EIGHT-YEAR-OLD chestnut Bobadieu exploded coming out of the final turn to win the six-furlong, $25,000 Free Press Stakes on Sunday afternoon at Assiniboia Downs.
For veteran jockey Mark Anderson, it was his second stakes win in the still-young season. On June 3 he won the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes on three-year-old filly Kommando Kate.
Coming out of the gate, the nine-horse field stuck together down the backstretch and into the second corner, but as they passed the eighth pole, Anderson asked Bobadieu for a little extra and he responded -- launching ahead of the pack and never looking back as he finished a length-and-a-half in front of Vindgari, with Rocco Bowen up, and Cherokee's Goal (Juan Crawford up).
Bobadieu came into Sunday's race with a quarter-million dollars in earnings. "Yeah, he's won $250,000," confirmed Anderson. "I think this is his 16th win out about 53 starts, which is awful impressive for a stud like that. He's a very nice horse."
Downs trainer Jared Brown picked up his first stakes win of the season. "I gotta thank Doug Oliver (who trains Bobadieu at Canterbury Downs in Minneapolis for owners Ez-Az Thoroughbreds LLP) for having the faith and sending me the horse," said Brown. "He was thrown into my lap, and I absolutely love having him."
Brown had a hunch this was going to be Bobadieu's race. "I told him (Anderson), we have the perfect spot here. The speed is going to be inside, and if they really want to go, just track them, and then run them down, and he did just that."
"When I got to about the three-eighths pole, I was still just sitting on him," recalled Anderson. "I felt (Vindgari) on the outside of me putting some pressure on me, but I still didn't want to go yet. But he responded when he felt that horse. I just waited as long as I could, and then I pushed the button about the 5/16 pole and he responded well."
The Free Press was the second stakes race of the weekend. On Saturday, Christopher Husbands rode Golden Stripe to victory in the La Verendrye Stakes for three-year-old and older fillies and mares. Anderson finished second on Colony Queen and Ruby's Big Band was third with Rohan Singh up.
Anderson will be going for his third, and possibly fourth stakes victories Wednesday night, riding in both the Chantilly Stakes and Golden Boy Stakes.
Wednesday's race card will be the last until June 29, as the Downs will take a break due to the Red River Exhibition and construction on Centre Port closing down access to the shed row parking area.