It was a beautiful day for a horse race this past Saturday afternoon at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. A very sharp looking first-time starter, Ernesto Delacruz for JF Gagne, would start up the card in upset fashion - pacing his own back half in 57.4 - to win easily in 1:59.1. Peter Van Seggelen shares ownership of this three-year-old son of Vertical Horizon-Camifasolasi Do-Cammibest.
An exciting day for Alberta's newest driver, Tyson Jacoby, as he would pick up his first career driving victory aboard Had A Hard Handle for trainer Tyler Redwood. Owned by Ernest O'Hara and Denis Lanovette the four-year-old son of Blue Burner-Doober Hoozzitz-Raleigh Fingers would rush and brush from last, during the middle stages, and go on to win in 1:58.1. Redwood would be waiting, near the winner's circle, with a 'water bucket splash' for Jacoby - a long tradition for drivers and jockeys after scoring their first career win. It'd be more water splashes back in the paddock, courtesy of fellow horsemen, but we're quite sure Jacoby didn't mind a bit...
Codename Cigar Box would take the boy's $10,500 feature this week, in 1:53.2, for owner's Kelly Hoerdt, Fred Gilbert and Blair Corbeil. The handsome stallion son of Custard The Dragon was winning as the odds on favourite and was one of three driving victories, on the day, for Brandon Campbell. Campbell was driving Lisplaced (1:57.1) and Jim Strikesitrich (1:55) to hit for the triple.
Stash The Cookies would race a big one this week in the $10,500 top class test, for mares, pacing to a new mark of 1:53.3. After missing the 2021 season the daughter of Sunfire Blue Chip now sports 2 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds from her 7 starts of 2022. Owned by Chris Lancaster and Derek Gilbert - Phil Giesbrecht would be on board for his first of two wins, on the card, as he'd come back and take the finale aboard Pipewrench Charlie (1:55.4).
Jamie Gray drove three winners - scoring with the Fun For Fans-owned mare Outlaw Blue Isle (1:56.2), Litizor (1:58.1) and longshot Bearcat Abigail (1:58)... Dave Kelly would drive for the double aboard Outlaw Tootsieroll (1:57.4) and HF Thegreatpumpkin (1:55.2)... Bob Smith conditioned two winners, on the program, in Lisplaced and Jim Strikesitrich.
Total handle for the day was an impressive $212,985 on 12 races.
You would have to go way back to find an Alberta harness racing handle, during the month of March, that would surpass the $200,000 mark... And so we did - back to Saturday, March 17, 2007 where the total handle would be $217,049 on an 11-race program at Northlands Park.
The race card would feature the $43,600 Borden Park Final, for three and four-year-old colts and geldings, won by Armbro Daring with Mike Hennessy aboard in 1:55.2 - the fastest mile on the day... Conditioned by Rod Hennessy the son of Grinfromeartoear was winning as the second-choice at 5/1.
Others in order of finish were Balanchine 3P2 (Don Monkman Jr.), Tonka Tik 4P3 (Fred Gillis), Trust The Artist 2P4 (Kelly Hoerdt), Keystone Dimitri (Gerry Hudon), Allamerican Hardy (Keith Clark), Best For Blues (Tom Tascona), Hes Country (Mark Bradley) and race favourite Forever Blue (Bill Tainsh Jr.).
Other winners on the day included Tinys Million (Bill Tainsh Jr.) 1:58.2, Black Sand (Bill Taish Jr.) 1:58, Barona Ferrari (Rod Hennessy) 1:57, Jaw Dropper (Keith Clark) 1:57.3, Fortitude (Bill Tainsh Jr.) 1:59.1, Skillet Man (Keith Clark) 1:56, Lilsharkshooter (Jeff 'Boomer' Stone) 1:56.4, Primos Wonder (Bill Davis) 1:58.1, Anson (Mark Bradley) 1:56.1 and Janes Nemesis (Keith Clark) 2:00.4.
Live racing continues this Saturday, March 19 at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. A decent carry-over will kickstart the program with $3,003 added to the Race 1 PICK 5 pool - a must play on the program. Post time will be 2:15 (4:15 Eastern).