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Century's Stakes Season Begins

Published: April 15, 2016 10:18 am ET

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Stakes action for 2016 has finally arrived at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino.

Eliminations for the Prairie Girls Series for three and four-year-old Fillies and Mares will go this Saturday while the Prairie Boys Stakes for three and four-year-old male pacers is scheduled for this Sunday.

The Prairie Series is an early closing event for three- and four-year olds which have not won $20,000 lifetime as of the end of December, 2015. Opening legs have $5,000 purses with both $25,000 finals going the following weekend.

Woodbine invader Twin B Breezeway (Phil Giesbrecht) is one of two four-year-old mares in the first division with her share of adventures since arriving in Alberta this spring, and could prove a top threat with a clean trip.

“She is a nice mare with a great mental attitude. In her first start here I had some road traffic and had to check her twice but she was still a respectable third. In her next start we needed racing room badly as we were locked in. We could have won that race if I got out. We made a number of small changes and are hoping for the best on Saturday," said Giesbrecht.

Credit The Shark (Keith Clark) has been getting action at the windows since shipping back home from B.C. The three-year-old daughter of Up The Credit won her first Alberta start of 2016 only to be disqualified for going off stride and placed last for interference. However, she may have had some excuses.

“She is an average horse but is OK. She has not been totally healthy and I believe her hobbles were a bit too long so we will adjust some things and hope for a better effort. You just never know," said Clark, who co-owns this filly with Ann and Harvey Jaeger.

Top It Up, a three-year-old daughter of Mystery Chase has some early speed and looks to be an early pace factor for trainer Cathy Reid.

In the second division, the four-year-old mare My Camalina (Campbell) has had eleven starts already on the coast with a respectable 2-4-1 record. The Kim Baxter pupil should get her share of backers. Travis Cullen's sophomore filly L Dees Sunsetbeach celebrated her maiden win, destroying the field by 10 lengths in her first start in Alberta back on opening day (February 14) and proceeded to go on a mini winning streak verses NW2 types, but found NW4 and NW6 types a bit too tough. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere finished sixth versus the boys in her most recent start.

Cullen’s outstanding .650 winning percentage early this season obviously demands respect. The 23-year-old horseman continues to lead the drivers and trainers standings. He racked up nine awards at the ASHA awards banquet held earlier this month.

Turning to the boys on Sunday, Cullen’s Counter Strike has won six straight and is the obvious choice to win the first division. The four-year-old son of Camystic has drawn the rail to boot and is by far tops in most money earned of this group. Man Of Many Arts, a four-year-old son of Major In Art is a recent Woodbine invader and looked awesome in his latest victory a week ago beating the opposition in a conditioned race in a snappy 1:55.2. Trained by David Lamont, he could press the issue and looks to be one of the top challengers.

In the second division, Appellate appears to heading into this race in good form. A week ago, the three year-old son of Western Terror used a ground saving trip and tipped out three-wide down the lane to finish a game second to Man Of Many Arts. Hall of Famer Keith Clark will again be at the controls. Appellate’s stablemate, Prairie Mystic will be handled by Gerry Hudon. Carl Archibald’s Pocket Novel (Jamie Gray), a Mystery Chase filly who had a brutal trip in her last outing, could play a part with a kinder trip .

Century Downs Racetrack and Casino will feature eleven dashes set for Saturday and Sunday’s card both with a first race post time of 1:10 p.m. each day.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Frank Fontana)


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