The stage is set for the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship, presented by RDMD Refrigeration today at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway.
Post time is 6:30 p.m. with two divisions of the Atlantic aged pacing mares sponsored by Standardbred Canada also being added to the action. The Bell-Aliant Race Day show will carry the event at www.redshores.ca.
The top drivers in Atlantic Canada will compete in nine races with the top two finishers, based on points, moving to the National Driving Championship Aug. 26 in Charlottetown. P.E.I. will be represented by Marc Campbell, Jason Hughes and Brodie MacPhee. New Brunswick has Todd Trites and Gilles Barrieau while Nova Scotia has Ryan Campbell, Darren Crowe and Ryan Ellis. Kevin Dillon represents Newfoundland and Labrador.
Race analyst Les MacIssac and Jared Stretch have compiled a special edition drivers’ picks for the contest. Go to www.standardbredcanada.ca for details.
MacIsaac’s top choice is Campbell.
“He might as well add winning this to his list of accomplishments, a list that gets longer all the time. It includes winning last year’s Gold Cup and Saucer in track-record time and just for good measure setting a new trotting record on the same card. He has a couple of excellent shots today which could see him go back to back in races four and five with Ultimate Labamba and Rash B Havior,” MacIssac said. “The key to the competition is a good start and to avoid as many seventh- and eighth-place finishes as possible. There are lots of points out there with seconds, thirds and fourths, so you don’t have to win them all.”
Ellis and Crowe round out MacIsaac’s top three.
Stretch, Summerside’s analyst, also puts Campbell at the top of the competition.
“If my selections hold true he would not only pick up wins in races three, five and eight, but really should be able to pick up a good number of secondary points that would put distance on his rivals,” he said.
The Prince County handicapper has Barrieau second with MacPhee third.
“This draw worked out well for Brodie as he’s got several horses that suit his style to a tee and a few others that he knows quite well and could certainly pull off an upset or two,” Stretch said. “In my selections, I have him taking races six and seven but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him come away with three wins on the day.”
Bunny Mach has been established as the 5-2 morning-line favourite in the first leg of the Atlantic aged pacing mares series for driver Jason Hughes. The nine-year-old mare is coming off a seven-length 1:59.4 victory on June 19. Donald and Steven MacRae own Bunny Mach who starts from post 3. Ramblinglily (Brodie MacPhee) and Veronicavermillion (Brian MacPhee) are also listed as triactor candidates. Mattadors Rose, Prynne Hanover and Silky Britches complete the field.
General Luckypercy is favoured to win the second race of the series in Race 12. The Jackie Matheson-trainee makes her sixth start of the season from post two in the $3,378 event. Barrieau will catch-drive for owners Jodi Lynn Matheson, Charlottetown, and Jack Brown, Stratford. The all-star line-up includes Andro Madi, who has been super sharp in her last few starts for driver Dale Spence and trainer Jonah Moase. Moase will also send out Dirt Track Momma for Campbell. Stayoutofmyaffair has the rail with Brodys Leona fifth and Dreaming sixth.
A special Sunday program begins at 1 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Say It Again Sam has been perfect since arriving on P.E.I., posting five wins in a row for trainer-driver Hughes and Foxyhall Racing of Summerside. The three-year-old son of Well Said gets the rail in Race 7 after charting a two-and-half length score in his last outing of 1:56.4, which included a 28.4 closing panel. This guy is fast. He takes on Leading Camdidate, Umiztagoodthing, Beckenbauer, Astor Shark and Jersey Joe.
The afternoon top class has Ultimate Luck installed as the morning-line favourite and for good reason. Last week the Sifroi Melanson stable star toured Summerside in 1:54.3 under the command of Kenny Arsenault. Melanson has listed Ken Murphy to drive in the $2,200 race 11 showdown.
Compiled by Red Shores’ marketing and sales manager Lee Drake