Surviving two serious threats, Virtual Horizon maintained his unblemished sophomore record with his 13th straight victory, a hard-fought win in the $56,300 Alberta Plainsman final on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Century Mile.
Brandon Campbell pointed the pacer to the top from post four and cleared to lead just before a :28.1 opener. Tim Can Timmy (Logan Gillis) applied pressure to the 1-2 favourite through middle panels of :57.1 and 1:24.4, but couldn't push past the pacesetter before the final turn.
Campbell wasn't out of the woods just yet, however, as Blue Star Mercury (Mike Hennessy) lunged to the inside from the pocket and appeared to get on even terms in deep stretch. When Campbell asked, Virtual Horizon responded with another gear and repelled that rival to score the 1:54 decision by a length. The Dickens (Phil Giesbrecht) closed like his namesake for the show spot.
Boasting the longest active win streak in North American harness racing, Virtual Horizon (Vertical Horizon - Saucy B) is trained by Campbell for Jodi Loftus, George Rogers and Raymond Henry of Calgary, Alta. Now 13-for-13 this year, Virtual Horizon sports a career summary of 16-1-2 from 20 starts with $318,863 in earnings.
Virtual Horizon paid $3.10 to win. The win with Virtual Horizon capped a training hat trick for Campbell, who also connected in the sixth with Tiempo Hanover (1:55; $5.60) and the 10th courtesy Rockin Roller (1:55.1; $10.10).
G Ts Skyla avenged her loss to You Promyst last week with an open-length romp in the $55,100 Alberta Princess final for three-year-old pacing fillies.
Logan Gillis settled the filly into fourth, then looped up into second behind tempo-setter Outlawabovenbeyond (Giesbrecht) through fractions of :27.3, :54.4 and 1:23.2. By that third station, the front paid had broken away from the rest of the field to make it a two-horse race turning for home. G Ts Skyla didn't leave much doubt as to who the winner would be, opening up turning for home while widening her lead with every stride. She hit the line in 1:54.2, more than seven lengths to the good over a hard-charging You Promyst (Jamie Gray) with Outlawabovenbeyond rounded out the top trio.
Scott McGinn trains G Ts Skyla and he co-owns the daughter of Mystician - G Ts Selene with Gerald, Marjorie & Terry McGinn of Stony Plain, Alta. Her lifetime summary is an impressive 10-3-0 from 14 starts with $202,685 in earnings. She paid $2.30 to win.
Ernesto Delacruz has faced a buzzsaw of his own in Alberta's open pacing ranks by the name of Shark Week, but that rival wasn't one of the veterans dropped into the box for the $14,000 Preferred Pace. The public liked Ernesto Delacruz's chances, giving him 4-5 favouritism, and the four-year-old responded with a wire-to-wire win in 1:52.4 that just missed equalling his lifetime mark. Samba Beat (Giesbrecht) was three parts of a length back in second with Armycaptin Hanover (Kelly Hoerdt) next best.
Last year's Western Canada Pacing Derby champion, Ernesto Delacruz (Vertical Horizon - Camifasolasi Do) was driven by his owner and trainer, J. F. Gagne. The four-year-old sports a 13-10-8 summary from 39 starts with $262,273 in earnings.
For results from the Saturday card, click the following link: Saturday Results - Century Mile.