Art of Illusion favoured to win Ladner final

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On today’s first day of summer Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park features one of the biggest cards of harness racing this season.

The Cecil Ladner memorial final and consolation and two divisions of the Maritime Breeders finals for three-year-old fillies and colts hit the track. Post time is 6 p.m.

Art of Illusion is the favourite in the eight-horse Ladner final for driver Darren Crowe.

The newcomer, owned by Halifax businessman David MacDonald, busted off the gate from Post 8 to level the competition in his recent Island debut in 1:54.1.

That victory ended All Turain’s winning streak at 10, but the Trevor Hicken-trainee will take him on again from Post 7.

Brodie MacPhee will do the driving.

Astor was also impressive in his Ladner elimination finishing a strong second in line to Jason Hughes. The son of Camluck posted a 28.4 closer and a 1:54.2 mile in only his second start after being purchased by the Foxyhall racing stable of Summerside.

Hughes and Foxyhall racing will also send out Narragansett from the rail for catch-driver Kenny Arsenault.

The final also has elimination winner Machinthesand leaving from Post 2. Established at 7-2 on the morning-line favourite, the pacer overcame his outside post to pull off a one-length victory for driver Brodie MacPhee, trainer Mark Bradley and owners Noonan Holdings Ltd., Russell and Karen Noonan of Middleton.

MacPhee is committed to All Turain so Marc Campbell gets the call to drive.

Sterling Seelster is the top choice in the Ladner consolation by race analyst Les MacIsaac.

Sterling Seelster “was a non-factor in the first leg, but the outside post had a lot to do with it,” he said. “He’s already shown that he’s quite capable of going with this type and this improved post should give him a chance to prove it.”

Sterling Seelster is owned by Marie Cameron of Summerside and trained by Doug MacGregor.

The Maritime breeders finals will also highlight the program.

The three-year-old fillies will race in the Ken Starratt memorial for $22,100. Lovineveryminute goes into the event with an impressive resume that includes back-to-back stakes victories and a track record in Truro, N.S.

The team is back together with Todd Trites driving for the Earl Watts stable and owners River Valley Management, N.B., Windemere Farms on P.E.I. and Lana Murphy of New Brunswick.

The colts' final, named in honour of Atlantic Post Calls founder Doug Harkness, will go to the gate in Race 11.

Dumas Walker gets the nod for Myles Heffernan after his two length score in 1:57.3 in the elimination.

Summerside

A mainland invader headlines Sunday’s card at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway.

First race post time for the 13-dash program is 1 p.m.

Ultimate Luck has been installed as the morning-line favourite by the race classifier. The six-year-old Camluck stallion was second to Eagle Jolt in a speedy 1:59 mile over the rain-soaked Summerside oval in last week’s feature. Kenny Arsenault will drive the pacer for trainer Sifroi Melanson and owner Ultimate Stable of Greater Lakeburn, N.B.

Upfront Ticket (Marc Campbell) is second pick after a fourth-place finish in his East Coast debut.  

Race analyst Jared Stretch has opted to go a different route, selecting Beckenbauer to upset the apple cart from post 2 for trainer-driver Jason Hughes and owners Robi and Kurt Hughes of Stratford.  

“He’s been heating up to say the least with two victories in his last three starts and been doing it in impressive fashion,” Stretch said.

Keystone Nobility has rail control in the backup pace for a $1,600 purse for driver Gary Chappell, trainer Alan Taylor and owner Kent Livingston of Cornwall.

The race will also see the Island debut of Darth Bader, co-owned, trained and driven by Ed Harvey of Fredericton, with co-owner Kathy MacLean of Truro. The owners claimed Darth Bader for $20,000 at Yonkers Raceway in New York in February and left him in the care of Island native Jason Ryan before taking him to the Maritimes.

Compiled by Red Shores’ Lee Drake and Nicholas Oakes

Organizations: Noonan Holdings

Geographic location: Iceland, Summerside, Charlottetown Driving Park Truro New Brunswick East Coast Fredericton New York

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