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The Max Tops Field of Five to easily win $40,000 Harry Jeffrey Stakes

August 27, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

The Max, Winner of The Harry Jeffrey with jockey Paul Leacock
(photo by Photo courtasy of Assiniboia Downs)
By Ernie Nairn
On Sunday, August 27, a field of five talented three-year-olds took to the track at Assiniboia Downs for the annual running of the $40,000 Harry Jeffrey Stakes over a mile and an eighth.

The top two contenders included heavily favoured The Max at (4-5) and Quick Witted, the next best bet at (2-1). Both thoroughbreds ran in the $100,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby back on August 7th, where The Max lost that feature by a head in a photo finish to Minnesota/Iowa invader Lord Kipling. Quick Witted came third and was just a length back of those top two horses at the finish line.

And the Harry Jeffrey proved to be no contest for the three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt. He followed the early pace set by front-runners Quick Witted with Alan Cuthbertson and Pass The Bar with Mark Anderson. Heading into the final turn and now running second, The Max and jockey Paul Leacock moved past Quick Witted and easily pulled away to score an impressive 9-1/2-lengths victory. Quick Witted was second followed by Pass the Bar with Mark Anderson who finished third. The running time for the feature was 1:53.20.

The Max paid $3.50, $2.10 and $2.10. The triactor of 4-2-3 paid $6.00, the exactor $4.70 and the quinella $2.30.

Owned by Saskatoon’s Robert Mitchell and trained by Bert Blake, this convincing victory did in some measure make up for the photo finish “head” loss to Lord Kipling in the Manitoba Lotteries Derby. With the Harry Jeffrey win, The Max improved his season record after 5 starts to 2-3-0. The $24,000 first place money also increased his earning’s for the season to $84,000.

Following the race winning jockey Paul Leacock confirmed that the way The Max ran in the feature was exactly the way Blake wanted him to ride the thoroughbred. “Yes, this is exactly the way Bert wanted this race to unfold, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Leacock. Leacock went on to say that he rates The Max amongst the top 10 horses he had ridden during his career. “I’ve ridden a lot of good horses already and he still has lots of room for improvement. Today’s win was good.”

“He just ran an outstanding race, today and we’re very, very happy,” was owner Robert Mitchell’s initial comment in the Winners’ Circle. He added, “You know it is always a disappointment when you lose a race. Going into the Derby, our horse was totally ready to run. He did his best; Bert had the horse ready to go, Paul gave him a great ride, and unfortunately we didn’t come out on top, but today was our day.”

Trainer Bert Blake is usually a man of few words, but he agreed that The Max proved he was the best horse in this race. “He won with authority today and that was what we were looking for,” said Blake. He confirmed that he was concerned about Quick Witted who was definitely the other top horse in the feature. Blake added, “When they came by the grandstand and went into the first turn I looked up and saw he was running third. I knew then we had the race won.”