Careers

TOP ACHIEVEMENT FOR CASIE

Casie Coleman, who began her career at Fraser Downs, surpassed $1 million in seasonal earnings at Flamboro Downs this month and in the process became the youngest female trainer in Canada ever to hit $1 million in year.  

Coleman, 24, now boasts $1,005,153 in earnings this year, and is just four wins shy of 100 victories.  

The Dundas, Ont., resident attributes her early success to her parents, and her owners and grooms. 

Casie told Trot Insider, "My parents, Linda and Phil, have helped me out a lot. They taught me everything." 

Coleman also expressed gratitude to Merlin Howse and Steve Calhoun. 

 "Merlin gave me a shot two years ago with a small stable, and Steve gave me the high caliber horses and gave me a shot downtown," she said. "All the owners I have are great." 

Coleman says being a successful female in a predominantly male industry has been challenging at times. "It's harder, that's for sure," she said. "A lot of guys try to intimidate you a bit and stuff. I just don't look at myself as being different. And, it's hard to get a chance with the owners being female, and I got really lucky, I was in the right place at the right time. 

As for the future, Coleman plans to keep racing, and hopes to hit $2 million next year racing on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit. 

"I'd love to win the Free for All one day downtown, and try to win some stake races with my two-year-old filly." 

Coleman boasts 190 wins and more than $1.5 million in earnings lifetime.  

A DREAMY RETURN: The track record holder has taken back his crown. 

Infinite Dreams, unable to win his last three starts in the winners-over (Invite) event at the Downs came back with vengeance last Friday. He did it by beating two of the hottest horses on the grounds. 

Haras Colta Cola, who had won the previous three Invites, and three-year-old Stakes king Seven Seas Cruiser who had won his last six, were part of the five-horse field. 

Cola went to the front early from the outside post early with Cruiser, making his first start against the big boys, third and Dreams fourth. Cola still led at the head of the stretch but Infinite Dreams, who was first up, was now second - a half length back - and Cruiser third. 

Dreams and Cruiser passed Cola and staged a great stretch battle with Dreams, winning by a neck in 1:56.4 on a track that was pounded all day by rain. 

Dreams, owned by Bill Boden and trained and driven by Dave Hudon, now has 11 wins and eight seconds in 24 starts in 2004. The son of Artsplace has won more than $90,000 this year. 

NO CALAMITY FOR JANE: Carson Jane was back on the beam last Saturday in the fillies and mares open at the Downs. 

After a tough outing in the Nov. 26 Surrey Cup, the four-year-old daughter of Cambest  paced to victory in 1:55.3. The 3-5 betting favorite won by a length over Da Lil Dudett, a three-year-old, who had won the open the previous week. 

Carson Jane, owned by Bill Boden and trained and driven by Dave Hudon, now has won twice since arriving from the Meadowlands. She has four wins in 25 starts and earnings of nearly $46,000 for 2004. 

Jane went gate-to-wire with Dudett in pursuit most of the way. Heart And Style, a five-year-old and a 17-1 choice, was a fast-closing third. 

SPILL SPECTACULAR BUT ALL OK: A spill marred the 12th and final race on last Friday’s card at Fraser Downs. 

Three drivers and their horses were involved in a chain reaction accident started when a horse near the front made a break. 

Sim City Central, driven by Darren Howald, went down first when they could not avoid the breaking horse just before the quarter pole. Gord Abbott, aboard Pinch Of Nutmeg, then clipped Howald and Sim City Central and was thrown out of the bike. Jim Wiggins and Lo N Jo then hit the pile. 

All the horses were able to get up and leave the track on their own - although Lo N Jo gashed a knee -- as did Howald.

Howald was up quickly and Wiggins was also up, and after checked by the medical crew,  was deemed okay. 

Abbott, got up after hitting the track hard. He went to the outside fence and, surprisingly, climbed over, saying later that he knew there was a loose horse (his). He felt faint and thought he should get off the track. 

After being taken by ambulance to hospital, he was examined and it was determined nothing was broken and he was just badly bruised. He booked off drives for the remainder of the weekend but promised to be back this weekend. 

THE RACE FOR FOOD: The horsemen in the Fraser Downs backstretch are in another race, this time a competition to collect the most food for the Langley Food Bank. 

It will be a battle of the barns with collection boxes for each barn located in the Horsemen's Cafeteria. (To make it fair, barns A and F will be combined.) Not to be left out, those who ship-in for Downs races will also have a "barn box." Backstretch people not connected to any one barn can also contribute either to their favourite barn, or chip in for each barn.  

The competition will end on Dec.31. The barn contributing the most items will win a pizza party but, of course, the big winners in this race will be the people using the Langley Food Bank.  

SEVEN FOR DAVIS: Bill Davis probably would be disappointed with his production last Sunday (one win in 11 starts) but he still led the way on the weekend with seven victories as a driver. 

Davis used three-baggers on Friday and Saturday to set the pace with seven. Jim  Marino and Brad Watt each had a handful and Jim Bhurke and Tim Brown were next with four apiece.

Davis also shared honors as leading trainer as he and Al Anderson each had four wins. Anderson's all came in the Sales Stake. 

Bob Merschback picked up three triumphs while Gary Durbano, Wayne Isbister, Marino, Bill Young , Dave Hudon and Mike Glover had two apiece. 

IT GOES TO SHOW: The good old $2 show bet. It should not be joked about now after a big return last Sunday when 41-1 shot Howaboutrightnow was third in the 12th race and paid $39.20. According to unofficial records the previous largest $2 show return was $23.50. 

PIERCE HONORED: Ron Pierce has been been voted the 2004 Driver of the Year in balloting conducted among the directors of the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

Pierce, 48, who leads all drivers in 2004 with $12.1 million in purse earnings, captured four Breeders Crowns, the World Trotting Derby, the Little Brown Jug, the Cane Pace and the Adios. His greatest victory, however, came not on the racetrack, but in the voting booth. He was also elected by the harness writers into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and will be inducted in July 2005. 

It was a career year by any estimation, but 2004 actually marked the eighth straight season that Pierce's horses won more than $5 million -- including victories in at least one $500,000-plus race in five of the past seven years. 

Pierce currently stands 20th in North America with 381 wins. His .302 driver's rating is the second highest of his career in years with 1,000 or more starts. 

Pierce, along with David Miller and Jeff Gregory, fellow drivers from the Meadowlands and other top tracks in the eastern United States, will be at the Downs on Jan. 16 in a day to meet patrons and to show their talents in races. 

They plan to donate any money raised that day to Greener Pastures, the horse adoption society associated with the track and the B.C. Standardbred Association.

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