Careers

RUSTLE FOR IT IS VALENTINE SWEETHEART 

From skittish to Valentine sweetheart. 

That's part of the story of Rustle For It, the four-year-old mare who captured the $34,300 Miss Valentine Pace last Sunday at Fraser Downs. 

Rustle For It, an Ontario-bred daughter of Rustler Hanover out of Ask For It, never won in Ontario as a two-year old and arrived in B.C. in the summer of 2004 after not racing since October of 2003. 

Owner/trainer/driver Richard Craig was the man who brought her to the Downs. The nicely bred filly was a handful, "skittish" and didn't even want to be put in the crossties.

But Craig's patience did the trick. He got her racing, and well, as she won her first start at the Downs on May 15. She won six more times for him in the year, including a race on Dec. 31. 

But Craig's business sense also paid off for him -- and new owner Niele Jiwan. Craig put out the word she was for sale and Jiwan got her for about "$30,000ish." 

Rustle For It has won four straight in 2005 for Jiwan and new trainer Rick White, starting on Jan. 14 and culminating with her impressive win in the Miss Valentine. Those four wins have earned her more than $27,000. 

Rustle For It, in the skilled hands of driver Bill Davis, was a 1-5 post-time favorite from her post four position in the field of eight. She went to the front and led at the quarter in a tough battle with Da Lil Dudett, who had charged up from the outside seven. 

Dudett took the lead right after the quarter and led, with Rustle For It, in hot pursuit, to the head of the stretch. Rustle For It took over heading for home and won by a length in a new lifetime mark of 1:56.3. 

Dudett slipped to fourth while Sharons Pass closed in a hurry (29.4 last quarter) for second with Red Star Cowgirl third. 

White admitted that they were not sure Rustle would be this good. 

"We actually got her with the idea of possibly racing her in a $25,000 mares event in Alberta," White said. "Now we have to decide between that or the Miss Cloverdale in March." 

The "sound, and nice, mare" is also tired and will a week off. 

Jiwan was a happy man as he accepted congratulations. He praised Craig "for his patience and giving me the opportunity to buy her" and White "for his picking out this mare." Jiwan was also thanking White for introducing him to trainer Joe Stutzman in Ontario where his horses have had several wins including one on Saturday. 

DEW FLIES: With elimination legs for the Clash of the Pacific being held for the second straight weekend, no Invite was carded. Once again director of racing Keith Quinlan put an open race for a $9,000 purse on last Sunday's card. 

For the second straight week Nuclear Dew flew to the front off the gate. But unlike on the first try when the Dew set the pace to the head of the stretch only to fall to fourth, this time he was never headed. 

The nine-year-old gelded son of Nuclear Canyon covered the mile in a nifty 1:54.3 in winning by 11/4 lengths over Red Star Emerson. Nuclear Dew was part of a 6-5 favored entry, owned by Dale Bonner of Grande Prairie, Alta, trained by Heather Burke and driven by Jim Burke. 

Nuclear Dew now has two wins, two seconds and a third in six starts in 2005 and more than $14,000 in earnings in 2005. 

Camlucks Dominator was third in the field of nine. 

BIG SHOES FILLS BILL: Carson Jane's four-race win streak in the fillies and mares open at Fraser Downs ended last Saturday. 

The five-year-old daughter of Cambest made a break just before the start of the race and the 3-5 favorite never got back in contention. 

Bigshoestofill, a five-year-old daughter of As Promised, used a big finish to win in 1:59.2 and by a length over the field of seven. 

Heart And Style led from the gate to the head of the stretch but Bigshoestofill, a 6-1 third choice, covered the last quarter in 29 seconds to beat the also-closing-fast Dealmeahos and Princess Jessica while Heart And Style slipped to fourth. 

Bigshoestofill is owned by Robert Murphy, trained by Robert Merschback and was driven by Jim Burke. The win was her first of 2005 and goes along with a second and a third in five starts. She has earnings of $8,000 for the year and more than $141,000 for her career.

MARINO ON FIRE: Most of the drivers at Fraser Downs can't touch Jim Marino these days and neither should you. Hes too hot. 

Marino could only manage a double last Sunday but that followed days of five (Friday) and four wins. His total of 11 was six better than his nearest rival. Marino is second at the meet with 74 wins but leads in 2005 with 36. 

Jim Burke was next best last weekend with five victories while Bill Davis and Larry Micallef each had four. Tim Brown collared three and Gord Abbott and Rod Therres had two apiece. 

Bob Merschback, Ann Cooper and Mike Glover had three visits to the winner's enclosure to lead all trainers. Heather Burke, Marino, Therres and Davis all had two each.  

Driver/trainers Mike Short and John Brandon Campbell each picked up their first driving wins of 2005. Short drove Queen Of Flight, who he also owns, to victory in his first start of the year while Campbell connected with Distant Wind. 

DREAMER TITLE SHARED: Maureen Nott and Frank Neves, both of Surrey, tied for top spot and shared honors and $250 in the seventh week of the California Dreamin Handicapping Contest. 

Nott and Neves each totalled $695 in the three races - entrants handicap races three through eight at Santa Anita Racecourse. 

Ironically there was also a tie for third as Larry Gibson and Bill Moreau had winning bets totaling $599 and a three-way deadlock for fifth as Mel Schindel, Vince Yap and Bud Ketcheson had $566 apiece. Ray Abgrall, already a weekly champ, was next at $516. 

Dreamers are after the top prize of a trip for two to the Santa Anita Derby in April. Each Saturday for eight weeks contestants can win $250 and the day's winner qualifies for the final, set for March 5. Nott and Neves will both head to the final. 

Lance Beveridge, Don Pegura, Doug Robertson, Ray Abgrall and Tom Churchill have won the first five weekly titles. 

KENO DEADLOCK: Kevin Clark and Rob McElhinney are joint leaders of the KENO Harness Pool after six weeks. 

Clark had 13 points and McElhinney 14 to move into the lead with 63 points each. 

Kevin Hoffman made the biggest move among the leaders, totaling 17 points for the week and jumping into third place with 62 points. He shares that spot with last week's leader Rick Jensen. 

Carmen Coombs is next with 61 while Bob Loosemore and Warren Barrows are deadlocked at 59, one ahead of Patrick Jordan and John Gonie. 

More than 350 entrants are after the $10,000 available in prize money. The Pool runs until Feb. 27. 

In the Pool contestants pick a team of six horses, one from each box of six horses. Points are awarded for top three finishes and the top 40 players will receive prizes -- $3,000 for finishing first. 

IN HEAVEN'S GRANDSTAND: Condolences from the Fraser Downs family go out to the Wiggins and Robinson families, which both had family members pass away in recent weeks. 

Doreen Wiggins, 81, the mother of Downs' trainer/driver Jim Wiggins and wife of Ford, a long-time harness racing competitor, died in Langley. 

Irv Robinson, also 81, and a long-time horse owner, died in Langley but was a resident of Burnaby. Robinson, who owned Phantom among his horses, was a construction engineer by trade.

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