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Memorable Card At Northside

Published: September 23, 2017 6:53 pm ET

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The Atlantic Sires Stakes rolled into Cape Breton with the final regular season events on the 2017 calendar taking place Saturday (September 23) at Northside Downs.

Two-year-old pacing colts and fillies battled for purse money and points to secure spots in the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park on October 7 and 8.

Freshman fillies were featured in a single $17,800 division, one of the highest purses ever offered at Northside. Coming away with the winner's share of that purse was Elm Grove Misty and trainer-driver Dave Kelly.

Kelly settled Elm Grove Misty away in fifth early as longshot Saulsbrook Coral (Todd Trites) put up sharp fractions of :28.2 to the quarter and :57 to the half. Kelly right-lined Elm Grove Misty to commence the first-over grind at the three-eighths mark and forged to the front down the backstretch before hitting the third quarter marker in 1:57. As Saulsbrook Coral started to fade, Elm Grove Misty opened up on the field to bring a four-length lead into the stretch. When Kelly and Elm Grove Misty hit the wire, the margin was five and a half lengths and the time was a lifetime best 1:59. Saulsbrook Coral outlasted the rest of the field for second with Woodmere Ceilidh (Clare MacDonald) completing the triactor.

A $3,000 Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale purchase, Elm Grove Misty (Stonebridge Terror - Elm Grove Starlite) now boasts three wins from nine lifetime starts with earnings of $20,915 for Kelly and co-owner Charlene Cypher of North Wiltshire, PEI.

Oceanview Magnum made history of his own at Northside with a track record performance in his $9,860 ATSS division for two-year-old pacing colts. Todd Trites positioned Oceanview Magnum in the pocket behind favoured Sock It Away, who carved out fractions of :28.1, :58.3 and 1:27.2 before turning for home. Trites right-lined his horse in the stretch and cruised on by the pacesetter for the one-length score in 1:56.4. The time of the mile is the fastest ever for a two-year-old male pacer at Northside, besting the 1:57 time of Complete Player taken in 2016.

A $13,000 Atlantic Classic buy, Oceanview Magnum has been the picture of consistency as a freshman with four wins and four runner-up finishes in eight tries. Earl Watts does the training for Harris Johnston, Roger Burns, Claude Poirier and John Howatt of PEI and Quebec.

Trites and Watts nearly swept the ATSS pacing colt divisions but an interference call pulled down Red Dirt Rebel from victory. Judges ruled that first-over Red Dirt Rebel and Trited interfered with second-over Dustylanewesty (Clare MacDonald) at the half-mile mark, prompting a placing from first to third. That placing elevated Rockin Party (Danny Romo) from second to first and Dustylanewesty from third to second.

Rockin Party (Ameripan Gigolo - Fox Valley Shadow) now sports a 2-4-2 summary from nine lifetime starts and $17,924 in purses. Romo trains for Ian Banks, Susan Karrel and Charles McDonald of N.S. and PEI.

The undercard featured the $5,000 J.A. Ferguson Memorial Invitational,a race in honour of the forefather of harness racing Cape Breton and a fixture at Northside since 2007.

A field of five free-for-allers went postward and Forever Paradise was an impressive gate-to-wire winner. Gerard Kennedy made every call a winning one with the seven-year-old gelding, powering through splits of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:26 before sealing the deal with a :30.1 final quarter to trip the beam in 1:56.1. Heart And Soul (MacDonald) enjoyed a pocket ride throughout but couldn't find room late while His Boy Elroy (Pooker McCallum) was a very game third after challenging for the majority of the mile.

Kevin MacLean trains Forever Paradise (Western Paradise - Mariart) for Reg Mac Pherson and David & Aaron MacKenzie. The win was the 55th of his career to accompany $158,000-plus in purses.

For the results from Northside's Saturday card, click the following link: Saturday Results - Northside Downs.

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