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Assiniboia Downs 2006 season underway May 6


May 11, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Two-day wagering surpasses $200,000
By Ernie Nairn
The 2006 Thoroughbred season at Assiniboia Downs opened on Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, and saw close to 6000 fans attend the two-day opening weekend. On Saturday approximately 4000 race fans were in attendance and wagered $105,114.30. The attendance on Sunday was not as large, but the total handle for Sunday’s races was $95,339.13.

The first race out of the starting gate Saturday was the annual “Don Gray Memorial Purse”, named in memory of the late all-time career wins trainer at Assiniboia Downs. Seven- year-old California bred gelding Branford, owned by veteran Portland, Oregon trainer Mel Davis, won the feature. It was the fifth time since 1986 that Davis won that race. HBPA President Harry Kube presented Davis with the Don Gray Memorial Trophy in the Winners’ Circle following the race.

With jockey Keveh Nicholls on board, Branford rallied twice to beat John William with jockey Tim Gardiner by a half-length in the five furlong claiming feature for a purse of $6,000. Ezepart with jockey Kirk Johnson came third. Branford paid $4.60, $2.90 and $2.60. The triactor of 7-6-1 was worth $95.70, the exactor paid $17.70 and the quinella paid $6.80.

Keveh Nicholls came back to win his second race of the card in the fourth race. This time he rode Ardell Sayler’s Made In American to victory in a $7,700 five furling $4,500 claiming race. Both Made In America and Amelia True Heart with jockey Larry Munoz charged past front-running Deadly Tonic and Alan Cuthbertson in the final few yards to finish 1-2. Made In America paid $16.50, $6.20 and $5.10. The triactor of (4-1-7) was worth $702.40, the exactor $59.70 and the quinella paid $21.70.

Tim Gardiner and Renaldo Cumberbatch also rode two winners Saturday. Gardiner, who is now the second best jockey “all-time” at Assiniboia Downs with 1,365 career wins as the season starts, rode veteran trainer Gary Danelson’s Tavacat to victory in the second race. Mr Pop’s Andreas with Renaldo Cumberbatch was second while Alesia Gold Boy and Leonard Frazzitta Jr. finished third.

This was trainer Gary Danelson’s 1,037th career win at Assiniboia Downs and the first time in two years that Gary has won a race on opening day. Gardiner also won the fourth race on board K 5 Stable’s Dream Step for the stable’s new trainer this season, Jared Brown. Tavacat paid $3.40, $3.20 and $2.20. The (1-4-5) triactor paid $144.00, the exactor $10.90 and quinella $8.20.

Renaldo Cumberbatch scored his first win of opening day in the fifth race. This was a five furlong $3,000 claimer offering a $6,000 purse. Cumberbatch rode longer shot Post Position, a 5-year-old Saskatchewan-bred gelding, to his first win of the season for owner Larry Wilson and trainer Tom Gardipy Jr. Post Position paid $28.50, $7.30 and $5.80. With May Boy and Tim Gardiner coming second and Shingen Knight and Larry Munoz third, the triactor of (6-7-8) paid $6, 261, 80, the exactor was worth $204.50 and quinella $130.50.

Cumberbatch scored his second win of the afternoon on board Woodbine Willie, a 6-year-old Ohio-bred gelding, also owned by Larry Wilson and trained by Tom Gardipy Jr. Woodbine Willie rallied in the late stages of the five furlong $4,500 claimer offering a $7,700 purse, and nipped trainer Emile Corbel’s Ilya Balos with rider Travis Hightower by a head in a photo finish. With Latter day Ace and Carlos Marquez coming third, the triactor of (10-1-6) paid $95.60, the exactor paid $42.50 and quinella $16.20.

Sunday’s eight-race card featured a $20,000 five furlong allowance feature for 3-year-olds & up and saw 4-year-old Manitoba-bred Resurgent with jockey Larry Munoz rally in the stretch drive to win by two lengths over last season’s top older mare, Ericka’s Lass, with jockey Travis Hightower. The running time for the feature was 59.10.seconds. The win was worth $12,000. Resurgent went into the feature as one of the longer shots and paid $29.30, $12.50 and $5.30. With Mindy’s Island and Paul Leacock coming third, the traictor of (7-1A-3) paid $1,871.80; the exactor paid $153.90 and quinella $115.40.

Owned and bred by Peter Burchuk, and trained by Carl Anderson, this was Resurgent’s first win of the season after posting a 4-1-2 record in 9 starts last year with 2005 season earnings of over $58,000.

The only jockey to score two wins on Sunday was Travis Hightower. He won the first race on the card on board Quick Witted, a 3-year-old New York-bred colt recently acquired by trainer Emile Corbel and owned by Sharon Campbell and Amie and Emile Corbel. Quick Witted won the $12,000 maiden feature over five furlongs with an 8 –horse field and covered the distance in one minute flat. Quick Witted paid $3.20, $3.10 and $2.10. With Paul Leacock and Dakota Long Legs coming second and Sams Success with Keveh Nicholls third, the (2-7-1) triactor paid $215.10; the exactor paid $57.10 and the quinella $16.50.

Hightower’s second win of the day came in the sixth race. This time he rode Dancing Liver, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred, to a 1 1/2-length victory over Too The Target and Alan Cuthbertson with a late rally on the outside. Supreme Sam, with apprentice rider Kirk Johnson, was third. The running time for the feature was one of best times for the day at 59.20 seconds.

Dancing Liver paid $11.90, $7.80 and $4.50. The triactor of (2-5-4) paid $711.80, the exactor $89.90 and quinella $79.90.