With just seven days of live racing remaining at Assiniboia Downs, anticipation grows over four important events:
• Who will win the $50,000 Gold Cup this Saturday to determine the best horse on the grounds? Will it be Balooga Bull, the two-time Horse of the Year, again? The race should be a thriller. Post time is 7 p.m.
• Who will win the title as leading jockey of 2013? Two highly-competitive riders, Paul Nolan and Adolfo Morales, are within a win or two of each other. Nolan, who hails from England, eked out the title last year by only one win over Saskatchewan native Jennifer Reid (who is third in the jockey standings this year) but again has his hands full with a jockey who has a higher percentage of wins than he does. Morales wins 30% of his races, Nolan wins at a 21% clip.
Morales brought very impressive credentials to his first year of riding at the Downs. In his native Peru, he earned the near-impossible Quadruple Crown by winning the four top races in the country.
• Who is Manitoba’s best two-year-old? That’s always an exciting climax to the season. We’ll find that out on the final day of live racing, Sun., Sept. 22, in the $50,000 Buffalo Stakes.
• Who’s the best marathon race horse? If you like your races long, then you’ll love the longest race of the year, at 1 3/4 miles, on the final day of live racing Sept. 22. The race is so long that two jockeys got confused last year and initially stopped riding when they had one more lap to go.
The end of live racing also means a big shout-out by Assiniboia Downs to its fans in the form of "fan appreciation" days. They take place on the final three days of live racing: Sept. 20 to Sept. 22. There will be discounts on food, bar service, race program, tip sheet and ASD merchandise. And a special deal on the popular $6 combo wager on Sunday.
Then the countdown begins to the biggest two days of racing in North America: the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Nov. 1 and 2.
I will continue hosting Saturday morning seminars at 11 a.m. where participants discuss group wagers and everyone attending receives a free $5 share.
Time’s running out! Races go to the post Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 22 at 1:30 p.m.