The Kim and Wendy Ireland stable refuses to relinquish their stranglehold on the top class events at Scarborough Downs this season as the husband and wife team claimed their third 2009 open-level victory on April 18 with Mr. Nice Guy grabbing top honors in the $6,000 colt pacing feature.

The four-year-old son of Western Ideal once again employed front-end tactics en route to his second consecutive win. And while remaining undefeated on the young season, was forced to extend himself throughout every step of Saturday’s mile to secure the victory.

Ideal Conditions (the defending champion of Scarborough’s marquee Mid-Summer Classic) sat the patient pocket to Mr. Nice Guy’s speed throughout the contest, and was assisted in his challenge as Swing Batter Batter and driver Drew Campbell tipped to engage the pacesetter as the field approached the 3/8th-mile marker.

Ideal Conditions and driver Shawn Gray quickly pounced on the supposedly softened-up Mr Nice Guy heading around the final turn and the pair dueled through the stretch.

When the dust had cleared, a head was all that separated the well-matched foes in a mile timed in 1:56.3, the fastest clocking of the two-week-old Scarborough Downs season.

Campbell spins five-win performance

Orange and black were the colors of the day on April 19 as Campbell dominated the mid-afternoon matinee at Scarborough Downs, scoring an impressive five-win tally.

Campbell, the 2008 Maine driving champion, inched closer to reclaiming the top spot on the Scarborough leader board by coaxing forceful performances and insisting on the front-end with Narcosis (2:01.1), Pansy (2:00.3), Cohenucopia (1:59) and Expos Dream (2:02.2).

Perhaps his most impressive score came in the $6,000 open distaff though, as the talented driver shrewdly tracked contentious fractions while driving Maine pacing champion (aged mare) Yankee Anthem in the afternoon’s feature event. Campbell patently watched as Scylla Hanover (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) held favorite Gracie Gracie (John Beckwith) parked out through blistering panels. Campbell then calmly picked up the pieces as he steered Yankee Anthem down the stretch to claim a top-class victory in her very first 2009 outing.

Gray continues to lead all challengers with 21 wins this season with Campbell now breathing down his neck with 19 top finishes.

Scarborough Downs features live harness racing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 4:15 p.m. The Sunday matinees feature a 1:30 p.m. post time.

Mike Sweeney is the publicity director for Scarborough Downs

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