Rail control could prove to be the path to the winner’s circle in Saturday’s preferred pace at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
The 11-dash Saturday program kicks off at 6 p.m., with Red Magician leaving from Post 1 for driver Adam Merner. Melissa Rennie trains the son of Badlands Hanover for owners Dale and Ronnie Rennie of Elmsdale.
Red Magician is fresh off a third-place finish in this class while pacing in 1:55.3, and both the pacers that defeated him that day are not in this Saturday class.
The $2,350 race is the Aleisha DeRoche Celebration Pace, and Zero Rate is also in the group after dropping out of the Governor’s Plate series in Summerside, and gets Ken Murphy in the bike for trainer Michael Gallant. Rockin Indy is a newcomer to East Coast racing, and gets Post 5 in his debut for driver Walter Cheverie and new owner-trainer Troy Murray of Clyde River.
“Red Magician is racing as well as he ever has just four starts into the season, and should be just about where he wants to be from a conditioning standpoint,” race analyst Les MacIsaac commented. “Rail control will provide him with the opportunity to cut it or sit and stalk, and either of those scenarios could see him get it all.”
Other preferred pace entries are Perfect Escape (driven by Ron Matheson), Give Em Heck (Drew Neill) and Oh To Be Me (Gary Chappell).
The $2,100 Race 7 is in memory of Gary (Prunes) Campbell, and Big Surf rides an undefeated streak into the event. David Dowling picks up the catch-driving call behind Big Surf as the Warren Grove driver is seven wins shy of the 1,000-win plateau.
Dowling will look to add to those totals with Big Surf from Post 3 for trainer Trevor Hicken and owner Perry Burke of Grosse-Ile., Que.
Other top entries include Heart And Soul (Cheverie) and Likely To Win (Merner).
The Saturday program will be part of National Caretakers Appreciation Day. Grooms for each horse will be announced during the post parade and entered for prize draws along with special certificates of recognition.
An evenly-matched field of six will contest Sunday’s top class at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway.
A total of 12 races will be contested, including the Race 11 $2,200 featured event with six entries. The tight knit group has race secretary Gerard Smith giving the advantage to Post 6 entry Mando Fun as the 5-2 morning-line favourite. Norris Rogers is in the bike this week for co-owner and trainer Paul Biggar of Tyne Valley and co-owner Donald Callbeck of Kensington.
Old Buck was awarded the win in his latest start after finishing second, and being placed forward to give him four wins from his last five starts.
The son of Ameripan Gigolo will leave from Post 4 this week for trainer Alan MacDonald, with David Dowling picking up the catch-driving call in the absence of regular pilot Jason Hughes, who is competing in stakes’ action in Nova Scotia.
Race analyst Bo Ford puts his faith in Mando Fun in spite of his post-position disadvantage.
“Mando Fun has had a string of bad luck over his last three or four races and even (Sunday) he draws the outside, but on paper he is still the one to beat,” Ford said.
Other Sunday afternoon featured entries include Offshore Cowboy (driven by Dale Spence), One Tough Nerd (Ken Murphy), Artist List (Adam Merner) and KD Overdrive (Stephen Mason).
The back-up pace has a field of six pacers putting their noses on the gate in Race 9 for an $1,800 purse. Instant Shadow is the morning-line choice from Post 4 for trainer Sifroi Melanson and New Brunswick owners Ultimate Stable of Greater Lakeburn and Robert Kyle of Calhoun.
Ryan DesRoche picks up the drive this week behind Instant Shadow. Other top entries include Salmonier Storm (Ambyr Campbell) and Pictonian Storm (Austin Sorrie).
Sunday’s card, which starts at 1 p.m., is part of National Caretakers Appreciation Day, with grooms for each horse announced during the post parade and entered for prize draws along with special certificates of recognition.
Compiled by Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores