Ricardo Hall March IGA horse of month

Several horses grabbed some attention but it was Ricardo Hall who led the way in the MarketPlace IGA horse of the month tabulations for March.

And, little wonder, as the four-year-old gelded son of No Nukes out of the Cambest mare Raetta Hall, started five times and won them all. The last four wins were all in lifetime best times with the last in 1:55.2 while racing in tougher company as the month progressed.

Two of the victories came with double digit margins -- 16 and 11.

Ricardo Hall, bred in Kentucky by Walnut Hall Limited, is owned by Robert Murphy of White Rock and is trained and driven by Bill Davis.

Other horses gaining consideration were Red Star Rockaway, Scruffy Senorita, Red Star Admiral, Red Star True and Red Star Allie.
The presentation to Ricardo Hall's connections will be made by Rob Neufeld, owner/operator of the Cloverdale MarketPlace IGA.
 HE'S GONE!!!!: Bill Davis is off to Alberta but he left on top overall and best last week in the driver and trainer derbies.

He picked up seven driving wins last weekend, good enough to beat runner-up Rick White by a pair. Jim Marino was next with four and Tim Brown had three. Davis finished with 195 wins for the meet while Brown has 99.

Davis also led in trainer visits to the winner's enclosure, with four, one up on White while Dave Hudon, Brent Beelby and Ken Harris had two each. Davis has 138 for the meet and Wayne Isbister 59.

Speaking of drivers and trainers, Davis, Brown and Isbister picked up the Molson awards last Sunday for the meet. The one-two in the driver/trainer standings got gifts courtesy of Molsons and Fraser Downs.

LOSETH WINS EXCITING BATTLE: Everyone knew Chris Loseth could ride but could he drive -- a horse that is. He proved that in a highly-entertaining race last Sunday at the Downs in the annual Hastings Park jockey/trainer challenge event.

Loseth, driving Nordel Triumph, used a strong stretch drive to nip jockey Nicky Wright, driving Pacen Packer, and trainer Henry Miller, driving Advanced Formula.

The fourth, and only other competitor in the short but select field, was trainer Dino Condilenios, handling Kays Barbara. They raced off the gate to take a big lead with Miller, Loseth and Wright in that order.

Loseth was first up on the backstretch while Wright, who was well back early, followed. It had got closer turning for home and very close at the wire with the top three only a half length back. They covered the mile -- in jog bikes -- in 2:14.2.

Condilenios, when asked about losing his big lead, said "It was probably the trainer's fault" and Miller, the defending champ, said "I thought Dino could carry me a bit longer."

Don't forget Hastings starts its season on April 26.
UCC UPDATE: Al Peters of Surrey is the fifth week's winner of the Ultimate Capper Contest.

In the contest, which has $10,000 in prize money up for grabs, Peters led all handicappers with $67.40. He claimed the $500 top money for handicapping at Mohawk. Sidney Firingstone of Vancouver got $250 for finishing second.

Stephen Stelnicki of White Rock was third (following a draw) for $150, John de Graaf of Richmond fourth (loses the draw) for $75 and fifth-place Ron Smith of Langley got $25.
After five weeks Thomas Blinkhorn tops the UCC with $190.20 in earnings, well ahead of second-place Gene Bodor at $168.30. The next spots go to D.W. Jones $151.40, Tosh Kariya $142.60 and Frank Mazzone $131.
The ultimate (best) handicapper -- the person with the most in winnings -- at the end of the 10-week contest will be off to Toronto, with a guest, for the Queen's Plate and North America Cup, June 21-22.

The UCC, in which participants are asked to handicap standardbred and thoroughbred races, goes Saturdays and those interested can enter one day or every day during the contest.

There's $1,000 in weekly cash prizes divided in the following manner: first, $500; second, $250; third, $150; fourth, $75 and fifth, $25.

The tracks remaining in the contest are: Fraser Downs this Saturday; Northlands Park (harness) April 26; Churchill Downs (thoroughbreds) May 3 (Kentucky Derby); Hastings Park (thoroughbreds) May 10 and Hollywood Park (thoroughbreds) May 17.