In thirteen years of announcing, this race was far from the fastest I called, but by far one of the most exciting eight horse, 1:58.3 races you will find anywhere.
The J.A. Ferguson series final really had no clear cut favourite, was as close on paper as any eight horse field I can remember, and the finish proved it. From last at the quarter to first at the wire, Nikes Cowgirl literally circled the field to win the annual J.A. Ferguson Memorial Pace Saturday in 1:58.3 in North Sydney.
The six year old mare, owned by Jimmy Struthers of Port Morien and driven by Jamie Struthers, was forced to move five wide all the way around the final turn, as all eight entries in the final were separated by less then two lengths as the field entered a furious stretch drive. Half way through the stretch they fanned out six wide on our six wide track, with two horses on the backs of the horses on the inside. It reminded me of the classic Gold Cup and Saucer win by Pownal Bay Matt, with everyone in contention in the stretch drive and horses coming from everywhere.
After Makes Me Stupid would get the lead in the stretch from pacesetter Brother John, Nikes Cowgirl flew down the lane six wide to pass six horses in the stretch. Nikes Cowgirl now has three wins from eight starts on the season, and now sports twenty-two lifetime victories. Wildcat Jet and driver Mark Pezzarello finished second with Makes Me Stupid, driven by Rodney Gillis third. Fans wagered $13,957.00 on the nine race program.
Woodmere Rollnpop Wins Nova Scotia Stake
Woodmere Rollnpop has now won three of four lifetime starts, as the two year old gelding defeated seven other pacers in winning the $9202 stake race for two year old pacing colts on the August 3rd card, the last one before a three week break for the annual Cape Breton Farmers Exhibition. Clare Macdonald drove Woodmere Rollnpop to a six and a half length victory for owners Morah Kerr and Phonsie MacEachern, with Harry G second, and locally owned Howmac Napoleon third. Eastview Dexter paced the fastest mile of the afternoon, winning in 1:58.1 for owner Brian O’Donnell and driver Myles Heffernan. Nikes Cowgirl finished second, followed by Wildcat Jet, Rocky Western, Dreamfair Van Dam and Burn Em Up Burr.
Accelerator won the Joe Collins Memorial Pace in 2:00.1 for owner Robert Blanchard and driver Greg Sparling. Accelerator now has four wins on the season from twelve starts. Fans wagered $13,116 on the 9 race card.
Cape Breton 1-2 in OSS Gold
How about the performances of Century Farroh and Bronx Seelster, who finished 1-2 in the $158,000 OSS gold event for three year old pacing colts on Friday August 2nd at Woodbine Mohawk. Century Farroh won by a neck in 1:49.4 for the Ratchford stable, with Bronx Seelster out a long way for a game second, for the Capers 3 Stable, both finishing ahead of Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show.
Old Home Week
With the trial starters announced for the 60th Gold Cup and Saucer, (as listed on the front page of this issue) I’m pleased to own a piece of one of this year’s starters again, The Stable’s Brave World, who was recently acquired to compete in this year’s event. Knowing that the returning champ Somewhere Fancy is heading to the Island, along with some other big name horses is great news for the race itself, but makes Brave World’s chances a bit tougher. If there is one thing we know about the Cup and Saucer, however, is that you should take nothing for granted and expect the unexpected....
Let’s hope for a great week of weather, some excellent racing, a chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and relish in the spectacle that Old Home week is, the greatest 10 days of harness racing in North America.
In our next edition we will look back at Old Home Week 2019, and look ahead to three weeks of Atlantic Sires Stakes action coming to Northside, starting with the three year old fillies on the 24th, the two year old fillies on the 31st, and the three year old pacing colts on September 7th. Until next time we extend to our readers good luck, good racing and good handicapping!