Careers

NEWCOMER TO CHALLENGE IN SURREY CUP

The Surrey Cup has attracted a field of seven to battle Saturday for the winner’s share of the $40,200 purse. 

The event is for B.C. owned, bred or sired four-year-old mares and will include a newcomer. 

Trainer Serge Masse recently attended the annual Harrisburg sale in the eastern U.S. and returned with G Vs Cam Can. The daughter of Cambest out of G Vees Girl was purchased for $39,000 and the connections are hoping she will also compete in the open mares event. She was supplemented to the Surrey Cup for $2,000. 

Got The Giggles, owned by Robert Murphy, had been racing in Alberta and had been earmarked for the Cup. The winner of the Early Bird Stake and Spring Series in Alberta, Giggles was claimed by Murphy from Gordon Bryan on Oct. 14. 

However, the daughter of Grinfromeartoear was scratched from a race in Edmonton last week and did not make the trip to the Downs. 

Murphy will still have Red Star Cowgirl in the field. 

Lucky Jenny and Ivys Wine, from the barn of trainer Dave Hudon, will form an entry. Lucky Jenny was second in the Dogwood at Sandown on the Island and Ivys Wine won the Breeders Stakes in 2004. 

Others contenders are Da Lil Dudett, recently returned from Eastern Canada, Itsallaboutthemoney and late addition First Look, who also has been supplemented for $2,000. 

Eliminations for the Sales Stakes – for two and three-year-olds – will also be held this weekend. The finals are set for Sunday, Dec. 11, two days after the final for the Mr Vancouver for four-year-olds. 

BARRELLING TO TRACK RECORD: Barrel Racing, thanks in part to some pulling by Thisisbliss, set an age-class track record and a new life mark of 1:53.4 (the fourth fastest mile of the year) last Friday. 

Thisisbliss roared from the gate and set blistering fractions of 26.4, 55.1 and 1:23.3 (a tick faster than the three-quarter call when Infinite Dreams set the Downs track record).

Thisisbliss tired and the fast-closing Barrel Racing, owned by Western Pacific Stable and Ian Moyes, roared to his fourth win of 2005. Barrel Racing, who was driven by Dave McKellar, is a son of The Panderosa-Resume Speed. 

His big performance gave him the mark for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. He erased the former mark of 1:54.1 set by Hi Time Ascot on April 2, 2004. 

Ray Gemmill trains the career winner of $32,455, who went 0-for-3 last season but who Friday bumped his 2005 record to 4-9-4 in 27 starts. 

50/50 WILL HAVE TO DO: You win some, you don’t win some – just ask Robert Murphy and Bill Boden, two of the leading horse owners at Fraser Downs. 

The fillies and mares open, and the open, were held Friday and each owner had horses in each race. They each got a victory but thoughts of a sweep were not to be. Boden’s Carson Jane toppled her distaff rivals and Murphy’s Armbro Bach powered away from his male counterparts. 

Carson Jane roared to the front from her three-post on the gate and established fractions of 28.2, 57.2 and 1:26 en route to posting a 1:55.1 decision in the $10,000 fillies and mares open for trainer/driver Dave Hudon. 

The five-year-old daughter of Cambest-Perfect Mistress held on for a narrow half-length score over race favorite Make Some Noise, owned by Murphy. Make Some Noise actually slipped inches past Jane but the winner came back on in the late stretch. Da Lil Dudett rounded out the top three. 

Jane, a 17-time winner, improved her 2005 record to eight-for-16 and boosted her career bankroll to $119,458 with the win. 

Meanwhile, Armbro Bach rallied from off the pace to take the top prize of the night, the $13,000 open. 

The four-year-old gelded son of Village Jiffy-Lindwood Metra pulled away to a four-length triumph in 1:55 over Armbro Bolton with Armbro Blacktie rounding out the “Armbro B’s Triactor.” 

Boden’s Infinite Dreams, the track record holder, held the lead from the gate to just before the third quarter. Bach challenged on the outside and Infinite Dreams went offstride and fell back to finish sixth. 

Bob Merschback trains and Jim Burke drove Bach, the career winner of $208,589 who improved his 2005 record to 11-10-2 in 30 starts. 

HEADLINER AT FIVE: Headliner made it five wins in a row last Thursday. The four-year-old son of Broadway Blue, trained by John Currie, driven by Jim Marino and owned by Verve Racing Stable of Victoria, has moved from $6,500 claiming to $10,000 where his latest win came.  

He started the streak on Oct. 15 and after his win last week now has eight in 2005. He has earnings of more than $36,000. Bred in Ohio he has a lifetime mark of 1:54 set at Woodbine in 2004 and paced his most recent mile in 1:56.4 

I The Undersigned, another horse that has been hot recently, could not win last week but was second in a fillies and mares $8,000 claimer. Claimed by owner Robert Murphy for trainer Wayne Isbister on Oct. 14, she now has seven wins and a second in her last nine starts. 

MASSE DRIVING FORCE: Serge Masse obviously likes to drive. 

Masse leads all drivers for the Downs meet even though he was out of competition the weekend of Nov. 11-13. While sidelined, Masse drove his truck and trailer rig across the continent where he purchased some racehorses at the annual sale in Harrisburg, Pa. 

He drove back for last weekend’s racing and resumed his leading ways on the track with six victories. He now has 26 for the meet with a fine winning percentage of 44 per cent. 

Bill Davis slipped out of a tie for the lead and now has 21 for the meet, one ahead of Jim Marino who had five triumphs last weekend. Jim Burke also had a handful of wins. Scott Knight had four wins and Tim Brown three (moving him to 18 for the meet) while Dave Hudon, Gord Abbott and Rick White had two each. 

Masse also led all trainers with six visits to the winner’s enclosure and is well ahead at the meet with 24. Hudon, who had five wins (and no we won’t say anything about his fine driver selections) and is second with 16. 

Bob Merschback picked up three victories as a conditioner and John Currie, Bill Young and Rick White had two apiece.

THINK SUNDAY: Fraser Downs patrons are reminded that today is the final card for Thursday racing at this meet. 

Starting next weekend (Dec. 2-4) racing will be held Friday (7 p.m. first post) and Saturday and Sunday afternoons (1:15 p.m.). The meet will continue on that schedule until mid April with the exception of the addition of a Boxing Day afternoon card. 

WATCH FOR HALL: The newly formed B.C. Harness Racing Hall of Fame held a raffle last week to raise funds for the creation of the hall. The facility will be located in the new atrium of Fraser Downs, with plaques for inductees installed along the corridor to the Race Book. 

The first installation for the hall will be three glass shelving units along the south wall of the atrium.  

The raffle offered three 35-inch televisions complete with a DVD player donated by TBC and Fraser Downs and raised $750. 

The grand opening of the Hall of Fame will be Saturday, April 22, the same day as the Stallion Stakes Finals. The first inductees will be installed as part of the opening.  

GET READY: Fraser Downs will have a new one-day handicapping contest this meet. Entrants will handicap races from several harness tracks on Feb. 3 and the winner and runner-up will represent the Downs at the National Harness Handicapping Contest at the Meadowlands in New Jersey in April. More details are to come. 

The contest will replace the Downs’ Harness Pool, which has been held the past few years.

ART THE WINNER: Fraser Downs and the Arts Council of Surrey recently held the 11th annual art show at the Downs. 

Seventeen entries, including water colors, sketches, photographs and oils of harness racing subjects, were displayed for several days in the Downs’ atrium and judges selected the top three pieces of art. 

The winner was Doris Biddle of Surrey for her piece entitled Ms Emily. Second place went to Michelle Grant of Calgary with Shower Stall and Paul Stilwell of Surrey was third with Practice Run. 

GLENN TOP HANDICAPPER: The 2005 Autumn Handicapping Classic took place last Sunday and Robert Glenn and Leonard Wong have won the major prizes. 

Glenn of Vancouver finished with a mythical total of $181.50 and Wong of Calgary with $137.50. 

Glenn and Wong will be off to the 2006 World Series of Handicapping at The Orleans in Las Vegas. There they (and Doug Robertson, an earlier contest winner) will battle for a piece of a $1 million pie. 

Going into the last race of the day, Steve Tatarinuk held second place but ended third with a total of $110.80.  Finishing in fourth and fifth places were Henry Noronha ($106.30) and Vinzenz Bauer ($95.00) respectively. 

Twelve wagers – four designated and eight personal – of $2 Win/Place value were made on selected horses at one of the participating contest racetracks. Those racetracks eligible for selection were: Calder, Aqueduct, Woodbine (thoroughbred), Fairgrounds at Louisiana Downs, Churchill, Hollywood, Golden Gate and Hastings. 

RAYNE FORECAST: Fraser Downs’ patrons and players may want to check out the December issue of American Turf Monthly. One of the most prominent magazines on thoroughbred handicapping, ATM contains an article called Wet Track Thoroughbreds written by Downs’ in-house handicapper Jonn Rayne. 

CAL-EXPO RECORD SET: The fastest mile in the history of Cal-Expo Raceway, and California, is in the books and the record belongs to Eaton Road Kill. 

Assigned the outside post position in a field of five in a $10,000 Invitational Handicap pace, Eaton Road Kill was ready to roll for trainer/driver Ed Hensley when the gate opened. 

The seven-year-old son of Cambest marched through panels of :27, :54.3 and 1:22.2 en route to the 1:49.4 clocking -- breaking the all age track record of 1:50 in the process.

It also became fastest mile in the history of California harness racing. 

"I was pretty excited, I'd have to say. I'm very proud of him," said Ed Hensley, who had five winners on the card. 

The 1:49.4 time by Eaton Road Kill was a season's best and his 45th career triumph. (Courtesy of SHA)

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