Part of Sunday afternoon harness racing program
After playing host to the top aged-pacing mares in the Maritimes last Sunday, Summerside Raceway will welcome the region’s top aged horses this week.
The Island Pacing Championship Series comes to Summerside on Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m. The “bearcat pacers” are split into a pair of eliminations, offering a $3,500 purse in each elimination.
Big League (Corey MacPherson), by virtue of his 1:53.4 clocking at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John is the fastest horse in the history of New Brunswick harness racing on a half-mile track, sets up as the favourite in the opening division.
The Jonah Moase-owned and trained star has gone down to defeat on three occasions since his record-setting mile, and looks to get back on track in Summerside on Sunday.
Last week’s top-class winner in Charlottetown, Balanchine (Brodie MacPhee), gets the second-choice call from the morning line. This classy veteran pacer is by far the senior citizen of the field at nine years of age.
The winner of over $762,000 in prize money also made it a milestone victory last week with career win No. 50. I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.
Wild Dragon, the 2013 Governor’s Plate champion, is also in the first elimination. The Dragon will be re-united with Walter Cheverie. The last time these two got together in Summerside it resulted in a winner’s circle appearance.
The hottest horse on Canada’s Eastern Seaboard is All Turain. He has won his last three starts all at the invitational level. All Turain destroyed his competition is Fredericton, N.B., winning by more than six lengths in 1:55. He then shipped over to Truro, N.S., and captured the Johnny Conroy Memorial in 1:54.2.
His recent assault came on Cape Breton Island at Northside Downs in the J.A. Ferguson Memorial, where he tied the track record of 1:54.2, with a closing quarter in 28 seconds flat. He’s definitely the horse to beat!
The second-fastest Island-bred on a half-mile track is Touch of Lightning. The Earl Smith-trainee stopped the clock in 1:53 on Gold Cup and Saucer night, but he hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since that glorified night. He’s a solid little racehorse and the rail will only help.
Local backstretch horse Lucky Encounter (Cheverie) gets a top-three selection from the classifier’s choice. Owned by Foxy Hall Racing, veteran trainer Dale Sobey sends this guy to the gate.
Lucky Encounter won a division of the Premier’s Pace Series right here in Summerside in a dazzling 1:54.4. The only problem is that was back on Aug. 4.
To have this calibre of horses this late in the season at Summerside is a real treat. The second leg of this series is next weekend in Charlottetown, with the final leg lining up on Atlantic Breeders Crown weekend.
The Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale goes in Crapaud on Oct. 11.
I had a chat with event chairman Brian Andrew, and he was telling me that there was only one entry withdrawn from the sale at press time. I am looking forward to providing the pedigrees of the “Future Stars” of harness racing.
Greatest names in golf
I had the great opportunity to meet one of Canada’s greatest names in golf, Bob Weeks, on Thursday at the Driving Park.
Bob is the host of TSN’s Score Golf program, and is on the Island shooting some segments for upcoming shows. Weeks and his camera crew were on the backstretch and in the booth to capture some video displaying some of the other options for a family vacation on P.E.I.
Looking forward to seeing the final production on TSN.
A look at Sunday’s picks:
Best bets – All Turain in Race 11, and Roscoes Child in Race 12.
Long shot possibilities – Megadrive in Race 6, and Narragansett in Race 8.
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.