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Power-Packed Program At Century

Published: September 2, 2016 4:42 pm ET

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This Saturday, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino will showcase the top three-year-old pacers in the province for the first of back-to-back weekends.

Eliminations are set for both the Alberta Diamond for the gals and Alberta Marksman for the boys. The $50,000 finals for both stakes series are slated for next Saturday.

The Alberta Diamond for three-year-old fillies will be contested in three elimination heats each with a purse of $5,000 per elimination.

Meadowlark Farm’s homebred filly Divas Dragonfly gets back to tangling with her own age group in the first elimination. In her latest start, as luck would have it, she was a victim of circumstance with hall of fame driver Keith Clark driving her against a tough bunch of salty older condition types.

“She was choked down in that race. It was not the driver’s or the horse’s fault. Everyone wanted to leave early that race,” explained owner/trainer Carl Archibald, but the connections plan to have a fix for that issue for this race on Saturday. “We are going to have a throat plate put on, so that should fix things.”

Archibald is expecting a much better effort for this contest.

“She should be tough. The post we drew (post four) is my favourite. We have won a few times from that post.”

Archibald feels he still does not know what his star filly’s talent potential really is.

“That is the beauty of her. You never know what she is capable of.”

Look for Divas Dragonfly to head straight to the front or at least get a two-hole trip.

“That’s the plan,” confirmed Archibald. “With any luck we hope for a good showing and to make it to the final the following week.”

Divas Dragonfly, a daughter of Mystery Chase and Midnight Diva, has three wins in 2016 good for earnings of $27,633.

Senga Naptha (Ryan Grundy) and Cenalta Artistry (Rene Goulet) looked good dispatching of lesser company and both look like they should make their presence felt. The red-hot Brandon Campbell will be driving Witch Doctor from post two and may be the dark horse in here, fresh off a blowout win also over weaker in 1:57.2.

In the second elimination, two super heavyweights Outlawsureshotshark (Travis Cullen) and Monstrous (J.F. Gagne) who can’t seem to get enough of each other get another chance at knocking heads. In her latest effort she wired the field in the ASHA Filly stake while turning the tables on Ralph Klein champion Monstrous, who was second that day. Monstrous had beaten Outlawsureshotshark in the previous meeting in the Ralph Klein stake.

Travis Cullen trains, drives and co-owns the Smart Shark-Fox Valley Cherish filly, who has 11 wins from 18 starts and nearly $100,000 in purses during her debut season. She will be your likely post-time favourite having drawn the rail. Cullen's father Ron also shares ownership of Outlawsurshotshark, along with the Don Byrne Stables Inc. of Edmonton. Monstrous drew the outside post seven but as usual will be an off-the-pace threat.

In the third and last elimination, Apple Blossom Time (Campbell) figures highly. The Mystery Chase filly comes in fresh off a nice win from post nine against much lesser in a quick time of 1:57.4. Ba Bye Ceia Later has been on the shelf since July 9 but her recent qualifier in 1:59.4 (final quarter of :28.4) indicates readiness. Nonetheless the connections are hoping for a decent effort on Saturday.

“She had a couple of health issues but she is great now. She qualified super but she may need a race since we are tangling with horses in mid-season form,” advised trainer Rod Hennessy.

The Alberta Marksman for three-year-old colts & gelding will be contested in two $7,500 elimination heats.

Outlaw Turn N Burn's form does not show any wins in his last few starts. However, that was while facing the red-hot Blue Star Jet, who has been on a tear since going on the Lasix program. He does not have to face ‘Jet’ in this first elimination and should be very tough with this group.

Outlaw Turn N Burn (Gagne) has four wins from eleven starts in 2016 and is owned by 8113564 Canada Ltd. Last year as a two-year-old, he set a track record for rookie colts in a time of 1:56.3.

Value players might want to look at Keep Coming (Travis Bowman) and Blue Star Maverick (Campbell) with both these sophomores hinting talent and could surprise.

The second elimination features ASHA Colt and Brad Gunn champion Blue Star Jet, who has been torching the opposition since getting Lasix.

In his latest effort, driven by trainer Rod Hennessy's son Mike, Blue Star Jet left from post three in the first ASHA Colt division as the 2/5 favourite and outsprinted insider Its Eds Idea off the gate to establish the lead through a :27.1 quarter and went on wire the field in a time of 1:54.2 with Its Ed Idea (Masse) making it a bit interesting down the lane only coming up a nose short of Blue Star Jet.

The connections feel they addition of Lasix has helped immensely.

"Adding Lasix has helped 'Jet' not only helped him relax, but it looks like he put on weight and overall looks healthier,” said trainer Rod Hennessy.

As far as the next contest is concerned, the barn feels all systems are go.

“Obviously we are happy with the rail draw. I am expecting another good performance."

The Blue Burner-Movin Uptown gelding is now five-for-10 with earnings over $65,000 in his sophomore season for co-owners Rod Hennessy and Edmonton's Lorne Duffield. He set a track record for three-year-old geldings, while blitzing the field in a sizzling 1:54 back on August 7 in the Brad Gunn final.

Wrangler Cash (Kelly Hoerdt) figures to be one of the threats. He drew the tough outside post seven but is loaded with talent. He also went coast-to-coast in his ASHA Colt division and was able to notch a new lifetime mark in the process. Hoerdt shares ownership of the As Promised-W Jean colt with Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. and Dr. Maurice Stewart of Leduc, Alta. Wrangler Cash has two wins from 14 starts this year and is closing in on $60,000 in earnings.

Secrets Mystery (Nathan Sobey) is an intriguing sort. The Mystery Chase colt is still winless in 2016 but has been showing signs. He was third versus older condition types in 1:57.3 and was a good second to the aforementioned Wranglers Cash two starts back in 1:54.4 in the ASHA Colt & Geldings stake.

The connections believe things are looking up.

“He had problems with gravel from the track stuck in his foot. But it appears it has cleared itself out. I could not believe how much stuff came out of his foot,” commented trainer/owner Allan Goertzen. “I checked his foot out today and it was nice and cold so we should be good to go.”

The game plan for Secrets Mystery will be no mystery to anyone.

“I think everyone knows what [Blue Star] Jet will be doing, so we are hoping for a pocket trip behind him and see what happens,” added Goertzen. “We would be delighted even with a place finish so we can reach the final.”

Saturday's card at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino will feature nine dashes, with 10 races also set for Sunday and holiday Monday (Labour Day) with a first race post time of 1:10 p.m. each day.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Frank Fontana)

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