Track records fall during Old Home Week
It was a week of speed at the Charlottetown Driving Park last week with Old Home Week racing front and centre ending with Islander Marc Campbell owning both the overall pacing record and the trotting record.
The overall track pacing record fell Saturday night in the $60,000 Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer with Escape The News and Campbell victorious in 1:50.4.
The trip of that race has to go to the Rene Allard-trained R Caan with Charlottetown native Jason Ryan in the bike, who endured a parked out quarter of 26.2 followed by one in 27 for a 53.2 half compliments of the rail guarding Up The Credit. R Caan then cleared to the lead and kept trucking to pace a mile in 1:51.3. It was an incredible trip, and had the Burke connections a bit worried as they had just sold him to Allard for $60,000 a few weeks earlier.
Escape The News’ 1:50.4 victory erased the 1:51 track record of Part Shark (2010) and Eighteen (2012) and tied the Canadian half-mile track record set by Rare Jewel (2007) and Tigerama (2008).
The trot mare track record hardly stayed still all week, with the 2:00 standard set by Dusty Lane Shelby (2009) was lowered three times.
Real Housewife broke it the first Saturday of the week with a 1:59.2 victory for driver Campbell, trainer Danny Romo and owner Grayland Farms of Pugwash, N.S. That was shattered Friday afternoon when Est Non Ila Dulcis was a winner in 1:58.2 for trainer-driver Campbell and owner Angus Buntain of Mississauga, Ont.
That lasted a day, as Real Housewife won in 1:58.1 in the Erwin Andrew Memorial trot mare final. A little known fact is that Real Housewife for a time was trained in Charlottetown by Brian MacPhee before she ever made her qualifying debut in Ontario. Her mother is a half-sister to Island trotter Zip The Lip.
Thursday afternoon, the two-year-old pacing fillies track record fell when Lovineveryminute was a winner in 1:56.1 in a $10,220 Atlantic Sires A-division for driver Gilles Barrieau and trainer Earl Watts. That win broke the 1:57.1 record set by Southview Special (2008).
That race raised a unique problem at the start when a recall had to be called for interference behind the gate. Acton Royal Force (Bernard McCallum) made a break behind the gate then went sideways, running into Outrageous Spirit (John Holmes). The fillies both came to a stop with Outrageous Spirit having her foot caught in McCallum’s wheel. When she pulled her foot out, she went off balance and toppled to the ground before getting right back up.
The Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission rules state that a horse that falls, which is normally that horse’s fault, is immediately scratched, Outrageous Spirit was taken out of the race by the judges. There was nothing wrong with the horse but she was eliminated from the race, denying her a share of the $10,220 being raced for that day and a chance to collect points for the year-end Breeder’s Crown final while the horse that interfered on her got to go behind the gate and get a pay cheque for finishing fifth.
Something doesn’t seem right about that, and the racing commission will have to take a look at improving the structure of that rule.
The winning continued for Campbell Wednesday evening as the Summerside Raceway held a rare mid-week card. Shadversary was a winner in 1:57.3 for Campbell, setting a new two-year-old track pacing record, eclipsing Ringmaster’s (2009) 1:58.1 record.
The Maritimer stake for three-year-old fillies highlights the afternoon card Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B. Two $8,289 eliminations line up in races 8 and 9 with the top four from each race advancing to the $11,052 final in race 12.
The first elimination has Rose Valley favoured for driver Kenny Arsenault, trainer Mike Campbell and owners Theodore and Dawn Bremner of Jemseg, N.B.
The Brandons Cowboy filly is fresh off a 10-length 1:56 romp in the Lady Slipper Gold stake Old Home Week. Also in that elimination is Scootin For Joy (Mike Stevenson), Carol Alice (Clare MacDonald), Skip The Exam (Marc Campbell), Putnams Kream (Bernard McCallum), and Don’t Tell Cindy (Barrieau).
The race 9 elimination has top sophomore filly Ramblinglily for driver Brodie MacPhee, trainer-co-owner Allan Jones and co-owner Normand Leger of Shediac, N.B. The Maritime Breeders champion already has $36,947 earned from nine starts in 2013. Also in that race is Western Judy (Marc Campbell), Pownal Bay Magic (Barrieau), Putnams Snap (Stevenson), Ultimate Cowgirl (Arsenault), and Top Brand (Danny Romo).
Sunday afternoon at the Summerside Raceway features a 13-dash card with a 1 p.m. post time featuring the Joe O’Brien stake for two-year-old pacing colts and the lady slipper stake for two-year-old pacing fillies.
The following are Nicholas Oaks’ picks for Saturday’s card at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Action begins at 6 p.m.
Race 1 – Ruby Vance
Race 2 – My Tie Wind
Race 3 – Emerald Eclair
Race 4 – Howmacs Angel
Race 5 – Incredible Mike
Race 6 – JJ Nitro
Race 7 – Capitalism
Race 8 – Modern Era
Race 9 – Sterling Seelster
Race 10 – Dirt Track Momma
Race 11 – Nobestbfor
Race 12 – Touch Of Lightning
Nicholas Oakes can be reached at email@example.com