After rain washed away a week of racing, the standardbreds were back on the track at Cornerstone Raceway in Yorkton Friday.
And it was a full night of racing with 10 races on the card, every one of them with a full field of eight horses.
Through nine races nine different drivers had taken horses to the winner’s circle.
Then finally in the 10th Manitoba driver Travis Cullen made it a pair taking Parker Hall to top spot over Feisty Nukes with George Isman in the cart, and Philip Giesbrecht with Everybody Dance.
Cullen said the parade of different drivers getting to the winner’s circle wasn’t a surprise on a night when the races were highly competitive.
“Everybody’s out there for the same reason, to make some money, to win the race,” he said.
Early in the season it is also harder to gauge how races might play out as Cornerstone Raceway attracts drivers from Manitoba before their race season starts, as well as Saskatchewan drivers.
Some horses are also coming in from other tracks, while others are coming back into action after a winter off, so trends are not yet known, said Cullen.
“Half of mine have been off,” he said, adding “two, or three were (racing in Alberta) and a couple in Ontario.
“I was in Alberta myself and did pretty good.”
As for the win with Parker Hall Cullen said “I was expecting big things from that horse,” noting the eight-year-old gelding has a lifetime best time of 1:54.4.
It helped Parker Hall drew the rail position.
“Post position is the biggest advantage in racing,” he said, “especially if you’ve got a front-ender.”
And that is how Cullen attacked the race, taking Parker Hall to the lead from the start pole and leading throughout.
“That was the plan, to go right to the front,” he said, adding it was the strategy he and co-owner Ken Hanson had determined for the race.
Cullen said he expects a good summer from Parker Hall.
“I’m hoping, as long as he holds up. He’s been a great horse in his life,” he said.
As for his earlier win Cullen had topped the fourth race of the night with Louisville Elmer over Brian Gary with Loneridge Lad and Richard Remillard with I Kan Dee.
“I never drove the horse before,” noted Cullen, adding the time was not that good, “but the time doesn’t matter as long as you get the money. The times not on the check.”
The next race night will be June 15 as this weekend is the CPCA chuckwagon races.