A pretty four-year-old filly named Golden Stripe tamed the monster Thursday afternoon to win the one-mile, $30,000 Canstar Canada Day Stakes at Assiniboia Downs.
With Gary Baze in the saddle, she led wire-to-wire, snapping Preservata's seven-race win streak, five of which were stakes races.
Thursday's win in the race for fillies and mares was payback for June 12, when Preservata came from behind to nip Golden Stripe in the six-furlong La Verendrye Stakes.
"She should have knocked her off the last time," said Golden Stripe's Winnipeg owner Phil Kives of K-Five Stables. "The difference today was that we had about a three-week stretch between the races. The last time she came off the trailer and we ran her right away."
Baze knew he was up against some stiff competition.
"Anytime you have Preservata in the race you've got her to beat," he said. "I figured she was going to be coming at me, late, so I tried to get my filly into gear just a little sooner and try to hold her off."
Gold Stripe paid $6.90 to win, $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show.
Baze said he also had to worry about Britannia Road, a seven-year-old mare that finished third behind Preservata. "I wasn't sure how hard they were going to try and send Britannia Road out. I thought she might have some speed, and Carl (trainer Anderson) had two in the race. I thought he had a closer too and I he might send her out there and he did. But the fractions were fairly solid, and my filly was able to sustain it. When I asked her, she still had some punch left."
Golden Stripe's fractions were 23.20 seconds, 47.20, 1:12.20, 1:25.00 and 1:38.60.
Oddly enough, Baze was to have ridden Golden Stripe last year in the same race. However, he was sidelined when he was thrown in the gates, and had to pull out for the rest of the season.
Fortunately for Baze, Kives moved his horses down to Phoenix this year, rather than going with Winnipeg trainer Emile Corbel, and that gave Baze a chance to get to know her down there. "She is such a nice filly," said Baze. "They sent her down to Phoenix (Turf Paradise), and I happened to be down there, so I worked her a few times, and then again at Prairie Meadows (Iowa). I was her gallop boy at Prairie Meadows, so I got to know her really well for about two weeks there, and I am glad I was able to get on her (today)."
Kives said the reason for moving his horses down south in the winter was to get them fit much quicker. "She is a front-running horse. She raced a couple of races down there. She won a race going a mile, and that's tough company down there."
The fact that Baze and the filly knew each other already was a plus, added Kives. "I talked to him about it, and he knew what she was going to do. She goes to the front, and that's where she likes to run."
Baze said he didn't think the searing heat and humidity posed a problem for his horse. "It is hot out there and muggy, and some of the horses didn't adapt to it as well as others, but it didn't seem to bother her."
Of course, with both Golden Stripe and Preservata at one win each in stakes encounters, the prospect of a rubber match hangs in the air, and what better chance than the 1-1/16 mile Winnipeg Sun Stakes on Aug. 1?
Kives wasn't making any predictions, but acknowledged the probability of a rubber match.
"Let's just hope we do well," he offered.