As I write this - I am now less than 24 hours away from the richest race I have ever called in my life. For those that may not know - I've been calling the thoroughbreds this summer in Fort Erie, Ontario - a beautiful border town across the lake from Buffalo, New York.
This year marks the 118th season of live thoroughbred racing at Fort Erie Racetrack with the highlight being the 80th Running of the Prince of Wales Stakes. The Prince of Wales - for Canadian foaled three-year-olds - is the second jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown as well as Canada’s richest thoroughbred race on dirt with a purse offered at $500,000.
The first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown - the Queens Plate - went to SHAMAN GHOST who is listed as the morning line favourite, with Plate starters DANISH DYNAFORMER, CONQUEST BOOGALOO and BREAKING LUCKY also in the running. The maiden SCORCH, along with FIELD OF COURAGE and CUT TO THE CHASE complete the field of seven. The big race is set to go to post at approximately 7:40 ET (5:40 MT) on Tuesday, July 28. If you're not able to make it out to a simulcast location - you can catch the special one-hour live broadcast of the event on TSN between 7-8 ET (5-6 MT).
Ralph Klein And Brad Gunn Stakes On CTV Alberta
In less than two weeks some of the best three-year-old pacers, in Western Canada, will strut their stuff in both the Ralph Klein (Fillies) and Brad Gunn (Colts and Geldings) Stake Finals at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. Both races will be featured live on CTV Alberta during a special one-hour broadcast on the afternoon of Saturday, August 8th, running from 4-5 MT.
I was pleasantly surprised, just weeks ago, when I received word that I would take part in the televised event. That's right - yours truly 'The Sugarman' is on his way back to Alberta for some harness racing action at Canada's newest racetrack. It looks as though I'll be your 'on the scene' reporter from the barn area at Century Downs for that special Saturday.
I'm hoping to bring back that same style I used in the paddock at Lacombe. I always enjoyed doing those live spontaneous hits with horse people there - whether it was standing near the cross ties or doing the 'walk and talks' in the walking ring or interviewing the winning connections - it was always fun and I guess this is where that has led me now... Live on CTV! I'm very thankful for the opportunity and I'm so looking forward to meeting up with everyone again!
'Possible' Contenders Tuning Up
With eliminations coming up this Saturday, August 1st - for both the Ralph Klein and Brad Gunn - some 'possible' contenders were out for tune-ups this past weekend at Century Downs...
Fillies: Im Just Ducky (Jamie Gray) took a NW2 test in 1:59.2; Thats Extra and Hot Time (Kelly Hoerdt) closed up, from way back, to finish first and second, respectively, in NW4 and timed in 2:01.3.
Colts and Geldings: Redheadfred (Jamie Gray) was parked out the whole way to win a claiming event in 1:57.4; Have Not Read It (Kelly Hoerdt) was a closing 3rd at NW4 timed in 1:56.4 - with a final quarter paced in 28.2; Mysharona Bluechip (Keith Clark) was 5th off a pocket ride in 1:57.1 at NW4; Urcutoff and Pablos First (Darryl Cutting) finished first (1:56.4) and fourth (1:57.4) respectively at NW6; Johnny Gun (Harold Haining) was second at NW6 timed in 1:56.4; Chillinlikeavillain (Kelly Hoerdt) was second at NW2 in 1:58.3.
Top stakes performers' Fire Watch, Blue Star Texas and First Class Horse have now been freshened up - after being away from the races for a few weeks and they will take lots of tote board action come Saturday - first race post time is 2 PM.
See you all next week!