The Racing Journal Logo

Dakota Dixie Has His Day

September 14, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Ryan Roshau, NDHP Website

It is officially a rivalry. In four previous meetings, DAKOTA DIXIE finished behind STRIKE AN IMAGE. But on Sunday in the $25,000 ND Bred Derby, the son of Dixieland Heat finally had things his own way.

In a stirring stretch battle, 2-1 second choice Dakota Dixie collared 3-5 favorite Strike an Image with a furlong to go. The favored filly was reluctant to give up the lead and the two matched strides for a few moments until 'Dixie and jockey Chris Fiegen pulled away and went on to a two-length victory. PRINCESS BROOKE closed late to finish third. The time of 1:42 3/5 was a new track record for a mile at the NDHP.

The real running began on the far turn as both Dakota Dixie and Strike an Image stalked the leaders and waited to make their run before the homestretch. "I told the jockey, when she makes her move, you make your move," said winning trainer Chad Torevell. "It was just one of those things, if he ran his best race we thought he could beat her."

The win by Dakota Dixie completed a most-rewarding daily double for owner Bill Maulding. Earlier in the day, Maulding made the trip north to see Northrnimprovement score a seven-length win in the $30,000 North Dakota Futurity at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg. "Isn't that something," Torevell stated afterwards, "I figured that horse would win up there, he was even money on the board but this was great the way he (Dakota Dixie) ran today."

One month ago, Northnimprovement captured the ND Bred Futurity in Fargo. Now with 'Dixie's win in the Derby, Maulding has swept the top two thoroughbred races of the meet.

"It's great when he keeps giving me these well-bred horses to train," Torevell said, "When he goes out and finds these sires in Kentucky with $5,000 stud fees and most of these horses are out of sires with $500 stud fees, it makes a difference."

Up to this point, Dakota Dixie had promised more than he delivered. A runner-up effort to Strike an Image in last year's ND Futurity was to be expected, but they thought he'd pass her and win this year's big stakes races at Assiniboia. Instead, he finished second behind her in both the ND Derby and ND Stallion Stakes.

"When they're two, the fillies are more mature than the boys," Torevell said. "And when they get to be three-year-olds, you expect them to catch up and pass them on the physical side, but this filly has just been too good this year."

But for this Sunday anyway, Strike an Image's year turned into Dakota Dixie's day.