The two-year-old pacing fillies and colts are front and centre as live harness racing returns to Summerside on Wednesday.
The Lady Slipper Stakes have five divisions – three grassroots and two gold. The grassroots will each carry a purse of $5,800, and the gold series has a hefty $11,700 on the line.
The O’Brien Stake is divided into an even split of two grassroots – $6,900 purses – and two gold divisions – $10,800 purses.
Post time for the 14-dash card is set for 6:30 p.m.
The Lady Slipper
The first Lady Slipper Gold Division is full of talent, with half-a-dozen fillies combining for over $55,000 in purses already in 2014.
Woodmere Dancenart (Clare MacDonald) has won four of her five starts this year, and has a sub-two-minute record of 1:58.3 last week at Old Home Week. This is a very talented filly that loves to finish her miles, showing every closing quarter better than 30 seconds. She even shows a closing panel in 27.3 seconds over Inverness, making her the odds-on-favourite in her division.
The Powerhouse Downey Stable out of Saint John, N.B., has the morning-line favourite in the second Gold Division. Jann Down (Gilles Barrieau) comes to Summerside on a three-race winning streak after a front-end triumph at Charlottetown in 1:59.1. The homebred Articulator filly has not been worse than second to start her career.
Danny Romo’s BNG’s Express checks in as the 5-2 favourite in the opening O’Brien Gold Division. The colt is winless in three starts, but has a pair of seconds to his credit. He was a hard-closing second last week, pacing in 1:59.4.
In the other O’Brien Gold Division, Jack Reacher is the fastest two-year-old on the East Coast, after winning in 1:58.4 at Old Home Week. The No Pan Intended colt was ultra-impressive for driver Kenny Murphy, whose father Cliff handles the training duties.
Old Home Week
Charlottetown’s make-or-break week was everything it was hyped up to be. The racing was spectacular, with representation from all four Atlantic Provinces and other parts north and south of the border.
I was speaking with Micheal MacKinnon, the manager of both Red Shores locations on P.E.I. during a break on Cup and Saucer night, and he informed me that the parimutuel handle was down but the building itself – meaning racino, food, beverages and souvenirs – were up significantly to balance things out and make for a successful week.
I can’t thank the management team – MacKinnon, Adam Walsh, Lee Drake and Heidi Duchane – enough for giving me some breaks the latter part of the week. Believe me, it enabled me to survive the week.
Everyone that I have been in contact with has praised the addition of Ken Warkentin to our Old Home Week show. Warkentin’s expert analysis and race call brought more expertise to the highly respected Race Day Show.
My colleagues like to refer to myself as the most experienced announcer of Old Home Week. The truth is that I’m now the oldest announcer in the history of the great event. It certainly is not the same as it was 15 or 20 years ago, and my style of race calling does take its toll by week’s end. To the Red Shores management team, thank you so much!
Gold Cup and Saucer
The big race didn’t go as I thought it might go. The outcome had trainer Rene Allard capture his first Gold Cup and Saucer title.
Allard caught Gold Cup fever in 2009, and found its cure Saturday night. Bigtown Hero gave Newfoundland’s Brad Forward the biggest win of his stellar driving career. This team went right to the track record of 1:50.4 in less-than-ideal conditions.
A look at Wednesday’s picks:
Best bets – Jann Down in Race 8, and Jack Reacher in Race 12.
Long shot possibilities – Camco Titan in Race 10, and Athletic Putnam in Race 14.
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.