There are five stakes races this weekend at ASD featuring the best horses on the grounds, including Manitoba Derby winner Balooga Bull, who will face seven rivals in a prep for the Gold Cup on Saturday. The Distaff, Debutante, Osiris Plate, C.T.H.S Sales Stakes and Jack Hardy are all races that are interesting and should provide good betting options. The yearling sale also goes Sunday morning and should be fun.
$50,000 Distaff Stakes:
The Distaff Stakes goes Friday night as the third race. Golden Stripe is the two time defending champ and she will try to make it three in a row. She is 2/5 on the morning line for good reason. She won the Canada Day Stakes very convincingly, and was beaten in the Winnipeg Sun Stakes only when she got hooked up in a ridiculous pace battle that set the race up for a cavalry charge that included winner Witch’s Coven. The main threat in the Distaff is the 3-year-old filly She’s Regal. Unfortunately, I don’t think she will be running, as she will likely choose to run in the Jack Hardy Stakes on Saturday against her own age group. This would leave Lucy With Diamonds as the main threat to Golden Stripe. Lucy sizzled in a Maiden Special Weight race in 1:12 1/5 and won by seven lengths. If she handles the distance for the first time and can stay close she might have a shot at Golden Stripe. Bondola will pressure Golden Stripe early and that would allow Kommando Kate to rally and get a piece of the purse. This is certainly Golden Stripe’s race to lose though.
$40,000 C.T.H.S Sales Stakes:
This 2-year-old stakes for graduates of the Manitoba Yearling Sale is a wide open affair. A Girl’s Gotta Do has early speed and gets first time Lasix. She has also run four times and has a good base under her. Poet ran a good fourth against the top 2-year-olds on the grounds, has been working well and gets first time Lasix. He might be very tough at a moderate price. Arstar will be the favorite. She beat a Maiden Special Weight field last time and chased Bar on the Beach before that. I think she will sit off the pace and rally -- the one to beat. Wage War was super impressive in winning a Maiden Special Weight race but in hindsight he did not face the toughest field. He can rally but he might be an underlay at anything less than 3-1. Iwasinthepool won a Maiden Claiming race and was all over the track in doing so, but he does have early speed and a win under his belt. Just Add Salt has been hindered by two tough trips. If he gets a clean trip he could surprise at a price. Vice is Nice is a fast filly, she gets a tongue tie for the first time, and if she holds her speed she could be a contender. Divine Wisdom was beaten by Iwasinthepool first time out but could improve in his second start. Sigga is a first time starter for the partnership of Jerry Lambert and Lynn Matthews and trainer Shelley Brown and would be a big price if she gets it done. My choices are Poet and Arstar.
$30,000 Debutante Stakes:
The Debutante features a tough field and looks like a wide open race. Sharp A is well traveled and gets first time Lasix. She could show early speed. Bar on the Beach was scintillating in her debut and if she runs back to that race she will be incredibly tough. Memorable Lady broke her maiden at Northlands Park and now ships to Winnipeg to take a shot for Tom Gardipy. Caught Lion broke her maiden here over Jon Q and then went to Edmonton and ran fourth in the Princess Margaret behind Silkworm. She has worked well in preparation for this race and will be a bit of a price. Chica Wow Wow ran a good fourth in the Graduation against colts and should be part of the early pace in this race. Silkworm beat the stakes placed Oil Country first time out and then ran a closing third in the Princess Margaret. She sizzled in a work here, going four furlongs from the gate in 48 1/5. Two Barrel Tootie was impressive breaking her maiden and now gets Paul Nolan. She seems to be the leading contender from the Ardell Sayler barn. Portales ran second in the Graduation and Charlie Smith has won five straight Debutantes. This filly looks to make it six. My picks here are Silkworm, Bar on the Beach and Two Barrel Tootie.
$30,000 Osiris Plate:
The Osiris Plate on Saturday has only five 2-year-olds in it but all have a shot at winning. All of the entrants exit the Graduation Stakes, which ran on Manitoba Derby day. Cmonbabylitemyfire ran a closing third in the Graduation and was bounced around down the lane. The lone filly in this race, she should be tough with top jock Paul Nolan aboard. Jon Q won the Graduation Stakes at a huge price after breaking slowly and coming with a big rally behind an all-out duel. I would not accept too short of a price on him. The pace in the Graduation was very quick and he may not get the same setup here. A vulnerable favorite in my opinion. Da Hoot is a good looking, big gelding that closed like a freight train in the Graduation to finish fifth. He should eat up every extra step in this race and could get there. Stormin Along looked like a winner at the top of the lane before tiring in his first career start. He came back to cruise home in a Maiden Special Weight race last Wednesday and should be tougher now with that win under his belt. Douglass is off Lasix and ran a lacklustre race last time, but he has every reason to run better this time. My pick in this race is Stormin Along with Da Hoot.
$30,000 Jack Hardy Stakes:
The Jack Hardy Stakes going 1 1/16-miles for 3-year-old fillies is the climax race of the division for this year. A competitive six-horse field has entered and this race should determine the divisional champ. Bloomtown Baby ships in from Canterbury for Charlie Smith. This filly has tons of early speed and should be out on the front end, although she is taking a big step up in class. She’s Copacetic takes the blinkers off and should relax more this time. She will try to rally, which I think is how she wants to run, and I expect her to run better. Rahab Your Soul is second time over this track and should be competitive, especially if she is forwardly placed. Keerie is a longshot rallier who would need a perfect setup to win this race. Heavenly Lioness really disappointed last time, not showing much run down the lane despite a big speed duel. A big form reversal would be required for her to win this. If star Manitoba-bred She’s Regal runs here I think she will be the favorite at post time and she will be tough. She’s versatile, will definitely get the distance and she knows how to win. My pick in here is She’s Regal with She’s Copacetic.
Gold Cup Prep:
Manitoba Derby winner Balooga Bull passed on the Canadian Derby and will meet seven older rivals here in the seventh race on Saturday night. He's 4/5 on the morning line in the $18,000 allowance race going 1 1/16-miles. He will be tough to beat on a repeat of his Derby performance. And it's always a pleasure to watch him run!
Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots
Record-to-Date 15-7-6 from 43 starts
Wagered: $625.00 Returned: $641.78 Profit: $16.78
Friday Best Bet: Race 3 – Golden Stripe
Friday Longshot: Race 8 – Johnny Nicolett
Saturday Best Bet: Race 6 – Red Rebellion
Saturday Longshot: Race 5 – Dance the Dance
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Friday, August 24, 2012