Rays Crown Royal, Play Me Right and Tip Top Tap stepped into the spotlight with victories in the first leg of the Alberta Sires Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings Sunday afternoon at Alberta Downs.
The first sires stakes leg featured three Alberta Rising Star divisions worth between $18,466 to $18,766 each.
Trained and driven by Kelly Hoerdt, Rays Crown Royal kicked off the stakes action as he advanced from fourth before the third quarter mark and took over command from the popular pacesetter Newcrackofdawn (J.F. Gagne) en route to the 1:57.4 three and a quarter length victory. Newcrackofdawn stayed for second while Elijahs Wish (Jamie Gray) rounded out the top three finishers.
The win was Ray Crown Royal's second in a row and fastest yet. Hoerdt co-owns the Hoist A Few-Crown Cheri colt with Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. He paid $5.30 to win as the slight second choice in the field.
Play Me Right made up a 23 length deficit for driver J.F. Gagne and trainer Sanford Campbell when the leader Blue Star Admiral (Bill Tainsh Jr.) broke stride at the third quarter mark and caused interference to pocket-sitter Premium Attation (Kelly Hoerdt). Play Me Right won by one and a half lengths in 1:59.2 over Blue Star Admiral, who was placed back to third for causing interference. Premium Attaction was a distant third, but inherited the runner-up spot.
Owned by Jodi Loftus of Rockton, Ont. and Debbie Campbell of Calgary, Alta., the Ameripan Giglio-Clintons Delight gelding earned his first career win, upsetting at odds of 9-1 and returning $21.10 to his backers.
Tht final division went to second choice Tip Top Tap, who romped to a five and a half length victory in 1:57.3 for trainer-driver Rod Hennessy. Favourite Tatsu (Jim Marino) and Caleo Bay (Bobby Clark) finished second and third, respectively.
Tip Top Tap paid $6.70 to win for the first time in his career. The Camystic-Tapioca Hanover colt, a Horizon Pace runner-up, is owned by Lorne Duffield of Edmonton, Alta.
In regular racing action, four-year-old B R Money Matters notched his fifth consecutive victory with a 1:55.1 four length romp in his $7,000 claiming assignment. Jim Marino drove the Allamerican Merlin-Kg Matty gelding, who is owned by Edmonton trainer Alvin Jensen and Bob Lappas of Airdrie, Alta.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Alberta Downs.