She's Regal and has a reputation of being down right ornery at times.
On Wednesday afternoon, the three-year-old bay filly (Going Commando, out of She Is Impressive by Regal Classic), came close to a hissy fit when asked to pose for the paparazzi.After all, they had disturbed her afternoon karma.
The Cam Ziprick/Charles Fouilliard-bred horse happens to be the current Assiniboia Downs diva, having earned it by winning all four of her races, including the $50,000, one-mile R.C. Anderson and the $25,000, six-furlong Hazel Wright Stakes.
Tonight, she's a shoo-in to win the $15,000 Gold Strike Mile for three- year-old fillies, which her trainer Chad Torevell and Ziprick consider a prep for the $50,000, one-mile Assiniboia Oaks on Aug. 6.
Ziprick, of Ziprick Thoroughbreds in Russell, is Manitoba's most prominent breeder, of which he estimates there are "30 or 40."
She's Regal isn't Ziprick's only horse that's raising eyebrows this year. Danger Rules (Going Commando, out of Danger Pay, by Circulating), bred in partnership with Arnason Farms, was also foaled on Ziprick's farm. The bay colt has had only one win so far this year, the $25,000, six-furlong Frank Arnason Stakes. Last weekend, he was upset when he finished second behind Kola Kat in the $15,000 Gold Strike Mile (for three-year-old colts and geldings).
In 2008, Ziprick was named breeder of the year by the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society-Manitoba, of which he is a director. His Battle Cat was named stallion of the year three times (2008, '09, '10). Danger Rules is a third-generation Ziprick horse. His mother, Danger Pay, "made almost $100,000 as a racehorse ($87,593, according to Equibase.com). and we also had her mother (Anotherbuck)."
Without a solid Manitoba breeding base, thoroughbred racing would suffer here, says Ziprick, who shares the business with wife Sherisse and sons Keaton and Aiden. "Usually, the Manitoba-breds don't compete with the open horses. You get the odd ones like Golden Stripe (Phil Kives' K5 Stables of Manitoba), who can run with the open ones, but our little program keeps us breeding horses so we can go out and win those restricted races while hoping to generate a horse that can run open, like She's Regal."
Ziprick says breeders often have to gamble to stay on top of their business. "You buy cheaper horses in Kentucky by good sires, like Kentucky Derby winners. Those stallions aren't going to be their top ones all the time, but you have genetics playing a role. The three stallions I have are all very popular for breeding, but they themselves weren't racehorses. I just hope for the blood lines to kick in."
Purchasing first-crop babies is another risk that can and does pay off from time to time. "You have to find those sires that people aren't ready to take a chance on," Ziprick said. "Once they go to the races and prove that their babies can run, then you'll have to pay through the nose again."
Breeding horses can be lucrative, but winning is the key. "Every time She's Regal runs, I get a breeder's bonus. If she wins, or runs first, second or third in a stake race, I get a kickback. It's like royalties for being her breeder, and that's a pretty good income at the end of the year."
Looking ahead to the Oaks, Ziprick says the filly will be running in good company. "Chad showed me the nomination list. There are about 12 in there, and they're coming from all over. I think she can handle the local open horses, but we're not sure what is coming in."
Post time tonight and Saturday is 7 p.m.