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Huge Shocker In Brad Gunn Finals

Published: December 19, 2009 6:52 pm ET

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Stakes action resumed at Northlands Downs on Saturday - the second annual Standardbreds Forever Day - with a pair of $57,500 Brad Gunn Finals for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings and matching ASHA Breeders Finals for the fillies.

Due to the cancellation of last weekend’s cards, eliminations were not contested and the finals were split into two divisions.

Wrangler Hitech stepped up to capture the first Brad Gunn Final while Cardiff Hanover pulled off the biggest surprise of the day in the second division.

Coming off a second-place finish in his Battle of Alberta Super Final, second choice Wrangler Hitech refused to fill the runner-up spot this time around. The As Promised-Raines Lucey gelding and trainer-driver Keith Clark tracked 3-5 favourite Sixdaysontheroad (Ron Graham) through panels of :27.2, :57.3 and 1:26.4 before making his move.

Wrangler Hitech pulled the pocket past the third quarter and matched strides with the leader around the final turn before pushing ahead down the lane. Using a :28.3 final quarter, Wrangler Hitech held off a quick-closing Red Riverboat (Gerry Hudon) by a half-length to win in 1:55.4. Sixdaysontheroad completed the top three.

Clark also shares ownership of the winner of 13 races in 20 starts and $180,832 this year with Robert Jones of Slave Lake and Peter Giannakopoulos of Edmonton, Alta.

Owner Robert Jones also earned another victory on the card when his six-year-old Cambest-Lilmisscantdowrong gelding Armbro Dublin and Clark went down the road in the $13,000 Open Pace. Armbro Dublin won by three and a half lengths in 1:54.2 over Smart Shark (Connie Kolthammer) and Stiletto Hall (Don Monkman, Jr.). It was his third consecutive win and seventh in 22 starts this year.

In the second Brad Gunn Final, Cardiff Hanover edged out pacesetter and 3-5 favourite Blended Whiskey (Bill Tainsh, Jr.) for a 30-1 upset in a career-best 1:53.4. The son of Cams Card Shark-Countess Spur was positioned third at the rail by J.F. Gagne through stations of :28, :57 and 1:23.4. Blended Whiskey led the way with Swiftys First Star (Jeff Stone) applying pressure from first-over at the three-quarters mark.

Blended Whiskey kicked away by three lengths in the stretch, but Cardiff Hanover angled out and sprinted home in :29-seconds to get up for the win by a neck. Blended Whiskey stayed for second with the pocket-sitting Camblazer (Gerry Hudon) rounding out the top three.

The win was Cardiff Hanover’s fifth in 24 starts this year and boosted his earnings to $53,019 for owners Lorne Duffield of Edmonton and Rafter H Standardbreds of Millet, Alta. It was his second start for trainer Paul Dersken.

In the first ASHA Breeders Final, 4-1 second choice Nazko Finally and trainer-driver Gerry Hudon brushed to command from third at the third quarter and pulled away from favourite Lady And Thetrench (Keith Clark) by two lengths for the victory in 1:57. Gts Lizzy (Bill Tainsh, Jr.) finished back in third.

The winning daughter of As Promised-Jans Desire is owned by Bill Boden of Vancouver, B.C. and Monica Hudon of Edmonton, Alta. Nazko Finally’s third win in 13 starts gives her $77,134 in earnings on the year.

Battle of Alberta Super Final winner A Special Lady and Bill Tainsh, Jr. went wire-to-wire in the next division for fillies posting a six length score in 1:56.1. Favourite Incredible Beauty (Keith Clark) and Onaway (Jeff Stone) finished second and third.

A Special Lady, a daughter of As Promised-Southwind Holley, scored her 10th win in 25 starts and pushed her earnings to $161,574 for owners Gord Remmen of Campbellville, Ont., breeder Gord Rumpel of Calgary and Dr. Maurice Stewart of Leduc, Alta.

To view Saturday's results, click here.

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