Atlantic Breeders Crown, Island Pacing Championship highlight action Saturday and Sunday
The biggest weekend on the Maritime harness racing calendar is set to line up behind the gate Saturday and Sunday at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Saturday has a card featuring the four $5,000 pacing consolations for the Atlantic Sires Stakes with the Atlantic Breeders Crown banquet that night.
The banquet will honour a racing family from each province with the Stevensons from New Brunswick, the Annears from P.E.I., the MacKays from Nova Scotia and the Forwards from Newfoundland and Labrador. The night also features a panel discussion with horseman Mike Campbell, former New Brunswick race announcer Howie Trainor and legendary CDP track announcer Ed Watters.
Sunday will see the top two- and three-year-olds go at it in their $22,000 championship finals of the Atlantic Sires Stakes. One of the most interesting events of the day lines up in Race 9 with the Atlantic Breeder’s Crown two-year-old colt pace. There has been no standout so far this season, with arguably the best colt most of the season being Tobins Fusion, who is listed as the longshot Sunday with trainer-driver Gilles Barrieau. The fastest colt of the bunch looks to be Dumas Walker from Post 6 for Myles Heffernan but finished third his last start in the Joe O’Brien stake in Charlottetown, with Settlement Request winning and JJ Laser finishing third. Could be a close finish.
Race 7 has the two-year-old pacing fillies and Saulsbrook Alana seems to be a cut above the rest with Marc Campbell in the bike from Post 3. The filly is still the fastest two-year-old filly in Canada this year on a half-mile track with her 1:55.1 Maritime record at Summerside Raceway. This year has an incredibly nice bunch of two-year-old fillies with miles in 1:58 or better likely necessary just to get a cheque.
The three-year-old pacing fillies butt heads in Race 11 with Ramblinglily favored for Brodie MacPhee and trainer Jean Belliveau. The filly was suspended for 30 days after a positive test during Old Home Week but was a winner in her return last Saturday at Fredericton Raceway in 1:57.3 with MacPhee aboard. It should be a cakewalk for the filly, as her main competition is out of it. That filly is Rose Valley, who was tied for seventh place in the points standings with two other fillies. When the draw was made, Windemere Maggie and Skip The Exam won a spot in the final and Rose Valley was relegated to the consolation.
Race 13 has the three-year-old colt pacing final and Untouchable One (Kenny Arsenault) will be tough off the rail but The Rev (Danny Romo) is sharp now, winning his last two races in 1:55.4 and 1:56.3, but has Post 6 to contend with. An upset is not out of the question by him or Arsenault trainee Watersides Kipper (Hilliard Graves) from post 3.
The card also features the $10,700 Island Pacing Championship final with All Turain favoured off the rail with MacPhee driving. All Turain has won his last five races in 1:55.1 or better, so him getting beat off the rail seems unlikely.
The $7,000 two-and-three-year-old trot invitationals go to post in Races 3 and 5, respectively.
Across the continent
Wednesday at Monticello Raceway in New York, Charlottetown native Jason Ryan scored a driving hat-trick.
Ryan started off driving his own trainee, Threestepstoheaven, to victory in 1:56.4, followed by wins with Ufdragons Rocket in 1:56.4 and Big Bay Point in 1:54.4, both for trainer Rene Allard.
Atlantic yearling sale
The Atlantic Classic Yearling sale is set for today at the Crapaud Agriplex.
It will kick off at 2 p.m. with 110 yearlings to go through the ring. The sale features yearlings by first crop maritime sires Allamerican Navajo, Driven To Win, Immachulate, Nureyev and Proven Lover, along with first crop Ontario sires Sportswriter and Art Colony.
My condolences go out to the family of Cecil Stewart of Mount Pleasant.
The 95-year-old campaigned a number of horses over the years, most recently the tough mare Binies Bismark J. The Stewart family is deeply involved in racing in Prince County, including sons Edgar, Leon and John Stewart and son-in-law Art Rogers, to name just a few from the large family.
Also condolences go out to Boyd Leslie of Crapaud who passed away this week. Leslie also campaigned some top horses including invitational pacer Star Style.
Saturday At The CDP:
Race 1 – Milliondollarfeeln
Race 2 – The Fascinator
Race 3 – Outside The Wire
Race 4 – Motor Shark
Race 5 – JK Queen
Race 6 – Babies Gigolo
Race 7 – Largo Hall
Race 8 – Island Gigolo
Race 9 – Waterside Light
Race 10 – Rose Valley
Race 11 – Gwinning Gwen
Race 12 – Forever Paradise
Race 13 - Veronicavermillion
Race 14 – Tempo Seelster
Sunday At The CDP:
Race 1 – Umiztagoodthing
Race 2 – Carrera Angel
Race 3 – Dusty Lane Galaxy
Race 4 – Incredible Mike
Race 5 – Taliesin
Race 6 – Isleofpalms
Race 7 – Saulsbrook Alana
Race 8 – Abundaspin
Race 9 – JJ Laser
Race 10 – Blue Star Outlaw
Race 11 – Ramblinglily
Race 12 – Stayoutofmyaffair
Race 13 – Untouchable One
Race 14 – All Turain
Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com.