By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)
WINNIPEG — She got the toughest challenge of her young career, but in the end, the impressive two-year-old Melisandre kept her unbeaten streak alive.
On Tuesday night at Assiniboia Downs, Melisandre won the 32nd running of the $35,000 CTHS Sales Stakes for two-year-old Manitoba-breds. The baby sister to Hidden Grace, the undefeated Melisandre, went off as a 1-5 favourite and despite a tremendous effort by Antonio Whitehall and Call the Cops, Melisandre won for the third time in three starts in her very short career.
However, this was her toughest race yet, going up against two other fillies and three geldings. In his racing debut, Call the Cops was a formidable foe.
As the gate opened, Call the Cops reared up, but settled quickly under Whitehall and surged to the lead after a quarter. Melisandre ran just behind Call the Cops for much of the six-furlong race and then pressed outside on the turn, got a nose in front and then drew out gradually from the sixteenth pole to win by nearly two lengths.
Melisandre was bred in Russell, Man., by Cam Ziprick at Ziprick Thoroughbreds and Charles Fouillard. She is owned by Barry Arnason, True North Thoroughbreds and Charles Fouillard; trained by Michael Nault, and ridden by Stanley Chadee Jr. She won a Maiden Special Weight on July 22 and then cruised to victory in the 31st running of the Debutante Stakes on Aug. 4.
Call the Cops is a two-year-old gelding bred and owned by Dr. Betty Hughes, trained by Elton Dickey and ridden by Antonio Whitehall. He would appear to have a very bright future.
Meanwhile, trainer Jerry Gourneau took a small step toward the single-meet record for wins by a trainer (78) set in 1990 by Tom Dodds during a 117-day meet. On Tuesday night, Gourneau had one victory – Henry S. Witt Jr’s Call Me Richard in Race 6 – to bring his total to 60 with 10 days of racing remaining in this year’s 50-day meet. Tonight, Gourneau has four horses going to post in three races.
Live racing begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. The $30,000 Osiris Stakes for two-year-olds will go to post at about 9:05 p.m. The morning-line favourite at 5-2 is Bells and Whistles with leading jockey Antonio Whitehall in the irons. The second favourite is Graduation Stakes winner Freezing Jimmy with Wilmer Galviz up, at 7-2.