B.C. horses sparkle in Alberta

It was a big day last Saturday for B.C. horses at Edmonton's Northlands Park.

Rich Cam, the highly-touted three-year-old colt owned by Sunbury Stables of Aldergrove, did what he set out to do when he went to Alberta -- to capture a stakes race.

Trained and driven by Dave Jungquist, Rich Cam wired a strong field in winning the $57,200 purse Silver Buckets for three-year-old colts and geldings.

But he had to share the day's spotlight with several other horses with B.C. connections or history, in particular Meant To Do That, a five-year-old gelding, who opened eyes and gaped jaws. Meant To Do That, once owned by Rick White (well-known trainer/driver at Fraser Downs), Jan Dryden and Robert Behl, tied the track record at Northlands -- a blistering 1:51.1. The record had stood since 1993.

Meant To Do That, a son of Abercrombie and bred in Kentucky, had raced with promise at Fraser Downs and set a lifetime mark of 1:57.3 on Feb. 9. But White and company sent him to Edmonton where it was felt he could handle the track better.

He was claimed from White for $15,000, and later by Keith Clark and partners for $20,000. And he proved last Saturday he liked the lightning-fast Northlands track. He was seventh, 8 1/4 lengths back at the half -- which was led by Tajma Hall in a blistering time of 53.4 -- and then made a move down the backstretch that had to be seen to be believed. Trained and driven by Clark, Meant To Do That had a lead of four lengths by the three-quarter pole and went on to win by 7 1/2.

Back to Rich Cam, the son of Camluck out of Rich Jan, who had blitzed B.C. opposition in his two-year-old and early three-year-old seasons. He was undefeated with several Stakes victories and a lifetime mark of 1:55.1 when he travelled to Alberta.

But his luck there turned sour fast, making a break and finishing last in his first start and finishing well back in his second start.

“Looks like he had a bit of a virus and maybe I brought him back a little too quick,” Dave told Edmonton's Don Fleming after that race.

But last Saturday he was ready -- as Jungquist said prior to the race that he would be. He flew from his five-post position and raced to the lead. The 3-1 second betting choice set fractions of 27.4, 57, 1:24.2 along the way to his new lifetime mark. Free Drop, part of the even-money favored entry, was second, four lengths back.

"We're pretty pleased," Jungquist said Sunday. "He's over the sickness that he had and we knew he would be a little tougher.

"I think he had a little left (in Saturday's race) and he'll need it for the next big one."

That of course is the Western Canada Pacing Derby which is set for June 21.

"He'll get a little breather and then come back for the eliminations," Jungquist said.

He also added that the plan for sending Rich Cam to Ontario is still a go. "We will likely send him to (trainer) Billy Companion."

Just some of the other top showings by B.C. horses on the day were: Red Star Blaze (Just Camelot-Tiffisue Hanover), owned by Robert Murphy and trained by Bill Davis, wins non-winners of two in 1:56.1; Camlucks Dominator, owned by Lil Dude Ranch, trained by Ken Harris, driven by Davis, second by neck, also in 1:56.1; Dal Reo Riverdance (Safe N Rich-Irish Win), from the Rick Lancaster barn, second by a neck and Broadway Time (Broadway Blue-Timely One), owned by Heather Sifert and Jerald Carmody.

Four-year-old Broadway Time has recently moved to Alberta from Ontario where he struggled after a promising start in B.C. Trainer Carl Sibiga has turned over the Alberta training chores to Ron Carlson and John Baxter drove as Broadway Time showed he is back on the beam, losing by only a head in 1:53.

(A little icing -- Red Star Tex, a B.C. bred, won a race Saturday at Woodbine in Toronto in 1:50.3.)