Trainer Clay Brinson won two stakes races in two countries Sunday -- the second coming when Shillerthekiller out-duelled U R Burning Daylite to capture the six-furlong $30,000 Free Press Stakes at Assiniboia Downs.
Earlier in the day I'll Show Them, another horse trained by Brinson, won the six-furlong $50,000 Shot of Gold Stakes at Canterbury Park in Minneapolis.
For jockey Adolfo Morales, who was in the irons for Shillerthekiller, the Free Press Stakes victory extended his winning streak on Brinson-trained horses to four.
Despite a slow start, Shillerthekiller managed to work his way up the field on the outside as U R Burning Daylite, ridden by Paul Nolan and trained by Ardell Sayler, held the front going into the final turn. Coming out of the turn, Morales pulled the trigger and Shillerthekiller exploded down the middle of the stretch, past U R Burning Daylite to win by a couple of lengths. Third place was taken by Muted Word with Jennifer Reid up.
Despite the steady rain the field turned a fast 22.4-second quarter and a 46.0 at the half, only to finish in 1:12.2.
A scratched horse at Canterbury Park enabled Morales to get here Saturday, rather than make the eight-hour drive with owner Paul Schaffer Sunday before the race.
"I was supposed to come here with the owner, but I had only one horse to ride yesterday and that horse got scratched, so I drove here with Clay Brinson and we were able to have a long talk about the race. It worked out pretty good."
Morales seemed a natural to ride Shillerthekiller, said Brinson. "Adolfo rode three horses for me at Canterbury Park this year and won all three races. When we decided to come here with this horse, Adolfo said he didn't have very much to ride this day (Sunday). So I said why don't we try to keep our streak going? Come up here and ride this horse, and he agreed. Now it's four in a row for us."
Despite the pre-race discussion en route, things went a little differently than planned. "I thought it was going to be a lot closer to the front-runners," Morales said, "but everybody was running for their lives, so I had to take him back and go around the horses. But when I pushed his button, man he went by in two jumps.
"I didn't know it was going to be such a fast pace. I was thinking something like 23 and change, but we went in 22.4 so that's why I was five or six behind. By the three-eighths point, I just gave him a little tap on the shoulder and he took off."
"We were a little bit worried about (U R Burning Daylite)," said Brinson from the winner's circle, adding that things didn't look so good for his horse coming out of the gate. "He looked like he might have gotten shuffled back in the back stretch and I thought we might be in a little bit of trouble. Then I saw Adolfo get him out in the clear, and he started creeping up. I felt a lot better in the middle of the turn up there, and I thought we were probably going to win it if he had his usual kick."