Sandown stake schedule set

The 2003 stake schedule for Sandown Park at Sidney has been set with the same events offered as was the case last year.
The elimination leg of the Oak Tree for three and four year old colts and geldings will go on Saturday, July 12. The elimination leg of the Arbutus for three-year-old fillies will go the following day. The $15,000 finals for the two events will go on the following weekend, July 19 and 20. The Oak Tree is sponsored by the BCSA, while the Arbutus is co-sponsored by the BCSBS and Standardbred Canada.

The Dogwood eliminations will be staged on the weekend of Aug. 2-3, with the $22,000 finals on the last weekend of the meet, Aug. 9-10. The funding for the Dogwood will come from the Stakes and Program fund, which has replaced the HRIF.
Early stake races have also been set for the Fraser Downs meet which will open on Sept. 5. The Sandown Breeders Stakes will once again kick off the stakes action with the two-year-olds going on Oct. 4 and the three-year-olds on Oct.11. The B.C. Breeders eliminations will start Oct. 25 with the finals on Nov. 8. The Surrey Cup and Claiming Series finals are set for the weekend of Nov. 28, and the Sales Stake showdown will go on the weekend of Dec. 12.

NICE HOLIDAY: Bobby Clark continued to find driving on the Fraser Downs track to his liking. Clark who has joined the Downs fray from idle Alberta picked up five wins last weekend, second to leader Bill Davis who had six. Clark is also second to Davis for the month of January. Dave Hudon and Jim Marino each had three victories last weekend. On the trainer side Davis led with four while Greg Beneen, Wayne Isbister, Erik Neyhart and Hudon had two each.

FEMALE FRENZY: One of the more popular events of the Fraser Downs meet takes place next Sunday (Feb. 9) with Ladies Day.

In addition to major prizes, female guests at the Downs will be treated to free makeovers, surprise sweetheart chocolates, wine tasting, the fireman's dash and much more. Contests available to be entered include ones for two romantic stays at the Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham, a one-night layover at the Ramada Hotel in Surrey, gift baskets from Unique Knacks in Cloverdale and a chance to be Miss Valentine.

Miss Valentine will get to be the guest of the Downs for the Miss Valentine Stakes on Feb. 14. The prize includes free parking, a dinner for four, programs, a ride in the starting car and a souvenir photo of the Miss Valentine Stakes presentation.
GROOMS GET REWARDED: Seven winners shared the wealth after last weekend's Groom's Challenge at Fraser Downs. A total of $1,000 was distributed among grooms of winning horses on the weekend. The winners included Laurie Davis with Red Star Apache from the Bill Davis barn, Stafford Bracey with Mattsolut from the Wayne Isbister barn, Lisa Gabinet with Go Play Outside from the Davis barn, Dave Hudon Jr. with Penny Lace from the Dave Hudon barn, Leah Smith with True To The Game from the Isbister barn, Cathy Bilyk with Red Star Admiral from the Davis barn and Scott Thompson with Tahuya Charlotte from the Erik Neyhart barn.

A tip of the Downs helmet also to Downs GM Chuck Keeling, director of racing Keith Quinlan and BCSA head honcho Tim Larsen for taking part in the highly amusing challenge. The trio took on groom's chores and raced through stall cleaning, horse watering and leg wrapping in three shed rows. Quinlan claimed victory although all got trophies for all the sh** that flew.

In addition to the challenge there was a pancake breakfast and a dinner dance. The Winners Foundation, the BCSA, BCSBS and ORL jointly presented Grooms Appreciation Days at the Downs.

PATRONS BENEFIT: Fraser Downs has announced that the takeout rate at U.S. tracks will go down one per cent on the wagering on exactors. The money (the one per cent) will remain in the pool and be paid out to winning wagers by patrons.

Also, the Downs has announced that the triactor pool tried as an experiment will continue to be added to the last race. That means there will be an exactor, a tri and a superfecta on the last race. A number of requests by Downs patrons has led to the addition of the tri with the hope that it will not majorly hurt the superfecta.