After erasing track records across the Maritimes during their two-year-old seasons, the top three-year-old pacing colts on the East Coast were popular winners in the first stakes engagement of the season.
A pair of $10,980 Dawn Bremner Memorial stakes divisions for three-year-old colts and fillies were held at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B., on Monday afternoon with the Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway two-year-old track record holders visiting the winner’s circle in each split.
Sock It Away was the fastest winner as Marc Campbell mapped out a front-end trip for the son of Pang Shui that was finished off with a 1:58.3 clocking for trainer Kevin MacLean and owner Reg MacPherson of Stratford. Tangled Mind (driven by Gilles Barrieau) was second with third going to Moramappo (Stephen Mason).
Half Cut defeated the other $10,980 Bremner division in 2:02 with Mark Bradley at the lines for trainer Tom Weatherbie and owners Kyle Gardiner and Michael Currie of Cardigan, Joseph Gardiner of Mount Stewart and Jerry MacKinnon of St. Peter’s Bay. Second went to Fiftyshadesofgraci (Todd Trites) with Artsleek (Mike Downey) third.
The port city had six dashes on the afternoon card that opened up their season as they are sure to fight horse population issues as they look forward to the rest of 2018.
The stakes trail continues Sunday afternoon at the Summerside Raceway with four $6,000 divisions of the Ruby Chappell stake for three-year-old pacing fillies and five $5,400 Bob Dewar divisions for three-year-old pacing colts. The 13-dash Sunday Summerside card kicks off at 1 P.M.
An Island native scored a career milestone last week in Ontario. Kingston native Anthony MacDonald visited the winner’s circle for the 3,000th time as a driver as he guided Paythelinebluechip to victory in 1:58.4 at Western Fair Raceway in London, Ont.
While the standings are sure to change after Sunday upcoming program, the fact remains that David Dowling emerged from the first card of the season at the Summerside Raceway in a tie for first place amongst drivers. The Warren Grove resident has amassed 12 top three finishes from just 22 drives in 2018 to give him a sparkling .363 driving average. Not counting whatever occurred on the Thursday card, Dowling has only one off-the-board finish from 16 starts since the summer meet opened this season in Charlottetown. A former leading driver at Sudbury Downs in Ontario, the Cornwall native is currently 23 wins shy of 1,000 lifetime victories, a goal that is well within reach this season
Saturday at 6 p.m. at the CDP:
Race 1 – Tobins With You
Race 2 – Smiley Bayama
Race 3 – Darth Bader
Race 4 – Silverinyourpocket
Race 5 – Hunger Pangs
Race 6 – Nogreatmischief
Race 7 – Junebugs Baby
Race 8 – Blacky Black
Race 9 – Czar Seelster
Race 10 – Three Truths
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com.