Venerable Flamboro Downs hosts a big race for 4-year old pacers.
by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228
While most eyes will focus on the Preakness this Saturday, there’s a great harness racing event on Sunday north of the border at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ontario, near Hamilton.
The Confederation Cup will run on Sunday, May 18 with nine 4-year old pacers behind the gate. The purse is $150,000 and as you might expect, some of the big names are there. Ron Burke leads the way with three in the final.
On Sunday, May 12, there were two eliminations, each with 8 starters. In the first, Done Well took off from the start and wired the field in an impressive 1:51.4 on the half-mile track, prompting announcer Gary Guy to use his signature, “giddy-up.” He was followed by The Downtown Bus, Pretty Handsome and American History. The fifth place finisher, This Is The Plan, drew into the final and will line up behind the one in the that final.
The second heat was much more contentious with Dorsoduro Hanover staying back before commencing a rally in deep stretch to win in 1:53.4. Rockin Speed was second and credited with the same time and the other two to advance were Ghost Dance and Jimmy Freight.
The draw takes place on Wednesday, May 15. Here are those nine finalists.
The Downtown Bus
This Is The Plan
The Cup is for four-year old pacers and as we know, year in and year out, the 3-year old group of pacers is usually quite good and seeing them run as 4-year olds always makes for an exciting race. And, a $150,000 purse is not a deterrent.
Without getting into specific detail, all nine have had big moments in their three years of racing. That said, they all can be unpredictable. Lather Up came into the elims as the one to watch, but faltered badly. He will be better on another day, but Mother’s Day evening was not his time to shine.
Done Well looked unbeatable in his elim; can he carry that over in one week? This Is The Plan finished fifth in the first heat, but was clocked in 1:53.4 which matches Dorsoduro Hanover’s winning time in the second heat. We know that time only matters when you’re in prison, but 1:51.4 is 1:51.4 and that’s impressive. You can make a case for all eight in the Cup final. And, with any race on a half-miler, the draw will play a big role.
Unlike some tracks, you can run two-wide at Flamboro, and while it’s not recommended, it seems easier to do it there than say, at Yonkers, but the race to the first quarter will be quite interesting. The draw is crucial; if Done Well gets the 8 post that will make things even more interesting. He’ll want to go from the start, but as we know, sprinting to the lead and cutting over takes something out of any horse. They can look good for most of the race, but sometimes, the last eighth can be a laborious one.
Like most harness races, the second quarter is crucial to those who leave at the race’s start. Can they get the old breather so they can summon something for the final lap? Last night, Done Well went 26.4, then 28.3, still fast, but slow enough to help him.
All this will be answered, Sunday evening, May 18 at Flamboro Downs. It should be a good one.