The standardbreds are back in action at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway on Sunday.
The weekend matinee has a post time of 1 p.m., with 11 races on the program.
Painted Desert returns to Summerside trying to do what seems impossible, and that is win back-to-back features. Driver Corey MacPherson moved the veteran pacer first up last week, and it was all over from there. The margin of victory was 2 3/4 lengths in 1:56.3.
Rash B Havior will have another new pilot in this week’s top class – the youngest reinsman in the race, Dale Spence, will grab the lines for the first time. Two weeks ago this horse was a going-away winner in 1:55.2.
The ever-popular Machinthesand is one of the morning-line choices on Sunday. This horse has been a regular in the Summerside feature all season long. His presence in the winner’s circle hasn’t been as frequent this year as in years gone by, however his consistency in podium finishes remains stellar.
Maritime Breeders final
The Charlottetown Driving Park will host the two- and three-year-old trotters in the Maritime Breeders final Saturday. On the two-year-old side, local Summerside colt Windemeredontuworry will lock horns with the Charlottetown backstretch colt Buckaroo.
Not to be outdone is Ticked, the fastest two-year-old trotter on Cape Breton Island. Over in the three-year-old trot final, Pappy GoGo puts his undefeated 2017 campaign on the line.
The two-year-old pacing colts and fillies do battle in Bible Hill, N.S., on Sunday afternoon. These freshmen pacers will be racing for their biggest paycheque of the season. The fillies race for $23,500, with Royalty Westho the favourite.
Half Cut is picked to win the $23,500 final for the pacing colts.
The final stakes’ stop of 2017 will be the Island Breeders finals next month in Charlottetown.
I must take you back all the way to winter racing in Summerside during the late 1970s and early ‘80s in the judges’ stand, where we had a little heater and I do mean little.
I think it ran off propane because the fumes used to be something awful. I don’t know for sure, but it seemed the winters were much colder back then, and believe it or not this heater was vented into the grandstand where patrons were seated.
On the main level of the old grandstand heating devices called salamanders were fired up, and the exhaust was nauseating, but the diehards put up with it.
There were two memorable winter races. The first was Darn Good Rose setting a winter record of 2:05.4, and I believe Wally Dalziel drove for legendary horseman Leith Clark. The second was my old buddy Bernie Doucette driving Vernon Weeks’s trot mare Another Janet to a winter record of 2:06.4.
Getting back to some portable heaters, general manager Bob Dewar and the president of the Prince County Horseman’s Club, Earl Cannon, would occasionally bring a hot toddy to the judges’ stand. But in the beginning I wasn’t old enough to partake . . . wink, wink!
A look at Sunday’s picks:
Best bets – Blu Meadow Willie in Race 2, and Southfield Sassy in Race 8.
Long shot possibilities – Southfield Sue in Race 6, and Darth Bader in Race 11.
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.