Post position, post position.


Clint Warrington, driver/trainer for Red Star Ginny, explained that was a vital part of Ginny’s impressive win in the $22,000 Dogwood Stake for three-and four-year-old fillies last Sunday at Sandown Park.


There was no doubt it helped. The 7-2 second choice had the rail, which allowed her to sit sweetly in the two hole and have something left for the stretch. But one has the feeling that Ginny also may be getting better with every start.


A week before in a Dogwood elimination she started from the four-hole and went gate to wire to win by 10 lengths in 1:56, a new lifetime mark.


In the final, she covered the mile in a nifty 1:54.3 (the second best clocking of this Sandown meet) and won by two lengths over 1-5 favorite Lucky Jenny. The latter started from the four post and battled Ginny for the early lead, gaining a 1½ length (outside) by the first quarter.


That lead never changed – through fractions of 26.4, 57 and 1:25.2 – until the head of the stretch when Ginny unleashed a big kick to pass Jenny enroute to the wire.


“If she had been in the five or six hole it would have been a lot tougher to stay close to Jenny,” Warrington explained of the fortunate post draw.


He also added “she had been a hard-luck horse in stake races with poor posts and bad trips. But today everything worked out.”


“I wish all horses worked as hard as her,” he also said in praise of the daughter of Pacific Rocket out of A Lot Of Urge. “If you ask her to go she always tries.”


Ginny, who is owned and bred by Robert Murphy, was seventh in the B.C. Breeders two-year-old final, seventh in the Northlands Filly Pace in June and fifth in the Compass Rose but now has her first stakes win.


She has earned more than $30,000 this year with five career wins.


Jimmy Jams Jubilee finished third, three lengths behind Lucky Jenny.


Trainer/driver Dave Hudon just missed with Jenny but he had a big day on Saturday when horses he trains finished one-two in the boys’ division of the Dogwood.


Art D Trumpet and La Ocasey were a 4-5 favored entry from the Hudon barn but it was a mild surprise when Trumpet, played beautifully by driver Tim Brown, who grabbed the winner’s cheque.


Like Ginny, Trumpet had the rail and an early battle for the lead. Tahuya Emory A led by a head on the outside at the quarter but Art D Trumpet hit every note perfectly to the wire.


The four-year-old son of Artiscape out of Jazzabel Hanover, won by three-quarters of a length over Ocasey in a new life mark of 1:55.3.


“Dave had him good,” said Brown who admitted he saw his stablemate coming but who drove hard to the finish. “He (Trumpet) put in hard fractions (27.2, 56.3 and 1:24.4) but had enough in the tank to get it done.”


Ocasey, winner of the Oak Tree a month ago, was sixth at the quarter but had to work hard on the outside to get to second. Red Star Best finished third.


Trumpet, who is owned by Bill Boden and Gerry Hudon (Dave’s brother), now has four wins in 15 starts in 2005. The $11,000 winner’s share pushed his 2005 earnings to more than $30,000 and his career cache to more than $50,000.


“It’s always tough to decide (which to drive) but Ocasey is probably tougher to drive,” said Hudon when asked if it was tough to decide which horse to drive and why he took Ocasey.


Hudon, who has had several Dogwood winners (including Danielles Charm and Keystone Romola) over the last few years, admitted he thought he could catch Trumpet at the head of the lane but then added his horse had battled several tough trips in recent races. 


IDEALLY SPEAKING: Casie Coleman’s American Ideal continues to impress.


With a performance that should stamp him as one of the top three-year-olds in North America, American Ideal overpowered eight other three-year-old pacers to capture the $459,000 Confederation Cup Sunday at Flamboro Downs.


Despite racing just two races after an elimination (which he also won), American Ideal, driven by Mark MacDonald, won in a track record 1:50.3.


American Ideal is owned by Mac Nichol of St. Albert, AB and Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY and is trained by Coleman, who got her start at Fraser Downs. The Western Ideal-Lifetime Success colt now has six career wins and nearly $500,000 in 2005.


Ideal won this time despite a trailing nine-hole. He has battled poor posts while impressing in the Meadowlands Pace and the North America Cup.


And it continues. Coleman and company supplemented American Ideal to Saturday’s Cane Pace at Freehold and he drew an outside post (the six-hole) in an elimination. 


BATTLE HEATS UP: It will be a battle to the wire for top driver honors at the Sandown Park meet.


With but two weeks to go, three drivers -- Jim Marino, Dave Hudon and Bill Davis --shared honors with 20 wins each.

Davis joined the fray last weekend when he rolled to four victories, three coming on Saturday. Marino and Hudon could manage only one win over the two days.


Adding a little spice to the event is Scott Knight who chalked up three wins on Sunday to run his total to 16.

However, the fight will not involve Davis who has traveled to Calgary to compete at Stampede Park.


Tim Brown, Jim Wiggins and Clint Warrington had two wins apiece last weekend.


The race for top trainer is a two-man fight although Hudon holds the upper hand. He had two triumphs last weekend to boost his to total to 17 for the meet. All of Knight’s driving wins came on his own horses so he jumped to second with 14.


Wiggins and Warrington had two wins as a conditioner on the weekend.


Brown has taken over as head trainer for the Lil Dude Ranch stable.


“It’s exciting and a challenge,” Brown said of the role handled by several over the past couple of years. “I’ve hired a good crew and look forward to doing well.”


Brown and company will return to the races for the Fraser Downs meet. 


HORSE TALES: Bill Davis continues to do his magic with Red Star Fiddler. Davis leases, trains and drives Fiddler and last Saturday he drove the 10-year-old son of Scruffy Hanover to his third win in a row.


Fiddler’s latest victory – the 30th of his career – came in a $12,500 claiming event. On April 22 Fiddler raced for $4,000. From that day he has climbed the claiming ranks and won eight times in 11 starts.


M M Scotty, Kim and Scott Knight’s seven-year-old son of Creva Dickie, made it two in succession last Sunday, winning in a new life mark of 1:57.2. The Knight’s Addicted To Chaos, who has done yeoman service as the horse providing rides to patrons after the races on Saturdays, also won Sunday in a new mark of 1:57.3. Knight got a third win with six-year-old $4,000 claimer Sunset Strip, who looked like he might break the track record with a 56 second half. He slowed down a little coming home but still won by 2½ lengths.


Sues Delema, owned by Bill Eastgate and trained and driven by Barry Treen, won her second straight. The five-year-old daughter of Freedoms Pass dropped her mark to 1:55.4.