CHARLOTTETOWN – The 2014 harness racing calendar gets underway with a 13-dash program at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
The horses, which all celebrated their birthday on Jan. 1, will compete over the CDP oval beginning at 1 p.m. Horse Player Interactive players can play the action through the world broadcast at www.redshores.ca.
Pinner, owned by Kevin, Lillian and trainer Brian Ladner of Charlottetown, will go for his seventh win in a row in the afternoon’s top class in Race 12. Marc Campbell will put the son of Mach Three into Post 5 against 3-1 shot Camcun (Kenny Arsenault), and trainer Troy Murray of Clyde River lists Brodie MacPhee to drive McJestic from the four-hole.
The five-year-old gelding, established at 7-2 odds on the morning line, has been racing sharp, with four top-three finishes in his last five outings. If Campbell decides to deploy front-end tactics with Pinner, it could be over early.
The field is loaded with talent as McMaverick has drawn the rail for Ken Murphy and Doll R General (Mark McKinnon) starting from Post 2. Stayoutofmyaffair, (Gary Chappell), PC Shockwave (Brian MacPhee) and Campbest Kisser (Jason Hughes) will maneuver from the outside, and Panacotta (Blaine Baglole) leaves from the back tier Post 9.
In other action, Zip the Lip will attempt to re-establish his winning form in the open trot for trainer Don Sweet and his co-owner Orville Willis of O’Leary. The trotter was riding a winning streak when he made a break in his last start due to broken equipment, ending his victory run at four. Regular driver Brian MacPhee will handle the driving assignment.
The race features some tough competitors, with open-trot specialist Abundaspin (Harold Shepherd) and Caliban Hanover (Ron Gass) gunning for their first score of the new campaign. This will be Abundaspin’s last year of racing after turning 14 on Jan. 1.
The lineup also includes Tender N Kind (Steven Shepherd), Buckling Banbury (Corey MacPherson), Honeymoonisover (Brian Andrew) and Who Took That (Michael McGuigan).
The trot challenge competition, presented by Johnston’s Salads and Keybrand Foods Inc., came to a close on New Year’s Eve. Walter Cheverie was crowned the winner with 173 points. Ron Gass was second with 160. Willie Murphy was third with 156 while Brian MacPhee moved into fourth with 152 points after his successful run with Zip the Lip put him into contention.
The drivers are rated on a 10-7-5 point system for a 1-2-3 finish with trotters in Charlottetown. Cheverie will be presented with the hardware at the upcoming awards dinner by the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association.