Grimsby Retires; Cst. Sara Burns Honoured

Published: August 25, 2018 02:32 pm EDT

The Saturday afternoon (Aug. 25) finale at Exhibition Park Raceway was the career curtain call for Grimsby, owned in part by Constable Sara Burns, a Fredericton N.B. police officer slain in the line of duty earlier in the month.

Burns, whose life was tragically taken along with that of Cst. Robb Costello, was a part owner of Grimsby since 2014. The 10-year-old Admirals Galley gelding, who just last weekend followed the casket of Burns and led the Fredericton Police in the regimental funeral procession, faced the starter one final time in his racing career.

Grimsby, bet down to 3-5 with Todd Trites driving for trainer Stefan DeCourcey, sought to end his career on a winning note after setting fractions of :29.2, 1:02.3 and 1:33.3 in the $950 conditioned pace, but was upended by pocket rival Wilson Frost ($6.50, Chris Davies), who drew off by 3-3/4 lengths to win in 2:05.2. Davies also trains the victorious seven-year-old Blissfull Hall gelding, whom he co-owns with Carole Wright, Michael Folkins, and Jill Thompson.

Grimsby concluded his career with a second-place finish in his final outing after winning 17 races and taking a mark of 1:56 at Saratoga as a four-year-old.

Top left: Grimsby and driver Todd Trites visit some young racegoers. Top right: Steven Burns (Sara's husband) and Jennifer Jackson (Grimsby's groom) walk Grimsby to the winner's circle. Bottom: Grimsby is surrounded by members of the New Brunswick harness racing community following his final race.

Earlier on the card, trainer Ellen Stevenson and driver Mitchell Downey swept both $1,350 winners-over pacing features: Union Man Hanover ($2.10) and Father Ofthe Year ($2.80) proved wire-to-wire winners in their respective events — by a combined 18-1/4 lengths.

Union Man Hanover wasted no time seizing command in the day's third race, clearing stablemate City Of The Year (Michael Downey) through a :28.4 first quarter before controlling middle splits of 1:00.2 and 1:29.1. As the nine-year-old Artiscape entire quickened up the far side, he began to gain strong separation over his trio of rivals. A :29.4 final quarter capped Union Man Hanover's 1:59 win – his sixth of the season and the 39th of his career. City Of The Year checked in second, some 9-1/2 lengths in arrears, while K D Overdrive (Stephen Mason) was third.

Both Stevenson and Mitchell Downey share ownership of Union Man Hanover with Andre Moeller.

Those same connections came back two races later with Father Ofthe Year, owned solely by Stevenson. After taking fourth in the $20,000 Jamese "Roach" MacGregor Memorial at Red Shores Charlottetown, the five-year-old son of Royal Mattjesty found an easier task in his return to New Brunswick. He cleared from his outside post 4 before controlling splits of :29, :59 and 1:27.4, and he drew off to best pocket rival Instant Shadow (Stephen Trites) by 8-3/4 lengths in a seasonal-best 1:57.4. Jackson K Down (Mason) narrowly reached third.

Father Ofthe Year earned his 12th career win and his fourth of the season.

The featured wins bookended a hat trick for the Stevenson-Downey tandem, who also took a sub-featured $1,200 conditioned pace with Fall Bliss ($2.50, 1:59.3).

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click the following link: Saturday Results – Exhibition Park Raceway.

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