Brian Gray had a pair of wins Friday, but won’t be going back to the winner’s circle with one of them in the future.
Best For Blues won his second race in a-row and third of the season taking the Harvard Broadcasting Feature for owner/trainer/driver Brian Gray.
Kevin Siever with KG Mattmerlin were in for place money with Laurie Bell and Abbafun taking the show spot.
It was somewhat of a bittersweet win for Gray as Best For Blues was claimed following the race.
Gray said the 10-year-old gelding has had some leg issues, and he was planning to retire Best For Blues after the Yorkton meet.
Gray said at season’s end, “he was going to go to my brother’s place and live like he should.”
While Gray is a veteran of the race game, and knows claiming is part of the game, as are selling horses when they can no longer compete, he said some horses earn a bit more.
“I’ve retired a few nice older horses,” he said, adding Best For Blues was on that list.
The claim was the fifth of the season in Yorkton, and the fourth one from Gray’s stable.
“There’s an old saying you don’t ever claim a guy’s last horse. That’s happened twice to me,” he said, adding losing Best For Blues left him with only two racing horses, although a local owner had just bought a third for him to work with.
As for the race itself, Best For Blues had the pole position, and was able to tuck in to the two-hole off the gate.
“A two-hole trip like that you don’t get that often,” he said, adding he was chasing the biggest competition in the field, and was able to use the two-hole to get around the leader and win down the stretch.
Gray had won earlier on the card with Maid To Measure.
Measure is another horse Gray said “probably won’t make the bus back to Edmonton,” citing the mare as being “just not fast enough. She races well but she’s not too big and there’s not a lot of talent” but in a non-winners race was able to get it done.
Clayton Braybrook also had a two win night.
“Confucius say ‘you can’t lose them all’,” said Braybrook with a smile.
Then before talking about either win Braybrook said he had to thank all the race sponsors who have helped keep standardbred racing alive in Yorkton and Saskatchewan. He
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said the owners, trainers and drivers appreciate that people are interested enough locally to support the sport.
The big win came in taking the Budget Blinds Feature with Bling Kaching, over Donald Tracey with Red Riverboat and Laurie Bell with Right On Willie.
“Bling was Bling. He likes to get out there,” said Braybrook. He added sometimes Bling fades late, but this time held a good pace “coming home.”
“He was game. He was brave. He was tough. He sensed it was his time.”
Braybrook also won the opening race of the card with Western Willy for owner Dorothy Jones.
Braybrook said Willy is a relatively new drive for him.
“He came from Alberta where he wasn’t doing that well,” he said, adding the owners are long-time family friends, so he was happy to see him racing better following a couple of equipment changes.
“It felt really good (to win for his old friends),” said Braybrook. “He’s getting a little more confident. He was game today.”
Siever captured the Harvard Broadcasting Social Club Feature with Kalahari Cajun. It was Cajun’s second straight win. This one came over Remillard with Oblivious Boy and Gray with Ms Julia Rose.
In the KM Auto Care Feature Miss Tinkerbelle was piloted to top spot by Richard Remillard over Kevin Siever and Mystery Road and Hugh Woods with Oral Fixation.