06/09/2011 11:43AM

Assiniboia Downs: Ruby's Big Band ships back for La Verendrye Stakes

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Ruby’s Big Band is based at Canterbury Park with trainer Charlie Smith but has shown a particular fondness for the Assiniboia Downs oval, scoring in six of eight appearances through her first two campaigns.

On Saturday, Ruby’s Big Band will be moving into the older filly and mare ranks when she faces seven rivals in the $25,000 La Verendrye, a six-furlong stakes that is the first for the division at the meeting.

Ruby’s Big Band, owned by Terry Propps, has been busy this season, starting seven times and winning allowance races at Sam Houston and Canterbury.

Her most recent success came in her last race, when she scored in an off-the-turf classified allowance over one mile of mud in Minnesota. She should handle this cutback in distance under her regular Winnipeg partner, Rohan Singh.

Smith will be looking for his 18th stakes win in Winnipeg, with five of those coming from Ruby’s Big Band.

Preservata, a 6-year-old Florida-bred, will be seeking her third consecutive victory in the La Verendrye.

Owned and trained by Clint Willson, Preservata had prepped for the La Verendrye with winning allowance efforts in 2009 and 2010 and will be coming in cold this time.

Preservata was in New Mexico with Wilson this winter, however, and should have sufficient bottom to make her presence felt under regular rider Tyrone Nelson.

Golden Stripe, who finished a neck behind Preservata in last year’s La Verendrye, comes into this edition off a disappointing effort in the 5 1/2-furlong allowance prep.

Trained by Shelley Brown, Golden Stripe showed the way into the stretch there but succumbed to the late runs of Colony Queen and Mistress Bell to finish third, beaten 3 3/4 lengths.

Jocelyne Kenny takes over aboard Golden Stripe, who again drew the inside post.

Colony Queen and Mistress Bell also are back for the La Verendrye, with the field being completed by Witch’s Coven, Exploding Crystals, Haggai, and Miss Kay Dee Raine.