Summerside, Charlottetown feature 13-dash programs
Harness racing continues at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway on Sunday, with a matinee post time of 1 p.m.
The horse population continues to expand on the Island as 13 races are scheduled in Charlottetown on Saturday, and we come right back with another 3 in Summerside on Sunday.
The finals of the Maritime Breeders for both the three-year-old pacing colts and fillies will be contested in Charlottetown. I was a little disappointed at the low purse for the finals ‚Äď the colts go for $18,000and change, and the fillies chase $22,000.
Although this may seem like it is pretty good money, I‚Äôve seen these events go for considerably more money in the past.
Lovineveryminute (Todd Walsh) was superb in her elimination last week, coasting home in 1:55.4. That winning effort was just three-fifths of a second from the track record currently held by a trio of fillies.
The Earl Watts-trainee was in complete control at the end of last week‚Äôs elimination, and is a major threat to rewrite the record books.
Dumas Walker (Myles Heffernan) continued his dominance in the colt rankings. This colt front-ended his rivals, and put away a serious threat at the three-quarter pole to advance to Saturday‚Äôs final.
The fastest aged-pacing horses on Canada‚Äôs East Coast are also in Charlottetown for the Cecil Ladner Memorial final.
Two invaders from the United States were impressive in last week‚Äôs eliminations. One of those horses from south of the border is Art of Illusion. This horse left on the grandstand side (Post 8), and went right to the front and never looked back en route to a 1:54.1 victory ‚Äď the fastest in the Maritimes this year. He snapped All Turain‚Äôs 10-race winning streak to boot.
The Sunday feature at Summerside in Race 11 is a combination of claimer and conditioned entries vying for the lion‚Äôs share of the $1,900 purse.
Ultimate Luck (Kenny Arsenault) is the 5-2 morning-line favourite from Post 5. He has had only two starts this season, finishing on the board on both occasions. He paced in 1:59.2 last week on a track rated three seconds off.
Jeff Ferrish‚Äôs Lucky Encounter (Norris Rogers) drew an outside post (No. 7) in Sunday‚Äôs top class. This horse was super fast last year in Summerside, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. Although it‚Äôs early in the season, this fella should be rounding into form, and a win on Sunday would not be a surprise.
Island harness racing lost a stalwart member this week with the passing of Donnie Gillis from Miscouche.
Two of my favourite horses as a kid were Rock Leader and Super Spirit. Back then the ‚Äúcatch-driver‚ÄĚ wasn‚Äôt‚Äô even a factor because a high percentage of race participants owned, trained and drove their own horses. Mr. Gillis was no exception.
These two horses were Wednesday night regulars at the local oval, and Donnie would be ‚Äúsitting up.‚ÄĚ
Quite a while ago matinee races were held on a regular basis at the Gillis track in Miscouche with crowds galore.
To Della and all of Donnie‚Äôs family, I extend my sincere condolences to one of the ‚ÄúRock Solid‚ÄĚ guys of Island harness racing.
A look at Sunday‚Äôs picks:
Best bets ‚Äď Smackwaterjack in Race 3, and Elm Grove Future in Race 5.
Long shot possibilities ‚Äď Deweykandoit in Race 4, and Carrera Angel in Race 9.
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.