THIS SPIDER HAS BITE

Along came a Spider….. 

Spider M captured a tremendous stretch battle with Bre X to win last Friday’s Invite at Fraser Downs. The five-year-old son of Deamons Bell out of Sabrina Legacy covered the mile in a new lifetime mark of 1:54 to win by a length. 

Bre X had captured the Invite on opening weekend (with Spider third) and was a 2-5 favorite last Friday. Ricardo Hall went to the front early but Spider M, who started from the two-hole as the 4-1 second betting choice, was just a neck back at the 28.1 first quarter. 

Driver Tim Brown slid the Spider to the front where he had a 1½-length lead at the half. Bre X, with Bill Davis in the bike, was fourth at that point – 4½ lengths back – but used a big move on the backstretch to capture the lead on the outside by a neck over Spider M.

The two then waged a furious battle all the way to the wire. 

Spider M, who is owned by Ken Dorman and Janice Wheeler, and trained by Dorman, now has been first or third in his last seven starts and has eight triumphs in 22 starts in 2004. He has pocketed more than $45,000 in earnings in 2004. 

Sucha Smooth Deal was third, another 7¼-lengths back, in the field of eight.

Red Star Justice and Red Star Admiral, both former track record holders, qualified Monday, setting the stage for even more tough battles in the Invite. 

WHITE IS THE COLOR: Opening weekend the color was White; last weekend the color was Brown. 

That’s Brown as in driver/trainer Tim Brown, who dominated the stats as Rick White had done the weekend before. Brown led all drivers with five victories and tied White among all trainers with three visits to the winner’s enclosure in the two days last weekend. 

Bill Davis, Jim Burke and Gord Abbott each had three wins as a driver while Dave McKellar and Terry Kaufman had two apiece. 

On the conditioner side, following Brown and White, were Wayne Isbister and Bob Merschback with two victories each. 

FAST TRACKIN: Downs’ track super Darcy Perdue had the track in top order last weekend and, with some pleasant weather, times were fast and faster. Only one race (the 11th Saturday) of 26 over the two days was slower than two minutes. 

Some of the top clockings among the several new lifetime marks were Rick White’s three-year-old gelding Band On The Run with a 1:54.4 (two seconds faster) in the second race Saturday and Ann Cooper’s three-year-old gelding Madigan with 1:57.3 (2.1 seconds faster) in the seventh race Friday. 

THANKING ALL: Bill Turner, program director for the Winners Foundation of B.C., would like to give a big THANK YOU to Super Soil in Cloverdale and Port Kells Nursery for their generous support of Fraser Downs’ new backstretch Community Garden. 

Super Soil provided and delivered a substantial amount of quality soil for the community garden project completely free of charge.  Port Kells Nursery provided all shrubs at substantial savings as well as all plants for the annual yearling sale. 

Turner would also like to say thanks to Chuck Keeling, general manager of Fraser Downs, for his sincere support of all community development in the backstretch. 

NEW YEAR’S DATE: The construction work has made things a little difficult around the Downs these but it hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of some of the patrons. Sharalyn Hovey, group sales manager, reports that the Clubhouse buffet for Jan.1, 2006 has already sold out. (Construction has necessitated the closing of the buffet area for next Jan. 1).

Historically, it is the first day in the buffet to sell out at the beginning of each season, but to sell out 15 months in advance of the date is pretty amazing. 

GATE ON THE WAY: Fraser Downs has purchased a new to here, and newer than what is here now, starting gate from a dealer in Ohio. 

It is believed the 1993 Cadillac and eight-horse gate was previously used at Freehold or the Meadowlands race tracks. 

The gate is designed for either a straight start (what the Downs has now) or a staggered start where the gate can be aligned to have the outside wing moved ahead. 

The unit is expected to arrive at the Downs in two to three weeks. It has been reconditioned by a 75-year-old man in the eastern U.S. who first designed and built (about 40 years ago) the gate that is used on the majority of tracks in North America.

Downs’ director of racing Keith Quinlan said the Downs would keep two of its present starting vehicles (Lincoln and Crown Victoria) as back-up with a third kept as possible part replacements. 

“It costs more than $100,000 for a new car and gate,” Quinlan said, explaining the need to buy pre-owned and keep replacement parts. 

CISCO KID MAKES MARK: The Cisco Kid, also known as Scott Cisco, rode into town three weeks ago and quickly was in the sulky, competing in the early action at the Downs meet. 

However, it was a busman’s holiday and he is today back in the U.S. of A. 

The young driver/trainer from California has returned to the Eastern States to rejoin the stable of Serge Masse. Cisco and Masse had most recently been competing at Rockingham Park but the season has ended at the New Hampshire track.  

“When I left Serge was thinking of moving on to Colonial Downs after he took a holiday too,” The Kid said last weekend, “but there could be a change of plans and we could go to Freehold.” 

Cisco left Monday by plane to Boston and then on to New Hampshire where Masse has five racehorses and five “babies.” 

Cisco did admit that he is considering the possibility of returning to the Downs later in the meet (an affair of the heart also strongly draws him to the area). 

“I also have to get home (California) soon,” Cisco said. “I haven’t seen my mom and other family for quite awhile. I also would like to compete there although the wagering for the opening day was not very good and who knows how things will be.” 

Cisco also admitted that he had a career highlight this year when he drove Magic Pal, a $20,000US claimer at The Meadowlands. 

Cisco picked up several drives while he was here and got a win with Ken Dorman’s Kaiser Black.

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