The top horses in Maritime harness racing will face off in eliminations of the Maritime Breeders and Cecil Ladner memorial pacing series tonight at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
First race post time for the 13-dash program is 6 p.m. The card features two $3,000 eliminations of the Maritime Breeders for three-year-old pacing fillies in races 6 and 9.
Race 6 will be a showdown between freshly minted Truro track record-holder Lovineveryminute (Todd Trites) and divisional leader Elm Grove Inarush (Mark Bradley). Race 9 has Saulsbrook Alana (Marc Campbell) leaving off the rail in a division that includes Charlottes Style (Kenny Arsenault) and Pictonian Sareta (Mike Stevenson). The top four from each elimination advance to next week’s final.
The three-year-old colt pacers go post ward in races 8 and 11 with the top four in each division making it to next week’s Maritime Breeders colts and gelding finals.
The top two colts of the 2014 season will square off in Race 8 with Dumas Walker (Myles Heffernan) and Super S Yzerman (Clare MacDonald). Both colts were victorious in divisions of the Bob Dewar two weeks ago at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway.
Race 11 will see 2013 Island Breeders champion Settlement Request (Gilles Barrieau) fend off a field of seven rivals, including Wishes In The Rain (Darren Crowe) and Mr Vaive (Bernard McCallum).
The Cecil Ladner Memorial pacing series elimination put their noses on the gate in race 10 and 12. The first $2,400 elimination in Race 10 has Maine invader Coral Snake (Crowe) from post 2 for owner Island native and Halifax resident David MacDonald fresh off a 1:55.2 victory over Scarborough Downs.
Other entries include PC Shockwave (Brian MacPhee), R Sonoflife (Todd Trites), Narragansett (Jason Hughes), Likely To Win (Ryan Ellis), Sterling Seelster (Campbell), Schooner (Barrieau) and Machinthesand (Brodie MacPhee).
Race 12 has another Maine entry owned by MacDonald in Art Of Illusion from post 8. The pacer has minted his status as one of the top pacers in Maine after a 1:53.2 victory last week in the free-for-all at Scarborough Downs, but will have to fend off All Turain from post 7, who is undefeated since teaming up with Brodie MacPhee 10 starts ago, and Astor for trainer-driver Hughes, fresh off a 1:56.4 victory in his P.E.I. debut.
Other entries include Blissful Bro (Campbell), Touch Of Lightning (Earl Smith), Perfect Escape (Barrieau), Hail The Taxi (Trites) and Judge Jon (Stevenson).
The top four from each elimination advance to next week’s $8,200 final, while the next four will race off in the $3,000 consolation.
A $1,900 feature pace highlights Sunday’s card at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway with a 1 p.m. post time for the 13 dashes.
The Race 12 feature has Ultimate Luck installed as the post-time favourite for driver Arsenault, trainer Sifroi Melason and owner Ultimate Stables of New Brunswick. The six-year-old Camluck stallion has a tough field of opponents including Onehotvett (Barrieau), Outside The Wire (Brodie MacPhee), McMaverick (Ken Murphy), Eagle Jolt (Campbell), Upfront Ticket (Hughes), Lucky Encounter (Norris Rogers) and Shipps Xcalibur (Gary Chappell).
The card also features the $1,850 open trot with newcomer Presto Pegasus picked to win, coming off a two-race win streak in Charlottetown. The nine-year-old Pegasus Spur gelding is driven by Mark Bradley for trainer Brian Andrew and owners Rachel Andrew of Milton and William Andrew of Calgary. His main competition will come from Zip The Lip (Brian MacPhee), Abundaspin (Harold Shepherd) and Caliban Hanover (Ron Gass). The field also includes Lyrical Lindy (Hughes) and Honeymoonisover (Brian Andrew).
Race analyst Jarred Stretch is leaning on post 1 starter Abundaspin to get the job done.
“After going on a lengthy win streak he hasn’t been to the circle in three straight, but he's been good enough and he’ll be thirsty to get back,” Stretch said while pegging Caliban Hanover for second and Presto Pegasus for third.
Compiled by Red Shores’ Nicholas Oakes