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Showtime Sunday At Century Mile

Published: September 14, 2019 6:37 pm ET

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The most lucrative Standardbred races of the year in Alberta are slated for this Sunday at Century Mile in Edmonton with the $125,000 finals of the Western Canada Pacing Derby for three-year-old pacing colts and the $125,000 Don Byrne Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies.

The Byrne is the first of the two major stakes events, slated for the ninth race on the 10-dash card. The race should go off around 6:19 p.m. EDT, with the Chris Lancaster-trained Rockin Mystery and Lady Neigh Neigh as the ones to knock off after winning their respective eliminations last Saturday.

Rockin Mystery rewarded her backers with a front-striding score for driver Serge Masse to win by four lengths in 1:54.4. Lady Neigh Neigh was an impressive first-over and grinding winner, getting up to win her Byrne elim in a lifetime best 1:52.4 for owners Rod Therres and Blair Miller of Langley, B.C.

"Rockin Mystery, she's come back just as good as last year," trainer Lancaster told Horse Racing Alberta. "She's got a shorter stride when compared to [Lady] Neigh Neigh."

"What makes Neigh Neigh such a good racehorse is just her spirit and her drive to win, her drive to compete. She loves to work, loves to get out there, she just wants to go."

Regular driver Brandon Campbell will guide Lady Neigh Neigh from post four as the 2-1 second choice behind 9-5 favourite Rockin Mystery and Masse. She's owned by trainer Lancaster with Christopher Lambie.

"She's bred to be a good horse," said Campbell of the daughter of Bettors Delight. "When she's on her game, she's a very hard horse to beat to be honest with you."

Finishing second to Lady Neigh Neigh in last week's Byrne elimination was former Ontario-based campaigner Blackcheddar. Purchased by B.C.'s J J J Stables and Jim Marino in July, Blackcheddar will be driven by her former owner, Ontario's Jody Jamieson on Sunday. Jamieson will be making his Century Mile debut, part of a deal he made with Marino on the sale of Blackcheddar.

"I bought the filly off Jody and I negiotated into the deal that if she made the [Don Byrne] Final he would come drive her," Marino told Trot Insider.

Blackcheddar is trained by Amy Henry, who Marino noted is doing "a great job" with his horses while he recovers from a fractured pelvis suffered in a training accident earlier this year.

"It was a very stressful summer but I learned a lot in a hurry," said Henry, who's in her first year as a full-time trainer. "And I was surrounded by lots of people I could questions to and I think that it strengthened me as a trainer."

The J J J / Marino / Henry team will look for a sweep of the major stakes for three-year-old pacing colts with Ralph Klein Memorial winner and Western Canada Pacing Derby contender Rockin N Talkin.

"His most unique quality is how lazy he is, to be honest. He never overexerts himself, which in the end means he'll never hurt himself that way."

Rockin N Talkin was making his first start in over a month in his Pacing Derby elim, falling a neck short of Outlawgrabbingears in a swift 1:52.1 mile.

"Outlawgrabbingears, he's probably one of the top ones to look out for," said Henry of the 2-1 morning line favourite. "To win the Western Canada Pacing Derby, you have to have a lot of luck on your side, and if it turns out, it turns out."

Hoping it turns out in his favour is Paul Davies, the trainer, driver and co-owner of Outlawgrabbingears. The son of Smart Shark, owned by Davies with his wife Nicole and Deborah Pinel of Calgary, delivered to his backers with a 1:52.1 lifetime best-equalling effort in the first Western Canada Pacing Derby elimination, but faces eight formidable foes including fellow elim winner and Century Mile track record holder Jewels Dragon.

"That horse is very special to me, one of a kind," said Davies of Outlawgrabbingears. "I might not ever have another one like him. When he comes through and wins those big races, it means a lot."

The $125,000 Western Canada Pacing Derby Final is the finale on Century Mile's 10-race Sunday card, with an approximate post time of 6:42 p.m. EDT. To view the entries for Sunday's card, click one of the following links: Sunday Entries || Sunday Program Pages (courtesy TrackIT).

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