Georgian Downs’ 2016 Opening Night of harness racing was highlighted by Duncs Diamond’s career-best performance in the featured $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 Pace on Saturday, June 4.
Driven by Billy Davis Jr., Duncs Diamond ($8.30) relinquished the lead to the 8-5 favourite Lucky Cocktail approaching the :27.2 first quarter mark for a perfect pocket trip. The Bernard Wills trainee tracked Lucky Cocktail through middle splits of :57.1 and 1:25.3 before launching outside off the turn and drawing off for the 1:54.1 triumph. Eve Marie Seelster closed for second-place honours, finishing nearly two lengths behind the winner, while Lucky Cocktail ended up third.
The win was the third in nine starts this year for Duncs Diamond, a six-year-old daughter of Cam Dunc owned by Brian Lamarche of Markham, Ont. The mare now has 20 top-three finishes from 29 starts lifetime, including nine wins, and earnings of $54,378.
In the $7,500 Preferred 3, Shadys Art ($22.70) reeled in popular race leader Darktwistedfantasy after a ground-saving trip and defeated her along the pylons by three-quarters of a length in 1:55 flat, J Harris engineered the 10-1 upset victory in her first start off the claim for trainer/owner Gary Lance of Port Perry, Ont.
Opening Night began with multiple divisions of the Alliance Spring Series for $6,000 claiming pacers. The Tim Jacobson-trained filly Deucette held on for the narrow victory in the first race of the meet for Georgian’s 2015 win leader Bob McClure, who also won another division with City Of London Series champion You Mach Me Crazy. The maiden-breaking four-year-old Whosluckierthanme and Steve Byron were victorious in the other series split for the mares. Alfie Carroll teamed up with trainer Mark Steacy for a pair of wins driving Solo Story and Ok Iceman in the series for male pacers. Play Dance and Nick Steward was also a division winner.
Live racing continues on Sunday, with post time set for 6 p.m.