Off 2 Win Stable’s Divine Wisdom probably had to work a little harder than he would have liked to win the $50,000 J.W. Sifton Stakes on Friday night, but he was up to the task when it counted.
Ridden by leading rider Paul Nolan, the Manitoba-bred 3-year-old pressed outside pacesetter Discreet Gold and jockey Adrian Ramos through fractions of 24.00, 50.20 and 1:17.20 before turning up the heat on that rival into the stretch. He was half a length back when the pair reached the eighth pole after a mile in 1:45 and a stretch duel ensued a few jumps later.
Discreet Gold, trained by Shelley Brown, responded gamely dueling from the inside but couldn’t stay with the winner from the sixteenth pole. Still it was a valiant effort by the loser and proof that the winner could fight the good fight when he had to.
At the wire it was Divine Wisdom by 2 ½-lengths over Discreet Gold with Just Add Salt a further 1 ¾-lengths back in third. Divine Wisdom paid $2.50 to win as the heavy favourite and got the 1 1/8-miles of the Sifton in 1:59.60 over a fast track.
Trained by Ardell Sayler, the winner improved his lifetime record to 4-3-2 from 10 starts and increased his earnings to $84,485 (US). The 3-year-old dark bay gelding by Whiskey Wisdom-Tower of Babble by Repent was bred by Dean Melnic and purchased at the 2011 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale for $7,334.
The Sifton was the only victory of the night for Nolan, who holds a 68-64 lead in the rider standings over Adolfo Morales, who also won a race on Friday. Tyrone Nelson was the riding star on Friday, scoring a hat trick with wins in the third, fifth and eighth races.
Nelson’s win in the third race aboard Arvalany’s Mistake had to be especially satisfying for longtime owner-breeder Anna Selyem. Her 7-year-old Manitoba-bred mare by Crystal Gulch-Arvalany by His Excellence broke her maiden in style in her 22nd lifetime start, digging in through the stretch to catch what looked like a sure winner late. Trained by Tom Gardipy Jr. Arvalany’s Mistake paid $11.20 to win, but you just know this long-awaited victory went far beyond a simple win payoff.
Trainer Ardell Sayler will try to double up in the stakes department Saturday night when he saddles reigning Horse of the Year Balooga Bull in the 56th running of the $50,000 Assiniboia Downs Gold Cup to take on eight rivals including 2013 Manitoba Derby winner Assembly Hall.
Should be a great race!
Post time Saturday is 7 p.m.