The drivers for the 2014 Western Regional Driving Championship have been solidified with John Chappell securing the last spot in the competition after this weekend's harness racing cards at Fraser Downs. Heading into the weekend, just two wins separated Chappell, Scott Knight and David Hudon for the third spot in the local win standings. Scoring a pair of victories on Sunday's card and pushing his meet total to 50, Chappell managed to maintain the slight edge over his rivals. With two wins of his own over the weekend, Knight pushed his total to 49. Hudon had one victory on Friday putting his total at 47. Chappell steered Soft Spoken out of traffic down the stretch to a maiden-breaking victory in Sunday's second race for trainer/owner Allan Dawn. The four-year-old gelding won by just a neck over favourite Hosisahos in 1:59.1. To read the rest of the story click here.
Call Me Up delivered on her pari-mutuel promise with a wire-to-wire victory in Friday's $10,500 Fillies & Mares Open Pace at Fraser Downs. The 3-2 favourite took command of the field from post three and never looked back, leading through fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:25.2 en route to a 1:54.3 triumph for trainer/driver Bill Davis and the J J J Stables. Rod Therres trainee Village Janus finished four lengths behind in second while the winner's stablemate, Just Fiction, rounded out the top three finishers. Call Me Up, a winner two starts ago and runner-up last week in the top class, returned $4.90 to her backers for Friday's win. The six-year-old Peruvian Hanover mare earned her 19th victory and pushed her career bankroll to $115,482. The $7,500 second leg of the Spartacus Series for $10,000 claimers was won by Darren Lupul's homebred gelding Strikes N Charges and driver John Chappell in 1:55.3. The eight-year-old son of With Held prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Camblazer and Anasazzi Road, who finished second in a dead-heat. He paid $30.40 for the upset victory after a fifth-place finish in the opening round. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
John Chappell is more than just a former Alberta Horseman-of-the-Year. His harness racing credentials are evidence of that. The American born driver-trainer is also one of Canada's unsung heroes. Not many reinsman can boast winning several driving titles in their career but 49-year-old Chappell can.
This season's leading Western Canadian reinsman - Jim Marino - has never been one to venture too far from home, but he has been offered an opportunity by an old friend that not too many in the harness racing game could resist. Marino will next week travel to the United States where he will weigh up his options about working for North America's leading trainer in 2011- Lou Pena (354 wins).