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Sophomores Star In ASHA Stakes

Published: August 21, 2016 10:08 pm ET

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Brad Gunn champion Blue Star Jet was back in the spotlight at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino on Sunday afternoon (August 21) as he won the opening division of the ASHA Stakes for Team Hennessy.

Three-year-old pacing colts and fillies were featured on the Sunday program in four $15,000 stakes divisions and the front end was the place to be.

Driven by trainer Rod Hennessy's son Mike, 2-5 favourite Blue Star Jet left from post three in the first colt division and out-sprinted insider Eds Idea off the gate to establish the lead through a :27.1 quarter. The Blue Burner-Movin Uptown gelding took a second quarter breather to the half in :57.4 and drove on to three-quarters in 1:26.1 before holding off Its Eds Idea down the stretch to win by a nose in 1:54.2. Classy Artist finished one length behind in third.

Blue Star Jet is now five-for-10 with earnings over $65,000 in his sophomore season for co-owners Rod Hennessy and Edmonton's Lorne Duffield. He came within two-fifths of a second of his lifetime mark, also a track record for three-year-old geldings, taken in the Brad Gunn on August 7.

Wrangler Cash also led from start to finish in the second colt division and established a new lifetime mark in the process.

The 4-5 favourite took command from post three and carved out panels of :28, :57.4 and 1:25.1 en route to a 1:54.3 victory, with Secrets Mystery following one length behind from the pocket and Duke It Out following in third.

Trainer/driver Kelly Hoerdt shares ownership of the As Promised-W Jean colt with Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. and Dr. Maurice Stewart of Leduc, Alta. Wrangler Cash, the Alberta Plainsman champion, now has two wins from 14 starts this year and earnings of $56,057.

Meadowlark Farms's homebred filly Divas Dragonfly was the leading lady in the next stakes division with Jamie Gray sending her coast-to-coast in a career-best mile for trainer Carl Archibald.

The 3-5 favourite worked to clear insider Lucky Lucka through a :27.2 opening quarter while Top It Up remained parked out from post seven through the half in :56.3. Joyful Sound went wide when Top It Up tired on the backstretch, but she couldn't sustain her momentum. Meanwhile, Divas Dragonfly raced on to three-quarters in 1:26.2 and held off Lucky Lucka down the stretch to win by one length in 1:55.2. Cenalta Artistry finished back in third.

Divas Dragonfly, a daughter of Mystery Chase and Midnight Diva, notched her third win of the year from 11 starts and bumped her earnings to $27,633.

Outlawsurshotshark turned the tables on Ralph Klein champion Monstrous, keeping that rival at bay in the final filly division.

The 2-1 second choice worked to the lead from post six through a 28-second first quarter and continued to lead the way through middle splits of :59.2 and 1:27.3 with 3-5 favourite Monstrous advancing first over from fourth. Those two fillies battled head-to-head around the final turn, with Outlawsurshotshark ultimately fighting back to win by a quarter-length in 1:56.2 over Monstrous. Brighten Your Life closed from the backfield to finish third over pocket-sitter Apple Blossom Time.

Travis Cullen trains, drives and co-owns the Smart Shark-Fox Valley Cherish filly, who boasts 11 wins from 18 starts and nearly $100,000 in purses during her debut season. Cullen's father Ron also shares ownership of Outlawsurshotshark, along with the Don Byrne Stables Inc. of Edmonton.

In regular racing action, Sterling Cooper lowered the track record for aged pacing geldings by one-fifth of a second to 1:52.1 with his third straight winning effort.

Trained and driven by Brandon Campbell and owned by Jeffrey Elchuck of Surrey, B.C., the eight-year-old Camluck gelding led a field of Open pacers through panels of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:24.4 while rebuffing the parked out Cool Cowboy and prevailed over 6-5 favourite Audreys Dream in a two-horse breakaway during the final quarter. Sterling Cooper was sent postward as the 5-2 second choice after matching the former divisional record last week in the Open that was set by Audreys Dream. Phanatical Maniac finished over 11 lengths behind.

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

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