Plus Ultra won the first race on opening day at Assiniboia Downs, the Don Gray Memorial, in front of an excellent crowd that arrived under cloudy skies and departed in sunshine -- especially those who bet the longshot winner of the fourth race.
Rohan Singh rode the $5 winner of the first race, Plus Ultra, for trainer Blair Miller and owner John Ganas, but newcomers certainly garnered their share of victories on the first live racing day of 2012. New jockey Robert F. Reeves took the second race aboard Vader ($3.10) for trainer Gary Danelson, and Paul Nolan, also new to the ASD jockey colony, took the fifth and sixth races with Sir Sherman ($5.50) and The Phenom ($5.90) for trainers Ardell Sayler and Wade Rarik respectively. The Phenom marked the first winner at Assiniboia Downs for trainer Rarik, who previously conditioned horses at Turf Paradise.
Trainer Chad Torevell and jockey Chavion Chow teamed up to win the third race with Showboater ($4) and trainer Murray Duncan partnered with Tyrone Nelson to win the seventh race with Wild Party ($6.90). Last but certainly not least, top horseman Tom Gardipy Jr. won the final race of the day with Mining Town ($3.20) ridden by Jennifer Reid. Gardipy has 40 horses this year and could give Sayler a real battle for the 2012 training title.
Not to be outdone, top horsewoman Shelley Brown turned loose the only longshot of the day when she won the fourth race of the day with Mosel River for Castletyne Stables. Ridden by Chris Husbands just as the sun began to emerge, Mosel River paid a whopping $35.60, which topped some great exotic payoffs including an Exactor of $273.50, a Quinella of $130.60, and a Triactor of $2,643.60. Nobody had the fourth horse in the Superfecta, which paid $1,180.75 to anyone who held a ticket with 3-7-6-ALL. Nice payoff!
It was probably Brown’s horse that knocked most players out of the new 15% takeout Pick-4. No one had a winning ticket on the opening day Pick-4, which means there will be lucrative carryover of $5,169 into Friday’s Pick-4 pool – something definitely worth spending some quality handicapping time on before Friday.
Spring-raced horses, even those in poor form, generally dominate the Winner’s Circle early in the season here with their inherent fitness edge, which is probably why Mosel River paid such a big price to win off an eight-month layoff. But Mosel River did have a couple of angles going for him, the first being trainer Shelley Brown and the second being the fact that he was a router making his first start back in a sprint, an often overlooked and lucrative betting angle. Route horses are easier to get fit than pure sprinters and Brown simply filled in the blanks with good care.
Six of the eight races on opening day were won by horses that had already been racing this spring. The only other layoff horse to win without the benefit of spring racing was Mining Town in the eighth. Mining Town was an obvious choice, paying only $3.20 to win based on great past form, but you can be sure Tom Gardipy Jr. will turn loose a few big-priced winners this spring off long layoffs.
Opening day was a resounding success thanks to all the fans that braved the early overcast skies… and brought the sunshine with them. Thank You!
Next Post: 7 p.m. Friday, May 11