After recently winning the Langley Pace to end a string of
16 Stakes races without a win, the powerful Murphy barn
made it two straight by capturing the Miss Valentine for
four-year-old mares on Friday, Feb. 14.
Red Star Veronica, part of a Murphy entry that went to the
post as a 6-5 favourite, paced to victory over a full
field of nine to take the mile in 1:58 and the winner's
share of the $31,000 purse.
The victory was the first of 2003 and fourth career for
the daughter by Village Jiffy out of R Wayout WestLo and
pushed her career earnings to slightly less than $60,000.
Trained by Bill Davis and driven by Dave McKellar,
Veronica, who started from the five hole, stalked the
early pace set by Marissa Seelster (Camluck-Moving Along),
an even-odds second choice. Seelster, who started from the
outside eight hole, got the lead by the quarter although
not getting to the pylons until just past the quarter.
Dealmeahos, a 9-1 fourth choice, was first up to challenge
and actually slipped into second outside before making a
break at the 3/4 pole. Red Star Veronica made a move on
the last turn and used a 29.4 seconds last quarter to
catch Seelster and driver Tim Brown and win by three
quarters of a length.
Blue Star Promise, the other half of the Murphy entry
driven by Davis, finished third.
"I might have got carried along a little," McKellar told
Downs' simulcast director Dan Jukich after the race, "but
mine (Veronica) was good today.
"You always know with Billy's (Davis) horses that they are
always ready and you have to take advantage of that. I'll
Interestingly, such horses as Dal Reo Damsel, Holy Doodle
and I Wish I Might (all nominated for B.C. 2002
three-year-old filly awards) and Papas Reflection, a
former Stakes winner, were eligible for the Miss Valentine
but did not compete.
JUST FINE THANKS: Samantha Square is alive and
The now five-year-old hard-hitting daughter of Albert
Albert campaigned much of 2002 in Ontario against the best
open fillies and mares. Late in the year Downs
driver/trainer Rick White, who shares ownership with June
and John Kauffman, brought her back to B.C. for some R and
"She was tired when she came home," White said recently.
""Maybe we raced her a month too long . . . hindsight is
But White says now, "She is well rested. She may have lost
a little weight but she is doing fine."
As for rumours of her competing at the Downs in the Miss
Cloverdale stake event on March 14, White said, "I didn't
pay her up, she wouldn't be ready in time," and also
admitted, "I just said that to get a couple of guys
White said Samantha Square would likely head back to
Ontario around April 1 but before that "we may qualify her
here a couple of times."
Samantha Square has career earnings of more than $460,000.
39 HORSES MOVE BARNS: Total sales for the second
annual B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society mixed sale
Monday, Feb. 10 at the Cloverdale Agriplex was $75,750.
Thirty-nine of the 56 horses that went through the ring
changed hands as the broodmares brought in from
Pennsylvania stole the show.
As it has done the last few years for the yearling sale in
November, the BCSBS brought in four broodmares from sales
in the East. The four proved to be the hottest commodity,
especially with Garden Gate Stables of Victoria.
The Island stable, owned by Ken Unger and Larry Pashak,
purchased all four for a total of $27,400.
Leading the way was Lyn Hanover, a four-year-old daughter
of Big Towner. She is a full or half sister to nine in
1:59, including Eicarls W A G, who paced in 1:52.3 and she
is in foal to strong pacing sire No Nukes. She drew a
purchase price of $12,500.
The others included La Creme, a 13-year-old daughter of
On The Road Again and in foal to top Canadian stallion
Albert Albert, $7,000; Faded Tan, a nine-year-old daughter
of Beach Towel and in foal to Big Towner, $3,700 and GV's
Bunny, a 14-year-old daughter of B.G.'s Bunny and in foal
to Cam's Destiny, $4,200.
Other than the broodmares, the top price paid for a horse
changing hands was $7,500 for Red Star Master, a
four-year-old gelding, who was consigned by Robert Murphy.
George Emsland of Edmonton bought Master and will likely
race him in Alberta when racing resumes in Edmonton.
Major breeder/owner Robert Murphy had 32 horses in the
sale but bought back 11 including three -- Musical
Journey, Red Star Salway and Storm King -- for $2,500
KEELING INVASION: Woodbine Entertainment and
Magna, big names in the world of horse racing, are likely
not worried but they should be aware -- the Keelings are
Fraser Downs patrons are well aware of the leadership
qualities of Chuck Keeling, the general manager of the
60th Ave. emporium.
Now Chuck has family company in the world of race track
management -- Al Keeling, who is the general business
manager of Hanover Raceway in Ontario.
Chuck was in Toronto recently at the O'Brien awards and
harness racing meetings and that's where he learned about
Al. Chuck admitted earlier he has not kept up well with
family news since moving to B.C. as an eight-year-old. But
Al knows, at least he thinks, they are second cousins.
"I'm pretty sure Chuck and I are related. I believe we are
second cousins," Al said he in an e-mail after he was
asked if they are related.
He was also asked -- tongue in cheek -- if they are
taking over, the harness racing world that is.
"Don't worry, there's no conspiracy for world harness
racing domination by us.......yet," was his reply.
A HAND FOR DAVIS: Driver Bill Davis was in the
spotlight again last weekend at Fraser Downs, winning
seven races, including -- for the second straight week --
five races on the Saturday card.
He had two victories Friday and came up with a rare
shutout Sunday and now has 132 for the meet. Bobby Clark,
Tim Brown and Dave Jungquist had four wins each.
On the trainer side Davis had five victories, two more
than Dave Hudon and Wayne Isbister.