Owning for fun, Ocean's Eleven, Harrison hurt & One big day


That seems to be the common thread for some new horse owners at Fraser Downs. And these owners already know that having a horse may be costly and can be a lot of work.

Long time association with the thoroughbred horse game brings the experience but it seems for additional fun they have turned to the standardbred

TrackMarks earlier chronicled the story of Henry Miller, a successful trainer at Hastings Park, who has bought a share of a harness horse and who can be seen frequently -- with a big smile --- at the track.

And now a successful thoroughbred owner has recently joined the ranks of new owners at the Downs.

"It's a chance to have a little fun," said Jerry Billan when asked about his joining with trainer Wayne Isbister and the purchase of eight-year-old gelding Manatoga.

"I actually had a standardbred four or five years ago named Sioux City Central," Billan added. "He had not a bad campaign, I think he won four races."

Billan, who was born and raised in Vancouver, got his first throughbred 26 years ago.

"I have known Wayne a long time," he said of the Downs trainer who was himself a thoroughbred trainer before moving to the Cloverdale arena.

Billan and Isbister have run into a little detour with Manatoga since claiming him on Nov. 16. "He had a little problem," Billan said, "but it is OK now. He should be in next weekend."

Manatoga is a son of Dragons Lair out of Celebrity Twostep and was bred in Pennsylvania. He has 34 wins, a lifetime mark of 1:52 and earnings of $148,552.

Billan, who has raced his horses all over California and in Alberta, has four thoroughbreds that campaigned this past summer at Hastings Park. He also has a horse now at Golden Gate in San Francisco.

Meanwhile he says, "This horse (Manatoga) will give a me a pasttime for the winter. I hope he runs a few good races for us. He knows where the wire is and I think we will have fun with him."

OCEANS ELEVEN: Did you blink? If you did you might have missed Bill Davis' scintilating performance at Fraser Downs last weekend.

Davis hung up huge numbers in both the driver and trainer categories, going to the winner's enclosure 11 times respectively. As a driver he was 4-4-3 and as a trainer was 3-4-4. His total wins now for the meet are 57 as a driver and 46 as a trainer.

Tim Brown had five driving wins on the weekend and now has 58, one more than Davis. Jim Burke had four wins and Dave McKellar, Rod Therres and Glenn White had three each. White also had three victories as a trainer.

HARRISON HURT: Speaking of trainers, an on-track accident on Monday, Dec. 10 has sidelined Paul Harrison for at least a month. Harrison, who does the bulk of his training for Off Track Stable, was working a horse when something spooked it and it suddenly turned sideways into a light standard. The bike and Harrison were much the worse for wear and Harrison was taken to hospital. He did such damage to a vertebrae in his back that even though released from hospital he is not allowed to bend or lift for at least a month.

ONE BIG DAY!: Keith Clark is having an extraordinary year in Alberta and proved that again on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Northlands Park when he won seven races on the card.

The 48-year-old Dewinton, Alta, horseman has now won approximately $1.8 million in purses this season. His win total stands at 219 from 942 drives.

In the course of his career, Clark, who has competed at Fraser Downs including in early 2001, has won 4,404 races and $17.5 million in purses.

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