Home » Sports » Taylor: As Exciting As Advertised at the Downs

Taylor: As Exciting As Advertised at the Downs

September 14, 2022 1:54 PM | Sports

By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)

Presented by:

Assiniboia Downs

Hidden Grace

Hidden Grace wins the $40,000 Distaff Stakes for the fourth-straight year. (JASON HALSTEAD PHOTO)

Hidden Grace retired, Spun Line made a play for Horse of the Year and Myopic won the Gold Cup. It’s been a big month of racing.

It was expected to be the best September of racing at Assiniboia Downs in perhaps the long, heralded history of the best little racetrack in Western Canada.

After the first two weeks, it’s living up to the hype.

In fact, there has been a glorious retirement, a statement from one of the most exciting mares on the grounds this summer and, on Tuesday night, a Robertino Diodoro shipper from Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, Minn., won the 65th running of the prestigious Manitoba Gold Cup.

On Tuesday, Myopic went off as the favourite in the $40,000 Gold Cup, took an early lead and essentially led the entire route as leading jockey Jorge Carreno fought off Enrique Alonzo Gonzalez and the surprising 11-1 longshot Quinto Sol.

Now, I say surprising not because Quinto Sol was a surprise second but because this four-year-old gelding went off at 11-1 despite shipping in from Century Mile in Edmonton where he had won his last two races. This horse was clearly better than an 11-1 outsider. Of course, that meant a few smart punters cashed big as a he paid $22.10 to place.

Meanwhile, Myopic was the horse of the hour winning Downs CEO Darren Dunn’s favourite race of the meet.

“The Manitoba Derby is restricted to three-year-olds and three-year-olds only,” Dunn said two weeks ago. “This race is for three-year-olds and up. In other words, Who is the best horse on the grounds this year? We have 500-600 horses here. Which one is the best on the property at this time against the best possible field. The horse that wins the Gold Cup can say I’m the best horse on the grounds. I like that. I want to see who the gold medal winner is, if you will.

“Now, we also have to be aware that horses from other provinces also compete in this race. You can almost always count on a horse from Alberta and occasionally a horse from Canterbury (Shakopee, Minn.). I don’t know if that will happen this year but even we don’t get an invader, it won’t take away from the top older horse race of the meet.”

In the end, it was the invader from Canterbury on top and the invader from Alberta second. The top older horse on the grounds this year turned out to be Phil Kives Stakes’ winner McKague, trained by Carl Anderson and ridden by Stanley Chadee Jr., who won a battle with another local, Itsthattime with Chavion Chow aboard, to finish third. Itsthattime is trained by Michael Nault for True North Thoroughbreds.


Myopic paid $5.50 to win, $3.80 to place and $3.10 to show. Quinto Sol paid $22.10 and $7.80 and McKague paid $5.40 to show.

Meanwhile, Jared Brown’s Spun Line, one of the most successful mares at the track this year, laid claim to the $40,000 Matron Stakes on Monday night. It was the third win of the year for Spun Line. The veteran Kentucky-bred that he claimed at Turf Paradise in March for $10,000 also won the $25,000 Portales Overnight Stakes and the $35,000 Canada Day Stakes and has made $56,189 in eight starts this season. Both of her earlier wins this summer came in longer races so Brown waited until the Matron over a mile and an eighth and with the brilliant Jorge Carreno aboard, they just let her run.

Spun Line took an early lead, coasted along the backstretch and then put it into overdrive on the final turn and won by an impressive nine lengths.

“I claimed her for 10 ($10,000US) and she’s only had one hiccup this year,” said Brown. “She isn’t the best sprinter. She ran third both times in the two sprint stakes, but we won going seven-and-a-half (The Canada Day Stakes) and then we won going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Monday so she likes the distance.”

Owned by Ira Donald and Kane Kachur, Spun Line is an impressive champion and should be the Older Mare of the Year for 2022 at ASD.

Finally, back on Sept. 7, the magnificent six-year-old Manitoba-bred bay mare Hidden Grace (Going Commando-High Power by Pioneering) won her final race, the $40,000 Distaff.

Trained by Lise Pruitt and ridden by Renaldo Cumberbatch, Hidden Grace easily won a duel with her younger sister Melisandre (also trained by Pruitt) to take the Distaff by five lengths. It was the fourth time in her career that she’s won the Distaff – 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“We have never cried at a retirement race before,” said Sherisse Ziprick, who with her husband Cam co-bred Hidden Grace on their ranch near Russell. “That was so emotional.

“It’s pretty hard to put into words how much Hidden Grace means to us, and I’m sure for our partners as well. She has just always been the mare that keeps on giving. She started off with nine in a row, she won or placed in 23 stakes and was only off the board one time in 27 starts. How many horses have a record like that? She is just a superstar and she will receive superstar treatment as she transitions into life as a broodmare.

In her five-year career, Hidden Grace won 18 of the 27 races she entered and finished second four times and third four times – in the money an incredible 25 of 27 starts. In five starts this summer, she finished in the money every time with three firsts, a second and a third. Of her 27 starts, 24 came in stakes races and she won 15 of them. She also had four seconds and four thirds.

Purchased by her breeders, the Zipricks, Charles Fouillard and Barry Arnason for $15,000 at the 2017 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale, she has earned just a little more than $400,000 on the racetrack.

She won her first nine races and her final three. Besides winning the Distaff four times, she won the CTHS Sales Stakes twice and the Debutante, the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes, the Matron, the Manitoba Oaks, the Chantilly, the R.C. Anderson Stakes and the Escape Clause Stakes. At Century Mile in Edmonton, she won the RedTail Landing Stakes and another CTHS Sales Stakes race.

She’ll now head to the Ziprick ranch in hopes that she’ll produce more Manitoba-bred champions. Assiniboia Downs will not be the same without her.

Heading into the final five days, Jorge Carreno has a stranglehold on his second straight jockey title. With four wins on Monday ad two wins on Tuesday, a six-win week has given Carreno 58 wins on the season, 18 more than No. 2 Renaldo Cumberbatch. On the trainers’ side, defending champion Jerry Gourneau leads the way with 39 wins in 271 starts while Jared Brown is No. 2 with 27 wins in 106 starts. Gourneau is well on his way to his fourth trainer’s title at ASD.

Don’t forget, there is racing tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 14, and then only for more days on the 2022 schedule – Monday and Tuesday next week and Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 26 and 27.