SANDOWN MEET SET TO
All is nearing readiness for the annual
harness racing meet at Sandown Park.
This year the meet at the North Saanich
emporium will be short but sweet with 10 days of racing. The
opening day will be Saturday, July 10 and the big finale is
Aug. 8. On, and between, those days there will be racing
each and every Saturday and Sunday afternoon with a 1:15
first-race post time.
Once again several stakes races will
highlight the race programs. They include the Oak Tree on
July 17, the Arbutus on July 18 and the Dogwood on Aug. 8.
Each is expected to go for a purse of at least $20,000.
Several top names dot the list of those
nominated for the Oak Tree for three-year-old colts and
geldings and for the Arbutus for three-year-old fillies.
The Oak Tree has conditions of
non-winners of three races or $8,000 but many of the 21
nominated will be familiar to B.C. racing fans.
Dillens Dream, a winner for the second
time on the last weekend at the Downs, will likely be
entered along with Sail On Saylor who just won in a new
lifetime mark of 1:56.4. Other winners like Sail The Seven
Seas, Law Of The Yukon, Kamajo Ken, Noteworthy, Meekos
Trucker, Rusty Nail, Phantom, Da Lil Dude, Lil Dudes Keeper,
Billy The Cheetah and Notorious Pick are eligible.
The story is different for the Arbutus
Stake where many of those nominated are already stakes
winners of note. Eighteen have been nominated in the event
which is open to all Canadian-owned or sired fillies.
Leading the way is Da Lil Dudett, the
daughter of Apaches Fame out of South Ferry. She captured
the Delta Pace at the Downs in March after a 2003 in which
she won five races in seven starts, including the $46,355
B.C. Breeders Stake, which helped her in being named B.C.’s
two-year-old filly of the year in 2003.
She most recently (June 18) finished
second in the Northlands Filly Pace in Edmonton, three
lengths behind Just Sassy who won in 1:54.2.
Others who have already won in stakes
company are Celtic Rayne, Red Star Marianne, Sharons Pass
and Miss St Labush. A recent addition to the B.C. scene,
Rustle For It, has been first three times and second once in
four starts in 2004.
The Sandown meet will conclude with the
Dogwood Cup Stakes for both colts and fillies.
The elimination, if needed, for the
colts (non-winners of four races or $12,000 lifetime) will
be on Saturday, July 31 with the final for a purse of
$22,000 a week later. The elim for the fillies (non-winners
of five or $20,000 lifetime) will be Sunday, Aug. 1 with the
final on Aug. 8.
Chuck Keeling, general manager of Sandown, operated by
Orangeville Raceway, reports that most attention this season
at Sandown will be focused off the track.
“I mean, of
course,” Keeling explained, “that we’ll be closely
monitoring the political situation, in that this could be
the last season of racing if we fail to convince North
Saanich Council of the merits of a $2-4 million overhaul of
the facility, which would include the installation of
150-200 slot machines.
proposal that was presented in early May has been deferred
to District staff,” Keeling said. “They are expected to make
their recommendations by July 19. At that point, Council
will decide whether to proceed with our proposal or not.
“Thus, a lot
of work will be directed to issues off the track rather than
ARENDT MAINTAINS CAPPER LEAD:
John Arendt still holds a narrow lead, now after nine weeks
of the Ultimate Capper Contest.
Arendt widened his margin slightly by
picking up $11.70 last week from Fort Erie and raising his
total to $253.10. Debbie Tarabas stayed in second place,
$13.70 behind after pocketing $2.80 last Saturday.
Bob Kosolofski surged into third place
as he led all comers last week with $87.60 and now has a
nine-week total of $198.
Tim Wiesner slipped one spot, and is
now fourth at $195.50. Ron Miscich is fifth at $193.10, Roy
Yip sixth at $190.40 and D.W. Jones seventh at $177.
Eugene Ohara and Mary Blinkhorn were
second and third last Saturday.
Other weekly winners have been Jones,
Wiesner, Tarabas, Brenda Hoffman, Sid Marshall, Fred Lester,
Andy Kevener and Les Raymond.
The winner of the UCC will get a
vacation for two to see the $1 million Pacific Classic at
Del Mar race track in sunny Southern California.
The UCC, which started May 1 and
covered 10 consecutive Saturdays, ends this week.
Contestants pick a horse in three of
the designated six races from the track of the week. A
mythical $2 win/place/show wager is made on each of the
three horses that are selected and at the end of each
contest day, the top three contestants win cash.
The contestant with the highest total
of mythical dollars won over the 10-week period will win the
vacation for two to Del Mar. The vacation includes flight
from Vancouver International Airport, three nights
accommodation, premium seating while at the race track and
$500 spending /transportation money.
Contestants can still go after the
weekly prize by getting an entry ballot in the Finish Line
at Fraser Downs up until post time of the first race of the
featured track (this Saturday is Hollywood Park
GETS HALL: The B.C. Harness Racing Hall of Fame will be
part of the renovated grandstand at the Fraser Downs
Racetrack & Casino.
Standardbred Association, the B.C. Standardbred Breeders
Society and Orangeville Raceway Ltd have agreed to pursue
the project, which will be built in the new atrium entrance
many pictures and artifacts had been displayed in the
Legends Lounge, which has disappeared as the new casino for
slot machines is under construction.
location should provide a high profile for the hall as the
atrium will serve as the main entrance to both the racing
and slot areas. It is hoped that work on the atrium entrance
area will be completed by April, 2005.
Committee is being established to get the project off the
ground. The two main tasks of the committee will be to
establish the hall of fame as a not-for-profit society and
to provide guidance to the design of the physical space in
the Downs facility.
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