The live racing season is almost at the halfway point! Time flies when you’re having fun. Leading trainers so far are Blair Miller, Ardell Sayler and Chad Torevell. Leading riders are Paul Nolan, Rohan Singh and Tyrone Nelson. Leading owners are K 5 Stables, Az-Dak Thoroughbreds and John Ganas. I anticipate that these titles will all go right down to the wire.
This Week's Insider Newsletter: Player wins $18,750 on 20-cent Pick-4
Three 2-year-old old races are in the books and it's difficult to gauge this year’s crop, but so far there have been a trio of impressive performances, particularly those of Caught Lion and Jon Q.
Caught Lion should be the local favorite for the Debutante Stakes on August 24. Jon Q, trained by Carl Anderson, broke slowly and rallied nicely before tiring to finish second. He should break his maiden next time out. Sharp A won the first 2-year-old race, breaking from the rail and skipping home in the slop. Two Barrel Tootie won the most recent 2-year-old race quite impressively for trainer Ardell Sayler. Look for her and Caught Lion among others in the Graduation Stakes on Manitoba Derby Day August 6. As for Manitoba-bred 2-year-olds, they’ll show up in the August 23 CTHS Sales Stakes. The early favorites are Arstar and Vice is Nice, but look for more new contenders to jump in before then.
This Week's Insider Newsletter: Perimeter entrance to ASD is closed for roadwork. Use Portage.
3-Year-Old Colts and Geldings
Balooga Bull, that’s it, that’s all. He’s undefeated since he was tested in his first start this year and he’s improved since then. The next race for Balooga Bull will be the Harry Jeffrey on July 14, where he’ll try two turns for the first time. Pleasant Closing is once again my choice to give him a bit of a battle, as he has routed well before and his local figures show that he has developed a real liking for this track. Other likely Harry Jeffrey runners include So Shiny, Jon’s Golden Run and Wild Party. My prediction is that Balooga Bull stretches out well and wins the Harry Jeffrey, making him the prohibitive Manitoba Derby favorite, and he will scare off many potential invaders. As for Manitoba-breds, Jon's Golden Run should route well, but he still has to deal with Danger Rules, who won the Frank Arnason Stakes. Look for Danger Rules in the Gold Strike Mile on July 20. Longshots who could stretch out well include Calitor, Kola Kat and Gamza.
This Week's Insider Newsletter: Pink Cloud Stables fund-raising BBQ goes Friday. Email for tickets.
Plus Ultra cruised to victory in the Chantilly Stakes at a big price. She sprinted to the lead and drew off. I’m not sure how well she will route, but with a lack of speed in this division she could be loose on the lead and loving it. She’s Copacetic and Heavenly Lioness are two stretch runners who will handle a route and they should be very tough as the races get longer. The Assiniboia Oaks is the next stakes for the 3-year-old fillies and it goes on August 6. I predict Plus Ultra will win the Oaks and She’s Copacetic will catch her to win the Jack Hardy on August 25. The R.C. Anderson and Gold Strike Mile should be like paid workouts for She’s Regal, who has been fantastic in every start this year and who is probably still improving.
This Week's Insider Newsletter: War vet wins month-end VLT Tourney
Fillies and Mares 3-Year-Olds-and-Up
Golden Stripe was sensational in the Canada Day Stakes. She is the defending champion older mare and is still the one to beat going forward, but in recent years she has not held her form against tougher competition late in the season. She has the Distaff stakes on August 24, which should be a coronation for her again. The next stakes for the mares is the Winnipeg Sun on August 4. I think that Golden Stripe will be the favorite in the Sun, but she may not get an easy lead again. Lucky Lady Go could improve and win at a price. The Matron ends the year off for mares and it would not surprise me to see Ruby’s Big Band back come back to town and win it.
This Week's Insider Newsletter: Horse racing bingo makes popular debut
Colts and Geldings 3-Year-Olds-and-Up
Schillerthekiller started this division off in the Free Press with a dominating win. He should be the big favourite in this Saturday’s Wheat City Stakes. I think he wins again, with Ask Eddy running back to his Oaklawn Park form to finish second. Schillerthekiller will be the horse to beat going forward, especially with Big Blue Caboose on the shelf. The two Saturday under-card races for older horses are also exciting, with Fresh Ice in the first and Vader in the sixth. Fresh Ice and Muted Word should battle on the front end in the first. Vader should win the sixth and is my pick to rise to the top by the end of the year and become the Gold Cup winner. Trainer Gary Danelson is very good with horses like this and Vader looked like he loved the route two races ago. He is quick in a division lacking speed and will only continue to improve. He is my pick to upset in the older horse category.
This Week's Insider Newsletter: Bettor wins trip to Vegas by 20 cents
Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots
Record-to-date: 7-2-2 from 15 starts
Wagered: $225 Returned: $267.65 Profit: + $42.65
Friday Best Bet: Race 7 - Media Contact
Friday Longshot: Race 3 - Temperaze
Saturday Best Bet: Race 5 - Denali Surprise
Saturday Longshot: Race 7 - U R Burnin Daylite
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Friday, July 6, 2012