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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Island horses win across the Maritimes

Sock It Away, with Marc Campbell in the bike, leads the pack to the finish line Wednesday at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Sock It Away won the Atlantic Sire Stakes two-year-old colts A division in 1:58.4.
Sock It Away, with Marc Campbell in the bike, leads the pack to the finish line earlier this season at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Sock It Away won the Atlantic Sire Stakes two-year-old colts A division in 1:58.4. - Jason Malloy

Sock It Away, Half Cut, Elm Grove Mistress all pick up key victories

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Perfection is an almost impossible feat to achieve but that is what Sock It Away has done during the 2018 season.

Owned by Reg MacPherson of Stratford, Sock It Away won his 11th straight race Sunday afternoon at Inverness Raceway in Nova Scotia. With a first-over brush, Sock It Away drew clear by three lengths in 1:57.1 in his $10,420 Atlantic Sires Stakes A division for three-year-old pacing colts for driver Marc Campbell and trainer Kevin MacLean. The win bolstered the son of Pang Shui’s seasonal bankroll to more than $54,000.

An Island horse also won the other $10,320 Atlantic Sires Stakes A division on the day as Half Cut was a 1:57.4 winner for driver Mark Bradley and trainer Tom Weatherbie. It was the first sophomore Atlantic Sires victory for Half Cut, who won the Atlantic Breeder’s Crown as a two-year-old. The Stonebridge Terror pacer is owned by Kyle Gardiner and Mike Currie of Cardigan, Joseph Gardiner of Mount Stewart and Jerry MacKinnon of St. Peters Bay.

On the pacing filly side, the Maritimer stake was held at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B., Saturday as Island-owned Elm Grove Mistress won the $17,780 race. Campbell drove the filly to a first-over 1:59.2 score over Tobins Terror (Gary Chappell) and third-place Woodmere Wyldstyle (Todd Trites) to complete the Island-owned triactor. Larry and Kathy Chappell of Marshfield hold the ownership papers for Elm Grove Mistress.
The stakes trail continues for the three-year-old pacing colts this Saturday afternoon at Northside Downs in Nova Scotia with a pair of $10,020 A divisions. Sock It Away is favoured in his division with Danny Romo picking up the catch drive while Half Cut is the morning-line choice in the other division.

Sunday afternoon at Inverness Raceway will see the Atlantic Sires Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts along with the Nova Scotia Stake for two-year-old pacing fillies.

P.E.I. Scene

The P.E.I. Matinee Circuit was in full swing Sunday afternoon at Kensington Raceway. The Prince County half-mile track played host to eight dashes for points for the matinee finals set for Sept. 16 at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway.

The afternoon card saw a new track trotting record set as Majian Chester and driver Jim Ripley toured the oval in 2:03.3. Ripley trucked in from Amherst, N.S., for the program and he was not alone from the mainland. Ryder Rennison, 18, of Truro, N.S., took his own Electric Syl over and steered him to victory in the top event of the day. While Gregory Francis of Windsor, N.S., and Clayton Stevens of Pugwash, N.S., were also participants on the program.

The matinee circuit has been a training ground for young horse people for generations on P.E.I., with some of the top drivers in the sport getting their start at the rural tracks.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 6 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park:

Race 1 – Don’t Be A Hero

Race 2 – Desired Treasure

Race 3 – Howmacs Dragonator

Race 4 – Fly With Max

Race 5 – Twin B Shadow

Race 6 – Shaker Maker

Race 7 – Sodwana Bay

Race 8 – Just A Professor

Race 9 – Mick Dundee

Race 10 – Thegreatmaelstrom

Race 11 – Likely To Win

Race 12 – Traces Of Purple


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

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