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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
It was only the second race since June,
2003 for the four-year-old owned by Sunbury Stables of
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
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
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
KUSCH FIRST-HALF KING: John
Kusch has captured the first half title of the $10,000 KENO
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
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
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
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
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
Due to scheduling conflicts, the 59th
Jug will be the anchor leg of the Triple Crown, to be raced
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
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
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
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.