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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Pacers racing in Nova Scotia

No. 1, Red Dirt Boomer, in a photo-finish win timed in 155.4, edged out Purple Poet (5) and Notorious (4). KYLE BURTON PHOTO
Red Dirt Boomer, right, in a photo-finish win timed in 1:55.4, edged out Purple Poet, centre, and Notorious, left, at Truro Raceway in Nova Scotia. KYLE BURTON PHOTO - Contributed

Lisburn, Woodmere Ideal Art and Euchred compete in Saturday’s finale in Charlottetown


With the 85th anniversary of the P.E.I. Colt Stakes in the books, the Maritime stakes trail continues this week with stops across Nova Scotia.

The P.E.I. Colt Stakes, Canada’s oldest Standardbred Stakes race, headlined a massive 27-dash presentation Saturday at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP). Now the top two- and three-year-old pacers will meet in Nova Scotia.

Friday, they are at Truro Raceway, Saturday at Northside Downs in North Sydney and Sunday at Inverness Raceway. To top it all off, a field of hard-hitting invitational pacers meet Saturday evening at the CDP.

Friday night at Truro Raceway features the Donnie and George Turner memorial for three-year-old pacers with four $7,367 divisions.
Top three-year-old fillies Woodmere Tango (Clare MacDonald) and Woodmere Oleksiak (David Dowling) headline the first division. Maritime champion Notorious, co-owned by Winsloe residents Darryl and Gordon MacLean, are top choice from Post 6 in the second split. Trainer-driver Marc Campbell is also favoured in the third division with Arc Light from Post 5 and the final split will see divisional leader Red Dirt Boomer (Gilles Barrieau) control the rail in a field of seven.

Saturday afternoon a compact field of five, two-year-old pacing colts will contest a massive $16,360 purse in the Atlantic Sires Stakes at Northside Downs. Woodmere Rollnpop (MacDonald) has the rail against the Melissa Rennie-trained duo of Windemere Ryan (Adam Merner) and The Big Chase (Ryan Campbell). Harry G (Paul Langille) has Post 4 with Tobins Rebel (Barrieau) completing the field.
This season has seen a number of oddities across divisions with large purses at play for small fields. A horse shortage is not the cause of this, but rather a number of mitigating reasons are why the majority of two-year-olds did not make the races this year, perhaps an even greater number not making the track than ever before.
The nice purse at stake with only five entries is a perfect example as well as the high jackpots at play for the two-year-old trotters all season.

Saturday night has a 12-dash presentation in Charlottetown at 6 p.m. with a $4,000 invitational dash in the finale. Lisburn has rail control for Kenny Arsenault against a real nice field including Woodmere Ideal Art (David Dowling) and Euchred (Mike McGuigan).

Sunday features the Nova Scotia stake for two-year-old pacing fillies at Inverness Raceway.

U.S. Scene

Hysteria has been on a roll since relocating to the U.S. with four straight wins for his ownership group that includes Stratford resident Billy MacKinnon. The three-year-old son of Shadow Play was managed on P.E.I. by Charlottetown’s Michael Gallant and now finds himself in the Jenn Bongiorno stable. The colt has won all four of contests at Yonkers Raceway in New York and has amassed US$35,000 in earnings since his first start there on Aug. 19.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 6 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park:
Race 1 – Culpepper

Race 2 – Red Dirt Fulofhart

Race 3 – Here Comes Red

Race 4 – Dusty Lane Cortez

Race 5 – Zero Rate

Race 6 – Bank Of Dad

Race 7 – Screen Test

Race 8 – Creepin

Race 9 – Sodwana Bay

Race 10 – Silverhill Buddy

Race 11 – Forever Paradise

Race 12 - Lisburn

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

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