Starrbuck captures Derby 

Lil Dude Starrbuck continues to like Northlands Park. 

Piloted for the first time by top Woodbine driver Luc Ouellette, Starrbuck cruised to a six-length victory in the $128,960 Western Canada Pacing Derby at Northlands last Sunday. 

The son of Threefold paced a personal best of 1:52.4 for trainer Larry Micallef, who drove Lildudeskickinash in the race. Starrbuck covered the last quarter in 27.4 seconds. 

Lil Dude Starrbuck is owned by Lil Dude Ranch of Surrey. The pacer won his Derby elimination, Silver Bucket elimination and the $71,900 Silver Bucket final on May 22. He has nine wins in 13 starts this season and boasts career earnings of $154,133.  

Dudes Leaving Town, who won his Derby elimination, was forced three wide in the third quarter and the son of As Promised finished third behind runner-up Warrawee Flash. Lildudeskickinash dropped back from second to finish last. 

Trainer/driver Bill Davis, for owner Robert Murphy of White Rock, also had an entry in Red Star Dusty and Red Star Sammy. The latter, with Davis in the bike, was fifth and Dusty, with Bill Tainsh driving, was seventh. 

Meanwhile, Just Sassy further demonstrated her superiority as Western Canada’s top three-year-old pacing filly last Friday night, cruising to her sixth straight win in the $113,430 Northlands Filly final in Edmonton. 

With John Chappell handling the lines, the daughter of Northern Luck applied a different racing strategy. Though usually up near the pace, Chappell elected to send the filly to the back of the pack in the early going and it didn’t seem to bother her. At the three-quarter pole, Just Sassy was seventh, five lengths from the lead, before launching a furious attack around the final turn. In the stretch, she powered away from the field en route to a three-length win over Da Lil Dudett in a sharp 1:54.2. Sonata Hall was third. 

Owned by William Andrew of Calgary, Just Sassy has six wins in seven starts this season. Trained by John Brandon Campbell, she has made more than $130,000 in 2004, boosting her career tally to nearly $190,000. She has lost just a single race in her 11 lifetime outings. 

Da Lil Dudett, owned by the Lil Dude Ranch and trained and driven by Micallef, led to the head of the stretch after covering the half in 55 seconds. Ivys Wine, owned by Bill Boden of Vancouver, was part of the early speed and went on to finish fourth. 

Ouelette, flown out for the day, had four others driving wins (including Lil Dude horses, Jennas Lil Dude and Lildudewithaditude) as Sunday’s Derby marked the end of the Northlands Park’s meet. 

ARENDT MAINTAINS CAPPER LEAD: John Arendt still holds the lead, now after eight weeks of the Ultimate Capper Contest, but he feels some hot breath on his neck. 

D Tarabas used the best week -- $101 – of the contest to jump sharply into second spot, just $4.80 behind Arendt who has $241.40. Tim Wiesner slipped one spot, picking up $4.50 for a total of $195.90. Ron Miscich is fourth at $188.70, Roy Yip fifth at $181 and D.W. Jones sixth at $177. 

Roy Hanson and Brad Hamanishi were second and third last Saturday. 

Other weekly winners have been Jones, Wiesner, 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, runs for 10 consecutive Saturdays until July 3.  

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.  First place will win $250 with second and third place paying $150 and $100 respectively. 

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 from noon on the Friday of the contest week until post time of the first race of the featured track and submit it to either the Finish Line Information Window or the Finish Line HPI Centre. 

The remaining featured tracks are: Saturday - Fort Erie – thoroughbred; July 3 - Hollywood Park – thoroughbred. 

BURKE, JAMES BURKE, TOPS: Jim Burke led all drivers in the last weekend of the Fraser Downs meet. Burke had a hat-trick on Friday and a single Saturday and his total of four led all comers. 

Scott Knight, Dave McKellar and Jim Marino were next with three each while Rick White, Clint Warrington, John Vukelich, Tim Brown and Rod Therres had two apiece. 

Bob Merschback picked up three victories, all on Friday to lead the trainers. Bill Young, Wayne Isbister, White and Knight were next with two each. 

MANTACULAR POSTS MAJOR UPSET: Mantacular shocked harness racing fans as he paced to a stunning upset victory in the 21st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup, Canada’s richest horse race, last Saturday at Woodbine. 

Sent off at odds of 26-1, the three-year-old son of Western Hanover laid off the early speed and was eighth at the quarter, which was put up by Village Hero N in 26.4. At the half, Canadian-owned pacer Rogue Hall had made the lead in 54.2, while Cat Manzi had worked out a third-over trip for Mantacular. 

At the top of the stretch Manzi rolled the colt wide and asked him. Mantacular responded with a ferocious stretch kick to power to the front with an eighth of a mile to go. But it wasn’t over yet. Metropolitan, who was locked in for much of the stretch found room in the final 16th and made one last surge at the wire. Mantacular repelled the challenge to hang on to the win by a nose in 1:51.2. Panspacificflight, who made the lead at the top of the stretch, was third with driver Ouelette. 

"It couldn’t have gone any better," said Manzi. "He couldn’t have run better. It was probably the most exciting thing, other than going into the Hall of Fame, that I've ever experienced in racing."  

The win was Mantacular’s first of the season in a lifetime best 1:51.2. The victory was the first million-dollar purse for owners M and L of Delaware Inc. (Ralph, Rosalind and Doug Paul), trainer Larry Rathbone and Manzi. 

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week, to end the meet, I picked Carwins C E O but the best he could do was fifth.

So, how did the Moonshot, and the public if they bet the selections, do?

We tried two wagers -- $2 win on each choice and $2 across (W-P-S) on each.

Ironically, it was better with the nose bets. There were 33 wagers placed to win, an outlay of $66. Thanks to a win on the first try, which paid $46.60, and backed by three other triumphs, the total winnings on the first-place wagers were $148 (the best was $61.60).

However, on the $2 across, the total wagered was $198 and the total won was $177.70 – a loss of $20.70. What, you ask? In the 33 race picks, there were only two-second and one third-place finishes.

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