Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bugs don't ruin day at Downs, they rule it

Apprentice jockeys charge to fore in opener

  • Print

It wouldn't be a beautiful, warm spring day in Manitoba if the bugs didn't come out to play, and Sunday's opening day at Assiniboia Downs was no exception.

The bugs, as in apprentice jockeys, proved more than a bit annoying to the veteran riders as they claimed victories in four of the eight races. Tori Lynn Gandia, an apprentice out of Dublin, Ireland, by way of Hawthorne Race Track in Chicago, took two of the victories.

Her first win came in the fourth race on a bay mare by the name of Unbridled Thoughts, as she nipped last year's leading rider Paul Nolan, aboard In The Other, by three lengths. Backhanded Jane was third with Marcus Swiontek in the saddle.

"I really needed this to boost my confidence for the whole meet," said the 19-year-old rider after her first win. "I knew I had a lot of horse coming off the corner... we swung a little wide, but I knew I had enough horse. She gave me everything then, and we finished strong."

The second win, aboard Shelley Brown-trained bay mare Hello Beautiful, proved a milestone in Gandia's short career. "I can't even talk right now. This is my first time to ever ride a double in one day, and on opening day too, it was just amazing."

Rascal On Tour, ridden by Jennifer Reid, was second and Hot Toccet, with Swiontek up, came in third.

Other apprentice riders to claim victories were Janine Smith, who rode B.C. Cat, a Chad Torevell-trained mare, to victory in the first race in front of Mixed Intent and River Slaney, and Skyler Whiteshield, who rode the Jerry Gourneau-trained filly Chippawa's Gal to the wire, beating La Chiquilina and Plus Ultra.

"This feels great," said Whiteshield following his first victory at the Downs. "I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Brown, who also picked up a win with Daydream Dancer, has been high on Gandia since she walked into her barn. "When I first saw her on a horse I thought, this kid has got a lot of talent and she is going to go places.

"First of all, her work ethic is amazing," Brown went on. "She's at my barn at 5 o'clock every morning, willing to help out with anything. Her attitude is phenomenal, and she's like a breath of fresh air. She also looks fantastic on a horse. She tries her guts out, and what more can you ask from a young rider coming up?"

Reid, who took Nolan down to the final race last season before losing the leading rider title to him by one victory, also had a pair of wins Sunday. In addition to her win on Daydream Dancer, she also rode Freaky, a dark bay Blair Miller-trained colt, to victory in the third race, beating Cee's Treasure and Already Ready in the process.

"I think we won that one by a nose hair," quipped Reid after her first win. "We were jumping shadows and that cost us a bit. It feels good though, I needed that win."

Nolan, on the other hand, was held off the board in all eight races.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2013 C4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos


What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google