How, you may ask, can a humble city with a modest race track on the Canadian prairies have any connection to the prestigious world championships of horse racing — the Breeders’ Cup — in California this Friday and Saturday?
Well, how about these three tie-ins?
• Winnipeg-born jockey Chantal Sutherland who, three weeks ago, helped produce a $26,000 payday for a local horseplayer, is among the renowned riders.
• Bill Mott, who ponied horses at Assiniboia Downs in his youth, is the leading percentage trainer in the entire 30-year history of the Breeders’ Cup and hopes to add to his total this weekend.
• Goldencents, a three-year-old colt born to a Manitoba mare, is a top contender to win the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on Friday.
So what was the question?
So if you’re a homer, you have good reason to care about five races this Friday and nine races Saturday at Santa Anita, Calif., where $25 million in purse money is at stake. You can watch Sutherland, Goldencents and Mott-trained horses in an electric atmosphere on giant screens at Assiniboia Downs,at off-track betting parlours, or at home on your TV or computer. And you can bet on them, too, by phone or on your computer! (To find out how, phone 204-885-3330 ext. 225.)
And if you want the inside scoop on the best plays — and to share in tickets with huge jackpot possibilities — just come out to the Downs Saturday at 10 a.m. where I’ll be leading a workshop on that day’s nine races. You’ll even get a free $5 share.
And how did Chantal help a local player, Sheldon Bednarek, land a $26,000 payoff? Well, because Bednarek is such a huge fan of the former Winnipegger he added her 57-1 longshot horse, Champagneandcaviar, to a sequence ticket called the "pick-4" in which a player predicts four winners in a row. And, when his favourite gal gave the filly a perfect stalking trip on the turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 11, he was among a small group of winning ticket-holders. Not a bad payday for the furniture mover!
Goldencents, the horse to watch Friday in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, was born to a mare named Golden Works who was bred by Winnipeg "as seen on TV" marketing guru, Phil Kives.
When her racing days were over at Assiniboia Downs, he sold her to Kentucky interests who then bred her to the stallion, Into Mischief. The resulting foal, Goldencents, has already earned more than $1.44 million.
The action begins shortly after 12 p.m. both days. Go Chantal! Go Goldencents! Do Manitoba proud!