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Sophomore Finals Set For Century

Published: October 16, 2015 10:46 am ET

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The $50,000 finals of the Marquis for three-year-old fillies and the Maverick for the three-year-old boys are set for this weekend at Century Downs.

Last weekend, race fans were treated to the Keith Clark Show. Despite the absence of the Hall of Fame trainer -- who was busy looking to add to his stable at the Lexington Select Yearling Sale -- his three-year-old pacing fillies Cam Finish and Blue Star Texas cleaned up in the Alberta Sires Stakes Marquis eliminations.

The Marquis final appears to be a wide open affair with a few story lines appearing based on what happened in the eliminations last weekend. In the first elimination, Cam Finish lived up to her name for driver Gerry Hudon. She rallied from worst to first, springing the 19-1 upset in her elimination in a career-best 1:58 mile for her Calgary owners John Hind and Verne Rea. The Camystic-Expensive Return filly will have to be regarded as a major player again this Saturday if she gets a similar pace scenario again. The heavy 1-9 favourite Fire Watch faltered badly and was a disappointing fourth; her connections will look for her to rebound in the final on Saturday.

In the second elimination, the Keith Clark stable continued to carve out a path to the winners circle. Track record holder Blue Star Texas returned to her old self as she was made the even-money favorite in her elimination. Phil Giesbrecht (pinch-hitting for Clark) treated Blue Star Texas to a nice two-hole pocket trip to score as the even-money favourite for owners Doris McDougall of Cochrane and Robert Jones of Slave Lake, Alta. The Brandons Cowboy-Movin Uptown filly won her elimination by two lengths in 1:58.2.

Clark was not totally shocked with the comeback victory. “She raced real good. I guess what we learned is that this filly does not want any part of the front end. We got the perfect trip, so it was our day,” explained Clark. “As far as my other horse Cam Finish, she will need some speed in front of her. She is the type of horse that comes from behind and will need some luck in her trip and Cullen’s horse Fire Watch was not good that day."

Cam Finish will get yet another new driver calling the shots in Giesbrecht as Hudon will drive Beauty Of Nature, who he trains and might be a surprise dark horse off her 12-1 second place finish behind the aforementioned Blue Star Texas.

“She has good natural speed and I hope to get the pieces late in the race again,” said Hudon. “She came back OK from her last race and I had her in a light training schedule this week, so we will see.”

The plot thickens as yet another horse may have a say in the matter in Take On Da Boys, who drew post eight for trainer Rod Hennessy.

“My whole barn was fighting a virus and Take On Da Boys feels better now. She had to contest the heavy winds last week but she is a nice filly and I was impressed with Cam Finish that day who beat us at the wire,” commented Hennessey. “But if Blue Star Texas gets the trip again she will be tough to beat.

"Overall it’s a good wide open stake race, great for the sport and will be fun to watch.”

Take On Da Boys (JK Royal Flush-Doctor Ruth) made her very first stakes victory a memorable one by pulling off a 20-1 shocker in the $55,100 Diamond final of the Alberta Sires Stakes, back on September 5 over the heavy favourite Fire Watch.

By contrast, Sunday's Alberta Maverick final for three-year-old colts & geldings looks like one horse will be heavily backed to take it all.

Cool Cowboy, the 2014 Alberta Sires Stakes two-year-old champion bounced back from a respectable show finish against Keith Clark’s super monster First Class Horse in the ASHA Colt stake to easily wire the field in his elimination race last Sunday. The Brandons Cowboy-Cool Grin colt, carved out splits of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:27 going all the way posting a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:56.1. Johnny Gunn followed in second-place and Royal Renegade was third. That win pushed his lifetime earnings to $127,869. He was a $19,000 yearling purchased from the 2013 ASHA Sale by Hoerdt and Alberta partners Blair Corbeil of Beaumont and Witsend Consulting Inc. of Calgary.

Yet another Keith Clark pupil will look to upset the applecart. Withflyingcolours used a two-trip on route to the 1:59.1 victory in elimination win last weekend. Rare Breed followed the winner's cover and finished very decent one and a quarter lengths behind in second while Chillinlikeavillin edged out Outlaw Deacon Jim back in fourth place.

Trainer Keith Clark likes his horse but is obviously concerned about Cool Cowboy. “Withflyingcolours had an OK race but we caught the weaker elimination group that day,” stated Clark. “He came back OK and has been training good but Cool Cowboy seems the best horse in there.” Withflyingcolours (Blue Burner-Red Star Sugar Gal), who was the runner-up in the Plainsman Final in July, is owned by Robert Jones of Slave Lake, Alta. and Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alta.

Keep an eye on Big Time Sunrise, trained by Glen Hoerdt. The Lusty Leader-Lucky X Ample colt will be looking to score desperately needed points if he wants to make it to the big dance on October 31 for the Super Finals. He was a non-threatening fourth to Cool Cowboy but in his previous efforts performed very well with a 15-5-4-0 sophomore record good for lifetime earnings of $34,186.

Century Downs Racetrack and Casino has carded twelve dashes for both Saturday and Sunday, with a first race post time of 2:00 p.m. each day.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Frank Fontana)

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