B.C. figures prominently

The annual statistics edition of the U.S. racing magazine Times: in harness reaffirms the dominating driving and training figures of Bill Davis -- figures we already knew about.

But it also illustrates how closely the success of Davis was interwoven into two other dominant B.C. racing icons -- the racing stable of Robert Murphy and the breeding facilities of Dal Reo Farms.

The March-April edition of the U. S. mag has close to 75 pages of 2001 stats, the kind that figure afioninados devour.

The first page of stats kicks off with driver and trainer listings. Prominent at the top of the page is Fraser Downs' one-and-only Davis. The 40-year-old, who has dominated at the Downs for several years, was the top driver and trainer in North America in the universal ratings category. He led all drivers with a .433 rating and all trainers at .508. In the latter case the closest rival was Jess Sebolsky, well back at .407. Davis chalked up 233 victories as a trainer, an astounding sixth in North America considering the low number of race days in B.C.

Davis, as Downs patrons know well, does the majority of his driving and training for Murphy, who is the money and power behind Red Star Stable. That combination, and the fact that Murphy has one of, if not the, largest number of horses racing in North America., led to White Rock's Murphy topping all owners with 342 wins, 132 ahead of David Schneider of Coral Springs, Fla.

Meanwhile, Les Cridland's Dal Reo Farms of Pitt Meadows also had show impressive numbers. The breeding farm was 15th in North America in 2001 in wins by all performers with 287. That's heady company with such farms as Hanover Shoe Farms of Hanover, Pa., Joe Thomson of Paoli, Pa., Armstrong Brothers of Inglewood, Ont. and others. Dal Reo was also 16th in wins by two-and-three-year-olds.

SAMANTHA SUPER: Samantha Square needs a nickname.

Fast Lane Cruizin, is known as B.C.'s Monster Mare after strong performances in Ontario. Samantha isn't of the same physical monster mode but she is quickly becoming just as impressive in the East.

On Friday, April 26 Samantha left a real message -- beating the highly-touted Bunny Lake at Mohawk, ending an 18-race win streak for the U.S. Horse of the Year who surrendered her lead at the top of the stretch and was defeated in the fillies and mares open company.

Samantha Square, at 13-1, paced the last quarter in a blistering 26.4 for a 1:52 mile, a career best, to win by three quarters of a length over Scoots N. Samantha picked up $24,000 in purse money. Off at odds of 2-5, Bunny Lake was able to hold onto a third place finish.

A winner of $1,427,474 lifetime, the daughter of Precious Bunny qualified four times before going to Mohawk for her seasonal debut, but the prep miles weren’t enough to hold off the wicked late kick of Samantha Square. Bunny Lake led the field through fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:24.3, before giving up her advantage early in the stretch.

Last year as a three-year-old, Bunny Lake was unstoppable, winning a number of stakes events, including the Breeders Crown.

FRIDAY NIGHT IN ONTARIO: Fraser Downs' Friday card -- at least the last nine races -- will now be simulcast in Ontario.
The races will be shown at selected teletheatre betting centres as well as Woodbine and Mohawk race tracks.
"It's a good mix for them," Dan Jukich, Fraser Downs director of simulcasting explained. "They will pick us after the sixth race when their racing is done. We will join with Hollywood Park which they also show."

ATTENTION MAYOR McCALLUM: The town of Innisfil, Ont. reaped its first benefit of slots at Georgian Downs, when the Ontario Lottery Corporation presented Mayor Brian Jackson with a cheque for $1,164,635 last week.

The cheque represents the town’s share of slot revenues from the first four months of operation at Georgian Downs. Each municipality that hosts a racetrack slot operation is entitled to five per cent of the gross slot machine revenue for the first 450 machines, and two per cent for any additional machines.

Georgian Downs has hosted 400 slot machines since Nov. 27, 2001 and averages daily attendance of 2,900 patrons.

A cheque was also cut for the city of Windsor last week in the amount of $547,317. The payment represented the municipality’s share of slot revenues for the first quarter of the year.

Windsor was the first Ontario racetrack to open a slot facility. Their 750 machines have averaged 2,600 visitors per day since their inception in late 1998. That number has fallen recently, for a number of reasons including the Sept. 11 tragedies and increased competition from three casinos opened in bordering Detroit.

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