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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Doubleheader set for Saturday at CDP

Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Jason Malloy/The Guardian
Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Jason Malloy/The Guardian

P.E.I. Colt Stakes headline busy day at the track

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Maritime harness racing continues in full swing this week with the P.E.I. Colt Stakes doubleheader Saturday at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

The oldest stakes program in North American, the P.E.I. Colt Stakes, will be the mainstay of the two Saturday programs at the capital ovals. The afternoon card featured the P.E.I. Colt Stakes for two-year-old pacers while the three-year-old pacers headline the evening program.

On the mainland, the Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational headlines tonight’s card at the Truro Raceway in Bible Hill, N.S. The $4,000 dash was carded as a junior invitational this year for the first time in years. Five of the seven entries are from P.E.I., including morning-line favourite Do Over Hanover with Jason Hughes driving for trainer Chris MacKay of French River.

Last weekend, the three-year-old pacing colts headlined the Saturday card at Northside Downs in Cape Breton. Island-bred Woodmere Ideal Art won his $10,020 Atlantic Sires Stakes A division for sophomore pacers in 1:57.2 for driver Hughes and trainer Sifroi Melanson of New Brunswick.

Island-foaled Chocolate Terror was a winner in the $10,059 Nova Scotia Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies on the program for trainer-driver Darren Crowe.

Sunday afternoon saw the two-year-old pacing colts converge on the Inverness Raceway in Inverness, N.S. Island breeder Lowell Balderston had a 1-2 punch in one A division as Red Dirt Boomer won the $9,620 race in line to Gilles Barrieau for owner Daniel Ross of Belfast, while Red Dirt Rocknroll finished second in the division for driver Marc Campbell and trainer Lenny Myers.

The other $9,620 A division went to Woodmere Bolt to stay undefeated in his seven-race career. Earl Smith trains and drives for owners Arnold Hagen of Bible Hill, N.S., Peter Smith of Stratford and Gerald Morrissey of Vernon River.

West River Donna won the Nova Scotia Stake for two-year-old pacing fillies on the program for a purse of $9,774 stopping the clock in 2:03.3 for owner Haley Shepherd of Stratford, with her mother, Clare MacDonald, in the race bike.

P.E.I. Scene

The passing of Jack Bernard recently, at the age of 85, saddened Iisland racing.

A longtime staple of the Charlottetown Driving Park backstretch, Bernard campaigned horses to more than 700 wins in the race bike and trained a number of top Maritime horses. The Charlottetown horseman trained horses like 1998 Maritime champion Brookridgegoldstar, top open trotter Seawind Positano and multiple stakes contenders such as Brookridge Major. Some of Bernard’s other top moments were winning the British Consols trophy as leading driver of Old Home Week 1961 as well as winning the dash title at Fredericton Raceway in New Brunswick. My condolences to the family of this fine gentleman.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 1 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP)

Race 1 – Cabo Pan Lucas

Race 2 – Cheeky Cherry

Race 3 – Perfect Escape

Race 4 – Saulsbrook Lassie

Race 5 – One Tough Nerd

Race 6 – Red Dirt Rocknroll

Race 7 – Woodmere Soul

Race 8 – Magical Mistress

Race 9 – Woodmere Bolt

Race 10 – Therealdeal

Race 11 – Oh To Be Me

Race 12 – Nabber Again

Saturday at 7 p.m. at the CDP

Race 1 – Tobins Terror

Race 2 – Rusty Riley

Race 3 – R Es Shabla

Race 4 – Woodmere Finesse

Race 5 – Woodmere Ideal Art

Race 6 – Bettim Jackie

Race 7 – Sock It Away

Race 8 – Stars Above

Race 9 – Royaltywestho

Race 10 – Sodwana Bay

Race 11 – Flash In The Pang

Race 12 – Czar Seelster


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

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