Sandown Plate Saturday & more barn notes

Form was not followed in the elimination legs of the Sandown Plate for three-year-old colts and geldings last Friday at Fraser Downs.

Red Star Gramps and Red Star Camelot, owned by Robert Murphy and trained and driven by Bill Davis, were the odds-on favorites in each of the five-horse fields in the legs. Each had to settle for second.

Gramps, off at 4-5, was upset by Southside Royal, longest shot in the race at 14-1. Royal, owned by Caron Stables, trained by Archie Caron and driven by John Hudon, is a son of Clairvoyant out of Southside Karen who had not won in 11 starts in 2002.

He roared home with a strong finish to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a new lifetime mark of 1:59.2. Gramps was likely done in by a blazing pace of 27.2 for the first quarter and 57.3 for the half while dueling with Witching Hour (6-5). Furness Abbey, an 11-1 shot, was third.

Camelot, an even-bigger favorite at 3-5, was beaten in the stretch drive by 3-1 shot Brother Brass who came home in 28.4 for a 1:59 mile and a 1 1/4 length margin. Brother Brass, a son of Scruffy Hanover out of Princess Lobell, is owned by the Wild Dunes Stable, trained by Sten Ericsson and driven by Jim Burke. It was the second win of 2002 for Brother Brass who was second to Camelot in the Stallion Stakes in January. Carons Grand Prix was third.

The $30,200 final is set for Saturday with a field of nine. Gramps has drawn the rail and, despite the second in the leg is favored along with Brother Brass, who has the four hole. Camelot won the Stallion Stakes in January with Tim Brown aboard and they will combine again Saturday.

TOP TRIO STILL: Bill Davis, Tim Brown and Wayne Isbister. Despite the meat of the meet nearly finished, that trio is still leading the way in the driver and trainer derbies. Davis was best in both categories last weekend, picking up seven driving victories and five trips to the winner's enclosure as a trainer. Brown was second best driver with four and trainer Isbister had four wins. Davis has 176 and 134 wins respectively as driver and trainer for the meet with Brown at 109 and Isbister 53. John Hudon had two driving wins, one coming with Georgia K, a horse he co-owns with Betty Casselman, on Sunday, his 33rd birthday.

11 GROOMS SHARE PRIZE: Eleven grooms shared the pot in the second annual Grooms Challenge last weekend at the Downs.

The event, sponsored by the B.C. Standardbred Association, Fraser Downs, Clover Square Village and Market Place IGA-Cloverdale, allowed each and every groom to pick one horse in his or her barn to win.

Every groom whose horse won received an equal share in a $1,000 pot put up by the BCSA. The winners were Terri Alcock (T K Domi), Shawn Perely (Extra Innings), Cathy Duquette (Kootenay Thunder),

Duane Manary (Scruffy Seniorita), David Bilyk (Movin), Janine Therres (Bradner Notable), Don Ulmer (Bre X), Kevin Howald (Doctor N), Steve Harkness (Dal Reo Cindy), Mike Arsenault (Dukes Cigar) and Alex Gibb (Glenedens Spirit).

The Market Place IGA held a barbeque in the paddock on Saturday morning, golf shirts were donated by Clover Square Village and a windup party was held Sunday at Rafters Restaurant.

THEY'RE BACK: Henry Miller and Dino Condilenios will be back to defend their honor when the Hastings Jockey/Trainer Challenge goes Sunday at the Downs. Miller and Condilenios finished 1-2 last time in the event which pits two Hastings Park trainers against two jockeys. The victorious trainers this time will face jockeys Felipe Valdez and Mario Velasquez. Former Hastings jockey Dan Brock will return as special starter.

WINNING ON THE ROAD: Two of the Downs' recent gifts to other tracks continued to win races. Rick White's Samantha Square set a life time mark of 1:53.3 in capturing the four-year-old mares open for a purse of $30,000 at Mohawk last Friday. She has two wins and two seconds in slightly more than a month. Dave Jungquist's Nazko Promise paced to victory in the winners open $16,000 event last Saturday at Northlands in Edmonton. Nazko Promise won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:56 for a purse of $22,000.

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