By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)
If you have your hpibet.com account, keep an eye out for Music at Work and Stone Carver as we head into the fourth week of live thoroughbred racing at Assiniboia Downs.
This week, two stakes races highlight the 11th and 12th nights of racing on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week.
On Tuesday night in the $25,000 Chantilly Stakes for three-year-old fillies, trainer Craig Smith’s beautiful Alberta-bred Music at Work is the pre-race favourite at 6-5. Ridden by Kayla Pizzaro she has come to Winnipeg from Century Downs outside Calgary and has already won the $16,000 Liz’s Pride Overnight Stakes.
Music at Work will get her toughest competition from the Idaho-bred Someone Else. Owned by Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd., trained by Tim Rycroft and ridden by Rigo Sarmiento, Someone Else, 9-5 in the Chantilly, finished second to Music at Work in the Liz’s Pride Overnight Stakes.
If you’re looking for a longshot, you might like Florida-bred Bye Y’all at 8-1. Bye Y’all is owned by Shelley Brown, Oslen S. Belle, Harvey Warner, Jay Jackson and Anderson Livestock Stable. She’s trained by Shelley Brown and ridden by Edgar Zenteno. In two starts at the Downs this year already, she was second on May 25 and then broke her maiden on June 8. Bringing her back just eight days later is certainly interesting, but she was impressive last week so maybe there is some place or show money to be won here. She would certainly look good in an exotic.
On Wednesday night, the second $25,000 stakes race of the week, this one for older horses, goes to post with all eyes on the Kentucky-bred five-year-old gelding Stone Carver. Owned by Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd., trained by Tim Rycroft and ridden by Rigo Sarmiento, Stone Carver comes in at 6-5 after finishing a strong second in the $16,000 Iwoodificould Overnight Stakes on May 27. This will be his third start of the year. On March 5, he finished fourth in an Allowance Claimer at Tampa Bay Downs.
Likely on his tail will be four-year-old gelding and Florida-bred Mr. Dazzle. Owned and trained by Shelley Brown and ridden by Edgar Zenteno, Mr. Dazzle comes in at 3-1 and beat Stone Carver in the Iwoodificould Overnight Stakes. Mr. Dazzle won the 2018 Graduation Stakes and finished third in the 2018 Osiris Stakes and second in the 2018 Winnipeg Futurity. He was second in last year’s Royal Frolic Overnight Stakes and fourth in last year’s Golden Boy.
Once again, if you’re looking for a longshot, I like Murray Duncan’s Plentiful with Stanley Chadee Jr. aboard. Plentiful comes in at 4-1 after finishing third in the Iwoodificould Overnight Stakes. Plentiful did not have a very good 2019, winning only the $16,000 Monsson Rain Overnight Stakes, but if 2018, Plentiful won this race and the RJ Speers Stakes and in 2017 Plentiful won three stakes races before winning the $75,000 Manitoba Derby.
Even though Plentiful is now six-years-old, he showed some spark back on May 27. It’s hard to completely ignore a former Manitoba Derby champion in any race.
Meanwhile, after nine nights of racing, defending champion Antonio Whitehall leads the jockey standings with 11 wins, 10 seconds, eight thirds and $100,666 in winnings in a track-leading 52 mounts. Newcomer Rafael Zenteno Jr. is in a virtual tie for top spot with 11 wins, 10 seconds, four thirds and $95,099 in winnings in 47 starts. Sarmiento (37 starts), Pizarro (45) and Neville Stephenson (48) are all next with six wins each.
On the trainer’s former champion trainer, Jerry Gourneau leads the way with eight wins, 11 seconds, six thirds and $82,473 in winnings in 48 starts. Rycroft is next with six wins, nine seconds, five thirds and $75,393 in winnings in 31 starts. And Jared Brown is third with five wins, two seconds, five thirds and $36,266 in winnings in just 22 starts.
There is live racing tonight beginning at 7:30 p.m. First post time on Tuesday and Wednesday nights is also at 7:30.