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‘Plainsman’ Elims In The Books

Published: June 3, 2018 5:55 pm ET

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The eliminations for the Alberta Sires Stakes’ Alberta Plainsman took centre stage on Sunday afternoon (June 3 at Century Downs), as some of the top three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in the province got reacquainted.

Having won two of the afternoon’s three eliminations, its safe to say that Jamie Gray was the news maker, as the horseman steered a pair of his trainees to the track photographer when all was said and done.

The first of Gray’s wins came in the second elimination (Race 2), as he steered the public’s 2-5 post-time choice, Exit Smiling ($2.80), to a one and a quarter-length win in 1:57. The gelded son of Vertical Horizon started from Post 1 and made the lead after the :29.1 opening quarter. He went on to cut the middle fractions (1:00 and 1:28) before finishing up his mile with a 29-second final frame. President Elect (driven by Paul Davies) worked out a pocket trip in the mile and finished second, while In The Chase (Ryan Grundy) closed well from the backfield to finish third. After having gone unraced as a two-year-old, Exit Smiling has now won two of his three career races for owners Fred Gillis, Geoff Smith, Natasha Peiskar and Jamie Gray.

Exit Smiling, victorious in his Alberta Plainsman elimination (Caitlin Fancy/Coady Photo)

Gray’s second win came in the third elimination (Race 4), as another Vertical Horizon gelding, Yankee Up ($3.70), turned the trick. After having started from Post 1, Yankee Up was third at the :27.3 quarter pole, but was on the move with a first-over advance in the second panel. Yankee Up was overland and on the lead when he tripped the half-mile clock in :58.2. After having cleared in the third panel, Yankee Up went on to trip the three-quarters clock in 1:26.1. He fired home in :29.2 to record a one-length win in 1:55.3. The Keith Clark-driven Its A Great White raced like a monster from the backfield to get up for second. The Nathan Sobey-driven Mortgage My Villa, who had raced overland through the middle half of the race, ended up finishing third. Yankee Up is now undefeated in three seasonal starts and has won six of his 10 career races for owners Jamie Gray and James Rhodes.

Yankee Up, victorious in his Alberta Plainsman elimination (Caitlin Fancy/Coady Photo)

The first elimination (Race 1) had kicked off the Sunday card, and it was the Kelly Hoerdt-trained and driven Custards Laststand ($2.10) who followed through on his pari-mutuel promise. After having been hammered down to five cents on the dollar, the brown Custard The Dragon colt left from Post 3, fought for the lead early, and cleared to the point after the :28 opening quarter. He went on to cut the middle fractions (:57.4, 1:25.4) before finishing things off with a :29.4 final panel. The win time was 1:55.3 for Hoerdt and fellow owner Blair Corbeil. Outlaw True Grit, who was quite active throughout the mile for driver Philip Giesbrecht, came back on late and finished just a half-length back in second. Spikes Revenge (Brandon Campbell) finished third. Custards Last Stand has now won three of his six seasonal starts and seven of 14 overall. He has now banked over $92,000 in career purses.

Custards Laststand, victorious in his Alberta Plainsman elimination (Caitlin Fancy/Coady Photo)

The final of the Alberta Plainsman is scheduled to be raced next Sunday (June 10) at Century Downs

To view the harness racing results for Sunday at Century, click the following link: Sunday Results – Century Downs.

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