‘He has a big top speed’
Always At My Place wins Gold Cup and Saucer Trial 1
A rain-filled day and an off track was no obstacle for Always At My Place as he dominated the field in Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer Trial 1 at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Marc Campbell was at the lines of the six-year-old pacer as he scored an eight-length victory in 1:51.1 over a track rated one second off due to muddy conditions.
The one-second variant puts Saturday’s mile in the same realm as Ys Lotus’ 1:50.1 track record set in the 2016 Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer final. Ron Burke trains Always At My Place for Pennsylvania owners Burke Racing Stable Llc of Fredericktown, Phillip Collura of Mountain Top and Weaver Bruscemi of Canonsburg, along with Lawrence Karr of Randolph, New Jersey.
Post 1 starter Windsong Leo left hard through the turn in Saturday’s $12,500 trial for driver Jason Ryan to control the lead but made a break in stride to allow Do Over Hanover and
Jason Hughes take the front and insist upon the lead through a 27.1 first quarter. Heavy favourite Always At My Place was unable to clear Do Over Hanover at that first station and took back to sit second through a half-mile of 54.2 but Campbell was unconcerned with how the race was shaping up.
“That’s racing,” Campbell said of being forced to take the twohole. “(Do Over Hanover) drew inside of me and that horse has been sharp, he has a bunch of wins and I drove the horse so I know he’s a nice horse. I was tugging on (Always At My Place) pretty good through a half in 54.2 then I popped him out in the backstretch and pulled the (ear) plugs. He has a big top speed.”
Once Always At My Place moved out of the two-hole before the three-quarters of 1:23.1, he kicked clear to victory. Shadow Place (Gilles Barrieau) rallied for second with Do Over Hanover hanging in for third and Crombie A (Gary Chappell) finishing fourth to earn himself the final spot in next Saturday’s $60,000 Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer final.
The final three finishers, Stover (Bob McClure), Windsong Leo and Skyway Boomer (Brett MacDonald), respectively, will have the option to race in Friday night’s $20,000 James (Roach) MacGregor Gold Cup and Saucer consolation.
Campbell and Burke teamed up to win the 2013 and 2015 editions of the Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer giving Campbell some first hand experience in what is need to win the East Coast classic.
“Trip is always key,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how good your horse is you need a trip but this is a real nice horse.”
Burke stable assistant trainer Mickey Burke Jr., brother of trainer Ron Burke, is on the Island to care for Always At My Place and Trial 2 starter Sapphire City.
“We’re really pleased with how he raced,” Burke said. “The first quarter they were stepping and even at the half they were still moving. They gave (the track) a one-second variant and I think it is even more than that. I think we’re going to see something special next week if we have a good track.”
It is the first time on P.E.I. for Burke, who was told by his father, Mickey Burke Sr., who did not come this year, that Old Home Week was a must see.
“We are purposely trying to eat our way through the Island,” Burke joked.
“And we were at the beach yesterday so we’re having a ball. It is beautiful. My dad loved it here so it’s nice to see it for myself.”
Always At My Place crosses the finish line first in 1:51.1 in Gold Cup and Saucer Trial 1.