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Clark Sweeps Stakes On Fraser Finale

Published: April 25, 2015 3:48 am ET

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Trainer/driver Keith Clark swept the $75,000 Keith Linton Memorial and matching filly companion Penny Bath Memorial Stakes during Fraser Downs' meet-closing card on Friday night with North America Cup eligible First Class Horse and Blue Star Texas.

Both sophomore stakes winners are owned by Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alberta and Robert Jones of Slave Lake, Alberta.

First Class Horse continued his undefeated three-year-old campaign with a 1:55.2 triumph over Buddy Weiser (Serge Masse) and Blissful Angel (Scott Knight). The track was rated sloppy with a one second variant.

The Western Terror-Susurrus Hanover colt powered up to take the lead after a contested :27-second opening panel in which the quick-leaving Buddy Weiser pocketed outsider Illwinifican. First Class Horse was in charge the rest of the mile, leading through middle splits of :57.1 and 1:25.4 en route to the three-length triumph. The heavy 1-5 favourite paid $2.70 to win.

First Class Horse is now four-for-four this year and has nine wins in 11 lifetime starts. The victory in the Keith Linton was his biggest yet and the lion's share of the purse more than doubled his bankroll, which climbed to $70,545.

Blue Star Texas took a new lifetime mark of 1:56.4, with My Villas On Fire (Jamie Gray) edging out Fast Lane Firebolt (John Chappell) in a photo for place over one length behind.

The Brandons Cowboy-Movin Uptown filly made the lead early as she overtook Fast Lane Firebolt in the first turn and hit the quarter in :27.3, but My Villas On Fire rushed by as the fillies moved in front of the grandstand. My Villas On Fire continued to lead past the half in :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:27 while Club Dreams advanced first over down the backstretch after early interference and made it up into second before fading around the final turn. Down the stretch, Clark pulled Blue Star Texas from the pocket and wore down My Villas On Fire while Fast Lane Firebolt closed on the outside. Blue Star Texas paid $8.50 to win as the 3-2 second choice to fourth-place finisher Kootenay Mystic.

Blue Star Texas, a close runner-up in the Penny Bath eliminations last week, earned her second win from three starts this year. She has 10 top three finishes in 14 career starts (three wins) and boasts earnings of $68,141.

Fraser's leading trainer Bill Davis completed a four-win night by sweeping the $10,500 Opens with the Camluck-sired pacing mare Gracie Montana and gelding Sterling Cooper for local owners Jeff and Debbie Elchuk.

Gracie Montana, the 2-1 favourite, rallied home off the cover of Rummys Command (Keith Clark) to prevail by a neck over that rival in 1:54.1. Just One More (Brandon Campbell) finished five and a half lengths behind in third.

The race set up for the late-closing Gracie Montana, who was away sixth early on, with three mares battling for the spotlight through a heated :26.2 opener. Drawing Dead came away with the early lead, but Pureform Goodtogo took over by the :56 half-mile mark and then Prairie Illusion gained the slight advantage as she challenged first up. Rummys Command was second over and fanned three-wide before Prairie Illusion cleared near the 1:24.3 third quarter mark. Gracie Montana had followed Rummys Command's cover and then tracked her down in the final strides, notching her 40th career win in a photo finish. She returned $6.30 to her backers at the betting windows.

Assigned the outside post eight, track record holder Sterling Cooper sprinted off the gate and led at every call (:26.2, :55.2, 1:22.4, 1:51.2) for his fourth Open victory in a row. Sent postward as the 6-5 favourite, he paid $4.80 to win. Beren Hanover (Allan Molloy) followed one and a half lengths behind off a pocket trip and it was over 10 lengths back to third-place finisher Lisvinnie (Keith Clark), the longest shot on the board at odds of 48-1.

Live harness racing will return to Fraser Downs in October.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Fraser Downs.

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