Father’s Day Free Press Stakes brings back memories

Jun 15, 2013 | Handicapping, Live Horse Racing


2008 Free Press winner Ronaldino still winning at Woodbine.

2008 Free Press Stakes winner Ronaldino still winning at Woodbine.

Rob’s Picks and Analysis for Father’s Day Weekend at the Downs

by Rob

The 2013 running of the $30,000 Free Press Stakes looks like a really good horse race Sunday afternoon. Balooga Bull looks to avenge his defeat at the hooves of Pleasant Closing, while Ran the Man, Seven Tuff and Grandpa George will need peak races to have a shot at the top two.

I personally will probably end up picking Ran the Man, but I do truly believe that it is a wide open race. Many will say this is the 2012 Manitoba Derby all over again, when we got off the Balooga Bull bandwagon and he crushed, but something was not quite right with his last race.

Thinking about the Free Press Stakes, I came across Ronaldino in the second race at Woodbine on Wednesday night. On a short list of horses with huge hearts he would most certainly make the list with 16 career wins from 33 starts and 23 top three finishes for earnings of over $336,000. He is now a 9-years-old, but his four wobbly legs hold together enough for him to run his eyeballs out a few times a year. Why should Winnipeggers remember him? Because in 2008 he dueled with super turf sprinter Lookinforthesecret in the Free Press Stakes here at ASD and knocked off the Jamie Ness superhorse. And he did it with class and grit.

That day he rocketed down in 1:10 4/5 on a slow racetrack and pulled away to win by three-quarters of a length. He then returned to Woodbine for Terry Jordan and was claimed off a long layoff at Fort Erie. Ronaldino is a gorgeous chestnut and he still calls Woodbine, with trainer Mark Fournier caling the shots now. A few times a year he guts out a victory just to remind us how big his BC-Bred heart is.

He’s certainly on my short list of the best horses I’ve seen run here in my short time, along with Dance to My Tune, Gold Strike, Kalfaari and Balooga Bull. Now for this weekend’s action.

Friday night’s card looks like it will be a rain-filled mess but I certainly like Double Jack in the first to run well as the loose speed. I think Miss Texarkana and Chippewa’s Gal are good longshots in the last race and City Splash looks to get her campaign rolling with a win in the sixth.

Saturday night has a couple of interesting races. I would like to play against In the Other on the drop in the second race, maybe leaning towards River Slaney and Joanie Baloney. I think Johannesbourbon is a play against even if he is an easy winner, maybe look for Lots of Chrome or Flying Bob John at big prices. The Hazel Wright Sire Stakes is the sixth race and is a $25,000 race filled with seven maidens. Gold Lily will probably run a better race, but A Girl’s Gotta Do will be really tough to beat. And anyone could finish second in what looks like a wide open ace.

Sunday afternoon promises to be a fun filled card with numerous allowance races to go along with a pair of bulls (Balooga and Tequila the Mechanical Bull). Tribesman makes his 2013 debut and he is a multiple stakes winner in California for trainer Roger Hansen. Tribesman is blistering fast and he might put on a show for the crowd on Sunday.

She’s Regal and Cal Bayers should hook up in the filly allowance race. The three older Manitoba-Breds should indicate who the Agassiz favourite is when Going for a Few, Pure Glory and Danger Rules meet as well. That leaves the Winnipeg Free Press Stakes to highlight what looks like a high class weekend of horse racing.

Good Luck!

Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots

Record-to-Date: 6-4-0 from 17 starts

Wagered: $102.00 Returned: $106.70 Profit: $4.70

Friday Best Bet: Race 3 – Mystical Power

Friday Longshot: Race 7 – Miss Texarkana

Saturday Best Bet: Race 6 – A Girl’s Gotta Do

Saturday Longshot: Race 5 – Lots of Chrome

Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2013