07/28/2011 12:01PM

Assiniboia Downs: I Am Awesome seeks to prove last win no fluke in R.J. Speers


I Am Awesome, upset winner of the one-mile Wheat City in his last start on July 6, will be looking to confirm that form in Saturday’s $25,000 R.J. Speers at Assiniboia Downs.

The R.J. Speers, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, will be the first of five stakes run at Assiniboia over the long weekend with Monday’s $75,000 Manitoba Derby the undisputed highlight.

The Manitoba Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, anchors a holiday program which also includes the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, and the $25,000 Graduation, a 5 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

Fillies and mares will have their turn in the spotlight on Sunday in the $25,000, 1 1/16-mile Winnipeg Sun.

The Manitoba Derby field was drawn on Wednesday afternoon with El Grayling, the probable favorite, getting post 6.

The balance of the field, in post order, consists of Tannat, Gotatigerbythetail, Big Blue Caboose, Hammers Bullet, U R Burnin Daylite, O K Indy, Pulgarcito, and Flexiplus.

I Am Awesome, a 6-year-old gelding, won races at Turf Paradise and Canterbury Park this year before returning to Winnipeg for an impressive 3 1/4-length score in the Wheat City in his first start for trainer Chad Torevell.

Mark Anderson, who also piloted I Am Awesome to his first win over the local oval last September, will be back aboard for the R.J. Speers as I Am Awesome begins from post 4.

Guiding Hand, runner-up when making his first start locally in the Wheat City, is a threat to turn the tables under new rider Janine Stianson.

Claimed for $15,000 at Prairie Meadows on June 11, Guiding Hand was making his first start for Jared Brown.

Guiding Hand will begin from post 6 and is co-highweighted with I Am Awesome at 124 pounds.

Retap, third in the Wheat City, was making just his second start in more than a year and is eligible for improvement under new rider Tyrone Nelson.

Cherokee’s Goal, fourth as the favorite there, has yet to put his best foot forward this season but has worked well for this engagement and remains dangerous under the returning Juan Crawford.##