Notes from the Backstretch: Fraser Downs racing season ends on a high note
Driver/trainer Jim Marino indicated to me that his past weekend at Fraser Downs was one of the best weekends of his racing career.
On Friday night (April 25), Jim lived up to his nickname that former track announcer Rick Uppal gave him: “The Money Man Marino.” Jim won both of the $25,000 Sire Stake Finals and one of the $75,000 finals. He also captured the $15,000 Open race on the card.
The Money Man’s horses earned over $76,000 on the night for various owners.
During the week I was quoted as saying that if any of the B.C. drivers finished in the top two of the Standardbred Canada Western Region Drivers Challenge, they would have to do it on sheer talent.
Of the four B.C. drivers (Bill Davis, John Chappell, Jim Marino and Scott Knight) I thought Davis had the best chance and Marino with the least chance.
After the seventh leg of the contest, Alberta Driver Brandon Campbell had cinched the championship with three wins, but four drivers had a chance to finish second going in to the ninth and final leg.
Earlier in the week, after looking at the program, the Money Man stated Pureform Olympia (12-1 morning line) had “no chance”, but I guess “sheer talent” came through and with the win, Marino edged Gerry Hudon by one point to finish second in the championship and earn a spot to the national championship in PEI in August.
Good luck, Jim, and Brandon Campbell, you will be great ambassadors for Western Canada.
Last Saturday wrapped up this part of the Fraser Downs harness race season. The next live race day is Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.
– Jackson Wittup is executive director of Harness Racing B.C.