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Sophomore Stakes Set For Century

Published: October 2, 2015 9:15 am ET

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This weekend Century Downs will have the top three-year-old pacers on display with the ASHA Stakes for set for Saturday and Sunday.

Only five horses were entered for the ASHA Colt Stakes on Sunday so no divisions were required. Two $10,000 ASHA Filly Stakes divisions will go postward on Saturday.

The first ASHA Filly Stakes division looks like the stronger one with heavyweights Blue Star Texas and Fire Watch both drawing in this division and both looking to rebound after suffering losses in Alberta Diamond Final.

Blue Star Texas (Brandons Cowboy - Movin Uptown) looks to bounce back seventh-place finish in the Alberta Diamond. After drawing Post 7 in that last start, the connections are hoping for a better effort on Saturday as she will start from the rail.

“She just did not get race at good at all and I can’t even offer an explanation. There is nothing visible I can see wrong with her, so I gave her some time off and gave her a qualifying trip,” stated trainer Keith Clark. “She has been training OK but so we will see on Saturday,”

Owned by Doris McDougall and Robert Jones, Blue Star Texas was a $12,000 yearling purchase and is a half-sister to a former Alberta Sires Stakes champion in Blue Star Admiral (Camystic). On the season, Blue Star Texas has a 12-6-1-3 summary and has amassed $122,527 in career earnings. She still holds the track record at Century Downs of 1:54.4 for three-year-old fillies set back on June 6 of this year.

Give serious attention to Fire Watch, who will leave right next to Blue Star Texas in first division. She may not have been quite right in her latest effort. Off her convincing 1:56.3 triumph in the second Diamond stakes elimination, Fire Watch and trainer/driver Travis Cullen were 1-9 favourites in the Diamond Final. Fire Watch had the lead turning for home, but longshot Take On Da Boys was poised to strike second over and she kicked home in :29.1 over the sloppy track to best Fire Watch by half a length.

Cullen, his father Ron, and Dwayne Taylor co-own Fire Watch, who sports 10-3-5-0 record. The Camystic-Raging Red Head has registered $82,397 in seasonal earnings.

Trainer Keith Clark will also be represented in the second division by Cam Finish (Camystic-Expensive Return) a granddaughter of popular Alberta champ As Promised, but will need things to go her way.

“She is not a bad horse but the type that needs the right type of trip. It does look like she drew in the weaker division for sure, but I feel Take On Da Boys may be the one to beat,” commented Clark.

The aforementioned Take On Da Boys (JK Royal Flush-Doctor Ruth) indeed looks tough in the second softer division after testing tough older conditioned types. Take On Da Boys pulled off a 20-1 shocker in the $55,100 Diamond final of the Alberta Sires Stakes, notching her very first stakes victory

“She really is coming around for me,” said trainer Rod Hennessy. “Everything went perfect in that latest stake victory, but I was lucky as it seemed that Fire Watch was not her usual self but I expect that to change.”

Hennessy trains the daughter of JK Royal Flush and Doctor Ruth for Alberta owners Lorne Duffield of Edmonton and Diane Harries of Falun.

Like Clark, Hennessy will also be represented in both divisions. “It looks like my other filly Getter Queen Flush drew the tougher division but she is a nice filly, training great and I was very pleased with her third place effort in the Alberta Diamond. The end goal is to have a nice horse ready for the Sires Stakes Finals at the end of October.”

Switching to the boys on Sunday, the ASHA Colt Stake will feature a compact field of five horses in one $20,000 division.

Once again, Keith Clark will be ultra-tough to beat. In his last stakes action, sophomore sensation First Class Horse set a new divisional track record of 1:52.3 -- which also equaled the all-age record -- with a devastating effort in the $90,000 Brad Gunn Stakes back on August 8. He since tried the older Open types and did not look out of place by any means.

Being American-bred, the Western Terror-Susurrus Hanover colt has had to deal with a gap in his stakes schedule this summer but still has amassed $148,495 so far in his near-perfect 13-for-18 sophomore campaign. Owned by Robert Jones of Slave Lake and Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alberta, he was nominated to the Pepsi North America Cup by his connections but never did ship out East.

Cool Cowboy, the 2014 Alberta Sires Stakes two-year-old champion, appears to be back in form after a short rest and looks like the main opposition. Trainer/driver Kelly Hoerdt got the job done with a gritty effort as the 6-5 favourite in the Alberta Marksman stakes with a 1:56.3 victory in the $54,200 final.

Cool Cowboy sports a superb record in 2015, winning half of his eight sophomore starts and racking up $45,925 in earnings. The Meridian Farms-bred colt, sired by Brandons Cowboy out of the Grintfromeartoear mare Cool Grin, was a $19,000 yearling purchase from the 2013 ASHA Sale by Hoerdt and Alberta partners Blair Corbeil of Beaumont and Witsend Consulting Inc. of Calgary.

The last Friday race day of the season will feature nine dashes at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, with 10 races set for Saturday, and 11 races on Sunday all with a first race post time of 2:00 p.m. each day.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Frank Fontana)


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