The Gold Strike Mile and Assiniboia Downs – A True Harlequin Romance

by Bob

Gold Strike -- The winning began at ASD

Gold Strike -- The winning began at ASD

Okay, now there’s a title in need of an explanation!

Over the next two weeks the Gold Strike Mile will be the featured stakes race and it will be run in two divisions. On July 20 Manitoba-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings will run one mile for a $15,000 purse and on July 27 Manitoba-bred 3-year-old fillies will do the same for another $15,000.

The Gold Strike Mile races are named in honour of Dick Bonnycastle’s fine filly Gold Strike, a Manitoba-bred whose major wins included the Buffalo and Debutante Stakes in 2004 and the prestigious Selene Stakes and Woodbine Oaks in 2005, not to mention an impressive third-place finish against the boys in the 2005 Queen’s Plate.

In 2004 Gold Strike was named CTHS Manitoba-bred Champion 2-Year-Old Filly. In 2005 she was named CTHS Manitoba-bred Horse of the Year, and she capped off the season by winning the Sovereign Award as Canada’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly. Gold Strike compiled a record of 4-3-1 from nine starts for earnings of $564,500 and in 2008 she was retired to broodmare duty.

Gold Strike’s owner Dick Bonnycastle was born in Manitoba in 1934 and was the former owner and publisher of Harlequin Enterprises. His horses run under the name of Harlequin Ranches. Bonnycastle was part owner of Nice Dancer, who won the Manitoba Derby in 1972. Interestingly, Nice Dancer was the first and only Manitoba Derby winner for legendary Downs’ jockey Bobby Stewart.

In her 2-year-old season, Gold Strike was known as the “Pride of Brunkild” and the “Manitoba Missile.” She was trained by Blair Miller and it’s interesting to note that she was defeated by a neck in her first ever race locally on July 1, 2004, by the relatively unknown Rich Rubies.

The Gold Strike Mile was inaugurated in 2007 and the filly division was won by Easters Lily, trained by Wayne Elias. Super Duper Me, trained by Leonard Anderson, won the colts and gelding division the same year. Last year Kommando Kate won the filly division and Sir J. Windsor took the colts and geldings division. This year will mark the sixth running of the Gold Strike Miles.

Thank you, Mr. Bonnycastle, for the Gold Strike-Assiniboia Downs love affair.

Our own true Harlequin Romance!

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