New jockey Jalon Samuel won with his first mount ever here, trainers Lorna Gray and Sherri Laing owned the longshots of the night, and a new 3-year-old filly named Aware definitely made us that with a powerful stretch drive in the finale on a sunny Wednesday evening at the Downs.
It didn't take Jalon Samuel long to catch on to North American racing. The former apprentice champion in Barbados went right to the lead with his first mount ever at Assiniboia Downs and put his fellow jockeys to sleep by setting a slow pace to win the first race of the night aboard Toc This Way for trainer Jerry Gourneau. And just to prove it wasn't a fluke, Samuel won the sixth race aboard favourite Riffle Hitch for trainer Emile Corbel.
Jockey Adolfo Morales moved into sole position of the lead in the rider standings with a hat trick composed of victories in races two, four and five aboard Ben Bolt ($32.80), Touch the Sun ($3.30) and Yvons Dixie Melody ($4.10) for trainers Lorna Gray, Jared Brown and Ardell Sayler respectively. Morales now leads Paul Nolan by a score of 16-13 in the jockey standings. Sayler maintained his huge advantage on the trainer side of things with his lone win on the night. He now has 22 wins, 16 more than Jim Meyaard, Jared Brown and Rob Atras, who are currently tied for second with six wins apiece.
Trainer Lorna Gray saddled the longshot of the night, the aforementioned Ben Bolt in the second race, but it was trainer Sherri Laing who made the Pick-4 players happy with her longshot winner in the seventh race. After prices of $3.30, $4.10 and $4.00 on the winners of the first three legs of the Pick-4, Laing saddled Clear to Canada ($28.80) to win the seventh with Paul Leacock aboard. The Pick-4 payoff was looking a little weak before Laing's longshot triggered a nice $2 payoff of $624.50.
There were two impressive performances by horses on Wednesday night. The first came in the sixth race, and while the horse didn't win, she once again confirmed that trainer Jim Smith knows how to get a horse ready to perform at 100 percent first time out. Smith's 4-year-old Swiss Yodeler filly Rainy Day Fund dueled throughout at 10-1 with Clint Magera up and shook off fit pace rival Something Posative in mid stretch before finally succumbing to heavily favored duel stalker Riffle Hitch. Nice work Jim!
The performance of the night belonged to Aware, a new arrival from Turf Paradise trained by Don Schnell for himself and partner Barry Arnason. The 3-year-old El Roblar filly forced fractions of 23.60 and 48.40 from the outside before taking over in the stretch and getting the five-eighths in 59.60. She then finished full of run to win by two lengths over Jim Meyard-trainee Tribute to Paul, stopping the timer for the 5 1/2-furlongs in 1:05.80. While the final time of the race wasn't drastically fast, Aware was extremely willing in the stretch drive. It was obvious that she just loves to run.
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, 2014