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2021 Alberta Super Finals Complete

Published: October 17, 2021 8:28 pm ET

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Century Downs hosted the four finals and four consolations for the Alberta Sires Stakes (ABSS) Super Finals on its 10-race card Sunday (Oct. 17) with nearly $300,000 in purses distributed.

Divine Art darted first over toward floundering leaders and seized command to the final turn of the $60,000 ABSS Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies while holding off others’ late charges to record a 1:58.4 victory.

Trainer-driver Nate Sobey floated Divine Art into sixth while Saphire Blue, the 8-5 second choice, charged out of post 8 for the front. However, Cozey Up kept Saphire Blue parked through a :28.2 opening quarter and hung the second chalk to dry into a :58.2 half.

Saphire Blue began a retreat into the backside as Sobey readied his charge out of sixth. The Outrageous Art filly flew towards the front and overtook Cozey Up past three-quarters in 1:27.4. Opening three lengths on her rivals to the final turn, Divine Art strolled into the stretch as Wrangler Jewel closed ground late, but settled for second by 1-1/4 lengths. Metaki rallied for third, another three lengths behind, with Cozey Up fading to fourth.

“I’m sure mom’s pretty pumped,” said Sobey, whose mother, Karen Sobey, bred Divine Art along with Diane Bertrand. “Diane, she owns a piece of this filly now. When Keith [Clark] was retiring, she bought out his third, so she’s back in. I think she’s actually half of the breeder of this filly, too. A nice little story. She’s developed really nicely. Saphire Blue is definitely ahead of the game. In our first start, she beat me – I was third I think. Pretty green, but now as the year’s gone on she’s developed into quite a smart individual. She can do it either way, so today she proved it.”

Owned by Robert T. Jones, Diane Bertrand and John Hind, Divine Art won her third race from six starts, pushing her earnings to $58,035. She paid $4 to win.

Ladner Lad lunged by his competition in the final stages of the $60,000 ABSS Super Final for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings to land a 12-1 upset in 1:57.3.

Another battled brewed on the lead early in the mile with a stalemate between Lets Tie One On and Prairie Pursuit to a :28.2 first quarter. Prairie Pursuit soon gave way to Lets Tie One On passing the stands first time, but Vegas Gambler soon swung out of fourth and grabbed the lead after a :58.3 half.

Meanwhile, Ladner Lad raced sixth and tracked cover until trainer-driver Jamie Gray launched the Mystician colt to the center of the course through three-quarters in 1:26.4. Ladner Lad steadily closed ground around the final turn while turning for home to a three-length deficit on Vegas Gambler. With each stride, Ladner Lad loomed nearer and eventually nailed Vegas Gambler at the beam by a head, finishing well clear of So Strange in third. Lets Tie One On held fourth.

“I knew there would be a lot of action,” Gray said after the race. “That was a race full of nice colts – there had to be five or six colts that could win that. Now my guy – like how I always start them – I like coming from off the pace, and to teach them how to race from off the pace. And today, that benefitted him. At the head of the stretch, I thought I was a winner. And then a hundred yards before the wire, I didn’t think I was. Because as soon as mine cleared, he just sat. I said ‘Whoa, it’s not over yet buddy.’”

“I’ve got to give a shoutout to Rod Therres,” Gray also said, “because he trained this colt down to 2[:0]6 before I got him. He trucked him out here, the Wild Dunes Stable, and thank goodness we had some luck on him.”

Bred by the Wild Dunes Stables along with RT Enterprises Ltd., Ladner Lad won his second race from six starts, and now has a bankroll of $46,875. He paid $26 to win.

Graceful Horizon laid a speed show to the track with an always-confident 1:53.4 tour of force to win the $60,000 ABSS Super Final for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Leaving from post eight, Graceful Horizon secured the lead before a :27.3 first quarter with Exotic Dragon racing second. That pair remained one-two through a :56.1 half and to three-quarters in 1:24.2, where Exotic Dragon began to creep out of the pocket while Burning Hot recovered ground to move into third.

Off the final turn, Exotic Dragon and Burning Hot gave one-paced pursuit to Graceful Horizon, who cruised under a Kelly Hoerdt hand drive to a two-length win. Exotic Dragon and Burning Hot finished second and third, respectively, while Outlaw Sharktastic finished another 10 lengths behind in fourth.

“It went pretty much the way I thought it would go,” Hoerdt said after the race. “The filly is just so strong right now. She had some issues and some kinks that we had to work out earlier in the year. And between me and Chris [Lancaster], we’ve got her smoother out. Now, it’s just whoever is in that filly pace, they’ve got a lot on their plate if they want to beat this [filly] I think.

“Right from day one, she was actually a pretty nice filly,” Chris Lancaster, trainer of Graceful Horizon, said after the race. “To tell you the truth, I never really got along with her that much at two with my injury. Thomas Miller has done a pretty good job [with her] at two and Justin Currie has done a pretty good job with her at three this year.”

Co-owned by Lancaster with Derek Gilbert and Velda Olding, Graceful Horizon won her seventh race from 12 starts this season and her 10th from 16 overall, pushing her earnings to $137,757. Larry Hanson bred the $4.80 winner.

Longshot Samba Beat followed Graceful Horizon’s mile with another front-stepping crush job, winning the $60,000 ABSS Super Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings by open lengths in 1:54.

Samba Beat bolted from the pylon post to a :27 first quarter with Dragon Energy settling into the pocket after leaving from post 8. Shark Week pulled first over out of fourth and ranged to apply minor pressure to Samba Beat approaching a :56.3 half, but Samba Beat promptly dashed clear of the competition.

Past three-quarters in 1:24.1, Samba Beat opened four lengths on Dragon Energy as odds-on choice Codename Cigar Box attempted to rally from a second-over trip. Samba Beat maintained his speed through the lane to cap the coast-to-coast mile five lengths better than Codename Cigar Box. Dragon Energy settled for third and Bonus Round finished fourth.

“I was very confident with him last week the way he raced,” winning driver Phil Giesbrecht said after the race. “And then today, when I said ‘Go’, he was all business today. Especially up the backside – he shot out of there again and paced as hard as he could all the way through. Hard to describe this year what with me having my first kid and Gerry [Hudon] having his first grandson. Everybody at the farm just works so hard over there and it’s just great to do this for them.

“We can’t give enough credit to Gerry; he does such a good job with this colt,” Giesbrecht also said. “I can’t complain. He shipped well. As a horse, he’s really, really nice to drive. But hats off to Gerry. He does such a great job… you don’t win this many races in Alberta for no reason.”

Hudon trains and co-owns Samba Beat, a colt by Santanna Blue Chip bred by Meridian Farms, along with partners Monico Hudon and William Andrew. Samba Beat returned $24.90 to win in collecting his fifth victory from 14 starts and pushing his bankroll to $47,361.

Coz Im Special romped in the $10,000 ABSS Super Final Consolation for three-year-old pacing fillies with a 1:54.4 effort. Trainer-driver Dave Kelly sat last with the Mystery Chase filly while B Special posted fractions of :28.1 and :57.4 before facing pressure on the point. Swinging three wide to the final turn, Coz Im Special swept by her rivals and stretched her advantage through the stretch to win by 7-1/4 lengths over 2-1 favourite Outlaw Blue Isle. Senga Nightmare finished another five lengths behind in third and Tartan Patch finished fourth.

Owned by Pick 6 Stable and bred by James Rhodes, Coz Im Special scored her third win from 11 starts, putting her earnings at $22,183. She paid $7.30 to win.

Knockin Boots pulled a 22-1 shock with a gate-to-wire score in the $10,000 ABSS Super Final Consolation for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The Santanna Blue Chip gelding grabbed the lead from post 6 for trainer-driver Tyler Redwood and led through a clip of :29.3, :59.2 and 1:28 while enduring mid-race pressure from 1-5 favourite Subzero. Subzero stayed at Knockin Boots wheel through the rest of the final turn but gave chase through the stretch to finish second in a 1:57.4 mile beaten two lengths. Restless And Wild finished third, another six lengths back, with Shotgun Seat fourth.

A homebred for Shenandoah Valley Stable co-owned with Logan Archibald, Knockin Boots won his first race from three starts, pushing her earnings to $7,592. He paid $46.80 to win.

Goodbye Ceia Later survived a first-over grind to win a head photo over Crazybeautifultome in the $10,000 ABSS Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies. Driver Kelly Hoerdt sat third with Goodbye Ceia Later through a :27.3 first quarter before angling her off the pegs to attack Proud Of My Roots after a :58.1 half. She stuck a neck in front of Proud Of My Roots to three-quarters in 1:27.3 and held control through the final turn while Crazybeautifultome readied to rip wide from second over. Through the stretch, Goodbye Ceia Later kept Crazybeautifultome at bay to stop the clock in 1:59.1 with Eyes On The Prize storming home to finish third and Proud Of My Roots settling for fourth.

Trained by Rod Hennessy for owner-breeders Bryan Brook and Diane Hennessy, Goodbye Ceia Later won her first race from six starts, lifting her earnings to $7,484. The Vertical Horizon filly paid $16.70 to win.

Nevada Vacation blew away his competition with an open-length performance to take the $10,000 ABSS Super Final Consolation for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:54.2. The Mystery Chase colt sat second to a :29.2 first quarter and then moved into attack for driver Phil Giesbrecht. Clearing command past a :59.2 half, Nevada Vacation sprinted up the backside to three-quarters in 1:26.3 and widened his margin with the field bottomed out to the final turn. Through the straightaway, the Chris Lancaster trainee grew his lead to pass the beam 9-3/4 lengths better than Chaseisonthecase in second. Solid Silver finished third and Pacin Perfect took fourth.

Co-owned by Lancaster with Christopher Lambie, Nevada Vacation won his third race from 20 starts, increasing his earnings to $27,809. Allan Neurauter and James Rhodes bred the $5.70 winner.

To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Century Downs.

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