MORE THAN PLENTY OF DREAMS 

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 for interference. 

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 victories. 

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 his wheels. 

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 category. 

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. 

The B.C. 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 office. 

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 finished 10th. 

He is owned by the Sunbury Stables of Aldergrove. 

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 $43.50). 

The champ of the CDHC gets to go – with a guest -- to the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, courtesy of Fraser Downs. 

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 finalist. 

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 Santa Anita. 

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 prizes. 

After a week’s absence due to cancelled racing, Mary Blinkhorn and Olynick had moved into a tie for first.

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 third week.

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 Jan. 8.  

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.

 

 

 

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