Rich Cam answers question

 Rich Cam remained perfect and answered another question.

That question was, Can he win after a long layoff? and the answer came Friday night in one of the elimination legs for the Sandown Plate at Fraser Downs.

Rick Cam, owned by Sunbury Stables of Aldergrove, made it one for one in 2003 and six for six lifetime by winning his leg. The son of Camluck out of Rich Jan paced the mile in a sizzling lifetime best of 1:56 despite not racing since Nov. 9.

Rich Cam has also won three qualifying races in his short racing career, has led every race he has been in at the three-quarter mark and has won the races by an average of more than 12 lengths.

Driven and trained by Dave Jungquist, Rich Cam, an overpowering 1-9 favourite, went gate-to-wire in beating a small field of five in the event for three-year-old colts and geldings. He won by 7 1/2 lengths over Showtime Eddy with Yeah Norton, B.C. Stallion Stakes winner in January and second choice at 5-1, third.

The victory means that that Rich Cam will lead the way into Saturday's final which goes for a $30,700 purse.

Red Star Emerson, owned by Robert Murphy of White Rock and trained and driven by Bill Davis, won the other leg, also a field of five, and extended his 2003 record to four wins in four starts.

Emerson, by Armbro Emerson out of Blazing Sevens, covered the mile in a new lifetime mark of 1:57 in winning by 1 3/4 lengths over Stepbackandreload.

Emerson, an even-money second choice, rushed off the gate from the four-hole but gave up the quarter lead to Dale Reo. Red Star Emerson swept right back into the lead and was never caught, although 4-5 favourite Stepbackandreload, was first up and gave chase. The latter had a five-race winning streak heading into the race.

Dale Reo, making only his third career start, finished third.

Kootenay Ice, winner of the B.C. Sales Stake in December, was fourth and is joined in the final by Sucha Smooth Deal, the other fourth-place finisher.

Only these eight horses have entered the final and there is little doubt that Rich Cam, a 4-5 morning line favourite, will leave off the gate.

But Emerson, the 4-1 second choice from the four-hole, and Stepbackandreload, driven by Rod Therres and trained by Rick Lancaster, the 5-1 third selection and drawing the rail, will likely also get into the fray early.

Post time for the race is 3:35 p.m.   
LATE UPSET ERASES CHALK: Chalk players wore huge smiles for most of the races last Sunday at the Downs but those who wait for a chance at the unexpected did not go home unhappy -- unless they left early.

The first four races were captured by odds-on favourites, the fifth by a 6-5 favourite and the sixth by the second choice (the odds-on selection was second). The odds-on then returned to the winner's enclosure for the next two races.

Finally, in the ninth, the winning horse returned $28 for a $2 win wager and the chalk was really blown away in the 10th when 42-1 shot Outlaw Jehara raced to victory (in a new life mark of 1:59.2 for the six-year-old mare). The victory was worth $87 -- but the favourite did come second.

Meanwhile, Bre X raced gate-to-wire in a nifty 1:55.4 to capture the winners over last Sunday. It was the second straight triumph for the big son of Dal Reo Hop Sing who usually comes from behind. Without leaving the Downs, Bre X has managed to pocket $38,600 thanks to a 5-4-3 mark in 12 starts.

On Saturday, four-year-old Millbanks P I made it two successive impressive victories, beating $20,000-25,000 claimers and others with a new lifetime mark of 1:56. And, also Saturday, another four-year-old Camlucks Dominator, made it four-for-five in 2003, winning in a new life mark of 1:56.4.
DAVIS NOT RESTING ON LAURELS: Bill Davis may be leaving for Alberta but he is definitely not slowing down before he leaves. He picked up nine driving wins last weekend but is expected to leave for Northlands Park after this weekend.

Thanks to four victories Sunday, Davis was dominant, finishing with nine victories, six ahead of his nearest rivals. Tim Brown, Grant Hollingsworth and Larry Micallef each had three wins. Dave Hudon, Jim Burke and Andy Arsenault had two each. Davis now has 179 wins for the meet (85 days) while Brown has 96.

Davis also led in trainer visits to the winner's enclosure, with five, three up on Wayne Isbister and John Currie.
ONE MORE SUNDAY: Remember Fraser Downs has added a card of Sunday afternoon racing this Sunday, April 13, pushing the meet to 98 days. There will be two two-day weeks (April 18-19 and 25-26) before the Downs goes to one day a week (Friday) on May 2, 9, 30 and June 6, 13 and 20.