Day At The Track

Driver's Challenge Saturday at Charlottetown

03:59 AM 29 Nov 2014 NZDT
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CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – The Prince Edward Island Standardbred Horse Owner’s Association presents their annual driver’s challenge Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

The competition takes place in races 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12 on the 13-dash card with a 1 pm first race post time for the Horseperson’s Day card. The eight races will pit top dash winning drivers Marc Campbell, Jason Hughes, Gilles Barrieau and Corey MacPherson against top percentage drivers with over 75 starts Ron Matheson and Mark Bradley and top percentage drivers with 40 to 75 starts Terry Gallant and Vincent Poulton.

Competitors are based on statistics from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 in Charlottetown and all competing drivers must be association members. Barrieau captured the E.F. Acorn trophy for having the most points and winning the 2013 edition.

The top pace on the card is in race 12 for a $1,600 purse in the final race of the driving championship. Cambest Kisser is the morning line favorite from post 4 for trainer-driver Jason Hughes and owners Donald and Steven MacRae of Vernon Bridge. The class-dropper will face top competitors Van Zant (Ron Matheson), Brodys Leona (Corey MacPherson) and Blue Meadow Willie (Vincent Poulton).

The top trot class on the card is in race 8 with the Emmett and Albert Bernard Memorial for a $1,350 purse. Osprey Strike will look for a repeat of last week’s victory in this class for owner-trainer-driver Paul Larabee of Belle River. The six-year-old son of Striking Sahbra will line up in post 6 against tough trotters Pleasure Girls (Ron Gass) and Oceanview Kate (Hughes).

Race 2 has the Alphonse Pineau Memorial for $1,150 with Dunmore Chance the favorite from post 3 for driver Jack Panting and owner-trainer Ralph Annear of Montague. The Black River three-year-old was a winner last start in this class but must face class dropping Open trotter Frill Seeker (Kenny Arsenault) with post 1.

Horse Person’s Day also features second chance draws with uncashed pari-mutuel tickets being converted to ballots for Red Shores vouchers, turkeys and merchandise.

Top trotters go Sunday at Charlottetown

The top trotters on the East Coast will do battle in race 4 on the Sunday afternoon card at Red Shores Charlottetown. The first race gets underway at 1 pm on the 14-dash card.

Open trot champion Zip The Lip is absent in this week’s $1,850 trot class leaving the door open for last week’s runn-up, Caliban Hanover, to pick up the pieces for trainer-driver Ron Gass and owner Wendell MacDonald of Cornwall. The six-horse-field also includes Majian Dillon (Jim Ripley), Saulsbrook Balance (Willie Murphy), Warawee Nuke (Kuri White), Diamond Mine (MacPherson) and Abundaspin (Steven Shepherd).

Race analyst Les MacIsaac puts his faith in Saulsbrook Balance to land in the CDP winner’s circle.

“This classy veteran has a good chance at securing the lead and we all know how tough he can be when that's the case,” MacIsaac said of Saulsbrook Balance. “If Willie Murphy gets him there, and can steal a fraction, it could be all over.”

Race 7 has the Fillies and Mares Open pace for a $2,250 pot with heavy favorite For All We Know assigned post 6 in the field of half a dozen. Chappell will drive the hulking mare for trainer Jackie Matheson and owner Bruce Wood of Marshfield. The field also includes Bunny Mach (Hughes), A Fiesty X Ample (Mark Bradley), General Luckypercy (Ron Matheson), Fleurje (Brian MacPhee) and JK Special (Walter Cheverie).

A field of nine tough overnight pacers lines up in race 13 for a $2,100 purse and Carnivore installed as the early favorite from post 1 for driver Arsenault, trainer Marvyn Webster and owner Valleygrove Farm of Kensington. The eight-year-old son of Real Desire was a winner last week at the same level and faces top entries Narragansett (Hughes), The Big Bite (Thane Arsenault) and Rash B Havior (Cheverie) this time around. The field also includes Oh To Be Me (Chappell), Forever Paradise (Campbell), Shock The Rock (MacPherson), Machinthesand (Ken Murphy) and Mcjestic (Mike McGuigan).

Follow all the action online at Redshores.ca.

by Nicholas Oaks, for Red Shores

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