Charlottetown, PE – Ideal Perception and Sintra gave top Canadian driver James MacDonald a clean sweep of the first two trials of the Gold Cup and Saucer, presented by Atlantic Lottery, on Saturday evening (Aug. 13) at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Trial 1 saw Ideal Perception take a perfect two-hole ride to win the C$12,500 event in 1:51.3 for MacDonald, trainer Anthony Beaton and owner SSG Stable of North Boston, NY. 2020 Gold Cup and Saucer champion Time To Dance (Driven by Marc Campbell) laid down the fractions in that event through splits of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.2 while fighting off the first-over Bayfield Beach (Jimmy Gagnon). Ideal Perception was shown open air at the head of the lane and unloaded his own last quarter in :26.4 to win by one-and-a-half lengths over Time To Dance with Bettim Again (Redmond Doucet Jr.) finishing third to earn a berth in next Saturday’s (Aug. 20) C$100,000 final.
“I just wanted to go forward leaving the gate and see what happened,” MacDonald said after his Trial 1 victory. “He really gets off the gate good and idled a bit then when Marc wanted the front I took the two hole, which worked perfect and keeps him fresh for next week. They kind of tailed off in the last turn so I didn’t have to push him much.”
The Kingston driver has had a storied career since leaving P.E.I. with 2,882 wins and $48 million in earnings but Red Shores Charlottetown has not been kind to him.
“That was my third win ever at the CDP,” MacDonald chuckled. “My first lifetime win was right here with Kuri White’s horse (Tougher Than Tough) and my second win here was a horse we sold to Cape Breton, Lils Destiny.”
Win number four came quicker as Sintra dominated the second trial with a 1:50.3 first-over effort for driver MacDonald, trainer Jamie Smith and owner Thestable.ca, a fractional ownership group run by MacDonald’s older brother Anthony.
Trial 2 had Legion Seelster (Gagnon) guard the cones at the start but was forced to release the three-high Island Beach Boy (Corey MacPherson) to the lead before the :27.1 opening quarter. Race favorite Sintra was content to duck into the three-hole and watch the action unfold as the half was hit in :54.2 and three-quarters in 1:23.1 with Sintra on the move as Island Beach Boy began to give way on the front. Sintra cruised in the final split to win by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:50.3 over Major Hill (Marc Campbell) and Laughagain Hanover (Jason Hughes) all making the final.
“Sintra just oozes class and I knew if they got into a speed duel I would pick up the pieces,” MacDonald said after his second win of the night. “I think you’ll see a huge gathering here next week for this horse. Paige and I have a horse racing at Mohawk in the Wellwood eliminations Saturday so I’m supposed to be there but now maybe I can put someone down to drive my horse so I can be here. I’m thinking about it but they race for half a million the next week at Mohawk so it’s pretty hard to give that up. If Sintra draws good I think you’ll see Anthony driving and if you don’t see Anthony, you’ll see Mark (James’ brother multiple O’Brien Award winning driver Mark MacDonald). Sintra will have a MacDonald in the bike, I just don’t know which one it’ll be.”
The Saturday card also saw a pair of C$3,500 divisions of the Birthplace Of Confederation series in honor of Lloyd Palmer won by Acefortyfourdome (Hughes) in 1:54.1 and Tobins Brownie (David Dowling) in 1:53.3. The series is presented by the City of Charlottetown.
The Atlantic Sires Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies has C$16,020 A-division victories by Therealprincess (MacPherson) with a 1:55.3 first-over victory for trainer Ed Doucette and Cougar On A Terr (Danny Gillis) in 1:55.3 from the Walter Walker barn.
Live racing continues Monday evening (Aug. 15) at 7 p.m. at Red Shores Charlottetown with a 12-dash card featuring Trial 3 of the Gold Cup and Saucer to decide the final trio of spots in the final.
For race replays, programs and a full racing schedule go to Redshores.ca.