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BC Breeders Classic Day In The Books

Published: November 11, 2017 4:54 pm ET

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Fraser Downs at Elements Casino hosted the richest day of harness racing in British Columbia with Breeders Classic Day on Saturday (November 11) and it was a big day for owner Rick Mowles and sire Sportswriter.

Mowles' J J J Stables won three of the four $100,000 finals, while Ontario standout sire Sportswriter sired three of the winners.

Ron Bakardi made every call a winning one en route to victory in the $100,000 Robert Millbank Memorial Breeders Stake for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Driver Jim Marino timed the gate perfectly and was able to land Ron Bakardi on the lead in front of his six rivals before the first turn. After a :29 first quarter, Ron Bakardi faced a first-over bid from One Small Favour (Kevin Anderson) through a :58.4 half with Machitoutofthepark (Serge Masse) second over and looming the danger.

Down the backstretch, Marino asked Ron Bakardi for another gear and he responded with some daylight on the field. Masse looped Machitoutofthepark around the first-over challenger to apply the pressure in person as the third station flashed up in 1:27.2. As the field turned for home, Ron Bakardi had plently left in the tank and pulled away for a two-length score in 1:57. Favoured Canadian Pharoh (Rod Therres) closed well for second with Machitoutofthepark staying for third.

"My plan was to leave off the gate and probably one of the better colts in the race made a little miscue at the beginning and that made it easier to get to the front," said Marino in the winner's circle. "I got lucky; there are a few colts in there that if they got the same trip or had the same luck they'd have won also."

Marino trains and co-owns Ron Bakardi (Badlands Hanover - Artfromtheheart) along with J J J Stables of Prince George, B.C. In five freshman starts, Ron Bakardi boasts an enviable 3-2-0 summary along with $75,000 in purse earnings.

Scardy Cat was in no mood for company in the $100,000 Betty Millbank Memorial Breeders Stake for two-year-old pacing fillies, running away and hiding from the field en route to a convincing and dominant victory.

Driver Paul Davies hustled Scardy Cat away from the outside of the gate in Post 7 and made the front with ease ahead of Luna Dancer (Dennis Johnston) and Dali Double (Jim Marino). The complexion of the race changed early as two of the favoured horses -- Nice Aint My Color (Serge Masse) and Custard Lite (John Abbott) -- made early breaks. Davies was able to steal a breather in the second quarter, reached in a tepid 1:01.

The pace picked up down the backside as Dali Double pulled from third to pressure Scardy Cat through a 1:29.4 third quarter but the bid was launched in futility as Scardy Cat turned it on heading for home and cruised to an open-length score in 1:58.4. Dali Double came back on for runner-up honours with Luna Dancer (drawing in as the first also eligible) hanging on for third.

"That's the way to do going for this kind of money," quipped Davies with a smile to track announcer Dan Jukich in the winner's circle. "I was a little bit concerned [with Post 7], we've been babying her off the gate. She'd get a little hot off the gate and wanted to make breaks but she's just gotten better with every was just greenness, I think that was only her fourth lifetime start.

"She seems to be coming around to be a pretty nice filly and will be a pretty nice mare, too."

A homebred owned by J J J Stables J J J Stables of Prince George, B.C., Scardy Cat (Sportswriter - Cats Meow)sports a solid 3-1-0 summary from, as Davies correctly noted, four starts in her career. The win lifts her purse earning total to $68,750.

Stakes action was delayed for nearly an hour between races 6 and 7 as the track maintenance crew made repairs to the three outermost paths.

On the toteboard it was a three-horse race in the $100,000 Mary Murphy Memorial Breeders Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies and the on-track product didn't vary far from the punters' predictions.

Divisional standout Yoga Pants was saddled with the outside post 8 but that didn't pose a barrier to trainer-driver Jim Marino, who hustled his stable star out for command and made the lead before the turn. Keys Please (Serge Masse) tucked into the pocket and Tahuya Gameday (John Abbott) settled into third. Those three fillies had separation on the field through the :27.3 opener, :58 half and 1:26.3 third panel with no threat from the backfield.

Masse took his shot with Keys Please around the final turn and managed to get close to Yoga Pants' bridle. With the pocket vacated, Abbott was able to get Tahuya Gameday in contention and found room to Yoga Pants' inside. Marino asked Yoga Pants for an extra kick in the stretch and she responded to repel her rivals and trip the timer in 1:56.2. Tahuya Gameday finished second with Keys Please completing the triactor.

Owned by J J J Stables of Prince George, B.C., Yoga Pants (Sportswriter - Lucks Pleasure) has captured 11 of her 12 seasonal starts with a 15-for-17 lifetime record. The winner's share of the purse lifts her lifetime bankroll to $327,409.

While not by design, Millbanks Bart ended the parade of front-running stakes winners with an impressive first-over score in the $100,000 Robert Murphy Memorial Breeders Stake for three-year-old colts & geldings to close out BC Breeders Classic Day.

After an early bobble, driver Serge Masse was forced to get away near the back of the field in sixth with favoured Millbanks Bart as second choice Mach Steady (Paul Davies) stepped out stoutly for command. Ima Dude (Brandon Campbell) pocketed up in front of Bakardi Gold (J.F. Gagne) through a :27.3 opening quarter.

Masse right-lined Millbanks Bart at the three-eighths mark in front of the grandstand and the colt responded aggressively as the field passed the half in :57.3. Down the backside, Masse and Millbanks Bart showed no mercy to the pacesetter and cleared to the lead before hitting he third station in 1:26. A three-length lead turning for home quickly diminished as Ima Dude found room late with sights set on the leader. Masse kept his colt to task and hit the wire in 1:56.1, a length better than Ima Dude with Bakardi Gold taking the show spot.

In the winner's circle, a relieved Masse recounted what went wrong before the start of the race.

"I kind of pushed him a little too hard and I think he hit the gate, said Masse, "he kind of got excited a little bit and got sideways but he recovered...that's the main thing."

"I was following two horses that, in my opinion, didn't belong in there so I had to come early," continued Masse. "When I saw that Paul was in front with that horse, I drove him before and I know he can be sluggish so I tried my shot in the backside and it worked for me."

Rod Therres trains and co-owns Millbanks Bart (Sportswriter - G Vs Cam Can) with Blair Miller of Langley. After some inconsistent performances earlier in the year, Millbanks Bart has responded well from a summertime layoff with a 3-2-0 summary in five starts since returning in October. With the win, Millbanks Bart now boasts $140,090 in career earnings.

To view the results from Saturday's card at Fraser, click the following link: Saturday Results - Fraser Downs.

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