CHARLOTTETOWN – It's time for Dirt Track Momma to defend her Spud Island Classic title.
Presented by the P.E.I. Potato Board, the first leg of the Old Home Week Open Mares Series starts Saturday at Red Shores Charlottetown. Post time is 6 p.m.
Last year, Momma headed into the series on a three-race winning streak, and swept both legs and won the final on Gold Cup night in a blistering 1:54.2.
In Race 7 on Saturday night, she'll look to get her season on track from Post 7 for owner-trainer Jonah Moase. Marc Campbell will do the driving against six other rivals.
J K Special has been dubbed the morning-line favourite for owner Joe Smallwood and regular driver Walter Cheverie. A familiar face over the past four years, the nine-year-old daughter of Cammibest will control her fate from Post 2.
In the second division of the Spud Island, For All We Know comes in supporting the same summary – three straight victories – as Dirt Track Momma did last year.
Owned by Bruce Wood, the seven-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover will look to extend her streak to four from Post 5. Gilles Barrieau will make the trek from Saint John, N.B., to drive for Jackie Matheson.
A newcomer to P.E.I., Russian Kisses, will be right next door at Post 6. The four-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover shows consistent miles of 1:54 and change over Grand River’s half-mile track for owners Robert Shepherd, Joseph Travis and Forrest Bartlett.
Shepherd has handed the driving duties over to brother Steven, and father Harold is the trainer.
Bunny Mach, Winner Panic, Miracleonthehudson, Icandothat and Silky Britches round out the field.
A pair of earlier driver-trainer combinations pair up and do battle in the third and final division. Gate-chaser Andro Madi has been listed the morning-line choice for Campbell and Moase.
The winner of 23 races lifetime has drawn Post 4. Two-time Spud Island Classic champion General LuckyPercy will be one spot closer to the rail – Post 3 – for Barrieau and Matheson.
Stayoutofmyaffair, last year's Atlantic aged mare champion, has drawn the outside Post 7 for owner Robi Hughes. Brother Jason handles the training and driving on the winner of 30 lifetime victories.
Red Magician will look to extend his winning streak to three races in the Race 12 feature.
The chestnut gelding picked up his first win on red soil last week in 2:00 over a rain-soaked oval. Owned by Dale and Ronnie Rennie, Ken Murphy will do the driving from Post 7.
Every Day will look to return trainer Rachel Andrew back to the winner’s circle for the second time of her career from Post 4. In his last start, Every Day picked up Andrews’s first lifetime training victory. Brian Andrew will do the driving.
Tempo Seelster, Panacotta, Van Zant, Balanchine, Capitalism and Nobestbfor round out the power-packed lineup.
Hurrah 4 Island Charities
Hurrah 4 Island Charities is back Saturday night in Race 10. With August now upon us, Hurrah's earning for this month will be donated to Special Olympics P.E.I. Mark Bradley will do the training and driving.
For the month of July, Hurrah raised $1,000 for the 4-H club of P.E.I., and the cheque presentation will be made after the second race.
The evening’s trot race goes in Race 3. Scarlet Patti and trainer-driver Darryl MacLean will have to overcome Post 7 if they are going to put together back-to-back victories for owner Gordon MacLean.
The battle for the top driver at Red Shores Charlottetown is heating up. Hughes currently sits on top of the leader board with 45 victories. Defending-champion Campbell is only two wins behind at 43.
The battle is sure to catch fire next week during the 16 cards of racing for Old Home Week.