Benevides out in Edmonton
Clubs wrestle with operations cap
Winter Blast has proven to be an iron-tough adversary and will be looking to channel that talent to the winner’s circle in this afternoon’s top class at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
The 15-dash program kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with the preferred pace hitting the track in Race 14 for a $2,500 purse. Winter Blast has been in every triactor ticket for six starts but has not seen the winner’s circle since Oct. 27.
Most of his more rugged company is absent this week as he is installed as the 5-2 morning-line favourite from Post 6 for driver Jason Hughes, conditioner Jennifer Doyle and owner Danny Birt of Vernon Bridge. Rockin Indy has settled in nicely to East Coast competition and will leave from Post 7 as the second choice on the morning line for driver Corey MacPherson. Rail control belongs to Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell) as the veteran pacer will look to rebound off of last week’s sixth-place finish after winning convincingly the week before in 1:58.2.
Race analyst Les MacIsaac sides with Winter Blast to overcome Post 6.
“The six-hole might curb your enthusiasm, but Winter Blast is not facing any of those that have beaten him in recent starts and that’s got to count for something,” MacIsaac said.
“He looks like the one to knock off.”
Also in the field are: Salmonier Storm (Ambyr Campbell), Pictonian Storm (Austin Sorrie), Diggin In (Adam Merner), I C True Grit (Mike McGuigan), Mr Irresistible (Kyle Gillis) and The Big Bite (Kenny Arsenault). Killean Finale will put her modest streak to the test in the Race 9 fillies and mares open for a $2,350 purse. Ken Murphy will drive the Clifford Murphytrainee from Post 7 while riding two straight wins at this level for owners Dr. Mary McNiven and Pacemaker Stable of Nine Mile Creek.
Collective Wisdom has not been out of the triactor ticker in her last six starts, all in this class, and will again have Drew Neill at the lines from Post 6. Prettyndangerous has posed a risk in this class all season and is sitting on two straight secondplace finishes with Post 5 to work from this week with David Dowling at the controls.
Red Shores will have a memorial horseshoe after Race 6 in memory of the late Brian Andrew, who died on Wednesday.
Entries, A15. Mike Benevides is the latest casualty of the new CFL nonplayer operations cap.
The Edmonton Eskimos announced Friday that Benevides will not be returning to Jason Maas’s coaching staff for the 2019 season. Benevides had been the team’s assistant head coach and defensive co-ordinator since Maas took over as Eskimos head coach in 2016.
Prior to joining the Eskimos, Benevides spent three seasons as head coach of the B.C. Lions (2012-14).
“I will truly miss the amazing fan base and people of Edmonton, the relationships I’ve built with the players and all those in the Edmonton Eskimo organization, as well as working for Jason,” the Toronto native said in a statement. Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland said in a statement that the team couldn’t come to terms with Benevides on a salary that would fit under the non-player football operations salary cap announced by the league on Thursday.
The cap, set at just under $2.59 million for the next two seasons, has already had a marked effect on the league.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced Wednesday that the team and assistant vice president of football operations and player personnel John Murphy were parting ways. On Thursday, the Montreal Alouettes announced they were not renewing the contracts of defensive back coach Billy Parker, receivers coach Jason Tucker, assistant offensive line coach Chris Mosley and defensive assistant coach Cris Dishman. Scouts Eric Deslauriers and Russ Lande were also not retained.