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Red John Goes The Distance

Published: December 22, 2018 4:48 pm ET

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The Raceway at the Western Fair District featured some of the region's top older pacers in a $11,500 Preferred 2 & 3 Handicap Pace during a rare Saturday afternoon card of harness racing.

Three of the field's six horses left alertly, with Red John (Nick Steward) maintaining rail control and parking post five starter The Loan Ranger (Ryan Holliday) through the opening turn while Rose Run Quest (Jason Ryan) allowed those foes to battle it out early and settled along the pylons.

The Loan Ranger cleared to the lead down the backstretch, with Steward right-lining Red John from the pocket to retake through a :28.3 opening quarter. Brett MacDonald started favoured National Debt from fourth approaching the half-mile marker, giving Red John some overland company as the pacers hit the half in :59. Down the backside, National Debt couldn't keep up with the pacesetting Red John, who was pacing confidently on the lead through the 1:27 third station. A margin of more than length heading into the stretch started to shrink as Rose Run Quest and The Loan Ranger made late bids but those two rivals came up short of Red John, who hit the wire a half-length up on Rose Run Quest with the miles timed in 1:57.2. The Loan Ranger was another length back to take show honours.

The win was the sixth on the season and 10th lifetime for Red John (Mach Three - Bell Amis Love), trained by Victor Puddy for Bill Manes, Steven Papillon, Limco Inc., and Ontario 1085195.

With Puddy's win and just three cards of racing remaining in the calendar year, The Raceway’s trainers title could come down to the wire.

Heading into the Boxing Day card at the London oval, Patrick Shepherd holds a slim one-win lead over fellow conditioner Puddy. Shepherd is in search of his first London training title and is in the midst of a career-best season with over 200 wins along with surpassing $1 million in season earnings.

Puddy has been one of the top conditioners at The Raceway in recent years and will look to defend his title after being crowned The Raceway’s top trainer in 2017.

O’Brien Award finalist Richard Moreau has been a dominant conditioner at The Raceway for many years is currently sitting third, just two wins back of Shepherd. Another O’Brien Award finalist, Kyle Bossence, is stalking in fourth with 31 wins this season. The Arthur, Ont. resident has been named a finalist for the Rising Star Award.

Name - Wins

Patrick Shepherd – 35
Vic Puddy – 34
Richard Moreau – 33
Kyle Bossence – 31

While not in the race for the training title, conditioner Jeff Williamson added a hat-trick on the Saturday card. Williamson sent out four horses on the day and had three horses in the winner's circle: Eataamup Cassandra in Race 2, So Long Sugar in Race 8 and Eataams Ellie in the tenth race Saturday finale.

Three final cards are remaining in the calendar year, which will be hosted on Boxing Day (1:15 p.m.), December 28 (6:55 p.m.) and New Year’s Eve (6:55 p.m.).

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

(with files from Western Fair)

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