Down The Backstretch: Malabrigo crushes Maritimer field

Nicholas Oakes
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Filly wins both the elimination and final races

The three-year-old pacing filly division continues to be all Malabrigo, all the time.

Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B., the filly captured both the Maritimer elimination and final for trainer-driver Marc Campbell and owner Buntainwood Farm of Brackley Beach.

The Maritimer stake is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada, as the fillies race in the elimination in the middle of the race card, with the top four from each division advancing to the final in the last race of the day.

Malabrigo won the $9,705 first elimination in 2:00.4 over Putnams Glory (Gordie Hennessey), Southfield Sophie (Terry Gallant) and Isleofpalms (Todd Trites). A As Glory captured the second division in 2:01.1 for Lonny Stokes, with April Dawns Star (Mike Stevenson), Blackriver Nannie (Trites) and Windemere Nancy (Mark Haig) also advancing to the $12,940 final.

The final was a 1:59.2 victory for the Western Paradise-Lots A Bunny pacer, with April Dawns Star second for her Island connections.

Saint John Exhibition week racing continued Tuesday afternoon with Forever Paradise winning a $7,440 Atlantic Sires Stakes A Division in 1:59.2 for driver Barrieau, trainer Kevin MacLean, and Island owners Reg MacPherson and Dave and Aaron MacKenzie. After setting a new track record in Summerside in his previous start, this pacer’s latest win was just two-fifths of a second off Ride The Lightning’s 1:59 two-year-old gelding track record.

Racing continues in Saint John today, with a nine-dash card featuring the $6,500 Milton Downey Memorial. The field includes: 1. McApulco (Barrieau); 2. Leading Camdidate (Jason Hughes); 3. Joseph Michael (to be announced); 4. Panmunjom (Garry MacDonald); 5. All Turain (Marc Campbell); 6. Arabica (Clare MacDonald).

Island racing continues Saturday at the Charlottetown Driving Park with a 6 p.m. post time. Note the post time change, as the temporary change to 7 p.m. on Saturdays was done only for the month of August.

The $2,200 top class includes Brief Bliss (Stephen Quinn), Oakrock Almighty (Ron Matheson), War Cry Ranger (Danny MacDonald), I D K (Vince Poulton), Eagle Luck (Hughes) and Carnivore (Stevenson).

Summerside Raceway hosts live racing Monday with a 1 p.m.  post time for the 13-dash affair.

Across the continent

Friday at Rideau Carleton Raceway, Buddy Hally won his $24,000 Ontario Sires Stakes grassroots division for two-year-old trotters in 2:01 with Sylvain Filion in the bike.

The son of Angus Hall-Credibility is owned by Howmac Farms of North Wiltshire, Reg MacPherson of Stratford, Wayne MacRae of Fall River, N.S., and trainer Greg McNair of Guelph, Ont. The rookie trotter was third and second in his last two grassroots outings, after winning his first career start in the Callbeck stake in Summerside on July 1, for a career total of $22,770 in earnings. He is entered again Saturday, listed as the favourite in his $10,000 Balanced Image trot elimination at Hanover Raceway in Ontario.

Sunday at Tioga Downs in New York, Island-owned State Treasurer was third in the lone $107,572 Cane Pace elimination. Islander Mark MacDonald was in the bike, as he has made himself a Sunday regular at Tioga Downs, for trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally and Sophie MacDonald. Heston Blue Chip won the race in 1:49.2 in rein to Tim Tetrick, with Steelhead Hanover second and State Treasurer pacing his mile in 1:50 for third. The top seven from that elimination advance to the final, including Bettors Edge, Simply Business, Dynamic Youth and Pet Rock, while A Rocknroll Dance and Time To Roll have accepted byes and advance straight to the final set for Monday at Tioga. The draw for the $322,716 final is being held today.

Wednesday night at Grand River Raceway, Islander Anthony MacDonald had a large night at the track. The driver had five wins at the Elora, Ont., oval, including a win in the $11,000 Preferred-2 trot with Canbec Fridolin and in a $6,000 claimer with Jersey Joe, who was formerly trained in Charlottetown, in 1:56.3.

Who’s Hot

After putting together a red-hot Old Home Week, Charlottetown native Jason Ryan is keeping the momentum rolling in Ontario. 

The 24-year-old accomplished an almost unheard of feat, as he won five races on a six-dash card Wednesday night at Sudbury Downs. His wins on the night banked him $13,760 in purse earnings and boosted his win total to 60 for the season at Sudbury Downs, maintaining his comfortable spot as top dog at the northern Ontario oval.

Paul MacLean is in second place for driving wins with 47, while Clyde River native Mike MacNeill sits third with 43.


Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in

The Guardian each Friday. He can be

reached at

Organizations: April Dawns Star, Exhibition Park Raceway, Simply Business Time

Geographic location: Saint John, Iceland, Summerside Atlantic Canada Ontario Charlottetown Driving Park Wiltshire Charlottetown Fall River Guelph New York Northern Ontario Clyde River

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