Along the Backstretch: Winners undeterred by mucky track conditions at Fraser Downs

Trainer Justin Currie takes an early lead in 2015, while driver Brandon Campbell registers 1,000th career win.

I can just see the headline, “Trainer Justin Currie of Fraser Downs is the leading trainer in Canada!”

Ok, Ok, that was after Jan. 1, when many of the tracks in Canada were not racing but Justin will take the two wins and the good start in 2015. On the driving side, Travis Bowman, Bill Davis and Ontario based Phil Hudon all had driving doubles on a beautiful B.C. day for racing.

Not sure if many people will remember back to Oct. 24, when Travis Tracey finished second with a trotter (Pureform Olympia) to a group of pacers at Fraser Downs and was timed in 1:57.4.  Travis had switched Olympia from a lacklustre pacing career to the trot. Owners Cal and Shelley Nyuli were so impressed with that performance that they sent their mare to trainer Gord Remmen in Ontario. Pureform Olympia has won all five of her starts at Flamboro Downs and $17,000. Congratulations to Cal and Shelley for being so patient with the now six-year-old – maybe we will get to see her soon on the big track at Woodbine.

Friday (Jan. 2) was a very mucky day on the track but the drivers did a great job being safe. Not only do the drivers have to make sure the track is safe but they have to be concerned with eight other drivers and 1,000-pound horses in tight quarters.

The night belonged to Alberta driver Brandon Campbell as he registered win number 1,000 in his driving career while driving Elska Min for owners Val Emerson and Richard Remillard. Congratulations Brandon!

Driver Bill Davis seems to do well in sloppy track conditions, as he was able to hit the winners circle four times.

Weather conditions were terrible at Fraser Downs on Sunday Jan. 4, but the combined effort between the Horsemen and Fraser Downs’ track crew allowed the show to go on. Understandably, I am sure the on track attendance and betting were down, but the fact $179,000 was bet means people from other parts of North America were watching.

Good luck to Owner John Evanson. John is returning to the Standardbred game after an absence and might be one of the most enthusiastic guys at Fraser Downs. Not only did John jog (exercise) one of his own horses on a miserable weather day for the first time he also claimed Cowboy Caper for $15,000 and won a race with Roof Daddy. Good luck John!

I am sure most of you have read about Daniel Gaboury, Buddys Hope and the Surrey Food Bank fundraiser. There are too many people to mention that have contributed to this great cause but it looks like the total raised will be $8,400 with a special presentation at Fraser Downs on Friday night.

Racing resumes Friday (Jan. 9) at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 11 at 12:45 p.m.

– Jackson Wittup is executive director of Harness Racing B.C.