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Alberta Sires Stakes Season Begins

Published: May 27, 2017 6:57 pm ET

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The 2017 Alberta Sires Stakes season kicked off on Saturday, May 27 at Century Downs with four $7,500 eliminations for the Alberta Princess starring three-year-old pacing fillies.

Trained by Harold Haining, 4-5 favourite Wedding Dance ($3.80) and driver Jim Marino won the season opener with a dominant 1:55.2 victory, the fastest of the four eliminations and just three-fifths of a second off the divisional track record.

The Mystery Chase-Westart Love filly held a commanding lead through fractions of :29.2, :58.2 and 1:27.1 en route to the career-best performance with 8-5 pocket-pursuer Steady Breeze (Kelly Hoerdt) following more than three lengths behind in second.

Wedding Dance winning her Alberta Princess elimination on May 27 at Century Downs. (Kyle Meller/Coady Photo)

Wedding Dance shaved two-fifths of a second off her lifetime mark that she took in the Moores Mile Stakes last month. Last year, she won four of 10 starts including two Sires Stakes events and the ASHA Filly Stakes in which she set a 1:56 track record for two-year-old fillies. The fast filly, who has earned more than $60,000 in purses, is owned by Donald Richardson of Cochrane, Alta.

Marino returned to the winner's circle after guiding 9-2 third choice Cardinal Rule ($11.40) to a new lifetime mark of 1:56.2 in the following elimination.

Cardinal Rule advanced first-over from fifth to collar pacesetter Jk Ellem Enoh (Mike Hennessy) at the 1:27.1 third quarter mark. Those fillies battled into the stretch, with Cenalta Cougar (Rene Goulet) emerging from the pocket to make it a three-across finish. Cardinal Rule ultimately prevailed by half a length, with Cenalta Cougar getting up for the runner-up honours.

Cardinal Rule (8) winning her Alberta Princess elimination on May 27 at Century Downs. (Kyle Meller/Coady Photo)

After going winless in eight starts as a freshman, Cardinal Rule has won five of her seven sophomore races to boost her bankroll over $25,000. Blaine Chappell has taken over the training duties for the filly's last three straight wins with today marking the first Sires Stakes victory of his career. The roan Allamerican Navajo-Cai Hanover filly is owned by Ross Sharp of Campbell River, B.C.

Reigning divisional champion and 4-5 race favourite Outlaw Fireball ($3.90) made her season's debut a winning one in the third elimination, scoring in 1:56.1 for the driving and training team of J.F. Gagne and Marjorie Dumont.

Gagne made his move with the Blue Burner-Watchasgirlsgoby filly approaching the half, tipping out from third and moving up to pressure pacesetter Legs Like Tina (Phil Giesbrecht) past three-quarters in 1:26.3. Outlaw Fireball pulled ahead into the stretch and held off Nightime Chase (Keith Clark), who rallied off the winner's cover to place one length behind. Legs Like Tina finished four lengths back in third.

Outlaw Fireball winning her Alberta Princess elimination on May 27 at Century Downs. (Kyle Meller/Coady Photo)

Outlaw Fireball, who earned almost $85,000 at two while winning five of nine races, remains undefeated in the Alberta Sires Stakes program. She is owned by Gagne, Peter Van Seggelen of Foothills, Alta., Carl Warnaar of Kelowna, B.C., and Tapron Holdings Ltd. of Heritage Pointe, Alta.

Marino made it three wins in four of the eliminations as he worked out the winning trip aboard 16-1 longshot Stylomilohos ($34.70), who scored in a career-best 1:57.1.

The early trailer circled the field of eight, fanning out widest of all turning for home to prevail in a blanket finish. Stylomilohos won by half a length over fellow late-closers Sideline Secrets (Tyler Redwood) and Grinandchaseit (Richard Remillard), with the popular pacesetter Lil Bit O Jingle (Bill Tainsh Jr.) settling for fourth.

Stylomilohos (7) winning her Alberta Princess elimination on May 27 at Century Downs. (Kyle Meller/Coady Photo)

Owned by Ray Soh of Delta, B.C., the Mystery Chase-Heart And Style filly recently joined the Gord Abbott stable. While this was her first win against stakes competition, she has picked up cheques in all 19 of her career starts for almost $45,000 in earnings. The win was her third and fastest yet.

The Alberta Princess final will be contested next Saturday, June 3 at Century Downs.

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

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