Nazko Promise to stand at stud

Nazko Promise, winner of the B.C. Breeders, the Prairie Gold Stake, Mr. Vancouver, the Rocky Mountain Stake, the Langley Pace and the Oak Tree, has been retired from racing to become a stallion.

He is standing at D & R Veterinary Services in Wetaskiwin, Alta. for a fee of $1,250.

The As Promised-Bawita-Safe N Rich stallion was horse of the year in B.C. and Alberta in 2002. The six-year-old pacer registered a lifetime mark of 1:52 at four and banked $352,531 in lifetime purse earnings.

Nazko Promise last raced in November 2003. "If we were to continue racing him, I think we would have raced him downhill," said owner Ken Johnson of Sunbury Stables in Aldergrove.

"I didn’t want to put him in a claimer. I didn’t want to see someone else get him and race him down. He has been very good to us and I figure we owe him this."

D & R Veterinary Services can be reached at 780-352-8483.

IT COULD BE TOO LATE: People intending to attend the annual standardbred awards banquet should have purchased their tickets by now. The BCSA/SBS had to confirm attendance numbers by earlier this week so delaying ticket buying may now mean disappointment. Excuse stories will have to be real good.

The awards banquet honors the best – both equine and human -- in the industry in the year 2003.

To date seven stallions are being offered in the popular stallion service auction. They are Creative Edge, Marlow Hanover, Raleigh Fingers, Straight Path, Strong Clan, Stutzpan and With Held.

The banquet will be held at Northview Golf and Country Club on Feb. 14.

Frank Salive, the silky smooth track announcer at Woodbine and Mohawk in Ontario, will once again be on hand for that weekend.

Salive will share the calling of some of the races with regular Downs’ announcer Rick Uppal and also co-emcee the banquet.

SUPER SUNDAY: Fraser Downs posted some big numbers last Sunday through its various phone wagering services.

In B.C., more than $34,000 was wagered through the Downs’ phone system. As well, slightly less than $25,000 was wagered through the Ontario phone network. Finally, more than $15,000 was wagered through Youbet, an American phone wagering service.

Undoubtedly, the numbers were so high because few tracks raced through the afternoon (most tracks in the U.S. chose to race in the morning to avoid the Super Bowl) and the fact that the new internet wagering service through is tracked as a "phone" wager.

All three numbers were a record. In fact, the total handle on the day of $572,000 was the highest this season outside of the Boxing Day and New Year's Day cards.

HEALTH REPORT: Two members of the Fraser Downs racing family suffered heart attacks last week but at last report were feeling better and resting in hospital.

Starter Ron Sigurdson, the man in charge in the starting car, had his attack at home on Wednesday, Jan. 28 and is now in Langley Memorial hospital.

Long-time trainer Jim Todd first felt a problem in the barn area at the track last Friday and suffered an attack while in ambulance enroute to hospital. He is at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham.

Both are expected to miss some time and action. All those at the Downs wish them a speedy and complete recovery.

COLA RETURNS: Haras Colta Cola was back in the winner’s enclosure last Saturday with a triumph in the Invite.

The week before he had to settle for second but this time got some revenge as he won by a half length over Infinite Dreams.

It was Infinite Dreams that had ended Cola’s two-week stint as the Invite king.

This time, with trainer Paul Harrison in the bike, Haras Colta Cola battled Red Star Admiral early but got the lead just after the quarter and never looked back.

Owned by the Off Track Stable of Aldergrove, Colta Cola covered the mile in 1:55.4 on the rack rated good. The five-year-old gelded son of Armbro Operative already has won $12,500 in 2004 and more than $122,000 lifetime.

Bre X, a regular challenger, was not in the field of six but a newcomer to the ranks. Lennix Lewes grabbed third.

Red Star Justice, who dropped from the Invite to the non-winners of $7,000/$20,000 claimer battle, held off a fast-closing Spider M to get back in the win column.

Seely Bert made in five wins in a row by capturing the top race for mares on the weekend. She covered the mile in 1:57.1, a new lifetime mark.

MARINO TOP DRIVER: Leading driver/trainer Bill Davis was away last weekend and as might be expected the battle for topping the driver/trainer stats was hotly contested.

Jim Marino, led by a hat-trick on Saturday, had five victories to lead the way among the drivers. Scott Knight and Jim Burke were next with four apiece. Knight got all four Friday, before being blanked.  Dave Hudon, Brad Watt and Gord Abbott each had three wins.

On the trainer side, it was even more of a shared experience. Hudon led the way with three while Knight, Sten Ericsson, Ken Dorman, Rick White and Randy Webster tied for second at two. There was a 29-way deadlock next.

Davis was in Toronto last weekend for the national annual O’Brien awards where he captured the horsemanship award.

RICH CAM TO RACE: Rich Cam, a dominant force as a Stakes winner at the Downs as a two-year-old, qualified, and in fine fashion, to race again.

Rich Cam, a son of Camluck, finished second on Monday in a qualifier at Mohawk in a good time of 1:58, including a 27.4 second last quarter.

He had twice made breaks in qualifiers after getting his first start in Ontario last month and also making a break. That was his first start since last racing June 7, 2003 in Edmonton.

Rich Cam, who is owned by the Sunbury Stables of Aldergrove, will race Saturday at Woodbine.

EPPEL A DREAMER – FINALIST: Josef Eppel of Surrey is the sixth week’s winner of the California Dreamin handicapping contest at the Downs.

Eppel, with a winner and a correct place bet, won the mythical total of $289 (chalk was obviously the way).

Eppel tied with D. Schermerhorn of Langley but won a tie-breaking decision (based on their third selection) to get first. Harriet Vinnell of Surrey was third with $284.

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

Eppel joins Don Thompson, Kara Cromwell, Ken Compton, Ron Smith and Lorrie McKay as six 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.

KUSCH PUSH: After a weekend where points were hard to come by, John Kusch has moved into sole possession of first place after the fifth week of the $10,000 KENO Harness Pool.

Kusch, who was tied after week four, picked up four points, good enough to give him a one-point lead over Puggy Singh, who totaled seven points for the three days.

Ryan McDougall and last week’s other leader Nobby Mori are next with 38 points while Mary Blinkhorn, Debbie Chomyn, Brian Heard, Bonnie Matsalla and Bob Spiers all have 37.

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 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.

SALE LIST GROWS: The B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society Mixed Sale list has reached 21 and may still grow. The sale will include three imported broodmares up for bids at the Feb.17 event in the Agriplex. It gets under way at 6:30 p.m.

Brought in from the recent 2004 Garden State Super Sale in Hanover, Pa. are Blue Collar Girl, a nine-year old by Goalie Jeff and in foal to Arturo; Roxette Hanover, a 13-year-old by Kentucky Spur and in foal to Dragon Again and Eicarls El Grande, a 13-year-old by Direct Scooter and in foal to Island Fantasy.

SIZZLE FIZZLE: Smoke N Sizzle, owned by Jim Vinnell of Langley, after contending early, struggled and finished far back in the final of the $90,000 Clyde Hirt Series last Saturday at the Meadowlands.

Sizzle, timed in 1:55.3, had qualified for the final by winning a heat in the first round Jan. 8.

Sizzle’s entry mate Iron Legend captured the final, his third win in four starts this year. 

The four-year-old son of Life Sign drew off to a 2¼-length victory over Worlds Apart in a time of 1:52.2. Liberal Arts was third.

Mark Silva, who trains Smoke N Sizzle, and shares training and caretaking duties with his wife, Tammy, purchased the pacer with Mathias Meinzinger of Central Islip, N.Y.

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week we tried Austin Carr and even though he was not a big long-shot at 7-1 he only finished fourth. This time we will try Red Star Majesty, a 10-1 morning line choice, in the seventh race Friday.