08/25/2011 12:37PM

Assiniboia Downs: Jilleah looks best in Jack Hardy Stakes


Jilleah, coming off a third-place finish in the one-mile Assiniboia Oaks, looms as the filly to beat as she returns at 1 1/16 miles at Assiniboia Downs for Saturday’s Jack Hardy Stakes.

The Jack Hardy, a $25,000 race for 3-year-old fillies, attracted a field of five in which Jilleah and Little Widow Maker are the only stakes winners.

Jilleah finished second in back-to-back first-level allowance races at Woodbine this spring before being shipped to Winnipeg and trainer Gary Danelson.

After finishing second in her local bow, which came in the 5 1/2-furlong prep for the Chantilly, Jilleah became a stakes winner in the six-furlong Chantilly on June 15.

Jilleah then scored impressively when facing older rivals and competing under second-level allowance terms at 7 1/2 furlongs.

Well-backed off that effort at 2-1 for the Assiniboia Oaks, Jilleah was no match for the talented invader and seven-length winner Tourmaline, but finished just three-quarters of a length out of second place.

Leading rider David Lopez retains the mount on Jilleah.

Little Widow Maker, winner of the five-furlong Debutante, six-furlong Osiris, and six-furlong Winnipeg Futurity in her first campaign, is winless in five starts this year for trainer Charlie Smith.

Although beaten a total of 11 1/4 lengths as the last-place finisher in the field of five for the Assiniboia Oaks, Little Widow Maker was making her first start in more than three months.

Rohan Singh will be back aboard Little Widow Maker.

Rounding out the field will be Lucky Lady Go, Mosaico, and Regal Lion.

Lucky Lady Go is coming off a front-running win in which she competed at the first allowance condition over 7 1/2 furlongs.

Mosaico has won four straight in the lower claiming ranks and was haltered for $3,000 by owner/trainer Mike Hops from her most recent score at 7 1/2 furlongs.

Regal Lion is a first-time starter.