Saturday racing seems to agree with veteran driver Brian Gray who won three and added a pair of thirds as the standardbreds moved to the weekend date for their final two weeks of racing in the city.
Gray started his hat trick of wins with a catch drive win with Red Star Egyptian over Tyler Redwood with Light The Board and Glenn LeDrew with Barona Fivehundred.
Gray said the winning horse was “not real fancy” on the track “but he got it done … He was digging the whole way.”
Gray would take his own horse The Missing Sock to top spot in race six with a night’s best time of 1:59.4, over Kevin Siever and Kalahari Cajun and LeDrew with Rain Gauge.
In the final race of the card Gray completed his hat trick with his gelding Best For Blues over Siever with Louisville Elmer and Redwood with Red Star Best.
Gray said with both Best For Blues and The Missing Sock it was a case of getting out in front early.
Gray said when he has tried to come from the back before this season it has been tough.
“It’s like there’s 12 pylons in front of me,” he said, adding once you have to weave through a field it makes winning that much tougher. “You can be half an hour the best and still get beat.”
From the front it can be clear sailing if a horse has the ability to hold the lead.
“Both horses are good on the front end,” he said.
In particular Gray said the Missing Sock has the speed to lead.
“She has a lot of talent,” he said, adding what she lacks is the desire to excel. “… She was slowing down coming down the line. She just don’t care.”
Gray said a talented horse still has to want to win.
“I’d take an honest horse over a talented horse that doesn’t try,” he said.
The fifth race of the card was the Alpine Holdings Ltd. Feature Race.
Clayton Braybrook took the blanket with a catch drive Im A Wildcat over Siever with Mr Warlock and LeDrew with Flight Seargent.
Braybrook said a catch drive “is a little bit of glory,” but since you don’t get the cheque like you do as owner/driver, it is a different feeling.
“Catch drives are not my forte, because I don’t do enough of it,” he said. “I like to get to know a horse.”
In the case of Im A Wildcat Braybrook said it helped he has a good rapport with the horse’s trainer Tyler Redwood.
“Tyler told me what to do,” he said, adding for the most part “he was right on the money.”
Judges Discretion was back in action for the first time in a month, having stayed in her stalls through a weekend off for tractor pulls, a week without her class offered, and a third week with her driver suspended.
The seven-year-old mare never missed a step with the time off winning race two on the card by several lengths for driver Redwood. It was the 13th straight win for the mare, as she topped LeDrew with Found My Desire and Braybrook with Als Dream Gal.
Redwood also found the winner’s circle with Island Hero in race seven.