Avatar J and Rose Run Quest came to race on Sunday afternoon.
Both jumped out to the lead off the starts and never looked back en route to winning Sunday afternoon’s two $5,000 Governor’s Plate eliminations at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway.
The Danny MacDonald-trained Avatar J, owned by Dean Larkin of Edwards, Ont., and Jody Sanderson of Cornwall, won the first elimination in Race 9 in 1:53. Avatar J left from Post 2 and cut out fractions of 27.2, 56 and 1:24.
“I had a hard time getting (to the front),” said winning driver Gilles Barrieau. “He's not one to bust the gate well, but as soon as he got there I knew (he was going to be strong).
“Post position means a lot, too. Going into the race, I felt pretty confident that he would probably beat them or come close to beating them. As soon as I got to the front and control, he felt really good.”
Screen Dance (Corey MacPherson), Time To Dance (Marc Campbell) and Mantario (Kenny Arsenault) also qualified for Saturday’s 52nd edition of the Governor’s Plate in Summerside, which will feature a $25,000 purse. The top-four finishers in each elimination advance to the Plate final.
Barrieau described Avatar J, a six-year-old bay horse, as very versatile and noted he's tough to catch when he gets to the front.
“I felt pretty confident and he was good and strong at the end,” said Barrieau. “That’s a pretty good mile with the headwind and it was not that warm.”
Defending Governor’s Plate-champion Rose Run Quest, owned by Blair Hansen of Charlottetown, cut fractions of 28.2, 57.2 and 1:26.3 en route to a 1:54.2 victory in the second elimination in Race 10.
“It’s nice to get into the final without having to work too hard,” said winning driver and trainer Marc Campbell. “I knew where Simple Kinda Man was and when I saw him tip up the backstretch I asked Quest to go a little bit and he responded well.
“He had a little allergy issue earlier in the year and we think we have that figured out now. Hopefully, we draw good in the final and he will be heard from.”
Simple Kinda Man (Jason Hughes), Hes Marvalous (Myles Heffernan Sr.) and Bugsy Maguire (Brodie MacPhee) also advanced to the final.
Campbell feels Rose Run Quest can go faster.
"At the wire, he’s always kind of waiting for somebody, but he shot home the way he was supposed to do and knew he was winning,” said Campbell. “I drove (second-place finisher) Simple Kinda Man and I know what kind of horse he is. I knew he was a threat.”
Campbell, who drove Time To Dance to a show position in the first elimination, said “it’s pretty cool” to have two horses that he trains racing in the final. He said he will likely wait until the draw for the Governor’s Plate race on Tuesday evening before deciding which horse he’ll drive.
“There are always decisions in this game,” said Campbell. “Like Paul Gray, who owns Arc Light said, when you have a couple in top classes it’s a good decision to have and it means you have some nice horses in your barn.”
The Governor’s Plate eliminations and final are presented by Summerside Chrysler Dodge.
A look at the horses who qualified for Saturday’s Governor’s Plate.
Time To Dance
Rose Run Quest
Simple Kinda Man
Harness racing results from Sunday at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway.
Race 1 – Scotlynn Seelster (T. Doyle) 4.80 2.30 2.10; Passion N Pearls (M. Campbell) 3.40 2.50; Maliciousdelicious (M. Heffernan) 2.10.
Times: 30.1, 100.3, 131.1, 159.4. Also ran: Windemere Arts, Cool Westward. Winning horse owned by Ryan Williams, Matthew and Jordan MacKay, P.E.I. Exactor 2-3 $9.90; Triactor 2-3-1 $42.50; Superfecta 2-3-1-4 $29.95.
Race 2 – Cougar Girl (A. Merner) 4.10 2.10 2.20; Cinder Angelina (J. Hughes) 2.30 2.30; Shes A Lover (R. Chappell) 5.20.
Times: 30.1, 100.4, 130.4, 200.1 Also ran: Southfield Sue, Private Dancer, Hurricane E J. Winning horse owned by Heather MacDonald, P.E.I. Exactor 3-6 $11.20; Triactor 3-6-2 $43.10; Superfecta 3-6-2-1 $31.75; DD 2-3 $10.
Race 3 – Rest Assured (G. Barrieau) 11.30 5.80 4.60; Southfield Sue (D. Dowling) 3.80 2.50; Cowboy Logic (S. Shepherd) 4.90
Times: 28.1, 58.2, 127.2, 156.2 Also ran: Woodmere Rollex, Magical Maddys Boy, Bigmachwithcheese, Elm Grove onthego, W C Little Willie Winning horse owned by Marsha Knox-Kyla and Wade MacDonald, P.E.I. Exactor 4-3 $24.60; Triactor 4-3-7 $99.20; Superfecta 4-3-7-6 $132.05.
Race 4 – Mall Cop (K. Arsenault)3.60 2.90 2.10; Overbearing (R. Laffin) 4.00 2.90; J K Cowboy (D. Spence) 4.10.
Times: 29.0, 59.0, 128.0, 158.2. Also ran: Desired Treasure, Flowersonathebeach, The Ironman. Winning horse owned by Tammy Johnston, P.E.I. Exactor 4-3 $33.60; Triactor 4-3-6 $60; Superfecta 4-3-6-1 $111.95.
Race 5 – Howmac Magic (C. MacPherson) 4.70 2.50 2.30; Confident Fella (M. Campbell) 2.90 2.20; Bowyer Hanover (D. Wallace) 8.50.
Times: 28.0, 57.2, 128.2, 158.2. Also ran: Navy Pilot Hanover, Artsleek, Lil Beau Duke, Sharks Play. Winning horse owned by Paul Biggar and Frank Banks, P.E.I. Exactor 6-1 $58; Triactor 6-1-3 $57.40; Superfecta 6-1-3-5 $122.81.
Race 6 – Mando Fun (D. Dowling) 2.20 2.20 2.10; Melanies Magic (D. Spence) 3.70 2.30; Instant Shadow (R. Laffin) 2.60.
Times: 29.0, 59.4, 128.2, 157.4. Also ran: Vegas Rich, Machinthesand, Big Surf, Mittcent Van Gogh. Winning horse owned by Valleygrove Farms, Brittany Watts, Alex Quinn and Brad MacPherson, P.E.I. Exactor 2-6 $7.50; Triactor 2-6-1 $32.10; Superfecta 2-6-1-3 $65.75.
Race 7 – Arc Light (M. Campbell) 4.60 3.00 2.10; Woodmere Chella (D. Dowling) 3.90 2.90; Dreamfair Zenfire (A. Merner) 3.40.
Times: 28.0, 57.1, 126.1, 154.3. Also ran: Berezzled, Falls Creek, Lyoins Jennielee. Winning horse owned by Grayland Farms, Nova Scotia. Exactor 3-2 $16; Triactor 3-2-1 $17.20; Superfecta 3-2-1-5 $12.80.
Race 8 – Harbourlite Jerry (S. Shepard) 7.00 3.70 2.60; Likely to Win (A. Merner) 3.50 2.70; Kingofbrokenhearts (M. Campbell) 2.90.
Times: 29.1, 59.0, 128.1, 157.3. Also ran:Adventure Luck, Phil Dorleans, Sports Royalty, Slide Guitar. Winning horse owned by Ralph Jardine, Ontario. Exactor 5-1 $23.90; Triactor 5-1-3 $101.60; Superfecta 5-1-3-2 $201.75.
Race 9 – Avatar J (G. Barrieau) 2.70 2.20 2.10; Screen Test (C. MacPherson) 4.90 2.80; Time to Dance (M. Campbell) 3.30.
Times: 27.2, 56.0, 124.0,153. Also ran: Mantario, Soccer Hanover, Euchred, Shadow of a Daut, Woodmere Ideal Art. Winning horse owned by Dean Larkin, Ontario; and Jody Sanderson, P.E.I. Exactor 2-5 $6.30; Triactor 2-5-6 $24.20; Superfecta 2-5-6-1 $78.30.
Race 10 – Rose Run Quest (M. Campbell) 3.50 2.60 2.50; Simple Kinda Man (J. Hughes) 2.80 3.30; Hes Marvalous (M. Heffernan) 17.60.
Times: 28.2, 57.2, 126.3, 154.2. Also ran: Bugsy Maguire, Lisburn, Mick Dundee, Rockin Indy, Silver Beast. Winning horse owned by Blair Hansen, P.E.I. Exactor 1-5 $9.20; Triactor 1-5-2 $127; Superfecta 1-5-2-3 $212.30; DD 2-1 $3.80.
Wager – $32,645.