The top two and three-year-old performers in the 2012 Atlantic Sires Stakes converged at Charlottetown Driving Park on Sunday afternoon to face off in six Atlantic Breeders Crown divisions worth over $100,000 in purses.
Oceanview Kate kicked off the stakes action with a 2:04.2 open length victory in the $7,000 Atlantic Breeders Crown for two-year-old trotters in rein to Mike Stevenson.
Im Graceful (Gary Chappell) and Crestwave morning (Joey Pineau) made a pair of costly breaks in stride while I Aint No Lady (Garth Cole), Taliesin (Marc Campbell) and divisional leader Irish Lullaby (Daniel MacDonald) battled three-wide for the top spot. Taliesin eventually emerged to take the lead during the :30.4 opening quarter with I Aint No Lady settling into the pocket and Irish Lullaby taking back into the three-hole.
As Taliesin led the way to the half in 1:01.1, 4-5 favourite West River Xcel (Clare MacDonald) advanced first up from mid-pack with Oceanview Kate following her cover. West River Xcel moved up alongside the leader as they raced past the three-quarters mark in 1:32.3, but Oceanview Kate was full of trot and rallied three-wide around the final turn before running away from the field down the stretch. I Aint No Lady finished over seven lengths behind in second and West River Xcel was third.
The time of the mile was just three-fifths of a second off the long-standing freshman filly trot track record, which was set in 1996 by Dunmore Skye.
“It just worked out great,” said Stevenson in the winner’s circle. “She kind of floated out of there and Clare was outside and the other three were battling. I definitely thought she had the horse to follow. When I started making my move she came and my filly just followed Clare great. At the top of the stretch, she was just full of trot. She was really good today.“
Bred by Meridian Farms, the Northern Bailey-King Kong Kate filly is trained and owned by Bill Roloson of Belfast, P.E.I.
“This filly has come a long way,” noted Stevenson. “This filly was really erratic early in the spring. Bill put a lot of time and work in with this filly and it’s paid off for him. The filly is starting to relax a lot for him and she is getting to be real handy behind the gate and all that credit goes to Bill. He spent days and days down there schooling her after he tried to race her the first couple of times and it all paid off.”
Oceanview Kate has won three of her eight career starts, including an ATSS division on July 24 at Truro Raceway, while banking $11,332.
She paid $21.80 for the upset win.
Majian Dillon and driver Gilles Barrieau prevailed in the next $7,000 Atlantic Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotters in 2:02.1.
With the inside post advantage, divisional leader Sweetwater Rukkus (Jack Panting) grabbed the lead during the :30.2 opening panel, but Est Non Ila Dulcis (Marc Campbell) was on the move from the backfield and she swept from sixth to first in the a blink of an eye.
Est Non Ila Dulcis carved out middle fractions of 1:00.1 and 1:31.1 with defending Atlantic Breeders Crown champion My Daisy Duke (Corey MacPherson) advancing first over from fourth and Majian Dillon following her cover. Barrieau sent his mount three-wide around the final turn and the gelding got up to score his first win of the season from five starts. Sweetwater Rukkus, who finished a half-length behind in second, was placed back to eighth for a pylon violation leaving Est Non Ila Dulcis and the winner’s stablemate Majian Chester (James Ripley) to round out the top three finishers.
The Nikes Image-Askmetodance gelding is trained by Ripley for owner and breeder Marylea Ripley of Amherst, N.S. His second career win pushed his bankroll to $21,095.
Majian Dillon paid $6.30 to win as the 2-1 favourite.
Carol Alice, the two-year-old pacing filly divisional leader, dominated her rivals once again, winning the Atlantic Breeders Crown by three and three-quarter lengths in a career-best 1:59.1 for trainer-driver Clare MacDonald.
Carol Alice left from post two and carved out fractions of :30.1, 1:00.3 and 1:30.3 before pulling away down the stretch for her seventh win. Top Brand (Danny Romo) advanced first over to place and Misssassy Attitude (Kenny Arsenault) finished third.
The 4-5 favourite paid $3.80 to win.
“Right from the first day I drove her in Summerside her biggest attribute was that she was good-gaited and extremely versatile,” said MacDonald after the victory. “You can race this filly any way you please and today it played in her favour. She sprung off the wings fast and was able to clear before the turn and they basically had to come get her. And she was too strong for them, on this day anyways.”
The chestnut Brandons Cowboy-Keltic Sarah filly has never finished worse than second in her 11 starts while banking nearly $40,000 for owner-breeder Douglas Rankin of Sydney, N.S.
Untouchable One proved to be just that in winning the $24,000 Atlantic Breeders Crown for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings by three and three-quarter lengths in 1:57.4 for driver Kenny Arsenault and trainer Sean Dooley.
Untouchable One established the lead from post two and put up a :27.2 opening quarter before Forever Paradise (Marc Campbell) gave him a run for his money. Advancing first over from fourth, Forever Paradise applied heavy pressure to the leader through middle splits of :57.2 and 1:27.2, but Untouchable fought back and took off down the stretch for the victory. T M Valley Storm (Gilles Barreau) finished second off a pocket trip while The Rev (Danny Romo) came on for third.
Untouchable One paid $2.80 to win as the 2-5 favourite.
Bred by Cheryl Geldart Greer of Norton, N.B., the Carlspur-Bolero Tam Tam gelding led his division winning all five of his Atlantic Sires Stakes divisions. He now boasts a record reading 7-1-0 in nine starts with $32,669 earned for the Dooley Boys Racing Stable of Halifax, N.S.
Malabrigo kept her seasonal record perfect with a 1:57.1 victory in the $24,000 Atlantic Breeders Crown for three-year-old pacing fillies.
Malabrigo's 15th consecutive victory was her closest yet with A As Glory (Danny Romo) desperately seeking racing room and just missing by a neck after she found the passing lane.
Malabrigo and trainer-driver Marc Campbell swept from third to first ahead of Ruby Vance (Gilles Barrieau) at the :27.3 opening quarter mark while her stablemate Putyourwhipaway (Mark McKinnon) made a costly break in stride.
The heavy 1-4 favourite then cruised through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:27.1 while defending Atlantic Breeders Crown champion Pictonian Amanda (Mike Stevenson) advanced first up from third with Seeyouonthebeach (Darren Crowe) three-high and A As Glory trapped in at the pylons.
As Malabrigo led the field into the stretch, Ruby Vance slipped up the pylons with A As Glory squeezing up the inside. But it was too late. Malabrigo found the wire just in time to prevail over A As Glory with her stablemate Ruby Vance rounding out the top three finishers.
Malabrigo paid $2.60 to win for the 22nd time in her career.
The Western Paradise-Lots Abunny filly was bred by Dennis Baxter of Lower Sackville, N.S. and is owned by Buntainwood Farm of Brackley Beach, P.E.I. She has earned $76,218 of her $128,026 bankroll during her perfect sophomore campaign.
Touch Of Lightning cruised wire-to-wire to win the final $24,000 Atlantic Breeders Crown for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:54.4 for trainer-driver Allan Earl Smith.
Touch Of Lightning fired to command before the first turn and put up a :28-second opening panel before being pressured by First Art Down (Gilles Barrieau).
First Art Down advanced first up from third to challenge the leader through middle panels of :57.1 and 1:25.3 with Mr Thompson (Mike Stevenson) second over and divisional leader Junebugs Baby (Kenny Arsenault) eventually forced to go three-wide around his fading cover.
Touch Of Lightning rebuffed his first over attacker around the final turn and drew off down the stretch to win by three and a half lengths. Junebugs Baby came on for second while pocket-sitter Dukes Up (Marc Campbell) finished third.
The 1:54.4 clocking was just one-fifth of a second off the colt track record that Touch Of Lightning shares with Flaming Moe.
Touch Of Lightning paid $3.10 to win as the 1-2 favourite.
The Articulator-Aquatic Lightning colt, who is approaching the $100,000 career earnings mark, was bred by Louis McIsaac of Cornwall, P.E.I. and is owned by Islanders Peter Smith of Charlottetown, Donald Smith of Pownal, Gerald Morrissey of Vernon Bridge, and Larry Chappell of Marshfield. The win was his ninth in 17 seasonal starts and 13th lifetime. Among his victories are ATSS divisions on July 28 at Truro Raceway and Aug. 13 at Charlottetown Driving Park.
Sunday's card wrapped up with the $15,100 Island Pacing Championship, sponsored by Meridian Farms, and it was three-year-old gelding All Turain who pulled off a 11-1 upset as he rallied four-wide from the backfield to prevail in 1:56.2 by three-quarters of a length. Balanchine (Brodie MacPhee) closed late for second while Eagle Luck (Mark Bradley) won a four-way photo for show.
Marc Campbell drove the son of Tell All for trainer Trevor Hicken, who also co-owns with Lee Hicken of Charlottetown.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Charlottetown Driving Park.