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New, Old Faces For Century Stakes

Published: June 10, 2016 5:15 pm ET

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Century Downs Racetrack & Casino's stakes action continues this weekend as the three-year-old fillies are in the spotlight on Saturday in three divisions of the Wild Rose Stakes, each with a purse of $14,000. On Sunday, the three-year-old boys will contest the Gordon Rumpel Stakes in two $21,000 divisions.

The first division of the Wild Rose Stakes will feature the streaking Outlawsurshotshark (Travis Cullen). The daughter of Smart Shark will command the bulk of the action. She is on a three-race winning streak and has never been out of the money with a sparkling 11-7-2-2 record in 2016. She was unraced a two-year-old and was a private purchase buy for the Cullen barn from Connie Kolthammer's Outlaw Stables earlier this year.

Punters looking for a very good alternative may want to take a look at Lucky Lucka (Kelly Hoerdt) who could be peaking at the right time. An import from The Meadows, this daughter of Rocknroll Hanover was able to grind out a first-over win in her most recent effort posting a personal lifetime best of 1:55.2.

Another intriguing prospect is Ba Bye Ceia Later. The JK Royal Flush daughter has been taking action at the windows and has never been out of the money in seven starts this year.

“She is a very nice consistent filly," said trainer Rod Hennessy. "Recently she has been getting stuck behind dead cover. Outlawsurshotshark is obviously tough but she may not have things go her way in here...we will see. I believe this division drew four of the toughest fillies.

"You also have to consider Brad Watt’s horse Whisper Well. She also is very talented,” continued Hennessy.

Watt concurred with that statement.

“I was working up north when my dad and I had a chance to buy her. We were able to see her perform on a small track (Flamboro Downs) and she did great so we bought her privately,” commented Watt. "We decided to leave her down east for three starts and she made us enough money that we almost got our total investment back. The idea was to bring back a nice horse to take a run at the stake races out here."

Since coming out west, the daughter of Well Said has been awesome notching two wins and a third. She broke stride in her most recent race, but there was a valid excuse.

“She got horsing around and got too excited. The warm and cold weather affects these three-year-old fillies, but I trained her [Thursday] and looked much more comfortable,” added Watt. "I was glad to have drawn the rail but when I see the balance of the field, it looks like these are all in the top ten fillies in these parts."

The second division of the Wild Rose Stakes will see Monstrous (Ed Hensley) as a probable post time favourite. The daughter of Allamerican Navajo played the part of giant killer, posting a narrow win over the heavy favourite Balinska Hanover back on May 14 in the Bev Sears Stakes Final. She tuned up for this contest by clobbering a field of condition types back on June 4.

Keep an eye on Outlawtriggerhappy (Bill Tainsh, Jr.) who has been sharp in her last couple of efforts for the Rod Starkewski barn. The daughter of Blue Burner was camera shy early in her career but has been hinting that she may be primed for a huge effort.

The third division of the Wild Rose Stakes should be interesting. The race features a couple of fillies who both notched track records at Century as two-year-olds. Jet Blue Burner (Cullen) has failed to fire in her most recent efforts; however, she looked superb in her 2016 debut destroying a lesser group. Last year the daughter of Blue Burner set the Century Downs track record for freshman fillies in the Neal Adler Memorial Stakes with her trademark power move down the backside to win by a head in 1:57.4.

Leading trainer-driver Travis Cullen shares partnership of Jet Blue Burner with his mother Jodie and partners Keith Hannah and Dwayne Taylor. The pacing filly had shared the previous record of 1:58 with Divas Dragonfly as both fillies had turned in matching 1:58 miles two weeks earlier in the Alberta Sires Stakes. These two will locks horns on Saturday.

Divas Dragonfly had to go under the knife in March to remove some bone chips. She was named the Two-Year-Old Alberta Sired Filly champion for 2015. After two qualifying wins going wire to wire, she ended up sixth in her first 2016 start for the Archibald barn and driver Jamie Gray. She should be a contender if her health issues are behind her.

Shifting to the boys on Sunday, the first division of the Gordon Rumpel Stakes features yet another two-year-old track record holder. Outlaw Turn N Burn (J.F. Gagne) set a track record last year for rookie colts in a time of 1:56.3. The son of Blue Burner served notice he is in peak form by virtue of his recent victory. He used a big three wide power move down the backstretch to win by three lengths in 1:55.4.

The late closer Classy Artist (Starkewski) has put together back-to-back wins with Rod himself doing the patient driving. Blue Star Maverick (Hennessy) was a sharp second in his latest. Both colts appear to be top contenders.

The second division continues with the track record theme. Blue Star Jet had a superb campaign last year and was named the 2015 Two-Year-Old (Colts & Geldings) champion earlier this year. The son of Blue Burner set the Century Downs' freshman colt record of 1:56. He comes into Saturday's race with lifetime earnings of just over $60,000. Rod Hennessy trains Blue Star Jet (Blue Burner-Movin Uptown), and also shares ownership of the gelding with Edmonton's Lorne Duffield. His son Mike Hennessy will be in the bike.

Blue Star Jet was a $12,000 yearling purchase and can boast a couple of fast siblings, being a half-brother to Blue Star Admiral and Blue Star Texas. He had a tough first over trip against older foes in his latest race but there were excuses.

“He has been fighting allergies recently. In his warm-up prior to his last race he did not look good but he made a valiant attempt going first over into a very strong headwind,” commented Rod Hennessy. "We feel his sickness is over with. He was a very nice horse last year we are expecting a much better effort in here as he gets to tangle with horses his own age.”

Wrangler Cash (Hoerdt), who was named the 2015 Two-Year-Old Alberta Sired champion, and Archie Bunker (Ryan Grundy) should provide the stern test.

Century Downs Racetrack & Casino is set to feature eight races this Friday with a post time of 5:45 p.m. and 10 dashes set for Saturday with 11 races for Sunday. First race post time of 1:10 p.m. is scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Frank Fontana)

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