Big Three-Day Weekend At Assiniboia Downs
WINNIPEG, MB. — It’s a rare three-day weekend of non-stop action at Assiniboia Downs this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are two evenings of live thoroughbred racing on Friday and Saturday and then the highly-anticipated Night Market on Sunday.
Of course, on the track, it’s still about jockey Adolfo Morales and the brilliant three-year-old filly Escape Clause.
The veteran Peruvian-American jockey won the first race on Wednesday night, aboard Ellie’s the Boss for trainer Jared Brown, to extend his lead in the jockey standings to 26-20 over Kayla Pizarro.
There were six different jockey winners on Wednesday night: Stanley Chadee Jr., on board Chief Warrior for trainer Jamie Hartman won Race 2; Antonio Whitehall, aboard Dixie’s Gold for trainer Don Schnell, took Race 3; Tyrone Nelson was aboard when Pacific Tsunami won Race 4 for trainer Tom Gardipy Jr.; Richard Mairs was up on Pigtails (paid $7.20 to win) when she won Race 5 for Gardipy Jr. again; and Chavion Chow won Race 6 aboard Gold ‘N Sochi for trainer Heather Wallerstedt.
All that means that Morales continues to lead the jockey standings with 26 wins and $229,071 in earnings. Pizarro is next with 20 wins and $164,578 in winnings and Christopher Husbands, Rohan Singh and now Tyrone Nelson are all third with 17 wins. Nelson has won $190,579, Husbands has won $177,683 and Singh has won $126,556.
On the trainer’s side, defending champion Tom Gardipy Jr. moved up into second by himself with two wins on Wednesday. Elton Dickey still leads with 18 wins, Gardipy Jr. now has 17 wins while Jerry Gourneau is third with 15.
This weekend, there are two huge Manitoba Derby prep races on the card for Saturday night.
Race 2 is the $25,000 R.C. Anderson Stakes for three-year-old fillies. The magnificent Escape Clause ridden by Adolfo Morales is 1-5 morning line favorite in a four-filly race. Escape Clause has already won the Chantilly Stakes (July 1) and the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes (June 10) this year while winning the CTHS Sales Stakes as a two-year-old last year.
Meanwhile, Race 6 is the $25,000 Harry Jeffrey Stakes for three-year-olds. The early favorite is trainer Murray Duncan’s Kentucky-bred Plentiful with Tyrone Nelson aboard at 2-1. Trainer Gerry Gourneau has the next two favorites – Heavy Roller at 5-2 and Witt’sdollarnight at 3-1, Kayla Pizarro will have to decide which horse she wants to ride.
The winners of these two big prep races will roll into the spotlight as the local favorites for the $75,000 Manitoba Derby on Aug. 7.
Don’t forget, the Downs’ free VLT tournaments are ongoing. You can get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins. The top winner from each night gets to participate in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money. And of course, Crazy Hour is still in effect. Beer, shots and wine are only $2.95 plus half-price appetizers (nachos, chicken fingers, chicken wings and gyoza.)
And every Friday and Saturday night, there is still $10 buy-in poker. The registration takes place at 10 p.m. and the game starts at 10:30. There is also a new Royal Flush progressive jackpot at $2,300. The entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5.
Meanwhile, beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Downs, it’s the 2017 Night Market and Festival at Assiniboia Downs. It will be the first time the Downs has played host to a Night Market and Festival and it’s pretty much the perfect place. There is plenty of parking and lots of room for all the activities. The party starts 3 p.m. and goes to to 11 p.m. and will once again support local artisans and small businesses.
There will be Food Trucks, Artisans, Live Music, Kid’s Activities, Beer Gardens and Micro Breweries, all at the Downs.
Tickets are $5 (Children under 12 are free) and can be purchased at Eventbrite.ca or you can go to the website or message on Twitter at @MBNIGHTMARKET.
—Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo – Assiniboia Downs