SMOOTH HORSE OF MONTH 

Sucha Smooth Deal is the MarketPlace IGA horse of the month for February. 

The four-year-old son of Make A Deal out of Clover Baroness, was busy and good, winning four times and finishing third once in the month. Among his victories was the Pat Brennan Memorial Stake, which he won in a new lifetime mark of 1:55.1. It was the third time in the month a win came in a lifetime-best time. 

Sucha Smooth Deal is owned by Walter Vis of Custer, Wash., trained by Walter’s wife Renee and was bred by Renee and Sam Robinson of Richmond. Bob Baxter drove him in all February races. 

Rob Neufeld, owner/operator of the Cloverdale MarketPlace IGA, will make the presentation of a blanket to the winning connections. 

Others in contention for the award were Mt Kilipanjaro, who won all four starts in February, and Hippie Chick, who had three wins and a place in four starts. 

SEVEN IN MISS CLOVERDALE: Once again a less than full field will battle in a Fraser Downs stake race. 

The Miss Cloverdale, for all-aged fillies and mares is set for Friday night, with a field of seven, including two entries. 

The Robert Murphy-owned, Bill Davis-trained duo of five-year-olds, Make Some Noise and Arturos Choice, will be expected to carry the favorite’s mantel. In a prep race last Friday, Make Some Noise, piloted by Davis, came from far back to narrowly win by a nose in a field of seven that was missing only one horse that will race tomorrow. Make Some Noise won in 1:56 while Arturos Choice, who was coming off two impressive wins in 2004, was fifth. 

The other pairing is conditioned by Jim Wiggins. Eight-year-old Princess Jessica N, who won the fillies and mares open twice in January, has struggled a little in her last two starts. Red Star Niecy did not race last Friday but is one of the best four-year-olds.

Yumyum Candy and Dealmeahos, who roared home to finish second and third (by a head) respectively, will be back tonight as will Dal Reo Millee. 

The recent winner of the Miss Valentine, fell to the track and did not finish after choking down (cannot breath). Trainer Helmut Ratz said later she just suffered a little scratch on a knee, and will be OK to go. Driver Tim Brown has booked off the remainder of his drives Friday but was back in action Saturday. 

The purse will be $34,000. 

HUDON RIGHT AGAIN: OK, so Dave Hudon did decide to enter his Invite horses at the same time. His decision was right again as Infinite Dreams took the lead before the half and went on to a two-length win in 1:54.4 last Saturday. 

Maxamillenium was second and Red Star Justice, the other half of Hudon’s entry, was just a quarter length behind in third. 

Hudon had been alternating on entering the pair and they took turns winning on Feb. 7 and 14.

Infinite Dreams, a five-year-old son of Artsplace, now has three wins and a second in six starts in 2004. He was edged, by a neck, by Spider M (who this time was a fast-closing fourth) in the last Invite on Feb. 21. 

Hudon’s entry was a 2-5 favorite and ironically drew the one and two holes. Hudon and Infinite Dreams, who had the rail, watched the early speed battle, which involved Stutzpan, Maxamillenium and Haras Colta Colta, forcing the latter to be parked most of the race before taking control. 

DAVIS MARCHES: Dave Hudon continued to race well, finishing with three driving wins last weekend. Seven drivers – Rick White, Jim Burke, Gord Abbott, Tim Brown, Rod Therres, Daniel St Amand and Brad Watt -- tied with two but that seems low doesn’t it? 

It is, because Bill Davis “Marched” back, claiming most of the victories with 13 for the weekend. He had a half dozen Friday – two when he picked up drives after Tim Brown booked off following a spill – in nine drives. 

Davis also was the best in the trainer battles, making seven visits to the winner’s enclosure. Hudon had three with Ray Gemmill, Chris Adamson, Mike Glover, Andy Arsenault and Carol St Amand getting two each. 

Gemmill has sent four horses, including Dale Reo, to Edmonton with assistant trainer Greg Smith and the Robert Murphy stable has also shipped some including Ricardo Hall.

They join horses trained by Alberta regulars such as Darren Lupul, Doug Stout, Travis Tracey, Bob Baxter and Norm Daniel who have been shipped to Edmonton. 

COPELAND MOVES UP: Michael Copeland has taken the lead after the second week of the second half in the $10,000 KENO Harness Pool at Fraser Downs. 

Copeland moved into lead with 35 points, one more than Dennis Matsalla.

Tied at 32 are Koji Kariya, Allan Lester, Bill McCallum, Paul Tinant and Hiro Yodogawa. Ten are tied at 31 – Walter Dosen, John Dukes, Larry Haynes, Ron Kuthar, Craig Lalonde, Andy McLeod, Tyler McDougall, Daryl Setter, Puggy Singh and Bob Spiers. 

The Harness Pool has contestants pick a stable of horses and each contestant earns points based on their performance (five for win, three for place and one for show). 

The second half concludes on April 4 but during a half, contestants are permitted one trade. The second half trading forms will be available on March 12 and the second half deadline is on March 19.  

At the end of each half, the top three contestants will win prize money. At the end of the contest, both halves will be added and the top 40 players, including ties, will share in the $10,000 prize pool. 

They will receive prizes as follows: first $2,500, second $1,500, third $1000, fourth to 10th $250 and 11th to 40th  $75. Prizes will be awarded to the top three players in each half: first  $250, second $150 and third $100. Winners of first half top-three prizes are not eligible for second half top-three prizes. 

SIZZLE SECOND: Smoke N Sizzle, partly owned by Jim Vinnell of Langley, finished second last week in the final of the Ontario Boys Pacing Series for four-year-olds at Woodbine. The purse was $57,600. 

Sizzle, the favorite at even, was third early, moved to second by the half , but could never get in front. Hustlin Rustler, also a horse with Western Canada owners, won by 2½ lengths in a time of 1:51.2. 

Smoke N Sizzle, a son of Rustler Hanover out of I Sizzle, is trained by Craig Beelby and was driven by Steve Condren. 

CALLING ALL ROYALTY: With the dreamin of California now a thing of the past it’s time for a new conquest. It’s available, it’s the King of the Hill contest. 

It starts March 22. Submit a pick of what horse you think will win on the Woodbine Monday night card. (Entries must be in by 4:30 p.m. Monday). 

If your handicapping is astute and your horse wins you move on to the next week. Lose and you’re gone, out, kaput. The last person handicapping is King of the Hill – and will also be $500 richer tanks to Fraser Downs. 

Enter at the Welcome Centre or on-line at www.fraserdowns.com

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week we selected Rooibos Tea, who went to the post at 80-1, and she was sixth. This time let’s try (but keep it quiet) Whispers, a 10-1 morning line shot in the eighth race Friday.

 
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