MORE THAN PLENTY OF
A new Invite winner emerged last
Saturday as Infinite Dreams ended Haras Colta Cola’s
two-week winning streak.
Infinite Dreams, owned by Bill Boden,
trained by Dave Hudon and driven by Jim Martino, was fourth,
five lengths back at the half, but gradually wore them all
down, winning by 1¾ lengths.
Despite racing in the Invite for seven
weeks without a win (although never embarrassed), Infinite
Dreams had shown he might be ready for an Invite triumph by
winning the Mr. Vancouver Stake on Dec. 14.
The five-year-old gelded son of
Artsplace covered the mile in 1:56.3, going the last quarter
in 28.4 seconds. He now has 12 career wins and earnings of
more than $137,000.
Haras Colta Cola, handicapped to the
outside seven post, took the early lead, and beat all the
others. Lo Siento, finished fourth but was placed third
after even-odds favorite Red Star Admiral was put back one
Meanwhile, Princess Jessica N made it
three straight in the fillies and mares open, winning last
Friday over a field of five.
Jessica, owned by Garden Gate Stable
and trained and driven by Jim Wiggins, won by 2 ¼ lengths in
a time of 1:55.4. Using her familiar stalking style, she
covered the last quarter in 28.3 seconds to overtake early
leader Arturos Choice. Dealmeahos was third. The
eight-year-old daughter of Camtastic has 18 career
MARINO CHASES DAVIS: Leading
driver Bill Davis topped the driver/trainer stats again last
weekend but he had a couple of the young drivers nipping at
Davis drove to six victories, one
better than Jim Marino and two up on Scott Knight. Gord
Abbott, Larry Micallef and Dave Hudon each had three wins.
On the trainer side, Davis made five
trips to the winner’s enclosure while Knight and Marino had
three apiece and Dave Hudon had two.
Davis now has 146 triumphs as a driver
and 92 as a trainer to lead by big margins in each
Davis is in Toronto this weekend for
the annual O’Brien awards where he is one of two finalists
for the new horsemanship award.
SMOOTH DELIVERY: Frank Salive,
the silky smooth track announcer at Woodbine and Mohawk in
Ontario, will once again be on hand for the weekend of the
annual B.C. harness racing awards banquet (Feb. 14).
Salive will share the calling of some
of the races with regular Downs’ announcer Rick Uppal and
also co-emcee the banquet.
Standardbred Association and the B.C. Standardbred Breeders
Society banquet will be held at
Northview Golf Course on 168th Street. Tickets,
which are again $40, are on sale at the BCSA and BCSBS
In addition to fine dining and
fancy footwork, there will again be a live stallion auction.
TOUGH GOING: For the second
straight week a pair of B.C. breds had a rough time while
racing in the East.
Rich Cam, a dominant force as a Stakes
winner at the Downs as a two-year-old, made a break while
trying to qualify at Woodbine. A week earlier, in his first
start since June 7 at Edmonton, he also made breaks and
He is owned by the Sunbury Stables of
Red Star Minckler, who is the
fastest-ever B.C. bred with a 1:49.2 clocking, moved from
the Meadowlands to Woodbine and was eighth in a
$40,000-48,000 claimer. Minckler is an eight-year-old bred
by Dal Reo Farms of Pitt Meadows and previously owned by
Robert Murphy of White Rock.
WAGERING ONLINE: Today, horse
racing – and wagering – fans have to be aware of the
ever-changing world of simulcasting.
Members of the HorsePlayer Interactive
wagering at Fraser Downs are now able to bet on-line. If not
already hooked up with an account, check at the Welcome
Centre to get all the details.
Woodbine Entertainment Group, which
offers the HPI wagering at the Downs, became the first to
offer legal Internet gambling in Canada two weeks ago when
it launched HPIBET.com as a result of regulatory changes
made by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency last year allowing
Internet wagers on horse racing.
WEG hopes to process $15-million worth
of online bets through its system this year. It reportedly
takes in $1.5 billion in wagers annually and has annual
sales of $390 million.
David Willmot, WEG chairman and CEO,
said in a National Post report that he expects his company
will eventually handle all Internet-based horse racing
wagers in Canada, since many tracks in this country already
contract telephone account wagers to WEG.
Meanwhile, the Downs is now offered on
several phone and online wagering systems based out of the
United States. Youbet, Xpressbet, The Racing Channel,
America Tab, Winticket.com, BrisBet.com, BetHarness.com,
MyRaceBet.com, tBet.com, TsnBet.com, WatchandWager.com,
WinattheWire.com, and HipodromoEnLinea.com offer wagering on
racing from the Downs. (However, none of the sites accept
account sign-ups by Canadian residents).
THOMPSON IN FINAL: Don Thompson
of New Westminster is the fifth week’s winner of the
California Dreamin handicapping contest at the Downs.
Thompson, with two winners from Santa
Anita, won the mythical total of $916 to take the weekly
title. One of those wins was worth $744 and four other
participants – David Debreuil of Langley, Bryce Metcalf of
Ferndale, Wash., Ronnie Goodey of Langley and Danny Welsh of
Vancouver -- also had it to finish tied for second. Larry
Gibson of New West was next at $526.
(One of the races from Santa Anita, the
fourth, had the winner pay $46.90 and the second-place horse
The champ of the CDHC gets to go – with
a guest -- to the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, courtesy of
Thompson joins Kara Cromwell, Ken
Compton, Ron Smith and Lorrie McKay as five of the 10
finalists who will battle head-to-head in the CDHC on
Saturday, March 6 in the Homestretch Party Zone.
In the CDHC, which runs weekly until
Feb. 28, contestants are asked to handicap a series of races
from Santa Anita. The contest is based on six races, three
through eight, and on which entrants will handicap three.
For each of the three horses chosen, a mythical $20 win,
place, show bet is placed. At the end of each contest day,
scores will be tallied and the entrant with the highest
total will receive the weekly $250 prize – and be crowned a
Entry ballots are available at the
Welcome Centre the morning of each contest day. They must be
returned before the scheduled post of the second race at
KUSCH, MORI LEAD POOL: John
Kusch and Nobby Mori share the lead after the fourth week of
the $10,000 KENO Harness Pool.
Kusch and Mori each picked up 19 points
for the weekend to run their total to 37, one ahead of Bob
Spiers who had 17 for the week.
Lawrence Olynick, who had shared the
lead after week three, sits alone in fourth with 35 points.
Larry Gibson and Floyd Whiteman are next with 34 points
apiece and at 33 are Brian Heard, Irene Johnson, Elaina
Richard and Puggy Singh.
Just like a sports pool, the Harness
Pool has contestants pick a stable of horses and each
contestant earns points based on their performance (five for
win, three for place and one for show).
The contest is divided into two halves,
each half six weeks in length. In between each half there
will be a two-week break in which contestants will be asked
to pick a new stable from a new set of horses. At the end of
each half, the top three contestants will win prize money.
Contestants do not have to play both halves of the contest.
The first half will run until Feb. 9
and the second half begins on Feb. 28 and concludes on April
4. During each half, contestants are permitted one trade.
The second half trading forms will be available on March 12
and the second half deadline is on March 19.
At the end of the contest, both halves
will be added and the top 40 players, including ties, will
share in the $10,000 prize pool.
The top 40 players, including ties, at
the end of the contest will receive prizes as follows: first
$2500, second $1,500, third $1000, fourth to 10th $250 and
11th to 40th $75. Prizes will be awarded to the top three
players in the first half and second half as follows: first
$250, second $150 and third $100. Winners of first half
top-three prizes are not eligible for second half top-three
After a week’s absence due to cancelled
racing, Mary Blinkhorn and Olynick had moved into a tie for
After week three Blinkhorn and Olynick
each hade 23 points, one ahead of week one leader Rob
Roxburgh. Blinkhorn had 12 points and Olynick 11 in the
Larry Gibson trailed Roxburgh by one
while Floyd Whiteman, Edward Jackson and Mike Wagstaff each
had 20 points. At 19 were Rob McElhinney, Spiers, Richard
and William Lohner.
Smoke N Sizzle, owned by Jim Vinnell of
Langley, was fourth in the last heat of three $18,000
divisions of the Clyde Hirt Series last Thursday night at
the Meadowlands. Sizzle, timed in 1:54, had qualified for
this Saturday’s final by winning a heat in the first round
Worlds Apart got up in the final
strides to win the first heat by a head over the pacesetter,
Cam's Primetime who settled for second. The mile was timed
in 1:53 flat. Worlds Apart, now two for two in Hirt Series
action, also advances to the $90,000 Hirt Series final. The
four-year-old son of Life Sign has finished in the money in
15 of 22 career starts for earnings of $121,702.
In the other two Hirt divisions, the
winners were Visitor Parking by three-quarters of a length
over Odds On Michael in 1:55.3, and It's Not Luck by a neck
over Hustlin Rustler in 1:53.4.
MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week’s
selection Dal Reo Jewel raced evenly but not well enough and
was sixth. This time we will go with Austin Carr, a 12-1
morning line choice, in the third race on Sunday.
- 30 -