Outlaw Blue Isle, owned by Fun For Fans, is racing for the Stollery Children's Hospital this month - with a percentage of her earnings going to that charity. After finishing second best, last week, she was able to hit the winner's circle this time around with Jamie Gray driving for trainer Rod Starkewski. The four-year-old daughter of Blue Burner-Isle Of Shoals-Rocknroll Hanover was winning for the second time in her career - matching her life best clocking of 1:57.1. "She was definitely sitting on a win," says longtime caretaker Jackie Stakewski. "She's still very green and learning all the time, but the motor is there. She is a hyper-type... Marie Brooking jogs her for us and she does a great job with her on track. Around the barn this mare is quite busy and can be a handful at times - she just doesn't stop, but again she's still getting an education for now and hopefully turning into a nice race horse in the process."
The 'Fun For Fans' ownership idea has been to turn over 75% of whatever the horse(s) earns - after commissions and fees - to organizations that may be challenged when fundraising for things they would like to do. All the organizations have to do is show up on race day and cheer on their horse.
A pair of $10,500 'top class' events were featured on the day. The Race 5 'Fillies and Mares Pace' had If Only Id Known debuting for trainer Chris Lancaster, following a private purchase out of B.C.. The daughter of Shadow Play would swell up, in the pocket, after hot fractions of 27.4, 56 and 1:24.4 were posted by her barn mate and race favourite Stash The Cookies. Turning for home driver Dave Kelly would have her full of pace to go on by the pacesetter, late, for her new owners' Rob Ostashek Holdings Ltd.and Lancaster.
The 'Horses and Geldings Pace', in Race 7, would be scratched down to a field of five and go to Crackle And Burn for two in a row. He was winning for the nineteenth time, in his career, for owner/trainer Rod Starkewski with driver Phil Giesbrecht aboard. The speedy son of Blue Burner-Crackers Hot Shot-Camcracker would go all the way through fractions of 27.1, 56.2, 1:25.2 - finishing the mile in 1:55 - with a flat! "Our Outlaw Gunzablazin (Jamie Gray) actually flattened his tire into the stretch," mentions Starkewski. "But he dug in and overcame that," she says. "We had a good feeling for him on this day... He's been dragging Rod around here - he clearly prefers the Downs to the (Century) Mile track. He's our first born out of Crackers Hot Shot (42 13-3-7 $187,896 p1:54) who raced exclusively for us. Everyone knows he's my boy!"
The Starkewski barn remained hot with another victory coming up later in the program. YV Angels Envy, for owner Chris Lambie, would post the day's biggest upset - winning in 2:00.2, with Brandon Campbell in the bike, returning a whopping $74.70 on the nose. "She doesn't try hard - this mare - she has quit on us, before, like nobody's business," says head-caretaker Starkewski. "We had her looked at - when we got back to the Downs - she just didn't want to compete at the (Century) Mile... And we were just hoping she'd finish her mile on Saturday and get a piece of it, but the win - that was unexpected for sure, but it was great to see!"
Congratulations go out to conditioner Bob Smith on recording his first career training victory with Dubai Seelster in 1:59.1. The four-year-old son of Sportswriter, owned by Adam Mace, was winning for the first time since shipping in from Ontario for the 2022 racing season.
Dave Kelly would hit for the grand slam with four driving wins on the day, while Brandon Campbell drove three winners on the card. Other winners included Outlaw Spiced Rum 1:57.2, Real Buzz 1:58, Snoop De Lion 1:58, Triple Action 1:57.4, Bonus Round 1:55.1 and Show Stop 1:55.3.
Longtime Alberta horse race announcer Murray Slough was back behind the mic for the Saturday afternoon program at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. Slough was returning from a well-deserved vacation and will be the voice of the Balzac, Alberta track until this current harness meet winds down in November. The next race program is slated for this coming Saturday afternoon at 2:15 (4:15 Eastern).
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