse,” said Hudon, still beaming a couple of hours later.
It was Dave’s intuitiveness and
inquisitiveness that led to Romola even being in the
Let nice-guy owner Boden tell the
“I bought her at the mixed sale at the
Meadowlands in January with the intention of racing her in
the Spring Series stake in Edmonton,” an also-beaming Boden
explained. “But she had raced in Canada and the U.S. and I
had forgotten to make the currency conversions. She had made
just too much to be eligible for the series.”
“When Dave, Gerry (Dave’s brother and
Boden’s trainer in Alberta) and I were talking near the end
of the Edmonton meet,” Boden said, “Dave asked if we had any
non-winners of five (therefore Dogwood eligible) and (after
some thinking) we realized she (Romola) fit with only four
“It shows the value of teamwork,” Dave
added later as he also admitted that Romola would now be
headed back to Alberta.
“She was so skinny when we first got
her,” Boden said. “But we fattened her up. She is well bred,
a sister to Keystone Raider, and she has so much heart. She
raced against good horses in Ontario and today she just dug
Trucker, part of a 6-5 favored Hudon
entry, also had the six hole and also was outside early.
Unfortunately for him a 57.3 half proved too much in the
With Theonethatgotaway, Sail On Saylor
and Prince of Hearts in the half dual, Trucker did not get
to the rail until after the quarter and that was in fourth.
He moved to second by the three-quarter mark and was there
at the head of the stretch.
But Sail The Sevenseas and Yankee
Money, seventh and sixth respectively at three quarters,
closed strongly to grab the top shares of the $22,200 purse.
Red Star Golfer was third.
A 9-1 shot, Sail The Sevenseas, owned
by John Heras and trained and driven by Tim Brown, covered
the mile in a lifetime mark of 1:58 in winning by a neck. It
was only the third lifetime win for the three-year-old son
of Scruffy Hanover.
“He raced really well,” said Brown
right after the race. “He has been getting a little better
every race. Last week (third place fourth) was not his
fault. He doesn’t like to be hit and I hit him and surprised
him. He is real green but he is showing signs of
“We made a couple of equipment changes
and they seemed to help and the half in 57 didn’t hurt
Brown said Sail The Sevenseas, a
brother to Red Star Whistler, would get a couple of weeks
off before getting ready for the start of the Fraser Downs
meet on Sept. 17.
Brown also admitted with a smile, “We
should have a good entry” as he also has another stake
winner Seven Seas Cruiser returning to action.
HUDON DOMINATES: The Hudonator
dominated the driver and trainer ledgers at Sandown’s short
but sweet summer meet.
Dave Hudon led the way on the final
weekend, winning three times, to run his total to 13 for the
meet. Scott Knight and Rod Therres tied for second at the
meet with 10 victories apiece while Tim Brown had nine and
Jim Marino eight. Knight, Therres, Brown and Marino each had
two triumphs on the final weekend.
Hudon also was the top trainer on the
final weekend with three visits to the winner’s enclosure,
leading to his meet top total of 10, two ahead of Knight who
had two wins to close the meet. Rick White and Bob
Merschback finished with six victories.
Driver/trainer Brad Watt has gone to
Alberta during the break, vowing to return no later than
when the stake race program starts in October.
NOT SO BLUE: Blue Valentine
likes Vancouver Island and Sandown Park in particular.
After starting 13 times in 2004 with
only one win the eight-year-old Signed N Sealed mare made
the trip to the Island. Her first start there was
inauspicious but since she rolled to four straight wins, the
last on Aug. 8. It was the 25th career win for the mare,
owned by Garden Gate Stables, trained by Chris Phillips and
driven by Jim Wiggins.
Also on the weekend, another regular
streaking to his fourth straight victory at Sandown was
six-year-old M M Scotty. The son of Creva Dickie picked up
his seventh win of 2004 for owners Kim and Richard Knight
and trainer/driver Scott Knight.
Meanwhile, the outside post didn’t help
as Keep Spinning’s streak of making the board ended. The
five-year-old Western Hanover gelding owned by Ming Siu of
Richmond had a six-win, two-seconds record in his last eight
starts in 2004 but last Sunday he finished fifth.
After being shut out in her first 23
starts of 2004, Better Bet Her made it to the winner’s
enclosure Sunday in capturing the Jim Keeling Sr. Memorial
at Sandown. The Safe N Rich five-year-old mare is owned by
Simone Urquhart and trained and driven by Simone’s husband
Whispers, a four-year-old son of
Mattduff, won in his 21st start of 2004, for owner David
Baldwin, trainer Don Tracey and driver Brad Watt.
CHICK PICK: The fifth race at Sandown on Saturday
resulted in an unusual occurrence when no patron had a $2
wager on the exactor combination of Chloe G and Hippie
Chick. There was a $1 wager winner who took home the nifty
and hefty sum of $1,045.75. What were we all thinking? Chloe
was quite likely a hippie chick.