The standardbreds are back in historic Summerside on Sunday.
Post time at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway is 1 p.m., with the open trotters making their way to Prince County.
Last week’s opening day was a huge success as the track was primed for some fired-up finishes, with more than respectable times for the first event of the season.
Veteran Cornwall horseman Ronnie Gass has three of the five open trotters entered in the Sunday feature.
Gass has been a main stay at Summerside Raceway for a long time, and has elected to drive Neal on Sunday. I had no idea the credentials of this horse until he came out of retirement to win in Charlottetown last week.
The handsome son of Credit Winner only raced as a two-year-old, winning in 1:54 and change, banking just under $300,000. I don't know the particulars of his early exit from the racing scene to stand stud, but if his comeback victory is any indication of what's to come, be prepared for a track record shot in the not so distant future.
The ageless wonder Abundanspin arrives in Summerside riding a three-race winning streak. The 76-lifetime winner makes him the winningest trotter to ever set a hoof on Island soil. He currently ships into Summerside as the trotter of the year in Charlottetown.
The former track record holder in Summerside is just simply something to watch. You would never know that this is his final year of parimutuel racing as he has arrived at the mandatory retirement age of 14. Regular pilot Harold Shepherd also trains this winner of almost half a million dollars.
Caliban Hanover will be reunited with driver Corey MacPherson for the Sunday contest. It was hard for Gass to step aside on this horse because lifetime friend Wendell MacDonald holds the ownership papers.
Caliban has won 38 lifetime races, and MacPherson has been in the sulky for many of them en route to this horse being a former P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association aged trotter of the year.
There's a mare in Sunday’s open trot, who has just recently came out of retirement by the name of Pleasure Girls. She's been away from the races since her Ontario Sire Stakes’ campaign.
This mare won in 1:56.1, and banked $150,000 during her two- and three-year-old seasons. Gass also had to give way to a catch-driver, and on this one Gass's daughter Shelley is the owner. Decisions, decisions!
You can't argue this decision to contract one of the Maritimes’ finest catch-drivers in Walter Cheverie.
Lyrical Lindy (Gilles Barrieau) was awarded the rail position, and from my corner she is just a "fill in.” She had a solid qualifier by herself, trotting a quarter in 29 and change on the end of the mile.
However, without Lyrical Lindy, we wouldn’t have had the chance to see the open trotters. So it's a thumbs-up to trainer Blaine McKenna and his connections for their sacrifice on Sunday.
Historians around Summerside Raceway can remember Andy Perry as a member of "The Big Five" who owned the track back in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Andy's daughter Marie Cameron, of Gentleman Jim's fame, got back in the harness racing game after claiming Sterling Seelster in Charlottetown. Marie went right back to her harness racing roots as her father and late husband Cam Cameron had horses with the late James (Roach) MacGregor.
Marie contracted Roach's son Doug MacGregor as her trainer. The results were not the best in her first start; the horse made a break behind the gate.
To Marie and her connections, I hope the results are much better this week, and welcome back!
A look at Sunday’s picks:
Best bets – Carrera Angel in Race 6, and Dusty Lane Dora in Race 7.
Long shot possibilities – Bloomins Last in Race 5, and Isle Of Palms in Race 4.
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.