RED STAR JUSTICE TOPS INVITE 

Red Star Justice may be a good example that horses can build their confidence. 

Since grabbing a share of the track record back on Oct. 24, Justice raced in the Invite at the Downs on eight occasions, winning only once and on a couple of occasions not even grabbing a share of the purse (top five). 

But on Feb. 1 trainer Dave Hudon moved the six-year-old son of Just Camelot down to a non-winners of $7,500 where he regained a winning touch. It proved to be an astute move as Justice made it two in a row last Saturday, winning over a field of six, back in the Invite. 

Owned by Kelly Hudon and driven by Dave Hudon, Justice grabbed the lead while passing the grandstand for the first time and went on a to a two-length win in a time of 1:55.3. Ricardo Hall, after an absence of more than a month, finished second and a fast-closing Spider M was third. 

Haras Colta Cola, the previous week’s winner and the 1-2 favorite, and newcomer Stutzpan battled furiously for the early lead, leaving themselves a little short in the stretch. 

Two impressive lifetime marks were set on the weekend. 

On Sunday, Sucha Smooth Deal, a four-year-old horse, paced the mile in 1:56 in winning his third straight for owner Walter Vis and trainer Renee Vis. On Saturday, Chute Again, a seven-year-old mare, was clocked in 1:56.3 in winning for the third time in her last five. Chute Again, who was claimed three times in January, was racing as an $11,000 claimer for the first time for owner Robert Murphy and trainer Bill Davis. 

PHONES BUSY: Fraser Downs posted some big numbers on Super Bowl Sunday through its various phone wagering services. 

 In B.C., more than $34,000 was wagered through the Downs’ phone system. As well, slightly less than $25,000 was wagered through the Ontario phone network. Finally, more than $15,000 was wagered through Youbet, an American phone wagering service.  

The numbers were so high because of few tracks racing through the afternoon (most tracks in the U.S. chose to race in the morning to avoid the Super Bowl) and the fact that the new internet wagering service through HPIBet.com is tracked as a "phone" wager. 

All three numbers were a record. In fact, the total handle on the day of $572,000 was the highest this season outside of the Boxing Day and New Year's Day cards. 

BANQUET TIME: On with the prizes, the food and the dancing -- the annual standardbred awards banquet is this Saturday. 

The awards banquet, at Northview Golf and Country Club, honors the best – both equine and human -- in the industry in the year 2003. Cocktails will be at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7. 

Seven stallions are being offered in the popular stallion service auction which will take place at the banquet. They are Creative Edge, Marlow Hanover, Raleigh Fingers, Straight Path, Strong Clan, Stutzpan and With Held.  

Frank Salive, track announcer at Woodbine and Mohawk in Ontario, will share the emcee duties with regular Downs’ announcer Rick Uppal. They will also share calling of the races this weekend. 

TODD RETURNS: One is still out and one back of two members of the Fraser Downs racing family who had recent ambulance rides to the hospital. 

Starter Ron Sigurdson, the man in charge in the starting car, had a heart attack at home on Wednesday, Jan. 28 and was taken to Langley Memorial hospital. He has now returned home but is expected to miss some more time and action. 

Later the same week, long-time trainer Jim Todd first felt a problem in the barn area at the track and suffered what was thought to be a heart attack while in ambulance enroute to hospital. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham. 

But Jim’s problem was his lungs and he is now feeling much better. He could not be reached Monday – he was on the track jogging a horse. 

HUDON HOT: Dave Hudon used a pair of hat-tricks to lead the way in the Downs driver derby last weekend.

Hudon drove to seven wins in total, with three each on Saturday and Sunday. Scott Knight and Gord Abbott, picking up steam since his recent arrival from Ontario, were next with four victories each. Seven pilots had two wins apiece. 

Hudon also paved the way on the trainer side, making four trips to the winner’s enclosure. Knight and Wayne Isbister each had three and Boyd Burke two. Malcolm MacDonald got his first win of 2003 with Red Star Apache. 

ISLANDERS HOME: The Smith brothers – trainers Dave and Wendell -- on the Fraser Downs backstretch have been good boys recently as each has returned home to Prince Edward Island to visit with mother Marjorie. 

Dave and Wendell are part of a well-known Canadian harness racing family, which has five of six brothers who hold their trainer/driver licences. They are sons of Cyril who was part of the P.E.I. harness racing scene for 55 years. 

First Dave and then Wendell returned to their birthplace to visit Mom who is 89 and still going strong in Hunter River. 

RICH CAM BETTER: While the result was disappointing there were positives as Rich Cam made his second start at Woodbine last Saturday. 

Plagued by breaks in a previous start, and in qualifiers, Rich Cam, a dominant force as a Stakes winner at the Downs as a two-year-old, finished last (ninth) in the $22,000 purse event. The son of Camluck was not pushed from the gate and was 9½ lengths back at the quarter. But he kept pace after that, finishing 10¾ back, in a race won in a quick time of 1:52.3. He covered the last quarter in 28.3. 

It was only the second race since June, 2003 for the four-year-old owned by Sunbury Stables of Aldergrove. 

DUNN RIGHT: Ken Dunn of Langley is the seventh week’s winner of the California Dreamin handicapping contest at the Downs. 

Dunn used two correct winning wagers to get the mythical total of $778. Dunn actually was tied by Joanne Buchan of Burnaby (who had the same selections) but was declared the week’s champ after winning a tie-breaking decision. 

Ian Barrie of Port Coquitlam was next with $575 while Danny Welch of Vancouver had $546 and Tim Wiesner of Surrey had $540. 

The champ of the CDHC will attend the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, courtesy of Fraser Downs. 

Dunn joins Josef Eppel, Don Thompson, Kara Cromwell, Ken Compton, Ron Smith and Lorrie McKay as seven of the 10 finalists who will battle head-to-head in the CDHC on Saturday, March 6 in the Homestretch Party Zone.  

In the CDHC, which runs weekly until Feb. 28, contestants are asked to handicap a series of races from Santa Anita. The contest is based on six races, three through eight, and on which entrants will handicap three. For each of the three horses chosen, a mythical $20 win, place, show bet is placed. At the end of each contest day, scores will be tallied and the entrant with the highest total will receive the weekly $250 prize – and be crowned a finalist. 

Entry ballots are available at the Welcome Centre the morning of each contest day. They must be returned before the scheduled post of the second race at Santa Anita. 

KUSCH FIRST-HALF KING: John Kusch has captured the first half title of the $10,000 KENO Harness Pool. 

Kusch picked up five points in week six to finish with 46, two more than runner-up Puggy Singh. Nobby Mori, Pamela Percy-Bell, Ryan McDougall and Debbie Chomyn each totaled 44 points to share third place.  

Kusch wins $250 for the title while Singh got $150 and the foursome tied for third shared $100. 

The Harness Pool has contestants pick a stable of horses and each contestant earns points based on their performance (five for win, three for place and one for show). 

The contest is divided into two halves, each half six weeks in length. There will now be a two-week break before contestants pick a new stable from a new set of horses. Contestants do not have to play both halves of the contest.  

The second half begins on Feb. 27 and concludes on April 4. During each half, contestants are permitted one trade.  The second half trading forms will be available on March 12 and the second half deadline is on March 19.  

At the end of the contest, both halves will be added and the top 40 players, including ties, will share in the $10,000 prize pool. 

The top 40 players, including ties, at the end of the contest will receive prizes as follows: first $2500, second $1,500, third $1000, fourth to 10th $250 and 11th to 40th  $75. Prizes will be awarded to the top three players in the first half and second half as follows: first  $250, second $150 and third $100. Winners of first half top-three prizes are not eligible for second half top-three prizes. 

SALE LIST GROWS: The B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society Mixed Sale is set for Tuesday in the Agriplex. It gets under way at 6:30 p.m. 

The list has reached 27, including three imported broodmares brought in from the recent 2004 Garden State Super Sale in Hanover, Pa. They are Blue Collar Girl, a nine-year old by Goalie Jeff and in foal to Arturo; Roxette Hanover, a 13-year-old by Kentucky Spur and in foal to Dragon Again and Eicarls El Grande, a 13-year-old by Direct Scooter and in foal to Island Fantasy. 

JUG TO END CROWN: After years as the middle leg of pacing’s Triple Crown, the Little Brown Jug has been scheduled as the final leg of the series this year. 

Due to scheduling conflicts, the 59th Jug will be the anchor leg of the Triple Crown, to be raced Sept. 23. 

The 2004 Triple Crown schedule is as follows: Aug. 28 -- Cane Eliminations -- Freehold Raceway; Sept. 6 -- Cane Final -- Freehold Raceway; Sept. 14 -- Messenger elims and final -- Harrington Raceway and Sept. 23 -- Little Brown Jug elims and final -- Delaware, Ohio. 

In recent years the Messenger Stakes has been the third leg of the Triple Crown and was raced at The Meadows. But after dropping the race for the upcoming season, Harrington Raceway agreed to host the event. Yonkers Raceway will be the new home for the Messenger beginning in 2005. 

This year’s Triple Crown will have a time window of only 27 days, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 23. In 2003, there were 57 days between the first leg (Aug. 23) and the third leg (Oct. 18). 

NO PAN INTENDED THE BEST: After sweeping the Triple Crown races last summer, pacer No Pan Intended swept through harness racing's year-end awards last Sunday.


No Pan Intended picked up Dan Patch awards for three-year-old male pacer of the year, overall pacer of the year and horse of the year at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Night of Champions at Atlantic City.


Owned by Bob Glazer's Peter Pan Stables and trained by Ivan Sugg, No Pan Intended won 17 of 21 starts and earned $1.46 million last year. In addition to winning pacing's Triple Crown -- the Cane Pace, Little Brown Jug and Messenger Stakes -- he ended his career with a victory in the Breeders Crown. He outdistanced Eternal Camnation, the mare pacer of the year, 159-18, in horse of the year balloting. 

Glazer, Sugg and driver David Miller, who drove No Pan Intended, also won awards in their categories. 

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week we tried Red Star Majesty, an 8-1 choice in the seventh race Friday but she just missed the board at fourth. This week we will try Papas Reflection, a 10-1 morning line choice, in the first race Friday.

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