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Ali Brings Home a Big Winner

July 11, 2024 9:51 AM | Sports

By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)

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Assiniboia Downs

Ronald Ali

Jockey Ronald Ali (SCOTT TAYLOR PHOTO)

WINNIPEG — It was quite a week at Assiniboia Downs.

During a week in which there was a lot of news surrounding an equine virus and the resulting inability of new horses allowed to ship into Assiniboia Downs, Trinidadian jockey Ronald Ali ignored the noise and not only stayed in the jockey race, but added another stakes win to his portfolio.

On Wednesday night at ASD, Ali easily brought home heavily-favoured No Show No Call for trainer Carlos Moreno in the $40,500 Frank Arnason Memorial Sire Stakes for Manitoba sired colts and geldings.

Going off at 1/9, Ali stalked the early speed, Dancinginthecreek with jockey leader Prayven Badrie aboard. At the ½ pole Ali pulled No Show No Call to the lead and never bothered to look back. The favourite won by 12 lengths and was extending the lead as he crossed the finish line.

The three-year-old Chestnut gelding by Kentucky Bear out of She’s Regal by the great Going Commando was bred in Manitoba by Cam Ziprick and Charles Fouillard. No Show No Go is owned by Staffmax Stable and Club 3D Stable and just might be a favourite for this year’s “local” Manitoba Derby. In four starts this season at ASD, after arriving from his winter home at Tampa Bay Downs, he’s recorded three wins and a second-place finish.

Interestingly, in the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes for three-year-old Manitoba-sired fillies, the winner was Commandoslastdance ridden by Prayven Badrie for trainer Michael Nault. Commandoslastdance by Going Commando out of Sweet Tizzy by Tiznow was bred by Cam Ziprick’s boys, Keaton and Aiden Ziprick. Keaton, 21, is a former Dauphin Kings goaltender while Aiden, 18, played defence for this year’s Western Hockey League champion Moose Jaw Warriors.

It was a great week for the Ziprick family as Show No Go paid a heavy favourite’s return of $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10. Moonman Rules with Dane Dawkins up eventually finished second and paid $11.20 to place and $6.00 to show. Rachaad Knights brought home JL Cooper in third place, paying $5.30.

With a win in the last big race before the Manitoba Derby Trial on Monday, July 15, the Arnason gave Ali 16 victories on the season.
Prayven Badrie, who won four times this week, continues to lead the way in the jockey race with 24 wins, 16 seconds and 13 third-place finishes and $218,491 in earnings for his owners. He’s made 83 starts this season.

Also with four wins this week, defending champion Antonio Whitehall moved into second place with 19 wins, 17 seconds and 17 third-place finishes. He’s made a Downs-leading 108 starts and has a Downs-leading $226,348 in winnings. Damario Bynoe won twice this week and is now third with 18 wins, 15 seconds and nine thirds and $198,892 in winnings.

Rachaad Knights is now fourth with 17 wins, nine seconds and 13 third-place finishes and $164,892 in earnings while Ali, who won twice this week, is fifth in this amazingly competitive race with 16 wins, 11 seconds and 19 thirds and $196,632 in earnings. Veteran Renaldo Cumberbatch, who won twice this past week, is fifth with 15 wins, eight seconds and 11 thirds and $152,152 in winnings.

For Ali, 32, who originally came to Winnipeg in 2019, still remains a long way from home, especially when it comes to the weather.

“I wasn’t used to the cold when I came here and I don’t think I will ever get used to it,” he said with a laugh. “It’s warm every day back home so this was a big change for me. I go home for the winter and ride back home. I couldn’t take a winter here, but I come back in the spring when it’s still cold.

“When I first came to Canada, I landed in Toronto and I have a cousin living in Toronto. I had a small jacket when I landed and he looked at me and said, ‘Boy, you ain’t gonna make it out there with that little jacket.’ So, I got a heavy coat and I looked like a big guy when I arrived in Winnipeg with my big winter coat.”

Ali, whose wife and two kids are still back in Trinidad, started galloping horses when he was very young.

“I got my jockey license at 15 and I rode down there and did good everywhere and was in the Top 5 when I left,” he said. “Things back home were fine, but there was really no place to go. I had ridden at least 12 years in Trinidad and I felt that in order to get better I needed to come to North America. I was already a leading rider back home and I need a bigger challenge. My buddy from Trinidad, Prayven Badrie, was riding here and I came originally in 2019 when I was 27. Then COVID came so I stayed in Trinidad and came back in 2022.”

Ali’s goal is simple: Be the best he can be in Winnipeg and move up to the big tracks south of the border.

“My goal is to be at the top of my game, be the best,” he said. “That’s how we make our living. I most definitely want to move up to Woodbine and some big American tracks. That’s where the money is. This year I’m just trying as hard as I can to be champion rider here.”

Meanwhile, this week, the Western Canadian Derby Series removed the $125,000 Manitoba Derby from its lineup, citing ongoing federal quarantine measures at Assiniboia Downs that will not allow horses to be shipped into ASD before the race.

The decision follows an incident in mid-June when a single thoroughbred at ASD contracted equine infectious anemia (EIA). That prompted a quarantine by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency. Downs CEO Darren Dunn explained early in the week, “a single case of equine infection anemia was found to have affected one horse in the backstretch.” Although every other horse has tested negative, they will all have to be tested again before the federal quarantine can be lifted.

“We are still hopeful that entries for the Manitoba Derby will be strong,” said Dunn in a written statement. “However, we have to acknowledge that in the unlikely scenario of another horse testing positive for EIA or any delay in the removal of the quarantine, that access to the backstretch for horses not already on the property will be denied.”

While truly unfortunate, it does open up a Manitoba Derby victory opportunity for a number of horses already in Winnipeg – like No Show No Call. The Derby Trial goes Monday night. First race is 7:35 p.m.