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Canada's first race of 2014 was won by five-year-old pacer Art The Third and driver Brad Watt on Wednesday afternoon's New Year's Day harness racing card at Fraser Downs. Art The Third sprinted home off a three-hole trip in the $3,000 claiming event to edge out the popular pacesetter Dontmakemebeg and Fraser's 2012 leading driver Jim Marino by half a length in 1:58.3 over the sloppy track. Pocket-sitter This American Life finished nearly four lengths behind in third for Carl Sibiga. Sent postward as the slight 3-2 second choice, Art The Third paid $5.20 to win. Allan Molloy trains the Mach Three gelding for local owner Bryan Buchanan. Watt swept the first two races after steering four-year-old pacer McBenz ($7.60) to his maiden-breaking victory in another close call for trainer and co-owner Ann Cooper. Prairie Illusion ($3.50) later won the first Open event of the New Year with Marino in the sulky. Prairie Illusion advanced first over from third en route to her 21st career win in the featured $10,500 Fillies & Mares Open. The 3-5 favourite prevailed by one length over a from-last Credit Card Junkie and Keith Clark in 1:55.3. Village Janus and Rod Therres came in third. Call Me Up, driven by four-time Wednesday winner Billy Davis Jr., finished fourth after leading through fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:25.4. Prairie Illusion won 11 of her 21 starts last year while banking over $70,000. The first win of her five-year-old campaign pushed her career bankroll over the $150,000 mark. The Mach Three mare is owned and trained by William Young of Langley, B.C. To view Wednesday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Wednesday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca 

I Hear Voices and trainer/driver Bill Davis came storming home from off the pace to upset last week's winner in the $10,500 Open Pace on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs. Sent postward as the 10-1 longshot after trailing the field last week, I Hear Voices sat sixth for most of the mile before sprinting his final quarter in :28.2 over the 'good' track to prevail in 1:54.4. He paid $23.40 to win. The winner's stablemate, Full Circle King, driven by Davis' son Billy Jr. who is visiting home for the holidays, blasted off the gate from the outside post seven to establish the lead over 6-5 favourite Playbook and Keith Clark into a :26.4 first quarter. He then took a second quarter breather to the half in :57 flat before coming under attack down the backstretch. The pocket-pulling Playbook wore down the tiring pacesetter past the 1:25.2 three-quarters mark, but couldn't hold off the late-closing I Hear Voices, who surged by for the one and a quarter length victory. Playbook held on for second in a three-way photo for place. Cantbeatacheetah and Jim Marino edged out Gotta Have Nukes and Rick White for third. I Hear Voices, this year's BCSS four-year-old champion, is owned and bred by the J J J Stables of Aldergrove, B.C. The win was the Kents On Nuke gelding's seventh this year in 38 starts and lifted his seasonal bankroll to $69,141. Garden Gate Ll later paced the fastest mile on the nine-race card for Team Davis. Myrna Green and Victor Sanderson's seven-year-old Lotta Soul gelding won the $15,000 claiming pace in 1:54.3. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca. 

Legal Suspensory defeated favourites Credit Card Junkie and Call Me Up in a three-way photo finish to win the $10,500 Fillies & Mares Open Pace featured on Fraser Downs' Boxing Day card of harness racing on Thursday. Driven by meet leader Jim Marino, Legal Suspensory followed defending Open champion Credit Card Junkie and Keith Clark through fractions of :27.2, :57 and 1:26.2 before prevailing by a neck in a season's best 1:55.4 over the 'good' track. Credit Card Junkie held on for second over Call Me Up and Bill Davis, who fanned wide off a three-hole trip in the home stretch. Legal Suspensory, who finished third behind Credit Card Junkie and Call Me Up last time out on Dec. 20 and won the Open on Dec. 1, paid $9.40 to win as the 7-2 third choice. The victory was her second in 10 starts this year and bumped her earnings to $16,355. The seven-year-old daughter of Pulledsuspensory is owned and bred by Shale Stables of Merritt, B.C. while Walter Slopianka handles the training duties. To view Thursday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Thursday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca 

Returning to Fraser Downs for the first time since beginning her harness racing career at the B.C. oval in the spring of 2012, four-year-old Credit Card Junkie won the $10,500 top class for pacing mares on Friday night for trainer/driver Keith Clark. Racing with a $30,000 claiming tag in the Fillies & Mares Open/Optional $20,000 Plus Allowances Claiming race,Credit Card Junkie converted off a two-hole trip for her 11th win of the year from 22 starts. Call Me Up (Bill Davis) worked to the lead over insider Credit Card Junkie off the gate and led the way through fractions of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:27.4 with the rest of the field following in single-file alignment. However, Clark pulled Credit Card Junkie from the pocket and wore down the pacesetter in the final strides for the 1:57.2 score over the sloppy track. Legal Suspensory (Jim Marino) finished three lengths behind in third. Sent postward as the 3-5 favourite after winning Northlands Park's Fillies & Mares Open last time out on Dec. 13,Credit Card Junkie paid $3.20 to win. The lberta-sired daughter of Camystic is owned and bred by Clark and partners Doris McDougall of Cochrane, Alta. and Verne Rea of Calgary, Alta. The consistent mare now has seven wins and two close seconds in nine Fraser starts. She will look to add another top performance to her resume after drawing post one again in the Open on the Boxing Day card next Thursday, Dec. 26, which begins at 12:45 p.m. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca. 

Officials from Fraser Downs have been forced to cancel the track’s program of live harness racing scheduled for tonight (Friday, December 13). The cancellation has come due to unsafe track conditions. Llive racing at Fraser Downs will resume this Sunday, December 15. From www.fraserdowns.com   

A winner in the top mares class two weeks ago, four-year-old Prairie Illusion faced a field full of male pacers in this week's $10,500 Open at Fraser Downs on Friday night and continued her win streak. Scott Knight catch-drove the Mach Three mare for trainer/owner William Young of Langley, B.C. Inheriting the inside post position with fellow mare Village Janus scratched sick, Prairie Illusion was out-sprinted off the gate as favourite Sterling Cooper (David Hudon) left just to her outside over the sloppy track. Sterling Cooper set up shop on the front end with Prairie Illusion and trailing tier starter Gotta Have Nukes (Rich White) holding position along the pylons in second and third through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:24.3. Meanwhile, defending class champion Red Star Tyson (Brad Watt) advanced from fourth to apply first over pressure with Cantbeatacheetah (Jim Marino) following his cover. As the field turned for home, Prairie Illusion and 29-1 longshot Gotta Have Nukes zipped up the passing lane with the former prevailing by one length over the latter in 1:54 flat. Sterling Cooper finished two lengths behind in third while Cantbeatacheetah and Red Star Tyson rounded out the top five finishers. Prairie Illusion paid $12.50 to win as 5-1 third choice in the field of eight. She has now won three races in a row and boasts 18 top three finishes (11 wins) in 20 seasonal starts. Lifetime, the consistent mare has won one third of her 60 starts and is closing in on $150,000 in earnings. Young enjoyed a perfect night as the races as he also won an earlier race with his only other starter on the card, another repeat winner in pacing gelding Crown Isle. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

One And Only is in receipt of a little class relief in Saturday night’s co-feature, getting away from the razor-sharp It’s Getting Hairy, and could very well be posing for pictures for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada and trainer Lino Pacheco. The 5-year-old son of Bettors Delight has gone a number of big miles over this layout during his career, but his career standard came in August during a Vernon Downs invasion when he stopped the timer in a snappy 1:52 4/5 under Luke Planos direction. We bought Only and Only at the Meadowlands sale in January 2011, Morita related. He had tried to qualify twice at Freehold, but made breaks in both starts. We figured Steve Elliott was a top trainer back east, so he was brought along the right way and one of those not destined for stakes. Just the kind of horse my partner Dave and I could take a chance on. One And Only had spent his entire racing career in California up until the end of the last meet, when Morita and Yamada decided the time was right to hit the road with the gelding. We hooked up with Luke, who had done well driving the horse and was headed to Running Aces. Luke's dad, Rick, was the one who was at the sale and did the inspection of One and Only and made the winning bid. One And Only got sick at Aces and just raced okay. Luke wanted to try Vernon Downs, so we went for the ride. In August, he found a field to his liking, and Luke gave him a winning drive, stopping the timer in a lifetime best of 1.52 4/5. Right before he left Vernon, we were coming strong first over in a fast mile, and I think he would have been right there. Unfortunately, he made an uncharacteristic break when clearing the leader in a mile that went 1.51 flat. One And Only was given a few weeks off following his return to California, and according to his co-owner enjoyed being home and in the care of Pacheco. He has recorded two seconds and a third in his three trips to the post at this meet and gets away from one of his main rivals in Its Getting Hairy for this weekends assignment. We have been bringing him back slowly, Morita noted. I thought his last mile was a very good one on a track where front speed was not holding at all and he was meeting a very sharp horse in Its Getting Hairy. A Stitch In Time solid Sire Stakes favorite Saturdays Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo features a $10,000 California Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacers with A Stitch In Time looming the overwhelming favorite in that affair. A 14-race card is on tap Saturday evening, with the Sire Stakes going as the ninth on the program. The co-feature is an Open 2 Pace with Phantom Dan and One And Only among the major players and it will be the third race on the card. A Stitch In Time is a homebred son of Kents On Nuke out of the Power Of Art mare Sheza Gimmie Girl who is owned by Mark Anderson, conditioned by Gordie Graham and will have Mooney Svendsen giving directions. He is looking for his 11th win from 16 career trips to the post. The dark-hued performer set his lifetime standard of 1:53 3/5 last month at Fraser Downs, and suited up for the first Sire Stakes here for the division two weeks ago having captured four of his previous five outings. Sent off at 1-5 in that affair, he sat a tracking trip for Svendsen for a half, brushed to a clear advantage on the final bend and went on to a 10-length romp. Bit Player was along for second that night while no threat to A Stitch In Time. The Desomer Stable homebred son of Moxie is a multiple stakes winner with a 1:55 standard that was set here earlier in the season and Steve Wiseman will handle the lines for trainer Vickie Desomer. Completing the field are Orlandos Express with James Lackey at the controls; Hi Ho Disguise, to be handled by Dave Siegel; Me Tarzan with James Kennedy; and Kablooie, who leaves from the outside with Luke Plano at the helm. Looking at the Open 2 Pace, One And Only has completed the exacta behind Its Getting Hairy in his last two miles and should appreciate getting away from the razor-sharp performer. The Richard Morita and David Yamada colorbearer is conditioned by Lino Pacheco with Luke Plano guiding and established his 1:52 4/5 mark this summer at Vernon Downs. Phantom Dan should be the main rival for driver/trainer James Kennedy.   By Mark Ratzky,for Cal Expo Harness  

The third leg of the Robert Millbank Breeders Stake and Mary Murphy Breeders Stake went postward Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs, with a total of three divisions served up on the 10-race card. In the lone division of the Robert Millbank Breeders Stake for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings it was Need You So Bad who got up in the final strides for a nose decision for trainer/driver Bill Davis. The son of American Ideal, who was sent off as the 2-5 favourite, sat fifth for most of the mile while Kootenay Harper supplied fractions of :28.4, :59.3 and 1:28.3. Davis had his charge on the move in the third quarter, and with the help of a :29.2 closing panel he managed to haul down Kootenay Harper in the final strides. Four Diamonds was three-quarters of a length back in third. J J J Stables of Aldergrove, BC owns the rookie who now boasts a 7-1-0 record from just eight trips to the track. His share of the $7,500 purse bumped his bank account to $25,858. It was chalk city in the first division of the Mary Murphy Breeders Stake thanks to a blowout win by Yanotherhos. The three-year-old daughter of Allamerican Cobalt-Odds On Carmen marched to the top and threw down splits of :29.2, :58.2 and 1:26.4 before zipping home in :29.1 for the 1:56 triumph. It was 9-1/2 lengths back to runner-up Farside Baby, with third prize going to Pureform Pandora. Brad Watt mapped out the winning trip for the Richard Lancaster pupil, who has put together a 5-for-19 record this season after going just 1-for-5 in her freshman campaign. Ray Soh of Delta, BC owns the career winner of $63,786. The only upset in today’s stakes action came courtesy of Allittleforplace, who rallied for a narrow tally at odds of 7-1 for trainer/driver Rod Therres. The daughter of Allamerican Cobalt-Jennys Place sat fourth for most of the mile while Hurts So Bad led the field through intervals of :28, :58.1 and 1:27.2. Allittleforplace tracked cover in the third quarter and then used a :29.1 kicker to get up in the closing strides for the half-length win in 1:57.1. Regal Heir was the bridesmaid, with the show dough going to race favourite Im Tu Die For. Therres co-owns the filly with partner Blair Miller of Langley, BC. Together, they’ve watched the pacing lass assemble a 2-2-1 record from 13 trips to the races this season. The three-time winner upped her lifetime loot to $56,433 with the tally. To view results for Sunday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Sunday Results – Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

The maiden-breaking freshman Lisplaced put an end to Need You So Bad's undefeated win streak in the $7,500 third leg of the Robert Millbank Breeders Stakes on Sunday at Fraser Downs. Owned and bred by local trainer Rod Therres and Blair Miller of Langley, B.C., the Lis Mara-Jennys Place gelding sat near the back of the seven-horse field early on before moving up on the attack around the final turn under the guidance of Serge Masse. Meanwhile, Need You So Bad (Bill Davis) had worked his way to the front of the field past the :28.1 opening panels and maintained an uncontested two-length lead through middle splits of :57.2 and 1:27.1 in search of his seventh straight win. But Lisplaced was quickly gaining ground and collared Need You So Bad at the top of the stretch en route to the 1:58.1 victory over the "good" surface. Need You So Bad held on for second-place honours three lengths behind over the closing second over Kootenay Harper (Jim Marino). Lisplaced earned his first career win while making his seventh start. In previous legs of the B.C. Breeders Stakes, he finished third and was a runner-up to Need You So Bad. Sent postward as the 13-1 fourth choice in a field scratched down to seven, Lisplaced paid $28.30 for the upset win. The fourth leg of the Robert Millbank Breeders Stakes is scheduled for next Sunday, November 3. B.C. Breeders Classic Day featuring all of the divisional finals will be held on Monday, November 11. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Fraser Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

Former Langley resident Nigel Holmes, secretary treasurer of Harness Racing BC (HRBC) and long-time Standardbred owner, says the beleaguered harness racing industry is slowly winning the race to survive, despite the odds.

Anyone remember 1991 Alberta gelding Down Home Primus? Brad Watt will never forget the old bay. The son of Keystone Landmark was the reason Watt decided to make a career out of harness racing.

This season's leading Western Canadian reinsman - Jim Marino - has never been one to venture too far from home, but he has been offered an opportunity by an old friend that not too many in the harness racing game could resist. Marino will next week travel to the United States where he will weigh up his options about working for North America's leading trainer in 2011- Lou Pena (354 wins).

VANCOUVER - Higher in protein, lower in fat than a comparable slice of beef, horse meat finds its way into millions of stomachs in Europe and Japan with nary a quibble. North Americans, though, find the thought of slaughtering and processing equine animals for food a very tough notion to digest.

The shorter harness racing season has been devastating for British Columbia racetrack Fraser Downs. The track closes down for the Spring and Summer on April 15 and doesn't re-open until October.

Justin Currie might have been too small to play football after high school, but he has come up big in the world of harness racing. The 19-year-old trainer from Langley, B.C. has enjoyed a memorable season, thanks in good part to 3-year-old filly pacer Mystic Maiden. Last month, Mystic Maiden won the $100,000 Western Filly Pace at Northlands Park in Alberta.

An influx of letters - including one from harness racing track officialdom at Fraser Downs - concerning a casino, hotel and convention centre proposed for South Surrey prompted city councillors to delay third reading on bylaw amendments that would permit its development.

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