The second elimination of the 2014 Governor’s Plate goes at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway on Monday.
The $5,000 invitational pace will go in Race 11 of the 11-dash harness racing program, held in conjunction with the Summerside Lobster Festival. Post time is 7 p.m.
The top four finishers will join the top four finishers from Sunday’s first elimination in the $25,000 Governor’s Plate, sponsored by Summerside Chrysler Dodge, on Saturday, July 19. This will be the 46th running of Prince County’s most prestigious standardbred race.
Now, here’s a look at my “pretenders and contenders” column for the second elimination:
Blissfull Bro has the coveted rail, and is a recent member of the Summerside backstretch. This horse had a phenomenal 2013 campaign, earning over $86,000, but then soundness issues put a damper on his career.
Todd Trites is the newest member of the 2,000-win club, and will catch-drive Bro. What a difference a year makes. He’s a pretender.
Judge Jon scores from Post 2, and is also relatively new to the Island. He did get a win over a sloppy track in Charlottetown with a three-second variant in 2:00.2. Regular reinsman Mike Stevenson is in the sulky, but I don’t think that will be enough. He’s a pretender.
If you are a follower of this column, I told you not long ago that Rocky Schurman’s Carrera Angel was having a stellar meet, and may be pointed to his first Plate appearance.
Well, here he is. Angel is the senior statesmen of the field at nine years of age. However, he paced to a new 1:56.4 record last month. This elimination will be the ride of Rocky’s life. But he’s a pretender.
Astor, the only sub-1:50 winner from the two eliminations, leaves from Post 4. He will be Foxy Hall Racing’s second entry in this year’s Governors Plate eliminations.
He dusted the Mohawk Racetrack last year in 1:49.4, earning in excess of $60,000. He has two going-away victories in Charlottetown for Jason Hughes, and has paced in 1:54 over the capital city track. He’s a contender.
P.E.I. harness racing stalwart Jim O’Halloran will trek to Summerside from Montague, hoping Cheyenne Ford makes the final. The ultra-talented Kenny Arsenault trains and drives another newcomer to the Island.
This horse was simply awesome winning in 1:55.1, with a 28.2 finishing quarter. Post position played a role in his next start. It will take a crafty drive, but Kenny can supply it. He’s a contender.
Russell and Karen Noonan joined the ownership ranks last year, and found a good one named Machinthesand. The 1:55 winner last month in a division of the Ladner had also won in 1:56 the previous start. Marc Campbell will be sulky-sitting. He’s a contender.
The Walter Dale, the Ladner and three consecutive top-class wins in six starts has All Turain listed as the morning-line favourite. He set the track record in Fredericton, scorching the half-mile track that features tight turns in 1:54.
Brodie MacPhee has won all of his races in 2014 with the Lee and Trevor Hicken horse. Last fall, he shocked the stopwatch in winning in a career best at Charlottetown in 1:52.2. A repeat performance would put him in the record books. He’s a contender.
Free-legged (no hopples) pacer Perfect Escape leaves on the outside (Post 8). Jack Keenan has found himself another nice racehorse for P.E.I. Another top-notch Maritime driver, Walter Cheverie, will drive him for the first time.
The horse is winless this year, and I don’t see him breaking through on Monday. He’s a pretender.
No disrespect intended
Again, I really mean no disrespect to my colleagues or their horses. I created this column of “pretender and contenders” a few years ago, and you have no idea of the tremendous response – one way or another – year after year. Good luck to everyone!
Atlantic Sires Stakes
The Atlantic Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings are also featured on Monday’s card. The ‘A’ Division colts go for a whopping $13,600.
A look at Monday’s picks:
Best bets – Ross Melvino in Race 3, and All Turain in Race 12.
Long shot possibilities – Incredable Mike in Race 1, and Mappos Moenhay in Race 8.
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.