By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)
Deep Explorer Favoured in Manitoba Mile on Wednesday
The Manitoba-bred Dazzling Gold gave it an incredible effort, but the favourite, Kickalittlebooty, just had too much gas in the tank when it counted.
Then, after Tuesday’s Manitoba Oaks ended, Dazzling Gold was disqualified for bumping the No. 5 horse, Belle Strike in what turned out to be a wild night at Assiniboia Downs.
During the race itself, Kickalittlebooty, the pre-race favourite at 6-5, caught Dazzling Gold in mid-stretch and beat the Manitoba-bred to the finish to win the 33rd running of the $25,000 Oaks on Tuesday night at Assiniboia Downs.
The Oaks is the filly version of the Manitoba Derby and on Tuesday, over one mile, Kickalittlebooty made it clear that she’s the best three-year-old female on the grounds.
However, Dazzling Gold – who is still the second best three-year-old filly at ASD — was disqualified for a bump that took place in the final turn as jockey Dazzling Gold’s jockey, Edgar Zenteno, clearly impeded the progression of Nirone Austin aboard Belle Strike.
As a result, Witt Nine at 35-1 was moved into second place while Shelley Brown’s Christmas Dance moved up to third from fourth.
Kickalittlebooty is a Kentucky-bred owned by Brent and Heather Hrymak, trained by Brent Hrymak and ridden by leading jockey Antonio Whitehall. She has now run three times this year and won twice. She finished first in the Chantilly Stakes on June 16, second in the Jack Hardy Stakes on July 7 and is now the Manitoba Oaks champion. She was the upset victor of the Chantilly, paying $34.40 for the win, but she’s been a favourite ever since.
Meanwhile, Dazzling Gold had never lost. The three-year-old Manitoba-bred filly owned by Starfield Stable had won her only two career starts up until Tuesday night’s events – the $25,000 R.C. Anderson Stakes on July 14 and the $25,000 Hazel Wright Stakes on June 23. She won the R.C. Anderson Stakes by eight lengths and the Hazel Wright Stakes by three lengths. However, this disqualification certainly had to sting owner/breeder Jarvis Swereda and trainer Tiffany Husbands.
Kickalittlebooty paid $4.50 to win, $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show. Witt Nine, bred and owned by Henry Witt Jr., trained by Jerry Gourneau and ridden by Richard Mangalee paid $21.10 to place and $9.90 to show. Christmas Dance, a Florida bred owned by Scott Anderson and Shelley Brown, trained by Shelley Brown and ridden by Rafael Zenteno Jr., paid $5.50 to show.
DEEP EXPLORER FAVOURED IN THE MANITOBA MILE
There is another important stakes race on Wednesday night as Deep Explorer is a 6-5 morning line favourite to win the $25,000 Manitoba Mile for older horses.
Deep Explorer, owned by Henry Witt Jr., trained by Jerry Gourneau and ridden by Antonio Whitehall, has had 10 starts this year and won three times – he won both of his races at Assiniboia Downs but also ran at Will Rogers and Sam Houston in 2020. The seven-year-old gelding won a $25,000 stakes race at ASD on June 17 and then won the $25,000 R.J. Speers Stakes on July 8.
Deep Explorer will get his toughest competition from two other horses, not at all surprisingly, trained by Jerry Gourneau. At 3-1 is Texas-bred Gold Buyer an invader from Lone Star in Grand Prairie, Texas, owned by Mike Powers, trained by Gourneau and ridden by Kayla Pizarro. Then, at 4-1, is Mas Mischief, a Kentucky-bred owned by Henry Witt Jr., trained by Gourneau and ridden by Nirone Austin.
It’s a solid eight-horse field that includes Murray Duncan’s former Manitoba Derby champion Plentiful at 8-1.
The Manitoba Mile will be contested in Race 5 on Wednesday night at about 9:30 p.m.