09/19/2008 12:00AM

Assiniboia ace out to close meet with fifth straight win


Monsoon Rain, the top older horse on the grounds, will be looking for his fifth straight victory in Sunday's 1 1/8-mile Gold Cup, which is the closing-day feature at the Assiniboia Downs meeting.

The $75,000 Gold Cup, which includes $25,000 for Breeders' Cup eligibles, is joined on the nine-race program by the $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity, a one-mile race for 2-year-olds.

Monsoon Rain, a 6-year-old gelding who is owned by Larry Carter and trained by Martin Drexler, caught fire this summer and won his first two conditions before going on to score in the one-mile Wheat City and the 1 1/16-mile R.J. Speers.

Carlos Marquez, aboard in each of his six starts this year, retains the mount on Monsoon Rain, who pressed the pace en route to his two stakes wins.

Vorhees Ballad, runner-up to Monsoon Rain in both the Wheat City and Speers, will be looking to turn the tables at this longer distance under returning rider David Lopez.

But the biggest threat to Monsoon Rain should be Tejano Trouble, who shipped over from Edmonton and won the Gold Cup last year and returns riding the crest of back-to-back optional $40,000 claiming/classified allowance victories at one mile.

Rohan Singh, the second-leading rider at the Winnipeg meeting, picks up the mount on Tejano Trouble, who is trained by Lianne Knechtel.

Drexler also will send out Rage Till Dawn and Charley Tango, who finished third and seventh, respectively, in the R.J. Speers.

Rounding out the field is Brinello, a lengthy winner of the restricted Agassiz at a mile but fifth in the Speers; and Rock'n U S A, who won his first five starts while sprinting at Assiniboia Downs before ending fourth in the Speers.

Brinello, trained by Carl Anderson, ran third in the Gold Cup last year under regular rider Mark Anderson.

Leading rider Alan Cuthbertson again gets the call on Rock'n U S A, who was rated last time but could surprise with a return to front-running tactics for trainer Tanya Lindsay.

The Winnipeg Futurity attracted a field of nine headed by Lumpsinmyoatmeal, who invades from Canterbury Park for high-percentage trainer Jamie Ness.

Heading up the local contingent will be Prayforthesoldiers and Beauty for Ashes, the one-two finishers in the 7 1/2-furlong allowance prep for the Winnipeg Futurity on Sept. 5.