Crombie A Sets Record In First Trial

Published: August 15, 2015 10:29 pm EDT

Driver Brad Forward and trainer Rene Allard, the winning connections of the 2014 Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer, teamed up with Australian import Crombie A to set a new track record of 1:50.3 in this year's first trial on Saturday at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

Leaving from the post five, Crombie A and Forward were able to settle into the pocket spot behind inside starter Im Drinkin Doubles (Marc Whebby), who led the field of six through fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:22.2. Meanwhile, outsider Atta Boy Dan (Marc Campbell) advanced first over with The Rev (Danny Romo) following his cover. However, Crombie A closed through the passing lane to prevail by one and a half lengths while favourite Atta Boy Dan overtook Im Drinkin Doubles for the runner-up role. The Rev finished fourth while All Turain (Corey MacPherson) was fifth and Modern Xhibit (Robert Shepherd) rounded out the complete order of finish.

"This is awesome," said Forward after the race. "Rene told me about this horse here. He told me to give him a good shot, and you know what, I never even spoke to this fella. He was just all horse."

"He's a pretty handy little horse," added Allard. "He gets around a half real good and since we bought him from Australia he's just been awesome. We never left with him because those horses are known to get a little hot if you leave with them when you first get them. But today was a short field and I told Brad I think we should leave a little bit because it only showed the #1 [Im Drinkin Doubles] and the #6 [Atta Boy Dan] had a little bit of gate speed and Brad got the job done again. We hope everything works out for the final and we're just happy to be here. We're having fun either way, but it's always nice to win it."

Crombie A's winning time lowered the track record by one-fifth of a second that was held jointly by last year's Gold Cup & Saucer champion Bigtown Hero, 2013 champion Escape The News and 2014 trial winner Mickey Hanover. It also matched Prix d'Ete champion Sunfire Blue Chip's Canadian record for an aged pacing horse on a half-mile track, set at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec last year.

"When I saw the three-quarters, I thought we were going to go [1]:50 and a piece," said Allard of the record performance. "That horse came to play, Im Drinkin Doubles, he was on fire tonight. When I saw him at the three-quarters, I thought it looked like this horse was going to go all the way, but I knew my horse was going to kick home pretty good and it worked out."

Crombie A is owned by Allard Racing Inc., Kapildeo Singh, Albert P. Abdala III. The nine-year-old son of Life Sign is a 24-time career winner with purse earnings totalling $638,722. He was purchased in May and has been racing in Pennsylvania and New York -- where he set a 1:50.1 all-age track record at Yonkers Raceway in his last race on July 25 -- prior to his Canadian debut tonight.

Crombie A paid $4.80 to win as the bettors' second choice.

The second $12,500 trial will be held on Monday, August 17 leading up to the 56th running of the Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer on Saturday, August 22 in Charlottetown. Allard also has Sparky Mark entered in the Monday trial, with his brother Simon listed to drive.

Earlier in the evening, Forward made his 2015 driving debut steering 1-2 favourite R Caan to a dominant 1:56 score in the $2,650 Preferred 1 Pace for the Allard stable.

There were also two $2,400 second leg divisions of the Spud Island Classic for Open mares on the evening program.

Driver Robert Shepherd sent favourite Kendal Gucci three-wide down the backstretch off cover in the first division and battled with Best Risque and Paul MacKenzie on top before drawing clear in the stretch for the two and a quarter length victory in 1:56. A dead-heat third-place finisher in the first leg of the series last weekend, former Ontario campaigner Kendal Gucci earned her first provincial win for trainer Jonah Moase of Cornwall, P.E.I. and co-owner Michael Folkins of Saint John, N.B.

After Brodys Leona's broken equipment prompted a recall in the second division, a battle of the leg one winners ensued as even-money Ramblinglily and Walter Cheverie wore down Dirt Track Momma and Marc Campbell in take two to prevail in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.4. The homebred Articulator mare in now seven-for-nine in her five-year-old season for trainer Allan Jones of Riverview, N.B. and co-owner Normand Leger of Shediac, N.B.

The Atlantic Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies highlighted Red Shores' afternoon card with more offspring of Articulator making it into the winner's circle.

Woodmere Dancenart pulled off a 9-1 upset in the first $12,980 "A" division as she defeated the division's co-leaders. The Articulator filly closed off a three-hole trip to defeat pacesetter Jann Down and pocket-puller Three Pink Bows in a career-best 1:56.1 by three-quarters of a length. Clare MacDonald trains and drives Woodmere Dancenart, who earned her first win of the season, for Nova Scotia owners Morah Kerr of Greenfield and Port Hood's Phonsie MacEachern.

Another Articulator filly with Nova Scotia connections won the second "A" division. Favourite Woodmere Articblue cleared at the first quarter and never looked back on her way to a four and a half length victory in a career-best clocking of 1:57.1 with Gilles Barrieau in the sulky. Party Rockin followed in second and Dustylane Msvickie was third. Woodmere Articblue is trained by Ken Collins and owned by Tanya Tremblett of Sydney Mines and Stevi Jardine of Georges River. The win was her first in the Atlantic Sires Stakes this year and third in eight seasonal starts.

The $2,500 "B" divisions were won by Articulator fillies Windemere Belle (1:59.3) and Woodmere Costalot (2:01.1), each taking new lifetime marks, as well as the maiden-breaking daughter of Largo, Imastandout (2:01.2).

The sophomore pacing fillies will meet again in their final Atlantic Sires Stakes preliminary round on Sept. 5 at Northside Downs.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following links: Saturday Afternoon / Saturday Night.

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