DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Season set to get underway at Summerside Raceway

Published on May 19, 2017

Red Shores at Summerside Raceway

©Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Island racing is getting ready to kick into high gear with the Summerside Raceway resuming live racing Monday on Victoria Day.

The beginning of racing in Prince County is in addition to racing Thursday and Saturday nights at the Charlottetown Driving Park and some new faces are coming along to fill the programs.

Hemingway is a newcomer for owner-trainer Shane Doyle of Charlottetown after racing a $8,000 claimer at Mohawk Raceway in Ontario. The six-year-old son of Well Said has 10 lifetime wins, $104,434 in career earnings and a mark of 1:52.4 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. His first start was scheduled to be Thursday night in Charlottetown.

Gear Grinder made her first East Coast start on Saturday night in Charlottetown. The nine-year-old daughter of Geartogear is now owned and trained by Norris Rogers of Summerside and boasts a parimutuel mark of 2:02 over a sloppy track in her lone lifetime win.

Mando Fun is a new addition for trainer Paul Biggar of Tyne Valley. The four-year-old son of Badlands Hanover was claimed for $6,500 from trainer Dean Nixon at Flamboro Downs in Ontario in January. In qualifying action so far at the Summerside Raceway, the winner of 11 races and $45,000 was a qualifying winner in 1:58.1 with Dale Spence in the bike. Mando Fun makes his first East Coast start Monday afternoon in the top class during the 10-dash Summerside Raceway opener.

P.E.I. Scene

Island racing suffered a true loss recently with the passing of Shelley Gass, 45, of Cornwall. The daughter of lifelong horsepeople Ron and Diane Gass, Shelley was a regular at Island tracks with a smile that you would never forget. Shelley raced a number of horses at Island tracks last year, including Smiley Bayama, Pleasure Girls and Dusty Lane Zendaya.

One of the most promising new sire prospects in Maritime racing had to be humanely euthanized recently due to health complications. Steelhead Hanover was being stood at Meridian Farms of Milton and was set to have a large season breeding mares before the tragedy. The son of Bettors Delight had over $577,000 in career earnings and likely has over 20 mares in foal from this breeding season before his death.

Across The Continent

Wednesday night at Pompano Park in Florida, Boli was a winner with Wally Hennessey in the bike for brother and trainer Danny Hennessey. It was a career milestone for Danny as he scored lifetime training win 1,000. The win was also one of three on the program for Wally, as he dominates the Pompano Park driving standings and continues to add to his 9,386 career wins in the bike.

Who’s Hot

Bettim Chris has been on a roll in Ontario racing. Trained by Richard Moreau in Ontario, the gelding was a winner in his latest outing in 1:53 in a $18,000 event at Mohawk Raceway with Louis Philippe Roy in the bike. It was the third win four starts for Bettim Chris, who was third the week before then had a $18,000 win at Mohawk and a $5,000 win at Rideau Carleton Raceway in his previous races. The four-year-old son of Brandons Cowboy is co-owned and bred by Jeff Lilley of Milton with co-owners Blair MacLauchlan of Stratford and Danny Purcell of Nova Scotia.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 6 P.M. at the CDP:

Race 1 – Smart N Articulate

Race 2 – E Ls Colton

Race 3 – Johnny Moe

Race 4 – Threestepstoheaven

Race 5 – Ashes To Ashes

Race 6 – Fly With Max

Race 7 – Island Energetic

Race 8 – Caughtfoolinaround

Race 9 – Adkins Hanover

Race 10 – Beau Seelster

Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at