Blissfull Breeze and driver Mark MacDonald made a three-wide move down the backstretch and soared to victory to provide trainer Dean Nixon with his second Gold Cup & Saucer Trial winner in the final $12,500 contest on Monday night at
Charlottetown Driving Park.
Western Ace (Mike Stevenson) jumped out to an early three length from the inside post position in the third and final trial and reached the opening quarter in :28-seconds with Pontiac Luck (Doug McNair) in second and favourite Strand Hanover (Simon Allard) parked out in third.
MacDonald tipped Blissfull Breeze to the outside from fifth and the duo swept three-wide as they neared the half in :55.4. Blissfull Breeze charged to command en route to three-quarters in 1:24.3 and poured it on down the lane to score a 1:52.3 victory by two and a half lengths. Pontiac Luck finished second and Western Ace was third. Stand Hanover finished fourth and Formal Affair (Mark Bradley) was fifth.
"Well actually, the traffic wasn't too bad at all," said MacDonald in the winner's circle. "I got lucky. Mark Bradley drove a smart race and dropped me in front of him. I figured he's a very good tactical driver and he let me in front of him and used me for cover, but I got lucky and I got some cover and made a three-wide move on some tired horses. He really won easy. I just kind of wrapped him up at the head of the stretch, he was pacing hard and there's no sense in over exerting him."
The Ontario-based MacDonald, who has won the Gold Cup & Saucer twice before with Sand Olls Dexter in 2003 and 2004, said he is looking forward to drive in the final again.
"I came home to drive in it," he said. "I figured I got beat up enough this year [in an accident at Mohawk Racetrack], I deserve to have a little fun. This is what it's all about. There are so many great fans here in P.E.I. and I couldn't be prouder to be an Islander. I want to drive in this race and I want to win it."
Blissfull Breeze paid $6.50 to win as the 2-1 second choice. The eight-year-old son of Blissfull Hall-Melbourne Breeze is trained by Dean Nixon, who also won the first Trial on Saturday with Fleet Sensation. Leo Racicot of Harrow, Ont. owns the bay gelding.
Blissfull Hall, who has been a dominant force at the Preferred-2 level at Grand River Raceway this season, has recorded eight wins in 23 starts this year. The win was No. 45 in his career and lifted his bankroll to $272,964.
The top three finishers from each trial will advance to the 52nd running of the Gold Cup & Saucer on Saturday, August 20 at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park, including Blissfull Breeze, Did It Again, Fire On The Water, Firethorn, Fleet Sensation, Oakmont, reigning champion Part Shark, Pontiac Luck and Western Ace.
Earlier on the card, favourite P H Bestman ($4.70) and driver Todd Trites went wire-to-wire to win the $2,500 Premier's Pace in 1:53.4. Jepson Hanover and Danny Romo finished three and a half lengths behind in second and Md Hardlys Success (Gilles Barrieau) was third. The six-year-old son of Cambest-Art Blanche is trained by Dr. Trevin Shive for owner Dr. James Shive of Rines Creek, N.S.
For results from Monday’s harness racing card, click on the following link: Monday Results (Night) – Charlottetown Driving Park.