The beat goes on for All Turain as he crushed five rivals Sunday afternoon in the $7,500 Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational at the Truro Raceway.
With Brodie MacPhee at the lines, All Turain toured the Nova Scotia half-mile oval in a time of 1:54.2 for co-owner and trainer Trevor Hicken of Montague and co-owner Lee Hicken of Stratford. Big League and Dale Spence did all the early roadwork laying down fractions of 27.2, 56.1 and 1:25.1 while All Turain advanced first over on the outside.
Big League was put away in the stretch as All Turain kicked clear by a length-and-a-half to win. Big League held on for second with Junebugs Baby (Todd Trites) third, Touch Of Lightning (Earl Smith) fourth, Lucky Encounter (Danny Romo) fifth and Prom Mister (Warren Grant) sixth.
The top pacers will clash again Saturday afternoon in Race, the 15 $7,500 J.A. Ferguson Memorial Invitational, at Northside Downs in North Sydney, N.S. Touch Of Lightning has the rail with trainer-driver Smith in the bike for Island owners Larry Chappell, Don and Peter Smith and Gerald Morrissey. All Turain has drawn post 4 for MacPhee while Big League will leave from post 5 for driver Darren Crowe and owner-trainer Jonah Moase of Cornwall. Other entries are JNJ (post 2, Bruce McGean), Art I Special (post 3, Redmond Doucet) and Junebugs Baby (post 6, Fraser Turnbull).
Also on the card, the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies compete in Atlantic Sires Stakes action with a number of Island entries. The filly divisions appears to have three frontrunners so far this season with the Eddy Doucette-trained Elm Grove Inarush, the Kevin MacLean-trained Saulsbrook Alana and the Earl Watts-trained Lovingeveryminute. Lovingeverymonute is not competing in the two $9,420 A divisions in North Sydney while Saulsbrook Alana and Elm Grove Inarush drew into the same division.
The picture for the two-year-old colt division is not so clear going into Saturday’s final leg to gain points towards the Atlantic Breeder’s Crown final and consolation. Tobins Fusion is the leader in the division with 22 points, while Super S Yzerman is second with 21. The top eight make it to the rich final being held in Charlottetown Thanksgiving weekend (Oct. 12 and 13) with those spots currently being occupied by Pictonian Storm (17), the red hot Dumas Walker (16), Mr Comraderie (14), Rancousy (14), Rebelseven (12) and JJ Laser (12). With just the earning of a few points Saturday five other colts could earn a berth into the final if things work out their way. They are Touch Of Thunder (10), Settlement Request (10), Just A Professor (8), Dusty Lane Oliver (7) and Island Gigolo (7). All of the colts mentioned will make the trek to North Sydney and hopefully their performances will give some clues towards who is the one to beat in the final.
The $14,520 Atlantic Aged Mares pacing series final is slated as Race 11 on Sunday at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. Stayoutofmyaffair has the rail fresh off a pair of wins in Summerside and Fredericton. The Robbi Hughes-owned pacer is one of three in the final trained by Stephen Quinn and will get Mark Bradley in the bike. Other entries are 2. JK Special (Walter Cheverie); 3. General Lucky Percy (Gilles Barrieau); 4. Dirt Track Momma (Kenny Arsenault); 5. Doober Hoozzitz (Terry Gallant); 6. Lucky Boot Cam (Jason Hughes); 7. Skylark Hanover (Brodie MacPhee) and 8. Bunny Mach (Gary Chappell). The card also features the Joe O’Brien stake for three-year-old colt pacers with two $10,000 gold divisions and two $6,600 grassroots divisions.
Some Island-owned trotters are making waves on both sides of the border. Taliesin and Dusty Lane Galaxy were both entered to race Thursday night in Charlottetown and were searching for their seventh wins in a row. Two-year-old PJs Nabby trot colt Dusty Lane Galaxy made a break his first lifetime start and finished sixth but won his next six starts including his P.E.I. Colts Stakes division last week. Dusty Lane Galaxy is trained by Stacey Lund for owners Peter Buchanan of North Wiltshire and the estate of George Boswall of Frenchfort. Three-year-old Northern Bailey colt Taliesin is undefeated from six 2013 starts for trainer Mark McKinnon and owner Buntainwood Farm of Brackley Beach.
Can I Say has been red hot at Yonkers Raceway in New York. The four-year-old Forth And One trot mare is co-owned by Alberton native Jim Whelan and is undefeated since moving stateside from Ontario. Can I Say has four wins at Yonkers with trainer Scott Osterhout including her last two defeated the top male trotters on the grounds in the $37,000 Open trot each in 1:55.4.
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicholas Oakes’ selections for Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Charlottetown Driving Park:
1 – Highland Dancer
2 – Dusty Lane Royal
3 – Charlottes Style
4 – Zip The Lip
5 – Pictonian Zena
6 – Tempo Seelster
7 – Pictonian Walton
8 – Outside The Wire
9 – Bakarti Arti
10 – Van Zant
11 – Hey Blisster
12 - Balanchine