08/06/2012 5:52PM

Assiniboia Downs: Balooga Bull gets back to winning with Manitoba Derby score


Hometown hero Balooga Bull ($14.90), who had lost some of his luster when  he weakened to  finish third in the 1 1/16-mile Harry Jeffrey, rebounded with a vengeance to score a 9 1/4-length victory in Monday's 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby.

Bounding out of the gate under rider Paul Nolan, Balooga Bull zipped through an opening quarter-mile in 22.20 seconds, a half in 46.20, and three-quarters in 1:11.60 en route to a final clocking of 1:51.80.

"He's got a mind of his own, and I didn't listen to him last time," said Nolan. "This time, I just let him go. He's a long-striding horse. I just let him be happy."

Up Jumps a Monster, invading from Northlands Park with a 5-for-5 record, lost ground through the middle stages but recovered to rally and finish second, 3 1/2 lengths before third-place Pleasant Closing.

So Shiny, Cahilll Chrome, Runaway Lion, The Gov and Clear the Runaway completed the order of finish.

Balooga Bull, owned by Paul Brandt and trained by Ardell Sayler, had suffered his first defeat in the Harry Jeffrey and now sports a 7-for-8 record, with five of those wins coming in stakes.

The $75,000 Manitoba Derby, the showpiece of the Assiniboia Downs meeting, was the finale on Monday's eight-race card which included three other stakes.

** Alisal ($7), who had finished second in last year's 1 1/8-mile Gold Cup at Assiniboia Downs, returned following a Northlands Park campaign to score a sharp victory in the $30,000 Wheat City for trainer Shelley Brown.

Ridden by Rohan Singh, Alisal launched his bid around the final turn and was able to hold off a closing Dandy's Legacy to record his first lifetime stakes win in the 1 1/16 mile stakes for 3-year-olds and upward.

I Am Awesome finished third in the field of 10.

** Claresmiezie ($4.50), invading from Edmonton for trainer Greg Tracy, seized control early and set all the pace en route to a 7 3/4-length victory in the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks.

Ridden by Rico Walcott, Claresmiezie left five other 3-year-old fillies in her wake in the one-mile Assiniboia Oaks with the Manitoba-bred She's Regal her closest pursuer.

Rahab Your Soul finished another two lengths back as the third-place finisher in a field of six.

** Jon Q ($37.20), the longest shot in the field of nine 2-year-olds, finished strongly to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in the $30,000 Graduation at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Robert Reeves rode Jon Q, who was making his third career start and winning for the first time for trainer Carl Anderson.

Portales, who had shipped in from Canterbury Park, finished second as the 9-5 favorite, with Cmmonbbylitemyfire another half-length back in third.