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Alberta Super Final Champions Crowned

Published: October 27, 2012 4:11 pm ET

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Alberta's top pacers shared the spotlight on Saturday as they competed for $430,000 in purses and divisional Alberta Sires Stakes Super Final titles at Northlands Park.

Clintons Keepsake and driver Bill Tainsh Jr. kicked off the stakes finals with a 27-1 upset in the $25,000 Alberta Rose for older pacing mares.

Heavy 1-9 favourite River Lass (Kelly Hoerdt) took control of the field from post three as expected and carved out fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:27 with Minettas Nightstar (Keith Clark) following in the pocket and Jamie Gray stablemates Blue Star Classic (Gray) and Clintons Keepsake lined up behind her.

River Lass led the way around the final turn while Minesttas Nightstar pulled the pocket forcing an advancing Clintons Keepsake three-wide. As the mares entered the stretch, Clintons Keepsake powered past her rivals with a :28.1 final frame to prevail in 1:56 flat by nearly six lengths. Minettas Nightstar finished second while River Lass settled for third.

Clintons Keepsake, a fifth-place finisher in her elimination last weekend behind winner River Lass, paid $57.70 for the victory.

The four-year-old Clintons Cigar-Western Rustler mare was claimed for $9,000 in January at Northlands by trainer Jamie Gray of Morinville, Alta., Fred Gilbert of Brandon, MB, and Rob Ostashek Holdings Ltd of Edmonton, Alta. She's won nine times in 31 starts this year while banking $41,201.

While the win took the betting public by surprise, her connections were not quite as shocked.

"Jamie said if she can get away close to River Lass we can race her in the lane because this mare has a really good sprint," said Gilbert in a post-race interview. "Bill drove her last week and she got a little rough. He wasn't really used to her; she's not the easiest horse to drive. Jamie was confident this week she would come back and do a good job and she certainly did. We've had a lot of fun with her."

Premium Attaction delivered on his pari-mutuel promise in the $75,000 Super Final for two-year-old pacing colts for trainer-driver Kelly Hoerdt, who also co-owns with fellow Beaumont, Alta. resident Blair Corbeil.

Blue Star Admiral (Bill Tainsh Jr.) fired off the gate from post six ahead of Tip Top Tap (Rod Hennessy) and insider Premium Attaction, but Hoerdt had his colt on the move early. Premium Attaction cleared to command past the :29.2 opening quarter and carved out middle splits of 1:00.1 and 1:28.3 while turning back challenges from stablemate Rays Crown Royal (Brent Grundy) and Tip Top Tap, who charged three-wide near the third quarter mark. He opened up three and a half lengths down the lane to win in 1:57.4. Blue Star Admiral finished second and Play Me Right (Brandon Campbell) was third.

Despite his inside post position, Hoerdt said he opted not to send the favourite to the front off the gate.

"I'm trying to teach him not to do that because he's a handful in the first place and he really needs to have his wits about him for his three-year-old career," he explained following the win. "I was just trying to keep him settled and make the move when we needed to and just try to keep everything as quiet and calm around him as possible because you see he made a break last week [in the Premiers Colt Pace], so I didn't want that happening again."

Premium Attaction paid $3.10 to win.

The Clintons Cigar-Themaneattacktion colt, a winner of his Alberta Lonestar and Shooting Star divisions, is now four-for-nine in pari-mutuel races with over $80,000 earned in purses.

Cenalta Octane and trainer-driver Ryan Grundy advanced first from third and took over command around the final turn en route to a 2:00.3 victory in the $20,000 consolation.

The homebred Allamerican Merlin-Wolf Creek gelding notched his second win in 11 starts for owners Gordon and Helen Empey of Bowden, Alta. and Myrna Empey of Calgary.

"He's been in pretty tough against those top bunch of colts and in with this crew I was pretty confident," said Grundy.

Outlawlookslikrain and Outlawcherishafool completed a sweep of the top two spots in the $75,000 Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies for trainer-driver Connie Kolthammer and her Falun, Alta. Outlaw Stable.

Va Va Varoom (Keith Clark) left from post three and set up shop on the front end over insider Barona Lilac (Kelly Hoerdt) while 1-2 favourite Crackers Hot Shot (Rod Starkewski) made a costly break in stride from third.

Va Va Varoom carved out opening panels of :28.2 and 1:00.1 before Barona Lilac pulled the pocket down the backstretch and edged out in front. She cleared to command at the 1:29.1 third quarter mark with Kiss My Crouper (Ryan Grundy) looming first over and Sharkys Law (Rod Hennessy) second over.

But at the fillies entered the stretch, Kolthammer sent Outlawlookslikrain three-wide from third over and the 10-1 shot swept home to prevail in 1:59.4 with her stablemate Outlawcherishafool (Bill Tainsh Jr.) coming on for second two lengths behind. Kiss My Crouper rounded out the top three finishers.

"Awesome! That's all I can say is awesome. I'm just speechless," beamed Kolthammer in the winner's circle with partner Jim Rogers. "It was a surprise of course that the favourite made a break and that changed a whole bunch of things. We just got lucky and things broke the right way for us. Luckily, she had enough pace coming for home. It's very special."

Outlawlookslikrain paid $23.50 for the upset.

The homebred Smart Shark-Ladyreigns filly has earned three wins, two seconds and two thirds in eight seasonal starts while banking over $75,000. Among her wins is an Alberta Starlet division earlier in the year.

Wish I Was and trainer-driver Keith Clark converted from the pocket and opened up down the lane to win the $20,000 consolation in 2:00.3. The victory was her first in pari-mutuel action.

“She picked a good time to break her maiden didn’t she,” laughed Clark, who co-owns the Camystic-I Wish I Knew filly with Robert Jones of Slave Lake, Alta. and Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alta. “I thought I had a shot because she can leave real good and Tim Brown’s horse [Crown And Ginger] was the one I thought I had to beat. I thought I might be sitting behind her and that’s the way it was. The way my filly went by her and opened up, I thought she was going to be able to hang on. Johnny Chappell [with Blazing By] flushed me a little earlier than I wanted, but we got there anyway.”

Three-year-old pacing fillies Credit Card Junkie and Blue Star Beauty duked it out one last time in Alberta Sires Stakes action in a two-horse breakaway down the stretch in their $75,000 Super Final with Credit Card Junkie coming out on top for trainer-driver Keith Clark.

Gts Jerilyn (Brandon Campbell) grabbed the early lead before 1-2 favourite Blue Star Beauty (Bill Tainsh Jr.) split horses and came on to take over during a :27.3 opening panel.

Blue Star Beauty proceeded to the half in :58.2 with Born With A Grin (James Junquist) advancing first over from fourth and outsider Credit Card Junkie following her cover.

Credit Card Junkie fired three-wide as they approached the third quarter mark in 1:26.3 and battled head-to-head with Blue Star Beauty around the final turn. She eventually wore her down in deep stretch for the 1:57.2 triumph by a neck. Cool One (Don Monkman Jr.) came in third after a pre-race tire repair to her sulky.

Credit Card Junkie paid $9.50 to win as the second choice.

"They've had a lot of stretch battles like that, those two," commented Clark after the victory. "It's either one or the other.

"She made a good move [in the backstretch], but when she was done making that move she was tired. But she got up to the other filly and I thought if we got up close to her we might have a shot, but usually you can't catch her," explained the Hall of Fame horseman. "My horse did [get a little steppy midway through the stretch]. I was hitting her and she was getting mad at the whip. I had to quite hitting her coming to the wire because she wasn't liking it."

Clark owns and bred the Camystic-Best Promise filly with McDougall and Verne Rea of Calgary, Alta. Unraced at two, Credit Card Junkie has put together a sophomore record reading 11-9-1 in 22 starts while banking nearly $150,000 in purses.

"She's just been a tough filly. Her mother was just like her. Neither one of them are very sound, but they're great race horses," noted Clark.

Even-money favourite Popcorn overcome an outside post position when she rallied home from the backfield to win the $20,000 consolation in 1:59.3 for trainer-driver Jamie Gray.

“She got the seven-hole and she has no gate speed, but I knew if I could get her into it down the backside she would give it all she got,” said Gray, who co-owns with Gilbert and Brandon, MB resident Richard Osterbeck. “A lot of them in there aren’t really big finishers and my filly is so as long as I had her in the hunt I was confident.”

The Camystic-Pop Art filly notched just her second win in 16 starts this year to go along with four seconds and two thirds. Her bankroll climbed to nearly $30,000.

“She just has no luck in the draws,” continued Gray. “She’s kind of like second, third or fourth best. She’s always hanging around. But she always makes money. We’re happy with her.”

Trust The Artist converted a pocket trip in to another stakes score for trainer-driver Kelly Hoerdt in the $25,000 Albertan for older pacers.

Bachelor Pad (Gerry Hudon) fired across the track from the outside post eight to establish the lead ahead of Trust The Artist. He carved out early fractions of :27.3 and :58.3 before favourite Flak Jacket (Jamie Gray) advanced first over from mid-pack and edged out in front at the 1:25.4 three-quarters mark. From there, Hoerdt fired Trust The Artist three-wide and swept by the top two to score in 1:55.1 by two and a half lengths. Bachelor Pad stayed for second while Greek Ruler (John Chappell) closed well for third.

Trust The Artist paid $7 to win as the 5-2 second choice.

"He surprises me every year," said Hoerdt of the 48-time winner with over $550,000 banked in purses. "The race went pretty much the way I thought it was going to work out. I knew Gerry would be getting out of there and I would be able to follow him and Jamie would be coming early and I knew I had to wait as long as I could if I'm going to get by those two horses so it worked out."

The eight-year-old Real Artist-Abreachoftrust gelding notched his sixth win in 15 starts this year while lifting his seasonal earnings to nearly $50,000 for Hoerdt, Corbeil, and Mike McAllister of Beaumont, Alta.

Hoerdt said the pacer will take a break from racing with his latest victory likely to be his last start of the year.

Outlaw Beacon wrapped up the stakes action with a front end victory in the $75,000 Super Final for three-year-old pacing colts in rein to Jim Marino.

Outlaw Beacon left from post five and carved out fractions of :27.2, :59.2, and 1:28.1 en route to the 1:56.3 triumph. Keith Clark stablemates Playbook (Bobby Clark) and Somethinsgoinon (Keith Clark) rounded out the top three finishers. Playbook followed two and a half lengths behind in second off a pocket trip while Somethinsgoinon rallied home off favourite Cowboy Caper's (Kelly Hoerdt) cover to show.

Outlaw Beacon paid $7 to win as the 5-2 second choice.

Lance Ward of Sherwood, Alta. trains and co-owns the Blue Burner-Billie J Blue Chip gelding with fellow Sherwood, Alta. resident William Exelby and Edmonton's Edward Dhoedt and Shir Win Racing Stable.

Outlaw Beacon now sports a sophomore record reading 6-4-2 in 20 starts and seasonal earnings close to $100,000.

Earlier on the card, Hollywood Hotel and trainer-driver Gerry Hudon also went wire-to-wire to win the $20,000 consolation in 1:57.3 by nearly three lengths.

"I was kind of wondering what Ryan Grundy was going to do with his horse [favourite Cenalta Power]. I seen him ducking so I figured I try to leave," said Hudon of his winning strategy. "Brent [Grundy and eventual runner-up Outlawcoltfortyfor] wasn’t quite making the gate so I took my shot on the front. The horse likes the front end."

The Camcracker-Sweet Place colt earned his third win in 15 seasonal starts and pushed his earnings to over $20,000.

"I had trouble all summer with him; he wasn’t healthy," noted Hudon. "Every time I was in those stakes I'd make it to the front and let one go and I’d be shutting the air off on the colt and he just couldn’t recover from it, but I think I got him pretty well rigged up now.

"His season hasn't been good at all. He was a disappointment. But he was sick and we’ve done some things to get him over it. I think he’s going to be a good winter horse.”

Hollywood Hotel is owned by breeder Monica Hudon of Edmonton and Vancouver's Bill Boden.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Northlands Park.

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