Dieppe, N.B., native Gilles Barrieau engineered the winning trip of 1:53.2 over a track rated two seconds off in the $60,000 East Coast classic while paying $22 to win on a $2 bet as Shadow Place was the second longest shot on the infield tote board.
The win put together an Atlantic Canadian superfecta with the horse co-owned in Newfoundland and Labrador, bred by a Nova Scotia resident, while the driver and horse were both born in New Brunswick. To add some Island flavour and complete the region, Shadow Place’s sire, Shadow Play, was broke, trained and co-owned on P.E.I. during his career.
Kyle Fellows of Ontario trains and co-owns the six-year-old son of Shadow Player with co-owner Carl Stafford of Conception Bay South, N.L.
Barrieau, having previously won the Gold Cup and Saucer in 1997, 2000 and 2002, is now in second place amongst drivers behind Mr. Gold Cup and Saucer Mike MacDonald, who won five times.
“This is the best one yet because I wasn’t supposed to win it,” Barrieau said. “They were all supposed to win and this horse was supposed to be fourth or third or maybe even second. I’m so happy for the connections.”
In Saturday’s night final, Sapphire City (driven by Anthony MacDonald) left hard from Post 2 to secure the early lead but released fellow Ron Burke-trainee Always At My Place (Marc Campbell) to the front through a quarter of 27.1. Always At My Place was crowned the heavy favourite after defending Gold Cup and Saucer champion Ys Lotus was scratched earlier in the day, leading Campbell to missionize on the front end by open lengths through a half-mile in 54.3 and three-quarters of 1:24.1 with Shadow Place sitting fifth and still over seven lengths back going to the third station. That is when Barrieau saw his opportunity to hit the winner’s circle as he unleashed a final quarter of 27.4 on the rainy night to win by one-length.
Always At My Place finished second with Arque Hanover (Marcus Miller) finishing third to complete the $242 triactor.
“I figured with (Ys Lotus) scratched, Marc was the best and it looked that way too,” Barrieau said Sunday in the winner’s circle. “I was quite a ways back going up the backstretch and I said ‘Well I may be second now.’ I still had quite a bit of horse left. He was pacing hard and Marc’s horse’s steps were getting shorter and shorter and I said, ‘Holy, I’m going to win this race.’
“Marc had to use his to get there. It’s not his fault, when you get one rolling it is hard to get it backed off. And that’s what I hoped for, if it was going to be a big half I was going to pick up some pieces. That’s the only reason I won this.”
Fellows, who was making his first Gold Cup and Saucer appearance, was delighted by the pageantry of the complete darkness with the horses introduced under the spotlight one-by-one.
“It’s a one-off race,” he said. “There is no other race in North America that does this. For everyone from the East Coast this race is a big deal for them. I can’t say it isn’t a big deal for me because it is, but it means so much for them because they have watched it their whole lives.”
Fellows was surprised with the result but knew his horse was in top form going into the race.
“Realistically, we were expecting to be second or third. With half-mile racing it is all about the trip and, obviously, we are very happy with the outcome. I thought Always At My Place was a lock after how he raced in the trials and Ys Lotus is a very good horse as well, so (with Ys Lotus scratched) that helped. But I thought any horse in this race, with the right trip, had a shot to win. Gilles managed him great. He used him at the right time. Everything went our way.”
Crombie A finished fourth with Louis Philippe Roy picking up the drive at Gary Chappell’s request after Ys Lotus was scratched.
A look at the horses in the Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer.
Horse Driver Time
1. Shadow Place Gilles Barrieau 1:53.2
2. Always At My Place Marc Campbell 1:53.3
3. Arque Hanover Marcus Miller 1:54
4. Crombie A Louis Philippe Roy 1:55
5. Do Over Hanover Jason Hughes 1:55
6. Sportslightning Brett MacDonald 1:55.2
7. Sapphire City Anthony MacDonald N/A