Schillerthekiller went from last to first with a big move on the turn and drew out to win the $30,000 Free Press Stakes on Sunday in front of the largest Father’s Day crowd seen at Assiniboia Downs in decades.
The fans began streaming into the Downs around 11 a.m. on a sunny Sunday morning when storms swirled throughout Manitoba for most of the day but somehow managed to miss the track. There were minor spats and drizzles throughout the day but the rains didn’t really get to the track until late in the day just before the Free Press Stakes.
Schillerthekiller shipped in from Canterbury Park in Minneapolis for the Free Press and made a beautiful post parade appearance that indicated this former $5,000 claimer was not the horse he once was -- he was much better. Sent off at odds of $1.05-1, or as close to even money as you can get, Schillerthekiller dropped back to last early under rider Adolfo Morales, but once he got his feet underneath him nearing the turn it was clear who was going to win.
Moving to the outside, Schillerthekiller smoked by horses on the turn, caught leader Muted Word in early stretch and drew out late to win with something left. U R Burnin Daylite, who had been part of the fast early pace of 22.80 and 46 flat, re-rallied from the top of the stretch to finish 2 ¼-lengths behind the winner in second. Fellow pacesetter Muted Word held on to finish third, 2 ¼-lengths behind U R Burnin Daylite. The final time for the six furlongs over the wet-fast track was 1:12.40.
Watch the replay of the Free Press Stakes:
June 17, 2012, Race 8: http://www.assiniboiadowns.com/race-replays.cfm
Schillerthekiller was winning his third race in five starts for trainer Clay Brinson, a former top percentage trainer at the Downs who took over the conditioning of the horse this spring. In his final start of 2011, Schillerthekiller won a $5,000 claiming race at Canterbury Park. Since being taken over by Brinson, Schillerthekiller has improved dramatically. In his start previous to the Free Press, he defeated a first level allowance field at Canterbury Park going six furlongs and was given a Beyer Speed Figure of 88. That race made him a perfect fit for the Free Press.
A 4-year-old gelding by Breeders’ Cup mile winner Artie Schiller out of the stakes-placed mare Fantast, Schillerthekiller improved his career record to 5-0-2 from 14 starts in the Free Press, and he has now earned over $58,000 for owners Evenstad and Schaffer Racing Ltd. And while it was the first stakes win for Schillerthekiller, you get the feeling it won’t be his last locally.
The Free Press was the second stakes win of the day for Brinson, who won the $50,000 Shot of Gold Stakes at Canterbury Park earlier in the day with I’ll Show Them.
“How often do you do that?” said Brinson smiling after the race. “Win two stakes in two different countries on the same day.”
The partnership of jockey Morales and trainer Brinson is now 4-for-4 and they just might be back for the $75,000 Manitoba Derby on Monday, August 6, with a different horse, if they can find a 3-year-old capable of winning Manitoba’s premier race.
“First we’ve got to find a horse to buy that we can run in the Derby,” said Brinson. “We’ve got a couple out in California we’re watching. If they run them where they look like they belong we’ll claim them and bring them back.”
One of the sharpest high-percentage trainers we’ve ever seen at the Downs, Brinson doesn’t ship horses anywhere unless they have a big shot to win.
Remember that on Derby Day.
[youtube] http://youtu.be/4k86R9HGA7g [/youtube]
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Friday, June 22, 2012