It was a tune-up weekend for horses eligible for this coming week’s 2 stakes races at Century Downs. Entries close on Wednesday morning for the Wild Rose for 3 year old fillies to be run on Saturday, June 11th. Entries close Thursday morning for the Gord Rumpel Pace for 3 year old colts and geldings to be run next Sunday, June 12th. Each race has a total purse of $42,000 with the pots to be split if enough horses enter to have the stake go in divisions rather than just a final.
It wasn’t a quick time but Ed Hensley, in his first time behind Monstrous, steered the 3 year old daughter of All American Navajo to the finish line in 1:59.1 in Saturday’s 10th race. The Darryl Cutting-trained filly, owned by Sherwood Park chiropractor, Warren Fuller, beat Ryan Grundy’s Senga Naptha to the finish in what might be a preview of what we can expect on Saturday. Both pacers are nominated for the Wild Rose. Witch Doctor, another Wild Rose nominee, was third. It was Monstrous’ first start since an outstanding finish in winning the Bev Sears Pace on May 14th.
In the sixth race Saturday, Outlawsureshotshark paced a 1:56.3 mile to win for the seventh time in 11 starts this season. She also has two seconds and two thirds on her card and she was driven to victory by trainer and co-owner, Travis Cullen. She’s likely established herself as the morning line favourite in the Wild Rose. Expect Ba Bye Ceia Later (3rd) and, perhaps, Credit the Shark (4th) to be on the starting line Saturday as well.
And in the second race Saturday, Cenalta Artistry (Rene Goulet) and Outlawtriggerhappy (Rod Starkewsky) finished second and third behind the five year old 25-1 upset winner, Pureform Kissntell. The two three year olds will both be going to the Wild Rose.
“I’m encouraged,” Goulet told me. “I just took on training Cenalta Artistry during the winter meet at Cloverdale and we’re both dealing with how to get the best out of each other. I thought she had a good 2 year old season with a couple of wins and she made the board in six of her 11 starts. It’s taken some time this spring but I think she’s ready to show what she can do as a 3 year old. And with the stakes calendar for the class moving into high gear, I hope we’ve dealt with the challenges and that she’s learned how to compete.”
Rod Starkewsky donned his colours and steered Outlawtriggerhappy to a third place finish in the same race. Regular pilot, Bill Tainsh, was off Saturday but will be on hand to drive the daughter of Blue Burner in the Wild Rose.
“She’s had some tough racing luck this season,” Starkewsky told me. “She’s been boxed in a couple of times and hasn’t yet shown us her best. She was second to the 4 year old P.L. Impressive in an elimination of the Bev Sears and finished 5thin the final. So I think she’ll do all right against horses in her own age group.”
Starkewsky will also have a horse in the Gord Rumpel Stake next Sunday. Classy Artist was a winner against non-winners of 4 last Sunday in 1:56.3. In a 3 year old class with no dominant star, the son of Trust the Artist from the As Promised mare, Ding Gua Gua, might be good enough to challenge for a cheque.
Briefly noted… the winner’s circle photos were split a little more equally than usual on Saturday with four drivers picking up two wins apiece. Ed Hensley (Swing N Ace and Monstrous), Travis Bowman Pureform Kissntell & Sonic Spark), Brandon Campbell (Skade & Regina Beach) and Travis Cullen (Outlawsurshotshark & Chico Vivian) each scored twice. Chico Vivian outdueled She’s All That to win the 9th race in a photo finish, giving Cullen career driving win #800. Rod Hennessy (Whysantanna) and Phil Giesbrecht (Outlawblownthewind) won the other two races. Hennessy’s win came after his son, Mike, who usually drives Whysantanna, elected to drive So Sorry in the same race. So Sorry finished third… after this weekend’s events, the Alberta Sire Stakes will debut on Canada Day with the Alberta Princess for 3 year old fillies and the Alberta Plainsman for 3 year old colts and geldings.