Not many 15-year-old Standardbreds can claim to have won a pari-mutuel race, but Prime Time Bliss made Fraser Downs history last month, taking first place against five rivals at least six years younger than him.
For those not in the know, 15 years of age is the mandatory retirement age for Standardbreds in B.C. But age was no obstacle for Prime Time Bliss when he took home first on Friday, March 3.
According to Standardbred Canada, only one other 15-year-old has ever won a pari-mutuel race at Fraser Downs: Sharp Control in 2001.
Trainer Terry Burstyk said he was “pretty happy” with the win.
“It’s not about the money with this horse with me,” he said. “He’s my buddy.”
Burstyk’s wife, Debbie, owns Prime Time Bliss, and they’ve had him for the past five years, claiming back their pacer two separate times.
Prime Time Bliss has been racing in Western Canada since he was four-years-old. He started his career in Ontario before heading west to race the remainder of his career in Alberta and B.C.
“He’s got about $332,000 lifetime made,” said Terry. “He’s raced about 225 times.”
Later this year, Prime Time Bliss will stand at stud at a farm in Aldergrove, where he will live out his retirement years.
Illwinifican wins again
Open pacer Illwinifican earned his second straight victory in the $11,000 Open Pace at Fraser Downs on March 26, taking down returning champ Buddy Weiser.
Illwinifican had just earned a 1:53.1 victory – and lifetime best – at the previous Sunday’s Open, but Buddy Weiser, returning from a short hiatus and looking to continue his three-race streak, was the 4–5 favourite.
Buddy Weiser quickly advanced to the front from post four, while Illwinifican tracked in the pocket and waited for an opening in the stretch. Turning for home, he launched outside and sprinted over the sloppy track to defeat Buddy by three-quarters of a length.
The 37–1 longshot, Prodigal, followed three and a half lengths behind.
In nine outings, five-year-old Illwinifican has had four wins and three second-place finishes, taking in $30,720 for trainer Dennis Johnston and co-owner Ray Thomson.