Home » Sports » Chicago’s Gray Set for Manitoba Derby Trial

Chicago’s Gray Set for Manitoba Derby Trial

July 14, 2023 6:44 AM | Sports

By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)

Presented by:

Assiniboia Downs

Jorge Carreno - Chicago's Gray

Jorge Carreno aboard Chicago’s Gray. (JASON HALSTEAD PHOTO)

Chicago’s Gray will go to the post as the 7-5 morning line favourite on Monday Night in the 2023 Manitoba Derby Trial.

The three-year-old gelding who was claimed for $20,000US by Randy Premachuk on May 6 after a second-place finish at Oaklawn Park (where he ran three times this year without a win), Chicago’s Gray will face five other geldings and one colt in the race that could determine the best local challenger in this year’s $125,000 Manitoba Derby.

Chicago’s Gray didn’t break his maiden until he arrived at Assiniboia Downs in late May, but with three wins since May 23, he’s won his owners $57,000 in purses and now all that remains to be determined is if he can run with the speed and power he’s already displayed in the sprints, in races longer than six furlongs. He’ll get that first big test on Monday night in the Trial, a two-turn race over one mile on the dirt at ASD.

Chicago’s Gray, owned by Roll the Dice Stable, Royce Finley and Arnason Farms, ridden by Jorge Carreno and trained by 82-year-old Murray Duncan will go off as the favourite while his toughest opponent all year, Saxon Saga will be the third favourite at 3-1. Saxon Saga is owned by Wind Dancer Stable and Bill Meikle, trained by Wendy Anderson and ridden by Renaldo Cumberbatch.

Meanwhile, shipping in from Lonestar Park in Grand Prairie, Tex., is Henry Witt Jr.’s Mano Dura, a Kentucky-bred colt who is the No. 2 favourite at 9-5 on the morning line. As well, Witt Jr. and trainer Jerry Gourneau will have a second horse in the race, a gelding named Discovery Peak (15-1), who has recorded two second-place finishes in two allowance races at ASD this season.

However, Chicago’s Gray has won all three races he’s entered at the Downs this season and has been dominant in all of them. He won a maiden special weight by eight lengths on May 23, then won the $25,200 Prime Time Overnight Stakes by 2 ½-lengths over Saxon Saga.

The entries for the Manitoba Derby Trial, Race 5 on Monday night (post time around 9:15 p.m.), look like this.

Manitoba Derby Trial

As always, there is a very good chance that the Top 3 in the Trial will be entered in the 75th running of the Manitoba Derby on Aug. 7. This year’s purse is a record $125,000 and it’s also the first leg of the newly created Western Canadian Triple Crown, a three-race stakes series that offers an extra $100,000 to any horse that wins all three races – the $125,000 Manitoba Derby in Winnipeg on Aug. 7, the $200,000 Canadian Derby in Edmonton on Aug. 26, and the $125,000 B.C. Derby in Vancouver on Sept. 16.

Nominations for the 75th running of the Manitoba Derby close on July 26 and the entry deadline is Aug. 2, but on Monday night, the search will continue for a local horse that can compete with Chicago’s Gray,

Meanwhile, last week, a trio of three-year-old Stakes races were held — two for the fillies – and the $51,250 Jack Hardy Stakes produced another win for the best filly on the grounds this summer, Spitten Kitten.

Trained by Marvin Buffalo and ridden by Sven Balroop, Spitten Kitten has now won four straight races, including the $24,000 One and Only Overnight.

Stakes, the $50,000 Chantilly Stakes and the $50,000 Jack Hardy. She has earned $70,371 this year alone.

Buffalo says he’s aiming to enter Spitten Kitten in the $50,000 Manitoba Oaks for three-year-old fillies on Aug. 2 and there is little doubt she’ll be the pre-race favourite.

In the other Stakes race this past week, Mechanic Susie, trained by Elton Dickey and ridden by Antonio Whitehall won the $40,500 Hazel Wright Sire Stakes for three-year-old fillies while Private Frank, trained by Tom Gardipy Jr. and ridden by Ronald Ali won the $40,000 Frank Arnason Sire Stakes for three-year-olds.

Meanwhile, heading into Week 9 of the 2023 Meet at ASD, Antonio Whitehall leads the jockey race with 26 wins, six more than defending champion Jorge Carreno while defending and four-time champion Jerry Gourneau is on top of the trainers’ competition with 21 first place finishes, seven more than Jared Brown and six-time champion Tom Gardipy Jr.

Live racing resumes Monday night at Assiniboia Downs at 7:30 p.m.