It was Girls' Night Out at the races on Friday for at least one lady. She just happened be a jock.
Apprentice Jennifer Reid won four of the eight races on Friday night at the Downs, including the middle legs of a $2 Pick-4 that paid a whopping $8,033 for the lucky bettor who held the only winning ticket.
The Pick-4 started out in the fourth race with Tyrone Nelson aboard Joanie Baloney ($9.40). Reid then booted home both Giveyourheadashake ($8.10) and Kbello ($22.70) to win the fifth and six races and the Pick-4 finished off in the seventh race with favourite Media Contact ($4.70) under Tim Moccasin.
Considering that there was only one real longshot in the mix, the Pick-4 paid extraordinarily well, but it’s been that way all year. The reduced 15% takeout has resulted in regular Pick-4 pools of at least $5,000 and when a carryover is involved the pool can sometimes get close to $20,000. That’s a substantial pool of money and it’s primarily local handicappers that are going after it. If you’re a reasonably capable player (and even if you’re not), because of the limited competition you have a shot at taking home the Pick-4 pool on any given night.
Bettors who left Reid off their Pick-4 tickets on Friday night are not likely to do so again. The 23-year-old apprentice and former barrel racer from Melfort, Saskatchewan has been riding the wind this year and has looked every bit as good as her male counterparts. She’s got soft hands on the lead, she can rate a horse smoothly and she rarely finds trouble. All you can ask of a jockey is that they give a horse a chance to win and she’s certainly been doing that.
Reid also won the first race on Friday night aboard Soul of a Samurai ($9.30) and the last race on Baronshill ($9.50). She showcased a variety of riding skills in the process. In the first race she took a pressured lead from the outside early, opened up and held well in the drive. In the fifth race she stalked outside, pressed on the turn and opened up into the stretch. In the sixth race, which was arguably her best performance of the night, Reid dueled inside, shook her pace rival into the stretch and then amazingly held off challenges from both inside and outside in a stretch-long drive. Her final performance of the night in the eighth race was also a beauty. She coasted to the front early in the 9-horse field, set a slow pace and drew off as she pleased to win by 10 ½-lengths, topping a $2 Superfecta that paid $4,277.80.
Reid has now won 22 races at Assiniboia Downs in 2012, two more than she won here last year when she finished eighth in the standings. She’s already fourth this year, behind only Paul Nolan (34 wins), Rohan Singh (30) and Tyrone Nelson (24), who also won a pair races on Friday. Reid could get even hotter as the meet progresses, and she should surpass her win total of 28 last year, which included a longshot victory at Woodbine and a few more wins at in Fort Erie.
Like Manitoban Todd Kabel did years ago, Reid journeyed to Woodbine last fall to ride a few horses, get an education in the Canadian big leagues and make connections for the future. A graduate of the Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program at Olds College in 2008, she’s doing things the right way. She tried Edmonton’s Northlands Park when she first began in 2009, but a spill and the resulting injuries sent her back to the minors of Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge, Alberta, where she was their champion apprentice of 2010. Her next year at the Downs was a 20-win success, and the way she’s been riding this year, you wouldn’t know she’s an apprentice.
Caught in the Winner’s Circle after the races on Friday, Reid was all smiles, but they weren’t cocky smiles, they were happy, confident ones. There’s a big difference. This game can humble you if you’re not careful.
To the tune of $8,033, last night.