It's Gold Cup And Saucer Time!
Published: August 15, 2014 5:11 pm ET
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It's finally here, the one day a year that racing fans around the world gather at Red Shores Charlottetown for one of the greatest shows in harness racing, the Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer.
With fans lined along the fence and not an empty seat in the house, the fastest and richest Gold Cup and Saucer will be contested for a purse of $75,000. To most it's not a lot of money, but to the people trying to win it, it's not about the money.
It's about the show.
When the lights go down on Saturday night, the only thing to be seen is the ferris wheel in the distance, but once that spotlight picks up the first starter, Wazzup Wazzup, not a single person at Red Shores Charlottetown will be sitting, and every person will have chills roll down their spine as track announcer Vance Cameron rhymes off every horse, driver and trainer credentials.
Leaving from post one is the six-year-old son of Life Sign, a winner of 21 races lifetime and a lifetime record of 1:49 taken two starts ago at Mohawk. He is owned by the Rolling Hill Racing Stable of Ontario. Trainer Corey Johnson will look to follow in his father Colin's footsteps and take home his first Gold Cup and Saucer trophy. James MacDonald, an Island native of P.E.I. will return home in hopes of making his boyhood dream of winning the Gold Cup and Saucer a reality. Wazzup Wazzup was a fourth place finisher after a break passing the five-eighths in his trial.
Trial 2 winner Aracache Hanover has drawn into post two. The richest horse in this year's field, he has over $1.7 million in career earnings. He is owned by William Switala and James Martin of New York. Trainer Ron Burke is back to defend his title from last year when he set the track record with Escape The News in 1:50.4. He will entrust in the Maritimes' leading driver Marc Campbell, as he looks to make it back-to-back Gold Cup and Saucers. 'King Campbell' will look to do so after sweeping both trials this year.
Post three starter is one of three entries from the Rene Allard stable. A winner two back in a lifetime-best 1:48.3, Bigtown Hero will be upset minded on Saturday night for his owners Allard Racing and Yves Sarrazin of Quebec. Newfoundland native Brad Forward has been given the catch-driving call on the six-year-old son of American Ideal. Bigtown Hero finished second to Aracache Hanover in his trial.
Chris Oakes will look to make his first trip to red soil a successful one as he has two entries in this year's final. Scott Rocks has drawn post four. The four-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding has a lifetime record of 1:48.3 and has 12 wins in only two seasons of racing. He is owned by Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey of Pennsylvania. Jonathan Drury has been here the last two years looking to win his first Gold Cup and Saucer and he will do the driving. Scott Rocks finished third in his trial, pacing a mile in 1:52.
Island Jet, a winner of 14 races lifetime and just shy of $150,000 in career earnings, has been saddled with post five. The four-year-old son of Jeremes Jet is the second entry from the Allard barn. He is owned by Allard Racing, Maurice Lemieux of Quebec, Kapildeo Singh of New York and Howard Taylor of Pennsylvania. Another Island native, Robert Shepherd, will look to make his boyhood dream become reality when he reunites with his third place finisher from Trial 1.
The second entrant from the Burke Brigade, Take It Back Terry has a lifetime record of 1:50 and over $380,000 on his resume. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura. He will pick up the driving services of the 'Maritime Magic Man' Gilles Barrieau as he looks to move into soul possession of second place for most Gold Cup and Saucer wins as a driver -- winning Saturday night would give him four. 'Terry' finished second in his Trial 2 appearance.
Hauser Bros Racing, Susan Oakes, Timothy Cable and Charles Oakes will place their faith in the seven-entry Shock It To Em. A four-year-old son of Western Terror, he has 15 lifetime victories and a record of 1:49 taken earlier this season. Trainer Chris Oakes will hand the lines to the veteran driver of the field, Island native Walter Cheverie. He was a third place finisher in Trial 1 last Saturday night.
The Trial 2 winner and now co-track record holder, Mickey Hanover, has drawn the dreaded outside post eight. A winner in 1:50.4 on Monday, he tied Escape The News' track record from last year. Owned by Allard Racing, Yves Sarrazin and Daniel Dubé, he has a lifetime mark of 1:49.1 and over $350,000 lifetime. Allard has been coming to P.E.I. since 2009 trying to win the prestigious Gold Cup and Saucer trophy. After his Trial 2 victory, Allard said each year he keeps getting closer and closer. A winner of the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug and North America Cup, co-owner Dubé will travel to P.E.I. hoping to add a Gold Cup and Saucer to his long list of achievements.
On paper, if everything sets up right a track record is quite possible, but only one thing is for sure heading into Saturday night, Red Shores' Charlottetown is the place to be. The Gold Cup and Saucer is featured in the Race 14 finale.
Open Mares & Premiers Pace Headline Gold Cup & Saucer Undercard
Nine of the best mares that the Maritimes have to offer will line up in Race 13 to contest the $12,250 Spud Island Classic, sponsored by the PEI Potato Board.
Winning both legs of the series, Russian Kisses has drawn post two in the final. A four-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover, she is owned by Robert Shepherd, Joseph Travis and Forrest Bartlett. Robert Shepherd will do the driving for his father, trainer Harold Shepherd. She was a winner in leg one in 1:55 and followed that up with a 1:56.3 score for driver Steven Shepherd.
A winner in leg one, Stayoutofmyaffiar has drawn post six for owner Robi Hughes. Last year's Atlantic Aged Mare Champion won her first leg in 1:55.1 and then followed it up with a second place finish, pacing in 1:57.2. Jason Hughes does the training and driving.
Last year's Spud Island Classic winner, Dirt Track Momma, is back to defend her title from post four. The six-year-old E Dees Cam mare is owned and trained by Jonah Moase. She finished second in the second leg to secure her spot in the final. Marc Campbell will do the driving. Moase will also send out the nine-horse trailer Silky Brithces, also a second place finisher in the second leg. Dale Spence will do the driving.
Two-time Spud Island Classic champion General Luckypercy made it four years in a row that she has won a leg of the series when she took her second leg in 1:57.1. A mainstay in the Open mares ranks for the last four years, she is owned by Jodi Lynn Matheson and Jack Brown and trained by Jackie Matheson. Saturday night she will get the services of Daniel Dubé from post three. Her stablemate and this year's Lobsterfest winner, For All We Know, draws post seven for owner Bruce Wood. A winner in leg two in 1:56.2, For All We Know comes in with a no-worst-than-second record in her last five. The Matheson-Gilles Barrieau connection will hook up to try and get her into the winner's circle.
Ultimate Faith has put together some stellar numbers this season and seems to have made the jump into the Open mare ranks this season. A winner in leg one, Ultimate Faith is owned by Abel Arsenault while Philip Desroches does the training on the seven-year-old daughter of N Xample. Mike Stevenson will do the driving from post five.
National Driving Championship finalist Ryan Ellis has drawn the rail with his own trainee Icandothat for owner Danica Ellis. The four-year-old No Pan Intended mare finished third in both of legs of the series.
The outside post eight goes to another Open mare mainstay over the past four years, J K Special. She was a second place finisher in the first leg for owner/trainer Joe Smallwood. Driver Walter Cheverie will look to get the ball rolling before his Gold Cup and Saucer drive in the finale.
The race 12 Premiers Pace final plays host to the best Free-For-All horses the Maritimes have to offer.
A pair of winners in both legs of the Premiers Pace series will hook up and battle side-by-side.
Post three starter D Gs Camme heads into Saturday night hot as a fire cracker. He has picked up victories in his last three, including a 1:53 victory setting a new track record at Red Shores' Summerside in the Governor's Plate. He followed that up with a 1:53.4 score in the first leg of the series at Summerside and then a 1:55.3 win by three lengths. The four-year-old son of Blissfull Hall is owned by Quentin and Hal Bevan, Tom Clark and Ronnie Matheson while Jackie Matheson handles the training duties and will hand the lines over to Barrieau for the fifth consecutive week.
Leaving from post four is the six-year-old son of Camluck, Ultimate Luck, owned by the Ultimate Stable. After drawing posts six, six, six, eight and six in his last five, Ultimate Luck has finally lucked out at the draw. A winner of two-in-a-row for trainer Sifroi Melanson, he picked up both victories in the Premiers Pace Series, the first coming in leg one in 1:55 and then in 1:55.2 last week. Terry Gallant did the driving in both starts and will be back in the bike again to try and extend the streak to three.
Red Rock has drawn the coveted rail in the $15,000 final. A new edition for the ownership group of Donald, Brian and Steven MacRae and Melissa Trainor, the chestnut horse has four starts on red soil and five on Maritime soil. In those five starts, he hasn't missed a cheque and missed the top three only one time. The 'Blue Knight' Jason Hughes does the training and driving. Modern Xhibit, Schooner, Judge Jon, Cheyenne Ford and Machinthesand round out the field.
Two Gold divisions of the Joe O'Brien for three-year-old pacing colts go in races three and five. Settlement Request has been enrolled as the morning line favourite from post three in race three. Owned by Alfred Barrieau and Michael Clinton, he is trained and driven by Gilles Barrieau. The son of Coasttocoast Yankee will look to push his bankroll well over $40,000 with a victory in the $11,000 race. Island Gigolo, J Ps Warrior, Dumas Walker, Rebelseven and Wine To Go complete the field.
A pair of Atlantic Sire Stakes 'A' division winners from Monday will hook up and battle in the fifth race. Arties Magic, from post four, gets the slight advantage in post position for owners Windemere Farms and Clive Balderston. Earl Watts trains the son of Articulator and Todd Trites will drive. Tobins Fusion is the other winner from Monday and he draws post five for the Boyd Macdonald Produce Ltd. and Dan Ross. Barrieau handles both the training and driving duties on the son of Western Paradise.
Say It Again Sam will put his double digit win streak on the line in the race 11, Norman MacPhail Memorial Pace. Undefeated this season, the three-year-old Well Said gelding has been untouchable since coming to the Maritimes. He is owned by Foxyhall Racing while Jason Hughes does the training and driving. Eagle Jolt, Junebugs Baby, Kass Hall, Pan Larceny and Dance Hanover will look to halt the streak at 10.
Reminder to race fans that racing action gets underway at 6:45 p.m.
To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Charlottetown.
(With files from Red Shores)