This past Saturday Century Downs was host to some exhilarating Alberta Sire stakes action. Sophomore and freshman pacers took to the oval just north of Calgary in Balzac, Alberta to take their shot at over $200,000 in purse money. These events also give points to each competitor for our super finals later in the year.
The action was headlined by our three-year pacers in the Alberta Marquis and Maverick going for a purse of just over $50,000 each. The Marquis which was the 9th race on our card featured the best 3-year-old pacing fillies in Alberta. Divine Art had to once again deal with the outside eight post position but was able to overcome the outside draw to take home the winner's share of the purse putting her lifetime earnings at $600 shy of $200,000 lifetime for her connections. Trained and driven by Nathan Sobey with her ownership connections with Robert Jones, Diane Bertrand, and John Hind. Another Sobey trainee was able to cruise in the place position for driver Dave Kelly and rounding out the top three finishers were the Hanning Trained and Giesbrecht driven Sapphire Blue.
The Alberta Maverick did not disappoint either. The heavily favored Ernesto Delacruz quickly took the lead for driver trainer JF Gagne and led the three-year-old colts and geldings from gate wire in a new life Mark time of 1:53.1 and picking up just over $25,000 to add to his bankroll for his impressive work. The major danger in the race for Ernesto was Vegas Gambler but getting away seconds off the gate was too much for him to overcome as you could not make up the ground for driver Phil Giesbrecht and trainer Rod Starkewski settling for second place. So Strange rounded out the top three finishers in surprising fashion as one of the longer shots on the tote board.
We also had four fields of freshman pacers strut their stuff as they begin their careers. The Scott McGinn-trained GTs Skyla remained unbeaten in her career for regular driver Brandon Campbell and has looked ultra impressive so far. The other division of the Brad Gunn memorial for 2-year-old fillies was also won by a heavy favorite this one was not only driven by Brandon Campbell but trained as well.
The 2-year-old colts and geldings were raced in two Norm Kennedy memorial divisions. Unlike the form full finishes for the 3-year-old girls, the boy's divisions were full of surprises. Handsome Dan for trainer-driver Kelly Hoerdt was able to find room late to surprise everybody paying over $18 to win. Not to be outdone was the Jamie Gray trained and driven Shots Fired shocking the real birds and pundits paying over $37 to win and taking home the winner share of the purse for the owners Jim Marino and Paul Sanders.
Our three-year-old pacers at Century Downs will get a little bit of a break before their next action which will be the super finals night on October 15th which will showcase all of our best two and three-year-old pacers.
If you can't wait for more stakes action after all that excitement, our two-year-old pacers will line up again on October 1st to race for $90,000 in purse money and set up for their exciting Super Finals races, taking place on October 15.