Scruffy Ben gets nice new job

A veteran equine campaigner at Fraser Downs is headed for retirement -- but not inactivity.

Scruffy Ben, who is one of four co-holders of the Fraser Downs track record, will be headed for stud duty.

The eight-year-son of Scruffy Hanover out of Nonukesisgoodnukes has raced mostly at the Downs, but also in Alberta and California, for owner Ken Norbury of Sidney and trainer Randy Webster.

He won 21 times for career earnings of $331,162, setting a lifetime mark of 1:53 at Northlands Park in Edmonton. From Aug. 17, 1996 to Dec. 14, 1997 he never missed a cheque with 12 wins in that stretch and from January to November of 97 won around $175 to $180,000.

"He's been a great horse," said Webster, "and we just felt it was time for him to stop racing. He broke a pastern bone a while back (last racing in March before racing three times in November). "The ligaments didn't reattach strong enough and he always keeps trying so we (Norbury) talked about what to do. We did not want to have him hurt again and have to be put down. He's too nice a horse."

So they decided he would be retired to stallion service. "We had him tested before and he has a really high sperm count," Webster explained.

"Ken is open to negotiation (as to where Ben stands)."

One strong possibility is Dal Reo Farms where Ben's dad and top stud Scruffy Hanover recently died.
DAVIS TOO HOT TO TOUCH: Don't touch Bill Davis -- the top Fraser Downs driver/trainer is just too red hot.

Proving his 12 driving victories of two weekends ago was no accident (actually who would have thought it was) Davis chalked up another dozen last weekend.

Starting relatively slowly, he had two wins Friday, four Saturday and put icing on the cake by winning six times Sunday. He now has 62 for the meet, 13 ahead of Tim Brown and 14 ahead of Dave Hudon. His universal rating is close to.450 and his win percentage more than 32.

On the trainer side he had eight triumphs to run his leading total to 40, 12 up on Wayne Isbister.

During the Sales Stakes race for two-year-old fillies on Friday, Red Star Finalee and driver Tim Brown went down in a spill. Brown was taken from the track by ambulance and was off the remainder of his drives.

The next morning he said, "I'm a little stiff. I just rattled my noggin a little bit."

He raced later in the day.
CRUIZIN RETURNING TO FORM: Fast Lane Cruizin may be rounding back into top form. The five-year-old known as B.C.'s Monster mare has been struggling of late since trying to return from a long bout with illness and injury.

But last Friday at Woodbine in a fillies and mares non-winners of $15,500 last six starts for a purse of $25,000 she finished a strong second.

Taking a three-hole spot as a blistering first-quarter pace of 25.4 was set, Cruiser fell to fifth at the three-quarter mark but was the best coming home, covering the last quarter in 28 seconds.

Maddies Bunny came from off the pace outside to win in 1:53.4 while favourite Scoots N, who set that early scorching pace, was eighth.

Cruiser, who is owned by Jerry Blanchet of Surrey and Phil Coleman, was driven by Mike Saftic for trainer Coleman.
Ironically, Samantha Square, the other B.C. mare who has made quite an impression on Ontario racing fans, arrived back in B.C. the same day. Trainer/co-owner Rick White said she is "home for a rest."

"She had been sharp a long time and recently tapered off," he said, "she's never really had a break. She's earned one."
Samantha will get 1 1/2 to two months off and come back to the track for two months of training before returning to Ontario.
OUR CONDOLENCES: The Fraser Downs family continues to be shaken by tragedy and sadness as last weekend there were two deaths of family members of Downs horsemen.

Mom Myrna Green and sisters Kelly Hudon and Laurie Davis, horse owners who are well known as the wives of top driver/trainers Dave Hudon and Bill Davis, lost their daughter and sister Deanna following a fall in her family home in Calgary.

Trainer Bill Young and his wife and horse owner Marian, lost their son Bill following a motor vehicle accident in the B.C. interior.
The deepest of feelings and condolences go out to the families from all who are associated with Fraser Downs.