Tuesday, 07 May 2013 14:51

Cullen hits “GRAND SLAM” Opening Weekend at Alberta Downs

Written by Orianna Scheck
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The Harness spring/summer meet kicked off Saturday May 4th withparticipants, officials and guests of the Alberta racing community from Alberta Downs, Northlands Park and Rocky Mountain Turf Club paying tribute to the late Ralph Klein in a moment of silence at 12:45 p.m. Drivers and Trainers gathered in a horse shoe at Alberta Downs for the tribute.

Racing returned to Alberta Downs in fashion with a total of 22 races over the opening weekend. We saw Loads of action both Saturday and Sunday with a total of 30 horses qualifying including 2012 AB 2yr-old Colt of the Year and Super Final Champion Premium Attaction winning his qualifier on Sunday in 2:00 for Driver/Trainer Kelly Hoerdt. In the same qualifier 2012 AB 2yr-old Filly Crackers Hot Shot was second and turned in a time of 2:00.1.

Saturday showcased the $8500 Open Pace for Horses and Geldings in the ninth race where Horse of the Year Timberline Court came out on top for Driver/Trainer Gerry Hudon. Co-owned by Hudon and Lynn Kowalevsky, the now 9yr-old showed up in fine form and paced in a sharp time of 1:53.4. The favorite paid $4.20 to win. This was Timberline Court’s 36th lifetime win. Flak Jacket was second in 1:54.2 for Driver/Trainer Jamie Gray while the fast closing Trust The Artist crossed the line third in 1:54.4 for Driver/Trainer Kelly Hoerdt.

Hudonhad a rewarding day with 4 driving wins starting in the first race driving Shirley Girl who won by 13 ½ lengths for trainer Daryl Litke. Hudon finished on top once again in the second with American Passion and with Attitude Adjuster who was a 10-1 upset in the tenth paying $23.10.

Saturday’s fourth race Acesnduces (Davies) came up on top in 1:56 for Owner/Trainer Sam Johnson while trainer Alex Jensen saw two wins on the day with K B Hercules in the sixth and B R Money Matters in the eighth. Both horses were driven by driver Jamie Gray. In the seventh, Greek Ruler (Chappell) going off at 9-2 odds also turned in a speedy time of 1:54. Armbro Dublin (Piwniuk) was second and Hollywood Warrior (Hudon) was third.

Driver/Trainer Travis Cullen also had an “impressive” opening weekend at Alberta Downs with 4 driving and training wins on Sunday’s card May 5th. In the first race the young talented driver droveGlitteronthebeach to score in 1:59 and in the eighth with Overnight Success in a time of 1:58.1. In the ninth race, Alberta’s top fillies and mares took to the track where Cullen finished 1-2 with his pupils guiding Feelin Flush to victory in a nippy 1:55 and stable mate Phoenician Gal (Giesbrecht) in 1:55.1. Cullen finished the day with a win in the eleventh with Fancy Camelot in 1:56.2 paying $11.00, $6.90 and $3.70. The 6-4 exactor paid $49.90.

Gerry Hudonadded two more back to back victories to his cap on Sunday. In the fifth the 8000 claiming boys took to the track where Hudon was on board the favorite Mr. Brightside for the win, Total Rhythm (Hoerdt) finished 2nd while Capablenrewarding (Mcleod) picked up the 3rd spot. In the sixth, Hudon was back in the winner’s circle with Hollowood Monroe.

The 2013 Alberta Downs May opening weekend handle was up 200% over the 2012 May opening weekend.

Alberta Downs will be back in action this Saturday May 11th and Sunday May 12th post time 1:15pm. FAN APPRECIATION DAY will be Monday May 20th (Victoria Day).

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