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Armbro Arrow takes aim on Semifinal berth
October 14, 2002
By Sandra Snyder

FRASERVILLE, ON — With the post season rapidly approaching, this weekend marks the end of the Grassroots regular season and Kawartha Downs plays host to the final event for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Friday evening.

To extend their season the fillies must finish among the top 16 point earners from the six regular season events so competition will be fierce as the final qualifiers are determined.

Among the fillies hoping to come up with a strong effort to move into the top 16 is John Smith’s Armbro Arrow. The Village Jiffy daughter has recorded one second, two thirds, one fourth and one fifth in her five Grassroots starts this season for a total of 62 points, just five less than the current cut off.

“She qualified around the 15th of June and she hasn’t missed anything, she’s good and sound and raring to go,” says Port Hope resident Smith. “And Run In The Sun is ahead of us and Murray (Brethour) has quit with her so that puts us at 16. So all we have to do is maintain our position to get to the Semifinal, but I’m hoping that she can win her way into it.”

Murray Brethour will pilot Armbro Arrow from Post 2 in the third race for Smith and his partner Dean Campbell of Orleans. The veteran reinsman has driven the filly to one win, one second, two thirds and one fourth-place finish already this summer and Smith says he seems to be able to bring out the best in Armbro Arrow.

“Murray seems to get along with her as well as anybody. He uses her pluses to her advantage,” says Smith, who acquired the filly for $6,500 at last year’s Royal Blue Yearling Sale. “She is better coming from off the pace. She’s such an honest horse, she’s forever trying if you are racing her out of a hole.”

Armbro Arrow heads into Friday night’s contest off a solid third-place showing in a Trillium Series division at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 5 and Smith adds that driver Randy Waples felt she was a contender for the win before being interfered with mid-way through the race.

“She was interfered with at Flamboro, she should have been moved up. It happened at the three-quarters and Randy said if that doesn’t happen, she wins it,” Smith says with a shrug, “But that’s horse racing.”

Among the fillies Armbro Arrow and Murray Brethour will contend with in Race 3 is Wendys Rocket, who sits in a tie for third in the standings with 125 points, and has been locking horns with the best the country has to offer in recent weeks.

After a third-place finish in a division of the Harvest Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 13, trainer William “Bud” Fritz decided to move the Pacific Rocket filly up to the Gold Series. In her Sept. 22 Gold Elimination at Windsor Raceway she finished second to Gold Final winner Northern Harmony and in the Sept. 29 Final she finished fifth. One week later she was second in a Trillium Series division at Flamboro Downs.

Fritz, a 2002 inductee into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, trains Wendys Rocket for owner-breeder Bloomingwood Farms of Harriston and will steer her from Post 4 in Race 3 on Friday.

Kawartha Downs sends its first race behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm and plays a special fanfare for the two-year-old pacing fillies as they wrap up the Fraserville oval’s 2002 Ontario Sires Stakes season in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8.