Machine clicks again

C Lec Machine is running on all cylinders again.

After a tough year that had seen him slip to four seconds and two thirds in 13 starts, Machine has fashioned back-to-back-to-back sharp performances.

Last Friday, Machine made it two straight wins in the open event at Fraser Downs. The six-year-old son of CLechthor out of Alive And Well was content to take the two-hole right after the start but roared to the front as they passed the grandstand for the first time. The 1-2 favorite was never caught from there, winning by 1¼ lengths in 1:54.4.

Three weeks ago, he rallied from seventh at the half to take second to Red Star Admiral in the open with a clocking of 1:54.2. Two weeks ago he went one better, winning and equaling his lifetime best of 1:53.3.

Haras Colta Cola went to the front last week from the outside of the six-horse field and kept closest to Machine. Coyote Hanover was third, 2¾ lengths behind the winner.

Machine, who was driven to victory by Gord Abbott, is bred, owned and trained by Ed Lechner. He now has 14 lifetime wins with earnings of more than $21,000 this year and more than $85,000 lifetime.

ABBOTT LEADS THE WAY: Thanks to a four-bagger last Saturday, Gord Abbott was the top dog among drivers last weekend at the Downs.

In addition to the four wins Saturday, Abbott picked up two victories Friday and his six-pack was two better than the four triumphs of Jim Marino.

Dave McKellar and Jim Burke each had three wins and Barry Treen registered two.
Abbott also shared honors, with Mike Glover, as the leading conditioners, harnessing three horses which made trips to the winner’s enclosure.

Long-time Downs’ driver Tim Brown got his first win quickly in California when he drove Stand Up And Shout to victory for Edgar Clarke last Thursday.

Bill Davis, the perennial top driver at the Downs, was also speedy, getting his first win at Northlands last Friday with the Jim Martin-trained Badlands Buddy.

SCOTT THE SUPER SERVER: The new server Fraser Downs patrons had in the Homestretch last Saturday earned accolades from customers, fellow servers and bosses.

From a slow start (“this is boring”) to trying to remember orders, to working up a sweat, to needing roller blades, to trying to balance, the off-duty marketing and sales manager eventually won the day.

Oh yes, Scott Sinclair apologizes to servers everywhere, but particularly at Fraser Downs.

RICH CAM IS QUICK: Rich Cam continues to perform impressively in Ontario, flying to one of the fastest times ever by a B.C. bred last Saturday at Woodbine. The son of Camluck out of Rich Jan, raced the mile in 1:50.3 in the claiming handicap $50,000 to $58,000 for a purse of $28,000.

Rich Cam was not a factor early as he started from the eight hole on the gate. He was eighth at the quarter and the half (by 9¾ lengths) and still seventh at the three quarter pole.

However, with Rick Zeron in the bike, he was flying by this time on the extreme outside and was fifth at the head of the stretch. He covered the last quarter in 27 seconds to win by 3¼ lengths over Barnee Rubble.

Rich Cam, who is now owned by Francis H Azur, of Coraopolis, PA, paid $13.40 to win.

Rustle For It, who won the Miss Valentine stakes at Fraser Downs in February and registered an impressive win two weeks ago at Woodbine in Ontario, had to settle for a fourth last Friday at Woodbine.

The daughter of Rustler Hanover moved from a fillies and mares event for a purse of $15,000 to one for $23,000 and led most of the way before being caught in the stretch.
Alls Well, a long shot, won in a time of 1:52.3 with Rustle For It, owned by Niele Jiwan, three lengths back.

Meanwhile at Northlands Park, in the winners-over event last Saturday, Armbro Bolton, who had Larry Micallef handling double duties, and Infinite Dreams, driven and trained by Dave Hudon, were fifth and sixth. Dudes Leaving Town won for the second straight week in a time of 1:53.4.

Hudon’s Keldanigmar and Armbro Bach, trained by Ray Gemmill, were second and third respectively in a non-winners $16,000 or conditional $50,000 claiming event on the same card.

Former Downs’ competitor Duke Is Duke, who won the same event the previous week, was installed as a 2-1 favorite, but finished last in the field of eight. Rich Camelot, fresh from a Stallion Stake triumph, was fifth as Token Favorite won in 1:55.1.

Lil Dude Starrbuck , owned by Lil Dude Ranch of Surrey, was a star among the headliners in action at Mohawk qualifiers last Saturday.

Starrbuck, winner of the 2004 Western Canadian Pacing Derby in Edmonton and a winner of Stakes at Fraser Downs, tuned up for a return to the races with the fastest mile of the morning session – a 1:52.1 clocking for trainer Kevin McMaster and driver Luc Ouellette.

The four-year-old son of Threefold had fractions of 26.3, 56.2 and 1:25.1 before roaring home in 27 seconds.

Starrbuck edged Quality Western, a career winner of $636,175, by a quarter of a length.