Mattsolut, Package Tour lead program

Two veteran, familiar and popular horses at the Downs – Mattsolut and Package Tour – have already been put into Greener Pastures, the new formal horse adoption program announced recently.

Mattsolut is a grey (one of a handful that have always grabbed attention) nine-year-old son of Matts Scooter who last raced on May 2. Package Tour, is a 13-year-old son of Pack Leader, who raced as recently as Sept. 27 but who had not won since early 2002. He has won more than $160,000 in his career.

Mattsolut is being donated by owner Bill Boden and Package Tour by owner Deborra Harris.

Meanwhile, there is a clarification to the story last week on Greener Pastures.

The B.C. Standardbred Horse Adoption Society (its official name) was formed primarily through the efforts of the province’s three harness racing industry partners and Julie McMillan of J & M Acres of Maple Ridge in the desire to see that retired horses are actually placed in good homes and receive adequate feed, shelter and care.

The story said that all horsemen have to do is call and the society will pick up the horse as soon as possible. That is true but it also said they would be given a $1,000 tax receipt. Not yet. When the society gets its charitable status it is expected the horsemen will be given the $1,000 tax receipt.

MICALLEF HOT: Larry Micallef led the way in the Downs’ driver/trainer win performances last weekend.

Micallef had three wins as a driver, all in Stakes races with horses he trains.

He had to share driving honors with Tim Brown, Dave Hudon, Bill Davis and Scott Knight who also had three each. Jim Burke and Rick White had two apiece.

Trailing Micallaf on the conditioner side were White, Wayne Isbister, Knight, Mike Glover and Terry Burstyk.

ANOTHER CHALLENGER LOOMS: Bre X, who has lowered the Fraser Downs track record the last two Fridays, will get this weekend off but that will give him time to recharge for a familiar challenger.

Bre X, a six-year-old gelding by Dal Reo Hop Sing out of Punch Line was much the best last Friday in covering the mile in 1:53.2, 1/5 of a second faster than the mark he set a week ago.

Bre X’s clocking of 1:53.3 on Sept. 26 knocked 1/5 second off the former mark shared by Scruffy Ben, Hot Steam, Red Star Admiral and Nazko Promise.

Bre X, who is trained by Wayne Isbister and owned by Kadence Stables of Coquitlam and Tante Stables of New Westminster, has long been a major contender in the top winners-over class at the Downs, competing against such notables as Red Star Admiral and Nazko Promise.

The latter, owned by Sunbury Stables and now in the hands of trainer Jim Mohorich, has been off for months for R and R, is expected to qualify very soon. He will then be headed to the winners-over battles where he will try his luck on the refurbished racetrack with an eye on reclaiming the track record.

NON-BETTING RACES POSSIBLE: Fraser Downs is considering running some Stakes races as non-betting contests.

With a surplus of horses (between 50 and 60 did not draw into races last weekend) and Stakes races that have, according to Downs general manager Chuck Keeling “a minimal pari-mutuel value,” the move is being considered for eliminations leading to Stakes races in November.

Keeling said the change “would be at Keith’s (race secretary Quinlan) discretion.”

Such races as the two-year-old Stakes events of last Saturday would likely be held as non-betting events before the first pari-mutuel race.

YOU BET!!: There were a couple of juicy returns on $2 wagers Saturday at Fraser Downs.

In the 14th race, Try Your Best did and won for the first time after not hitting the board in 17 career starts (all in 2003). The five-year-old gelded son of Quanah Parker is trained by Tim Jacobson, who this time turned the reins over to Andy Arsenault and got the desired result. Try Your Best paid $125.60. Bruno The Banker, also a son of Quanah Parker, paid $18.40 to show in the same race.

Red Star Areba, a 22-1 shot, captured the fifth race and paid $47.50 to win. Tothelimit, 42-1, was second (paying $33.90 to place) and joined with Diva In Demand and Loris Sweetheart for a $9,264.50 superfecta.

MCARDLE RETIRED: New Jersey’s Perretti Farms has announced that McArdle’s racing career has come to an end.

The owners of the Falcon Seelster son decided to retire their four-year-old pacer, who has career has purse earnings of $2,692,604 and a lifetime mark of 1:49 flat.

He is owned by Gerald Smiley of Cote-Saint-Luc, Que., Norman Smiley of Boca Raton, Fla. and Anthony Perretti and Perretti Racing Stables of Cream Ridge, N.J.

The stud fee for the stallion will be announced at November’s sale in Harrisburg, Penn.

RED DEER HAS TO WAIT: According to a recent press release from Horse Racing Alberta and a report from the Calgary Sun, Westerner Park in Red Deer has halted its plans to build a racetrack and entertainment centre on its grounds.

The decision has been made less than a year after Westerner Park announced the reported $5.2-million development, says the Sun. Apparently costs were escalating too high for the proposed 4,000-seat grandstand, rising to a reported $8.2 million.

According to the Sun, Westerner Park received a 10-year racing licence from Horse Racing Alberta and was hoping to start construction around the existing five-eighths oval next spring.

"Horse Racing Alberta is committed to having a racetrack in this market area and will pursue all options in identifying and developing one," says Dr. David Reid, Chairman of Horse Racing Alberta in the release. "We will have an operating racetrack in Central Alberta."

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week we tried Advanced Formula, who went to the post at 27-1 but finished fifth. This week we will go to the fifth race Friday and take a chance with Motoringwithughie, 12-1 in the morning line.