By Scott Taylor
It will be a different racing meet for Manitoba’s top breeder, Cam Ziprick.
As we approach the start of the 2020 Assiniboia Downs live racing opener, the man who brought us Escape Clause and Hidden Grace will have a new two-year-old filly at ASD this year. The full sister of Escape Clause, Reasonable Cause will be the baby horse to watch this summer — as you watch the races on your laptops from the comfort of your homes.
However, don’t expect her or the unbeaten Hidden Grace to be racing on opening night, this Monday, when the horses go to post for the first time at 7:30 p.m.
“No, I doubt these two will race for a while,” said Ziprick from his ranch in Russell, Man. “I was talking to the trainer, Mike Nault, just the other day and he says Hidden Grace will be ready for the first Stakes race (Laverendrye Stakes, June 10).
“Our two-year-old Reasonable Cause looks really good. She’s a beautiful filly who has a story all her own. We sent her down to Kentucky to sell in the Yearling Sale and as she was grazing, a freak storm passed through Lexington. Lightning hit a tree near her and she panicked, just freaked out and tried to jump a fence. She essentially ripped herself apart. There was blood everywhere and it took hundreds of stitches to sew her up.
“It took a while to nurse her back to health and we didn’t sell her, so we brought her back home and she’s really healthy now. She’s just beautiful, with big long strides. She shows all the signs of being a runner.”
For Ziprick, this year’s meet will be a different exercise for a number of reasons. For one thing, owners aren’t allowed at the grounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so he’ll be watching the racing on his laptop and phone. He’ll also have interest in only two horses.
“I was originally going to the track with 13 other horses but I was sitting at the provincial hockey championships in Swan River (watching son Aiden, a recent draft pick of the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes) and in a phone conversation with my partner, Barry Arnason, I decided to sell a few to him,” Ziprick explained. “Barry said, ‘Send me a list of all 13 and I’ll have a look at it.’ So, I sent him the list and he got right back to me and said, ‘I’ll buy them all.’ So, right before the pandemic, I sold all 13 of them.
“Now, I only have one-third ownership of two fillies – Hidden Grace and Reasonable Cause.”
Ziprick still has plenty of horses on the Ziprick Thoroughbreds ranch. He and his partner Charles Fouillard from St. Lazare, run 16 mares at the farm plus Cam has his stallion, Escape Clause’s dad, Going Commando. There are 13 new horses in the stable including an unnamed new-born who is the full sister of Escape Clause.
“Thank God, they’re having a race meet this summer,” Ziprick said. “This industry wouldn’t survive if they stopped running the races completely. I mean, we have a lot of horses, we make them almost every day, and it would be a disaster if there was no one out there to sell them to.”