Top mares Cruizin & Samantha could hook up in Miss Cloverdale

CRUIZIN VS SAMANTHA?: Maybe and maybe not.

That's the situation when it comes to whether two of B.C.'s top female pacers will be in action in the Miss Cloverdale Classic on March 15.

Last week it was reported that Fast Lane Cruizin, B.C.'s fastest mare ever, might compete in the Stakes race for any-aged mares.

After another impressive victory by Samantha Square in last Friday's Miss Valentine, Rick White, Samantha's trainer did not commit to the Cloverdale.

"She's eligible for the Cloverdale," White said, "but we don't know if she will be here. We might send her to Alberta or Ontario. We're not sure what to do."

White's comments came after Samantha, the four-year-old daughter of Albert Albert out of Gracie Square, made it eight wins in a row in the Miss Valentine.

Starting outside in the field of five, Samantha had to battle a challenge off the gate from Red Star Flower. White stayed outside and got the lead just before the quarter which was covered in a quick time of 27.4. She was never headed after that, covering the last quarter in 28.4 and the mile in 1:57.4.

Flower stayed closest and got second and the fast-closing Taylor Lite, a 40-1 shot, was third.

White admitted he debated about tucking into the 2-hole behind Flower on the first turn.

"She usually races better from a hole," he said, "but I decided not to take any chances."

Samantha Square took home just under $17,000, the winner's share of the $33,900 purse. She now has won more than $232,000 in her career which includes 17 wins and eight seconds in 29 starts.

Meanwhile, it was suggested by Casie Coleman, daughter of trainer/part owner Phil Coleman, that the awesome five-year-old mare Fast Lane Cruizin could compete in the Miss Cloverdale on Friday, March 15.

The Colemans had earlier indicated that Cruizin would not race here again before heading to Ontario for another summer of campaigning on the big circuit. Last year she added to her already impressive resume by beating some tough Ontario competition, clocking a career (B.C.-bred mare) best time of 1:51.3 and finishing as runner-up for older mare in Canada.

"We did not think there was another Stakes for her here," Casie said, "but then I checked and realized that the Cloverdale was open to all mares."

(Cruizin won the Surrey Cup in November, covering the last half in 57.4 and winning by 17 lengths).

Other horses eligible for the Miss Cloverdale are: Cabo Girl, Penny Lace, Millbanks Award, Dal Reo Gem, Red Star Sunshine and Red Star Flower.

DAVIS AGAIN: The weekly battle for driver honours at the Downs was overshadowed by the Western Challenge Weekend. Nine drivers -- including challengers from Alberta and Ontario -- competed in nine of the 24 races last Saturday and Sunday. B.C.'s contingent of Bill Davis, Tim Brown and Jim Burke did quite well but it was Davis who added to his meet leading win total. Davis won seven times while Serge Masse (a member of the Alberta team) had four wins and Burke, Brown and Rick White had three each. Davis had five victories as a trainer while Masse and Dave Hudon had four apiece.

MIXED SALE SET: The mixed sale by the B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society is a go. Although only 25 entries -- including race horses and broodmares in foal -- were received by the entry deadline, the sale will be held at the Agriplex on March 12.

SUPER SUPERFEACTA: For the fifth time this meet, the record for a Superfecta purse was broken at Fraser Downs. On Sunday, thanks to again being joined by California outlets, the purse for the 12th race Sunday was $60,393. Meanwhile, a big triactor return of $18,514.30 in the third race Sunday was not a record. The standing mark is $20,334.90.

MORE GOOD GROOMING: Congratulations to Alex Gibb and Darren Polloway who have been named the latest IGA Market Place Groom of the Week. Alex works for the Bill Davis Stable and Darren works for the Dave McKellar Stable.

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