They’re still heading to Flamboro
Tomorrow evening, Flamboro Downs will stage the eliminations for the Confederation Cup which has attracted a very respectable field despite a very modest purse.
Next week’s final for the fouryear-old pacers will be $176,000 down from last year’s pot of $230,000 because no eliminations were required in 2016.
A total of 12 have drawn into a pair of $20,000 divisions. What makes it all rather odd is that if the winner were to capture his elimination and the final the total payoff would be only less than $100,000 which by today’s standards is not a big attraction. And despite a big, big effort by locally-owned Sintra in the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands a week ago, no one seemed to be scared away.
Rockton trainer, Dave Menary, who is based at Stephensons Training Centre near Copetown has the hot horse at the moment. He seared the Meadowlands with a 1:49.1 mile running away from the field to win by six lengths. He’s won both starts this year showing $342,000 in career earnings.
Milton owner Brad Grant will see his Easy Lover Hanover make his first start since winning the Progress Pace last November and while he has post three he will have his hands full in this initial appearance for trainer Ben Wallace. But it surely will be a springboard for the weeks ahead.
Interestingly, Grant also has a starter in the other division with newcomer Mr. Wiggle Pants.
Last week, Grant purchased the four-year-old in a private transaction from Ohio interests and handed the assignment to Waterdown horseman Scott McEneny to manage.
“I was at the track Saturday night and Brad asked if I had room for another horse. The the next day confirmed he’s bought this guy and I think he looks good,” says McEneny from Classy Lane Training Centre where he is based.
“Very good half-mile track horse like he showed last September at Northfield Park where he tossed a first quarter in :25.3. No question he can leave so I have good hopes for him.”
Mr. Wiggle Pants is Ohio-bred and largely stayed within the confines of that state having made just 24 lifetime starts.
April 29 was his first start of the year at Miami Valley in Ohio and a 1:51.2 mile was pretty slick off a qualifier.
But the competition is very deep in this division led by the Ron Burke trained Check Six. He’s coming in off a Graduate division win in 1:49.3 after banking just over $1 million last season.
“He is a big, good-looking horse. He looks like he is supposed to be a good one which he is. I think of all the returning three year olds of last year he looks to be the best and has an excellent chance of being a big horse this year,” says Burke from his Pennsylvania base.
“He has that look that his sire Somebeachsomewhere leaves in many of his horses — muscular and manly.”
Jimmy Takter is shipping in Western Fame who has close to $500,000 earned and looks to be improving with age. Mark MacDonald comes in from New York to drive following a runner-up finish to Sintra a week ago.
These two divisions of the Confederation Cup are easily the most talented fields staged at Flamboro Downs since last year’s end. It’s refreshing to see this type of firepower again and it should result in a pair of smartly contested races.