The 2013 race meet was highlighted by a group of horses that dominated their respective divisions. It was an absolute honour to watch these horses dominate each group. The memories roll back of Balooga Bull’s comeback, of Zdeno’s Futurity and of Portales’ big run in the Assiniboia Oaks.
Other divisions, like the 3-year-old males, were tighter and more subject to dispute. Was Assembly Hall the best off his Manitoba Derby win or was Stormin Monarcho better?
Last year I started the Rob’s and I will continue them this year. I will also answer my top 10 questions entering this year and propose 10 more for next year. Let’s begin.
Category: Horse, Trainer
2-Year-Old Colt: Zdeno, Chad Torevell
2-Year-Old Colt Manitoba Bred: Zdeno, Chad Torevell
2-Year-Old Filly: Katie Shimmers, Jodi Radul
2-Year-Old Filly Manitoba Bred: Katie Shimmers, Jodi Radul
3-Year-Old Colt: Assembly Hall, Bryan Porter
3-Year-Old Colt Manitoba Bred: Divine Wisdom, Ardell Sayler
3-Year-Old Filly: Portales, Charlie Smith
3-Year-Old Filly Manitoba Bred: A Girl’s Gotta Do, Shelley Brown
Older Filly or Mare: Lil Missknowitall, Jim Meyaard
Older Filly or Mare Manitoba Bred: Golden Stripe, Shelley Brown
Older Male: Balooga Bull, Ardell Sayler
Older Male Manitoba Bred: C.C. Ride, Tanya Lindsay
Sprinter: Vader, Gary Danelson
Claimer of the Year: Artic Fire, Chad Torevell
Claim of the Year: Thunderclap Newman, Tom Gardipy
Best Ride: Paul Nolan on Balooga Bull in the Gold Cup
Best Training Job: Big Bad Barry moved up the ranks and won five races after barely surviving the winter. Trainer: Jared Brown
Horse of the Year Finalists: Balooga Bull, Zdeno and Portales. All have their merits but I have to take one of the two undefeated ones here at ASD and will call it a tie between Zdeno and Portales.
Last Year’s Top 10 Questions
10. Divine Wisdom, Wage War, Thedeanbetstwenty and Full Moon Rodeo battle it out in the Manitoba-Bred 3-year-old colt division. Answer: Divine Wisdom dominated them.
9. Can Jennifer Reid finish second in the riding title or do better without her bug? Answer: Jennifer Reid struggled against a tougher colony and did not repeat her success.
8. Lucy with Diamonds vs She`s Regal in the Distaff for the new role of Champion Manitoba-Bred Older Mare. Answer: Golden Stripe came back and dominated. Tactical Girl was clearly second best.
7. The new riders coming to town. Who will they be? Rumor has it there will be a new female bug, daughter of a former Winnipeg rider. Answer: Adolfo Morales was the new rider with the most impact, Janine Smith and Renaldo Cumberbatch also came back and had success.
6. Arstar in the 3-year-old filly division. Can she beat the open company as well as Manitoba Breds. Answer: No she couldn’t. Portales and A Girl’s Gotta Do dominated.
5. Can Shelley Brown repeat with another training title and go back-to-back as the first woman in ASD history to win not just one, but two training titles? Answer: No. She finished second to Ardell Sayler.
4. Jon Q, Poet, Da Hoot and others leading the locals in a charge for another Manitoba Derby win? Answer: No. Da Hoot and Jon Q turned into nice horses but could not beat the invaders.
3. Will the 15% Pick-4 continues to grow in popularity and the payoffs become even more lucrative than they already are? Answer: Yes. The trend grew. We even saw a Pick-4 pool of over 50k.
2. How many 2-year-old races will Ardell Sayler win next year? And who will challenge him for those wins? Answer: Ardell Sayler kept winning the 2-year-old races. Aaron Sayler had success early as well, as did Chad Torevell and Carl Anderson
1. Will Balooga Bull return to defend his title as Horse of the Year? Answer: Yes. Balooga Bull returned and after turning it around in mid-season he dominated. Still, he did not get my vote for Horse of the Year.
Top 10 Questions for 2014
10. Who is going to emerge in the 3-year-old filly division? It was a slow group time wise and the horse who matures the most could make some noise. Look at Bold Humor, Smoke Show, Katie Shimmers, Runaway Deelite and Regal Silver.
9. Can Portales challenge Lil Missknowitall and Hello in the older mare division, which should be much more competitive next season?
8. Which trainers will stay and which new ones will come? Boise has increased purses and that could attract some American trainers who come here, like Roger Hansen. The toughness at Canterbury could influence trainers like Charlie Smith to return to ASD.
7. Can Divine Wisdom compete with older horses in the Manitoba-bred division, like the dominant C.C. Ride?
6. Can the high percentage trainers from last year come back and have good meets again? Rob Atras, Jared Brown, Tanya Lindsay and Irene Britton?
5. Who will challenge Paul Nolan for leading rider title next year? Will it be runner-up Adolfo Morales, a new face, or a familiar face that had a good year, like Chris Husbands?
4. Will Ardell Sayler win his 12th training title or will Shelley Brown make a comeback and win her second title?
3. Who will be the big surprise horse of 2014 and what kind of splash will they make?
2. Can Manitoba-bred Zdeno build on his 2013 success and do big things like win the Manitoba Derby?
1. What will Balooga Bull do next?
Thank you for a great year! See you next spring!