While divisions of the Robert Murphy and Mary Murphy were the main events of the Thursday, Sept. 21 card of harness racing at Fraser Downs, older pacing mare Miss Itunes seemingly saved the best for last.
In the ninth and final dash, the $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred, Miss Itunes established a new track record for her division with a lifetime best 1:51.2 score. Phil Giesbrecht engineered the winning effort, clearing to the lead from post six and playing catch me if you can from there. After a :27 first quarter and leisurely :57.1 half, Giesbrecht gave the talented mare her cue down the backside and she responded with authority. A sizzling :26.2 third stanza provided a 1:23.3 three-quarter time and it just was a race against the clock with rivals more than five lengths in arrears. By the wire, she won by more than 10 lengths with the mile timed in 1:51.2. That's a track record and the fastest mile by an older pacing mare on a five-eighths mile track in Canada this year.
One of four record holders previously, Miss Itunes erased the 1:51.4 mark she held previously with Cays Blessing, Paperback Thriller and In High Cotton. Chris Lancaster handles the conditioning on Miss Itunes (Mystery Chase - Minettas Munchkin) when in B.C. for owner Donna Wyse of Rocky View County, Alta. Miss Itunes picked up her 20th win in her 100th career start, lifting her earnings to $216,063. She paid $6.30 to win.
A single $20,000 second leg division of the Mary Murphy Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies was contested, with Side Piece delivering as the odds-on choice. Brandon Campbell advanced Side Piece from third just before the half and once Side Piece cleared, she was in the clear. The mile time was a lifetime best 1:52.4, and the margin of victory was more than seven lengths over Custard Or Nothing (Rod Therres) and Crown Princess (John Abbott).
Jim Marino co-owns and trains Side Piece (Shadow Play - Queen Otra), now a winner of nine of 12 lifetime starts and $155,542 for breeder and co-owner J J J Stables of Prince George, B.C. A $2 win wager on Side Piece returned $2.30.
Three-year-old pacing colts also saw action in three $20,000 divisions of the Robert Murphy Memorial. According to the teletimer, those three divisions varied widely with the fastest split and slowest split differing by more than four seconds.
Mickie Mantle ($4.60) pounced on warm fractions to win the first Robert Murphy division by a length in a lifetime best 1:52.1. Rum N Raisins (Abbott) was a length back in second, with Usual Suspect (Campbell) completing the triactor.
Hoerdt co-owns Mickie Mantle (Custard The Dragon - N Y Yankees) with Fred Gilbert of Brandon, Man. The colt now sports a 8-4-1 summary from 18 career starts with $138,878 in earnings.
In the second division, Domi ($2.40) commanded front-end respect and wired his foes with a 1:54.1 mile for driver Brandon Campbell. Lukes Proclamation (Hoerdt) had no answers after a pocket trip and stayed for second with Promising Shadow (Scott Knight) next best.
Domi (Living It Up - Outlawcherishafool) is owned by trainer Jim Marino, J J J Stables and Paul Sanders of Surrey, B.C. The sophomore gelding sports a solid 7-3-1 from a dozen seasonal appearances with $64,405 this year and $80,905 lifetime.
Wire-to-wire tactics were also the winning strategy in the third Robert Murphy division as Speakdollarsncents ($4.90) made every call a winning one for driver Scott Knight, home in 1:56.2. Chief Is Boss (Dave Hudon) played second fiddle on this occasion, two lengths back of the leader but well clear of Yenoh Who (Abbott) in third.
A homebred of trainer Rick Lancaster, Leslie Godlien of Langley, and Tom Wood of Chilliwack, B.C., Speakdollarsncents (Artspeak - Jennys Big Book) picked up his second win in 23 sophomore starts and third lifetime to lift his career bankroll to $36,940.
To view the charted results from the Thursday card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results - Fraser Downs.