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River Blues & Play Me Right Win ABSS

Published: October 27, 2013 1:27 am ET

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Three-year-old Alberta-sired pacers were in the spotlight on Saturday night at Northlands Park with River Blues and Play Me Right taking top honours in their final Alberta Sires Stakes events of the regular season.

River Blues and driver Gerry Hudon pulled off a pleasant surprise for trainer/owner Lance Ward as she rallied home from the backfield to win the $54,500 Alberta Marquis Final for three-year-old pacing fillies in a career-best 1:57 flat.

"Unbelievable, it's totally unexpected," said Ward from the winner's circle. "She was up against the best three-year-old fillies on the tracks. The Super Finals are next weekend and where we stood up until this point was to race in the Consolation. We were sitting down about the 10th spot or something so we thought if we got a fifth cheque we'd be doing pretty good. It's just unbelievable."

The Blue Burner-Takemetotheriver filly, who was fourth in the eliminations -- her only other ABSS start of the year -- paid $33.90 for the upset win. River Blues earned just her second win in 17 starts. Emotions Run Wild (Kelly Hoerdt) finished three-quarters of a length back in second and G Ts Selene (Travis Cullen) was third.

"He [Gerry] is so patient," added Ward. "He just sits there and lets things develop and follows and takes advantage. Great drive."

Favourite Play Me Right completed a sweep of the Alberta Maverick leg for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings with a 1:53.4 triumph in the following $53,600 final for the Campbell family.

The Ameripan Gigolo-Clintons Delight gelding lead from start to finish and prevailed by one and three-quarter lengths. He paid $6.90 to win as the 2-1 favourite. Blue Star Admiral (Bill Tainsh Jr.) and Bettor In The Bank (Keith Clark) followed in second and third.

Play Me Right earned his fifth win in 13 seasonal starts. He is driven by Brandon Campbell for his father, trainer Sanford Campbell, and mother, co-owner Debbie Campbell. Brandon's girlfriend Jodi Loftus also shares ownership.

"This horse has come a long way," noted the winning reinsman. "At the beginning of the year he didn't really look like he was going to be this kind of horse, but he's grown up. He's got a great attitude on him and it's great for my mom and my girlfriend so I'm very, very pleased. This is the best horse that we've ever had, that's for sure."

The top contenders in the ABSS program will face off in the Battle of Alberta Super Finals next Saturday, Nov. 2 at Northlands Park.

In other action, former Alberta Super Final winner Wrangler Betonme made his first start in over a year and earned his first win since his near perfect freshman campaign in the evening's $9,000 Open Pace. Sent postward as the longest shot on the board at odds of 25-1, the four-year-old son of As Promised prevailed in 1:54 by half a length over pacesetter Smooth Criminal (Bill Tainsh Jr.) and favourite Cowboy Caper (Kelly Hoerdt). Keith Clark worked out the winning trip for trainer Gerry Hudon and owners Dr. Maurice and Maureen Stewart and partners Lyle and Sandy Reid. Wrangler Betonme paid $52.20 for the upset win.

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

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