Because he was making a trophy presentation, John Kendle, the managing editor of this paper, had an opportunity to get up close and personal with Go Go Lolo, the mare who swept to the lead to win the $30,000 Canstar Canada Day Stakes by six lengths — and it really wowed him.
"What a little powerhouse she is!" he said.
Well, John, welcome to a race season where there seem to be more dazzling horse performances than usual, obviously creating great entertainment for fans. And some great prices, too! A mere 20-cent superfecta (picking the top four horses in a race) paid $2,188 when a sloppy track created exactly the kind of soft conditions an $87 filly, Alumni Queen, needed to dig in late and pass the favourite.
The classiest confrontations have involved two-time Horse of the Year Balooga Bull because he’s got an imaginary bullseye on his butt that other horsemen are aiming for. So fans have been at the edge of their seats — or standing — when an upstart four-year-old colt named Magic D’ Oro from Phoenix has challenged him and put him away — twice. When the Bull snuck up the rail in their last meeting and headed Magic in the drive to the wire, jockey Adolfo Morales found another gear to beat the Bull by 3/4 length, just one second shy of the track record for 7 1/2 furlongs which is just under a mile.
For more thrills, they’ll likely face each other again in the $30,000 Wheat City Stakes next Wednesday.
Then there’s a three-year-old filly by the name of Aware bred in Arizona who just keeps winning — six out of seven races (she finished second in one race) — and fans are wondering just how long she can keep that going after she won the $30,000 Chantilly Stakes recently. Her next major stop: the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks on Manitoba Derby Day Aug. 4.
But what has been particularly exciting for "homers" has been the powerful performances of many Manitoba-bred horses. Jet Again, named for the return of the Winnipeg Jets, has crushed opponents, opening the possibility of a Derby bid. She’s Regal, a five-year-old mare, returned to the races on Canada Day to destroy horses bred in Kentucky and California and everyone can hardly wait for the return of what may be one of the top Manitoba-breds ever, Zdeno, winner of last year’s Winnipeg Futurity.
By the way, you can watch a race from the same dramatic vantage point as John enjoyed. Just book a race presentation package and it’s a done deal! Racing continues Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.