Aracache Hanover will be the fastest horse to ever set foot on an Island track when he post parades Saturday night in Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer trial one.
The Ron Burke-trainee, boasting a 1:48.1 lifetime best, is one of 12 entrants in this year’s Gold Cup and Saucer trials with six horses competing in trial one Saturday and six more going postward in trial two on Monday evening.
This will be the first time no Island-owned horses will compete in the Gold Cup and Saucer trials, with Astor, owned by Foxyhall Racing of Wallace, N.S., being the only Maritime-owned horse in the event. Seven of the trial horses are based in the U.S., while the other four call Ontario home.
Marc Campbell will drive Aracache Hanover for Burke, after capturing the 2013 edition of the race with Escape The News in track-record fashion. The top four horses from each trial will advance to the $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer final, while the fifth- and sixth-place finishers will go to the James Roach MacGregor Gold Cup and Saucer consolation race next Friday night.
Officials with Red Shores have indicated the race office will seek a few other horses to join the four horses that fail to make the final in the MacGregor consolation.
Tonight at the CDP
The second leg of the P.E.I. Trotting Series highlights tonight’s card at the Charlottetown Driving Park with $1,850 splits in races 6 and 9.
Beers Maggs appears to be the one to beat in Race 6 with Kevin Maguire in the bike for trainer Charles Gaudreault and owner Ecuries Maguire Inc. of Quebec. The six-year-old Quebec-bred trot mare was absent in leg one of the series but comes onto the scene fresh off a third-place finish at Trois Rivieres in Quebec, cutting the miles out with sizzling fractions of 28.2, 57.3, and 1:27.3 before being defeated half-a-length in 1:58.2 on the half-mile-track.
The field also includes Pleasure Girls (Ron Gass), who was a winner in leg one, plus Saulsbrook Balance (Willie Murphy), I Aint No Lady (Garth Cole), Mopey Corey (Corey MacPherson), Lyrical Lindy (Jason Hughes) and Saulsbrook Fork (William McNeil).
Race 9 has newly minted Summerside Raceway track-record holder Frill Seeker from Post 7 for trainer-driver Kenny Arsenault and owner Ebbsfleet stable of Ontario. The trotter set a new overall track trot record of 1:59.1 in leg one last week in SRW.
Also in the field are Zip The Lip (Brian MacPhee), Abundaspin (Harold Shepherd), Diamond Mine (Jack Panting), Majian Dilion (Jim Ripley), Who Took That (Mark McKinnon) and Caliban Hanover (Gass).
Elm Grove Inarush rewrote the Inverness Raceway history books Sunday afternoon in the Cape Breton village. The Coasttocoast Yankee filly was a winner in 1:55.3 for driver Mark Bradley, trainer and co-owner Eddy Doucette and co-owners Grant Mann, Gordon MacLeod and Blaine Thibeau, all of Kensington.
The mile erased the three-year-old pacing filly track record of 1:57.3 set by Ramblinglily on Aug. 4, 2013. Elm Grove Inarush had Lovineveryminute (Todd Trites) finish second and Sail Through (Mike Stevenson) finish third.
Saulsbrook Alana captured the other division in 1:56.4 for driver Marc Campbell, trainer Kevin MacLean and owner Reg MacPherson of Stratford. Second went to Fleurje (Bradley) with Pictonian Sareta (Stevenson) third.
Gramercy Hanover is new on the racing scene for owner-trainer Blair MacLeod of New Dominion.
The four-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight has two lifetime wins, $57,897 in career earnings and a mark of 1:59.1 at Saratoga Raceway in New York, taken at age two.
The grey pacing mare had been racing in Maine the past month for trainer Charles Symes, but before that was racing the New York–Pennsylvania circuit showing miles in 1:53 to 1:55 over a variety of tracks.
My wishes for a speedy recovery go out to veteran trainer-driver Len (Barney) McGuigan as he undergoes surgery in the coming days. All of Island racing is rooting for you to return to your perch in front of your Charlottetown Driving Park barn shouting greetings at whomever passes by.