By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)
Real Grace shipped in from Canterbury for Shelley Brown and her partners and immediately won the Derby Trial.
Dazzling Gold ran her second race for Starfield Stable and remained undefeated.
They will both be contenders in a few weeks when the $75,000 Manitoba Derby and the $25,000 Manitoba Oaks go to post in the biggest week of racing this summer.
This past Monday night, in the $25,000 Manitoba Derby Trial, Real Grace proved to be a no-doubter.
He got to the lead at the quarter pole, demonstrated plenty of outside speed under pressure, opened a one-length at the home turn and increased it to 3 ½ lengths at the finish. Real Grace made it look easy while the favourite, Gambler, could only watch his talented opponent cross the line alone. It was Real Grace’s first win.
Real Grace is a Kentucky-bred gelding owned by Shelley Brown, Jean McEwan, Bette Holtman and Bernell B. Rhone; trained by Shelley Brown and ridden by Rico Walcott. Real Grace is 7-2 on the morning line. Real Grace has run only three times in his career and finished second at Canterbury Park in a Maiden Special Weight on June 29 and second in a Maiden Special Weight at Tampa Bay Downs on May 31.
The morning-line favourite, Gambler at 8-5, is a Kentucky-bred colt owned by Henry S. Witt Jr., trained by leading-trainer Jerry Gourneau and ridden by leading-rider Antonio Whitehall. Gambler has now run 11 races in 2020, won twice, finished in the money nine times and has now been second in two stakes races – the Derby Trial and the $25,000 Golden Boy Stakes on June 22.
On Tuesday night, Dazzling Gold proved beyond a doubt that she is the class of Manitoba’s three-year-old fillies. In fact, Dazzling Gold won the $25,000 R.C. Anderson Stakes over one mile by a whopping eight lengths.
Owned by Starfield Stable, trained by Tiffany Husbands and ridden by Edgar Zenteno. Dazzling Gold has won two races in her career – the $25,000 Hazel Wright Sire Stakes and the $25,000 RC Anderson Stakes – in the only two races which she’s started.
Dazzling Gold took the lead coming off the final turn, opened up and cruised to an impressive victory, eight fill lengths ahead of Sixtyshadesofblues, ridden by Nirone Austin. The morning-line favourite, Dazzling Gold paid $4.60 to win, $2.70 to place and $2.40 to show.
It was another big week for trainer Jerry Gourneau. Last week, he won six times. This past week, he won five times and extended his lead over defending trainers’ champion Tom Gardipy Jr. to 18 wins. Gourneau, the veteran trainer from Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reserve in Belcourt, North Dakota now has 32 wins, 28 seconds, 17 thirds and $293,462 in earnings in 130 starts. He won more than $49,000 in purses in the past three days.
Tom Gardipy Jr., from Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation in Duck Lake, Sask., is still second with 14 wins, 24 seconds, 21 thirds and $157,170 in winnings in 131 starts and former champion trainer (2012) Shelley Brown, is third with 12 wins, 13 seconds, 12 thirds and $163,804 in winnings in just 73 starts.
Meanwhile, on the jockeys’ side, Antonio Whitehall won three times last week and still leads Rafael Zenteno Jr. by 11 firsts (Zenteno Jr. also won three times this past week). Whitehall now has 38 wins, 25 seconds and 22 third-place finishes in 139 starts. He not only won three times, but finished in the money 13 times in 19 starts. He has now earned $341,794 for his owners – almost $100,000 more than his nearest rival.
Zenteno Jr. remained in second place with 27 wins, 21 seconds, and 13 thirds in 122 starts and has $243,922 in winnings. Stanley Chadee Jr. is in third place with 16 wins (two wins this week), 20 seconds and 146thirds in 115 starts and $188,613 in winnings.
Remember, there is more than just live racing three nights a week to enjoy at Assiniboia Downs. There are 60 VLTs open daily from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and while the grandstand and tarmac are still closed to spectators, you can watch live racing from the Terrace Dining Room, the Club West Lounge and the Racebook. Reservations are required for the Terrace Dining Room by calling (204) 885-3330.
Live racing is back next Monday night, July 20, at 7:30 p.m.