Along the Backstretch: trainers old and new celebrate wins at snowy Fraser Downs

As snow falls, one of the youngest – and one of the oldest – trainers celebrate wins at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino in Cloverdale.

I would like to start off by apologizing to the Lower Mainland population. The last few weeks I have been complaining about the rain on Friday nights at Fraser Downs. Mother Nature said, “not this week (Nov. 28), I will give you snow.”

A blanket of snow started to accumulate as the evening went on but that did not deter the bettors as the wagering was the highest for an 11-race card this meet.

Veteran trainers Serge Masse, Keith Clark and Bill Davis must have had the right kind of snowshoes on, as they all won two races from their stable.

The highlight of the evening for me was when one of the youngest trainers at Fraser Downs, Cherie Paskaruk, 23, and one of the oldest, Dan Ingram, 84, each won a race. Cherie is a young trainer with only one horse and a full-time job off the track, has overcome issues growing up, competed in the Fraser Downs Powder Puff race, paddocks horses for other trainers and always volunteers whenever asked by myself and others.

Driver John Chappell, Cherie and three-year-old filly, Cowgirl Poetry, are all about what makes Standardbred racing a great sport!

The temperature was very cold and the track was frozen but the horses went very fast on Sunday, Nov. 30. Alberta driver Brandon Campbell is used to cold weather racing and won three races.

There is a new face winning the Open for the best horses at Fraser Downs the last couple of weeks, Beren Hanover. Owner Dal Reo Farms (Les Cridland) has been a major player in the past and paid top dollar for this well-bred four-year-old and is starting to see a nice return on his investment. Dal Reo Farms also purchased a yearling at the sale last week, I get the impression Les doesn’t buy horses unless he thinks he has a chance to get a return on his investment.

Racing resumes this Friday (Dec. 5) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (Dec.7) at 12:45 p.m.


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

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