Classic weekend lives up to promise

The promise of big things on Breeders Classic Day, when Fraser Downs and the B.C. Breeders Society presented the best young horses in the B.C. Breeders Stakes, was fulfilled.

Leading the way last Saturday was Nazko Promise, the three-year-old colt leased by Gilbert Hillairet of Delta and trained and driven by Dave Jungquist. Promise, a son of As Promised, captured the winner's purse of more than $51,000, pacing to victory over the mile in 1:56.1 over a field of nine.

"This is a race horse!" Jungquist exclaimed with deserved enthusiasm as he referred to his young charge that just gets better and better. Nazko Promise now has seven wins (three seconds and three thirds), three in a row, in 15 starts in 2001 and $119,000 lifetime earnings including about $98,000 in his last six starts.

Having to work his way up from the trailing nine hole, Jungquist said, "It (the race) went like I though and hoped it would." The winning margin was a length and a half.

Now he plans to give Nazko Promise three or four days off, and then start training for the Dec. 1 Sales Stakes first elimination leg -- if one is needed.

Meant To Do That was second Saturday and Sword in the Stone, also trained by Jungquist, was third.

Rick White may not have looked as happy as Jungquist but said with a big smile, "I'm happy" as his powerful three-year-old filly Samantha Square continued to dominate her division. White drives, trains and co-owns Samantha along with John and June Kauffman.

Samantha Square, a daughter of Albert Albert, covered the mile in 1:56.2, won her 10th of the year and boosted her lifetime earnings to more than $183,000. She took the early lead, held off a mid-race challenge and won by two lengths with Dal Reo Jewel second and Penny Lace third.

"She raced good," White told Dan Jukich in a post-race chat, "She's never run a bad race in her life, she's all guts and heart."

Favorites did not rule in the two-year-old division battles.

Papas Reflection, trained and driven by Dave Hudon, owned by Dave's wife Kelly and mother-in-law Myrna Green, overtook early leader Red Star Sal, part of a 1-5 favored entry, to win the fillies' race.

Reflection, a daughter of Scruffy Hanover, set a lifetime mark of 2:00.4 in winning by two lengths over Sal with Dal Reo Damsel third.

"She tries hard, she wants to get it every time," Hudon beamed. "She's quick and handy and I can use her anywhere," meaning she can take the front or come from behind.

Papas Reflection won more than $23,000 for her winner's share and now has three wins, two seconds and a third in six career starts.

The highly-rated and touted stable of Robert Murphy did get to the winner's enclosure when Red Star Gramps won the two-year-old colt and gelding race.

Broadway Time was the 3-5 favorite but, after racing to the front, broke stride while battling side-by-side with Gramps, driven, and trained, by Bill Davis. Gramps won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:58.1 with El Rosal second and Just Invincible third.

"I couldn't hang on to him at the half," Davis said of his horse, adding that he thought Broadway Time, who had covered the opening quarter in 27.3 seconds, was tired.

Gramps now has four wins and two seconds and two thirds in nine starts.

Murphy said he was not disappointed in the results, "maybe a little in Sal" but he had reason to smile too.

His huge four-year-old gelding Red Star Admiral flew home over the last quarter in 27.4 in tying the track record of 1:53.4 most recently tied just one week earlier. The son of Storm Prince was making just his second start at the Downs since returning from Ontario and beat a strong field by nine lengths in the winners over race.

"It's nice when you can take pride in the fact that we bred him too," Murphy said.

To round out a huge day, B.C's monster mare Fast Lane Cruizin won her 11th of 17 2001 starts in beating a field of open fillies and mares in 1:57.2 Cruizin, who competed this summer against top horses in Ontario, was a 1-9 favorite as 12-1 second-choice raced home for second.

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