New owner Day, claiming series opener, relentless Bill and more

Fast Lane Cruizin's on-track results are well documented. Her off-track powers, while not so well known, probably lean to a strength in public relations and, in one case, recruitment.

In addition to drawing patrons to Fraser Downs she has now helped attract a new owner to the Downs barns.

Ron Day, whose expertise as a grocer means he knows his carrots from his beef, also obviously knows his horse flesh.

Day is the owner/operator of the IGA at the Panorama Ridge shopping centre in Surrey, and conversations -- largely about Cruizin -- with one of his regular customers has rekindled an old love.

Day has been chatting with Phil Coleman, co-owner and trainer of Cruizin. Those chats have led Day to purchase a share of a horse -- Trotters Image -- with Coleman's wife Linda.

"I met Phil and Linda at the store where they are regular customers,"

Day explained. "Over a number of chats and phone calls it was decided that I could and would get a piece of a horse."

Day, a native of Leamington, Ont. is not a newcomer to harness racing. He worked as a groom for Greg Wright at Windsor more than 20 years ago.

"I have a love for horse racing," Day said. "It's a great business and fun for me because I get to be hands-on."

Day, who came to B.C. 20 years ago, has been in the grocery business all his working life but admits "I'll always be close to horses."

Long a fan of Fraser Downs, Day is happy about connecting with the Colemans.

"Phil is a good conditioner," he said, "and he runs a good stable." The good feelings are mutual.

"He sure gets excited when his horse does well," said Phil's daughter Casie of Day. "he's fun to have around."

CLAIMING WINS: The first legs -- with a claiming tag of $8,000 and purse of $5,000 -- in the Claiming Series were held last Saturday.

Winner of the first race was Sw Farms' Red Star Speedy, a 9-1 shot, with Ichibon Honcho second and Ferguson Road third. In the second race, Red Star Abner, off at 7-2 for owner David Stevenson of Victoria, won with Mattsolut second and Red Star Toad third.

Two claims, Speedy by Nigel Holmes from Sw and Ferguson Road by Wally McKay from Mary Jane Wiggins, were made in the first race and three claims, Bob Cant Dance by Fred Barr from Lil Dude Ranch, Pacific Snowman by Garden Gate Stables from Robert Murphy and Abner by Lil Dude from Stevenson were made in the second,

The second legs will be held Saturday with a claiming tag of $10,000 and the final (with no claiming) will be raced Dec. 9 for a purse of about $20,000.

NEVER TOO OLD: There were five lifetime marks set Saturday. The fastest was 1:56.3 by Marian and Bill Young's Justagypsy, a five-year-old gelding by Just Camelot. The oldest was seven-year-old gelding Next Plane Out, who covered the mile in 1:59.0 for owner Robert Galarneau.

Others were Red Star Abner in 1:58.3, Pocket Class N in 1:59.3 and Taylor Lite in 1:59.4.

AND SOME WINNER'S ARE: Robert Murphy's Red Star Leam registered his third straight win, Randy Webster and Ken Norbury's The Equalizer, a former Stakes winner, got his first victory of 2001 (in his eighth start) and Rick White, Jan Dryden and Richard Johannson's Dal Reo Rocket, who raced in the eastern U.S.and Canada through the summer, got his first win of 2001 with a 1:56 clocking.

RELENTLESS BILL: Bill Davis continued his relentless pursuit of Tim Brown in the race for leading wins driver at the Downs. Davis, who missed more than a month at the start of the meet, led the way again last weekend with six victories to give him 40 for the meet. Brown, who was da man early, did well with four wins and now has 48. Jim Burke also had four and is third with 28. Davis widened his lead as top trainer, winning five and running his meet total to 29 nine more than. Wayne Isbister. Malcolm MacDonald got his first training win of the meet.

- 30 -