A feast of stakes

Get out the barbecue sauce, Stakes are the order at Fraser Downs this weekend.

The Sales Stakes for two-year-olds is set for Friday, the Sales Stakes for three-year-olds on Saturday and the Mr. Vancouver, for four-year-old horses and geldings on Sunday.

It means that such star equine competitors as Samantha Square, Lo Siento and Red Star Admiral will top a strong billing.

Samantha Square, a three-year-old daughter of Albert-Albert, is so powerful that only a field of four others is prepared to take her on Saturday. Because two of the others would form an entry, leaving but four betting choices, there will be no parimutuel wagering and the race will be run as a special just prior (about 12:55 p.m.) to Saturday's first race.

Samantha, who is trainer and driven by Rick White, has won three in a row, won the Breeders Stakes in November and has a lifetime mark of 1:55.4. Should she get the winners share of the $32,000-plus purse she would become the highest money-winning three-year-old B.C. bred filly ever (yes, that includes Fast Lane Cruizin). She has already won more than $187,000 lifetime and $150,000 as a three-year old.

Lo Siento, trained by Mike Glover and driven by Tim Brown, will try to rebound from a tough outing in the Breeders Stakes. The son of Pacific Rocket has a 1:55.1 lifetime best clocking for the mile and is a 9-5 morning line favourite. He should get a challenge from two entries. Trainer Bill Davis will have Red Star Navigator, Red Star Festus and Red Star Justice while trainer Dave Jungquist has Swod inthe Stone and Repeterpan. The field is so competitive, however, that the longest shot is Meant To Do That at 5-1.

On Friday in the Stakes for two-year-olds, Dal Reo Damsel for the fillies and Red Star Gramps for the colts, will be the favourites. Damsel, trained and driven by Rod Therres, is a 9-5 narrow choice over Sim City Central at 2-1.

Gramps, trained and driven by Rene Goulet, is at 4-5. The son of Storm Prince, won the Breeders Stakes and has only been out of the top three in one of 10 starts.

Meanwhile, to say Red Star Admiral is glad to be home may be putting it mildly.

The humungous four-year-old gelding owned by Robert Murphy did not even let a broken hobble stop him last Sunday from chalking up his fourth straight win since returning to Fraser Downs. The son of Storm Prince, a 1-9 favourite, won by 3/4 length in 1:56.1 in a qualifying leg for Sunday's Mr. Vancouver Stake.

(Admiral's first start back at the Downs was a second to Hot Steam, who tied the track record in winning. In one of Admiral's win since he also equalled the record.)

Admiral, who will be part of an entry with Raging Promise, is a 6-5 morning line favourite for the $30,000-plus purse Stake final. Raging Promise, also owned by Murphy, won the other qualifying leg by 3 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:56.4.

The main challenge to the Murphy entry should come from Dal Reo Rocket, who was second to Raging Promise, but who has drawn the outside eight post.

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