Tough misses to battle tonight
The favorites did as expected last
Friday in the elimination legs for the Miss Cloverdale
That would mean a barnburner in
tonight's $32,500 final even if the two were the only
entrants. They won't be, so it means a barnburner would be a
The red-hot Bigshoestofill and the
also-hot Rustle For It each were odds-on favorites and each
captured a leg last Friday.
Bigshoestofill, off at 1-5, used a big
finish – a 28.4 second last quarter — to win the first leg
by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:57. It was the fourth win in a row for
the five-year-old daughter of As Promised.
Rustle For It was only a 4-5 top choice
but also used a late rally to win by a neck in 1:57. The
four-year-old daughter of Rustler Hanover, traversed the
final quarter in 28.2 for her eighth win in her last 11
Rustle For It, owned by Niele Jiwan,
trained by Rick White and driven by Bill Davis, had to deal
with Carson Jane, a close even-money second choice. Jane
started on the rail and never left, leading by 11/2 lengths
on every call to the head of the stretch. Rustle For It
stalked the leader until squeaking past at the wire. Mandy
Jaccka finished third.
Rustle For It, who won the Miss
Valentine on Feb. 13, now has five wins and more than
$31,000 in 2005.
Bigshoestofill was fourth at the half
and third at the head of the stretch although always in
sight of the front. Princess Jessica and Dealmeahos closed
from even further back to get second and third while early
leaders Ivys Wine and Heart And Style slipped with the
former not qualifying for the final.
Bigshoestofill is owned by Robert
Murphy, trained by Bob Merschback and was driven by Jim
Burke. The win was her fourth of 2005 and goes along with a
second and a third in eight starts. She has earnings of more
than $19,000 for the year and more than $152,000 for her
Bigshoestofill has drawn the rail in
today's final although she has not left from the gate in her
recent wins. However, she may want to be close to the lead
as Rustle For It, who has drawn the four-hole on the gate,
will likely leave.
The two favorites will both be a part
of an entry.
Bigshoestofill's entry-mate Mandy
Jaccka will start from six while Heart And Style, a
stablemate of Rustle For It, has drawn the three.
Facing the biggest challenge will be
top contender Carson Jane who has drawn the outside eight.
Post positions for the rest of the
field are Dal Reo Millee, two; Dealmeahos, five;
Goaheadandlietome, seven and Princess Jessica, nine.
THE BRUSTER WAITS, AND WINS:
Patience is a virtue they say and with The Bruster it could
just mean a big win.
The four-year-old son of His Mattjesty
captured the winners-over (invite) feature last Sunday at
Fraser Downs, waiting until late - as he is wont to do -- to
make a powerful move and lead at the wire.
The Bruster started from the four-hole
on the gate and was back in fifth, five lengths behind the
leader, at the head of the stretch. But the late kick
(28.1-second last quarter) pushed him to a narrow
neck-length margin over Red Star Emerson at the wire.
The Bruster, owned by Bruce Larway and
Spud McCormac, trained by McCormac and driven by Jim Marino,
has used a big finish to win before. The most memorable was
in the big Nat Christie Memorial stake in Calgary when on
Aug. 29 he came from seventh place at the three-quarter pole
The Bruster's win Sunday was his third
in seven starts (along with two seconds and a third) in 2005
and pushed his earnings to more than $23,000.
"He always has a little problem on the
turns but picks it up coming home," Marino said of his
charge's position at the three-quarter mark, "but I wasn't
too worried. He's a nice horse and he has a bright future."
The Bruster was the 5-2 third choice.
Emerson, a 9-1 choice was third most of the way before
holding the lead for a while and 9-5 favorite Infinite
Dreams was third. Duke Is Duke, who won the event last week,
stalked the early pacesetter Nuclear Dew, before falling to
sixth. The Dew was fourth.
STILL MARINO: It didn't match
recent weekends but was still good enough to make Jim Marino
Marino, who has been red hot in 2005,
picked up five victories last weekend to lead the Downs'
driver contingent. He now has 55 for the year.
Bill Davis, Rod Therres and Jim Burke
shared second with four wins and Gord Abbott was next with
three. Sharing two each were Serge Masse, Dave McKellar, Tim
Brown, Jim Wiggins and Scott Knight.
Two drivers, newcomer Steve Germain,
and Darren Howald, who just got his licence a few months
ago, each registered their first driving win of 2005.
Wayne Isbister led all conditioners
with four visits to the winner's enclosure. Ann Cooper and
Therres had three apiece while Bob Merschback, Wiggins,
Davis, Masse and Rick White had two each.
CALIFORNIA NO DREAM NOW: Don
Pegura of Coquitlam has a theory on handicapping and it has
made him into a California realist.
Pegura was one of many Fraser Downs
patrons who had a dream and therefore entered the California
Dreamin' Handicapping Contest. After Saturday's final the
dream became a reality as Pegura captured the contest and
top prize - a trip for two to the Santa Anita Derby.
Pegura won $888 in mythical money,
besting nine others who also wagered on six races from
Saturday’s Santa Anita Park race track.
Pegura had two winners and a
second-place horse in his selections but it was the choice
of Verkade, a 25-1 shot, in the sixth race that did the
trick, giving him $711 (the bet placed is a $20 across).
"You can't always win with favorites,"
Pegura explained of his theory. "Sometimes you have to take
a price horse. I liked the 11 horse (Verkade) because he had
had a month off and they had legged him up."
Whatever, Pegura could be off to
"I am a regular at Fraser Downs," he
said. "It's quite a few years. I have been going to horse
races since I was 20 and I'm 75 now. I used to go to
Hastings then I switched to Fraser because it's closer and I
like the simulcasts."
Pegura has already been to Santa Anita
but would love to go again.
"Unfortunately my wife has to be in
Victoria that weekend so I may have to take some else. We'll
He admits he bets all tracks and his
win won't stop him from coming back - and playing in more
Rick Long finished second in Saturday's
final with $564 while Bill Veevers had $389, Lance Beveridge
$331, Frank Neves $329 and Ray Abgrall $319. Others who
battled in the final were Tim Wiesner, Maureen Nott, Tom
Churchill and Ken Dunn.
More than 350 Dreamers started after
the top prize of a trip for two to the Santa Anita Derby in
April. Each Saturday contestants won $250 and the day's
winner(s) qualified for the final.
CRUISER COME HOME: Seven Seas
Cruiser will be home soon after all.
The dominant three-year-old colt at
Fraser Downs in 2004, and winner of several awards at the
recent B.C. awards banquet, headed to the Meadowlands in New
Jersey in late December.
After a sparking qualifier, a not-bad
debut race and a disappointing next race, he was scheduled
to return home. But with a change of plans he traveled to
Woodbine in Toronto where he was to take a shot at the Cam
However, in a qualifier last Friday at
Mohawk near Toronto, Cruiser again struggled. He started
from the five-hole on the gate and fifth at the quarter. He
roared up to take the lead at the half and was ahead at the
three-quarter pole by 2 1/2 lengths. He struggled after that
and was shut down by driver Chris Christoforou and finished
well back in ninth.
"Joe Stutzman (his trainer in Ontario)
said he was healthy and sound but that he was just short,"
said Tim Brown, his trainer/driver at the Downs. "That seems
a little hard to believe but we have decided to bring him
home anyway. He will be on a truck on the 16th.
"If he is all right we will try to get
him ready for the Stallion Stake."
The final for the Stallion Stake for
four-year-olds with a purse of $100,000 added will be held
on April 30.
BACH STILL SWEET MUSIC: Armbro
Bach, fresh off his win in the Clash of the Pacific at
Fraser Downs, added yet another win to his impressive 2005
resume in last Saturday’s $17,500 feature pace at Northlands
The four-year-old son of Village Jiffy
- Lindwood Metra, trained by Ray Gemmill and driven by Bill
Tainsh Jr., came first up after being fourth at the quarter
to take the lead at the half and once he was in the position
of command he never gave it up. He won by three quarters of
a length with a 1:55.1 clocking.
In second was the fast-closing Alberta
Sires Stakes star, Dudes Leaving Town, with Armbro Bolton,
recent winner of the Pat Brennan Memorial at the Downs,
rounding out the top three. Bolton is owned by J J J Stables
and Al and Mark Anderson. Dale Reo, also trained by Gemmill,
Armbro Bach has assembled an impressive
6-0-0 record in seven starts in addition to banking $75,787
this season for partners Surrey's Ray Gemmill and Ian Moyes
and Ron Waples of Guelph, ON.
It was the 13th lifetime victory for
the winner of $128,874.
Meanwhile, Armbro Blacktie, owned by
Ming Siu of Richmond, was third in an optional $30,000
claiming event won by Showtime Eddy, a former Downs
combatant. Red Star Apache and Hi Time Ascot, also recent
shippers from the Downs, were fifth and sixth.