Bell Takes Two At Yorkton

It was a cool and cloudy night, with the threat of rain looming over the Yorkton Exhibition Track Friday, but the eight-race card went off with barely a drop from the overhanging clouds


Among the races were three with the added lure of a warm-up blanket hanging in the balance. By the time the races were over, two of the blankets went to horses driven by veteran driver Laurie Bell.

In the Pry Security Feature, Bell piloted Dynes At The Beach to the winner's circle for local owner Perry Trost. It was the third feature win of the Yorkton season for the five-year-old gelding, the first two for then owner/driver Rick Kosterman. The horse recently changed hands and is now trained by Blake Piwniuk, Bell's grandson. Dynes At The Beach paced the mile at 2:02.4, ahead of Kevin Seiver and Bigtime Jackpot, and Brian Gray with Invincible Yankee.

Bell said things went well in the race for Dynes At The Beach. “He just had a perfect trip,” he said. “We got in behind Four Starzz Smiley. Smiley went out the whole way and we followed him until he turned for home.”

It was a situation where Bell kept his horse in a position to make the late charge. “The guys raced themselves out at the front end, and when it all settled out you can come home,” he said.

Bell said the race was one that finally went as he envisioned it could. “It's a good feeling when you get a trip like that. When you don't get a good trip you can't do much."

Bell was back to pick up his second blanket in the Saskatchewan Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association Three-Year-Old Pace. He took the mile in 2:05.1, with Right On Willie ahead of Jomars Tami, driven by Kevin Sampson, and Sedora Sunset with Hugh Woods in the seat. Right On Willie is trained and co-owned by Bell's wife Elaine. The other owners are Ruth Carriere, Carole Dunbar, and Jane Grainger.

Bell said Willie is still a fairly new horse in the stable. “We just got him this summer, and since we got him he's been racing pretty consistent.”

Bell said he had a bit different game plan for Willie Friday than in earlier races this season. He said as he looked at the field he felt Willie could hold off any other horses, “so I got him up front.”

It was a case where Willie had a good race off the lead a week earlier finishing second. “So I kind of figured this week I would kind of roll him out there and try the front end ... I thought I would use him a little harder this race.”

Overall, Bell said things have been going pretty well for him and his wife as trainer (the win Friday was Elaine's first career stake race win as a trainer). “We've had a pretty good summer, and Blake (his grandson) is having a heck of a summer too."

The Yorkton Toyota Feature Race also went Friday, with Brian Gray taking Four KG Whitesocks to the win in a time of 2:03.3. Gray is the driver/owner/trainer of the seven-year-old gelding. Tyler Redwood piloted KG DNA to a place finish, with Clayton Braybrook and Manstorm in for the show finish.

Gray was all smiles over the feature win, adding with a grin, “I didn't even know it was a feature. A night like this you've just got to go.” He was referring to a late start to the card as they waited for the ambulance, and the rush to get the eight races in before dark on a cloudy night.

As for the race, Gray said Whitesocks is something of an enigma on the track, being a horse he is never sure what he will exactly get in terms of effort. “He's affectionately known as 'potato head',” he said, adding some nights on the track he seems to be more interested in “looking at the birds.”

“Tonight he was into the harness and going all the way,” he said, adding that it is frustrating having a horse that one night can win a blanket and then another week seem disinterested in racing. “It's not a lot of money, so they've got to be up to it every time, not just when they feel like it.”

Gray added he doesn't know which side of Whitesocks is showing up any given race. “He doesn't tell you, and I can't ask him, so it's kind of hit and miss,” he said with a smile.

Gray also earned a win with Pumpjack, a recent acquisition. “He raced good. I'm happy with him,” he said. “It's only the second time I raced him. But he's an honest horse ... He's the type of horse that's going to show up all the time.”

To view Friday's harness racing results, click here.

(With files from Yorkton Exhibition)