Down The Backstretch: Dates announced for stakes races

Nicholas
Nicholas Oakes
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The stakes dates for 2014 have been announced and the rough winter has been taken into account.

The three-year-old colt and filly pacers kick off the stakes season on July 1 at Summerside Raceway. The colts will compete in the Bob Dewar stake, with the fillies racing in the Ruby Chappell stake. Money earned in both stakes counts towards the Island Breeders’ final Nov. 8 in Charlottetown. The first stake race of the season in Charlottetown is the Maritime Breeders’ eliminations for three-year-old pacers on Saturday June 14, followed by the rich finals the next week on June 21. The three-year-old trotters get underway July 9 in the Maple Leaf Trot in Summerside.

The two-year-old stakes dates have been pushed back from their normal early July timeslot with the Callbeck stake in Summerside. Due to significant time missed by young horses training down, the Callbeck stake has been moved to July 30 in Summerside for two-year-old pacers and trotters. This leave the Atlantic Sires Stakes divisions during Lobster Carnival week as the first dates on the calendar.

The two-year-old pacing colts will kick off Monday, July 14, in Summerside in Atlantic Sires Stakes action, while the two-year-old trotters start Tuesday, July 15,  and July 16 will see the start of the two-year-old filly pacers.

There are a lot of nice looking two-year-olds training currently, with owners and trainers hopes high but as my good friend James (Blacky) Lund reminds us: “They can all train, boys.”

P.E.I. scene

Racing returned to the Charlottetown Driving Park Saturday evening with Miracle Matts and Corey MacPherson capturing the evening feature.

Miracle Matts will have a new foe to defeat this Saturday in the top class as five pacers line up for a $2,000 purse. Mach It Big storms onto the P.E.I. scene for owner-trainer Jonah Moase and driver Marc Campbell from Post 4. Moase had the horse with trainer Patrick Shepherd since last May, taking a half-mile mark of 1:52.4 at Western Fair Raceway in London, Ont. Mach It Big was fourth in a trial of the Gold Cup and Saucer last August and was second in the $20,000 consolation to Amazon Art. He will face off against CDP regulars Van Zant (Ron Matheson), Miracle Matts (MacPherson), Bunny Mach (Kenny Arsenault), and Cambest Kisser (Jason Hughes). Campbell leads the drivers’ race for win with 13 victories ahead of Hughes (12), MacPherson (10), Arsenault (6) and Walter Cheverie (5). The trainers’ race has Hughes, Darren Trainor and Moase tied for first with seven wins.

Across the continent

Racing at Vernon Downs in New York is in full swing and Cornwall native John MacDonald is cementing himself as one of the top drivers. MacDonald had two wins Saturday at Vernon Downs with Stony Brook in 1:56.1 and Notashadowofadoubt in 1:59.1. MacDonald was listed on seven horses Thursday night at Vernon Downs and has eight drives Saturday at the same track. MacDonald will sit behind the favored Indira Blue Chip in the $14,100 Catherine Burton Trotting series final for trainer Ray Schnittker. The three-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe is currently riding a four-race winnin streak with Schnittker in the bike. Racing ends Nov. 1 at Vernon Downs. MacDonald was fourth in the 2013 drivers’ standings at the seven-eighths mile oval.

Sunday at Flamboro Downs, Island bred Koultons Rocket was a winner in 1:56 with Kingston native Anthony MacDonald in the bike for trainer Jim Whelan, formerly of Alberton. The four-year-old son of Articulator was bred by Mike Collings of Charlottetown.

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Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Charlottetown Driving Park:

Race 1 – Rosa Santanna

Race 2 – Kellys Cross

Race 3 – Abundaspin

Race 4 – Doll R General

Race 5 – Mach It Big

Race 6 – Putnams Snap

Race 7 – Mach Vegas

Race 8 – Lets Make Ideal

Race 9 – Diagram Hanover

Race 10 – Panda Bear

Race 11 – Beckenbauer

Race 12 - IDKs

Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in

The Guardian each Friday. He can be

reached at nicholasoakes@hotmail.com.

Organizations: MacPherson, Western Fair Raceway

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Summerside, Atlantic Sires Stakes Charlottetown Driving Park London, Ont. New York Cornwall Stony Brook Kingston

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