08/04/2012 12:33PM

Assiniboia: Up Jumps a Monster ships in for meet's premier race, the Manitoba Derby


Up Jumps a Monster, who has run to his name while going undefeated in four races at Northlands Park, looms as the horse to beat in Monday’s $75,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby at Assiniboia Downs.

The Manitoba Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, is the highlight on a blockbuster program that also will include the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the $30,000 R.J. Speers for 3-year-olds and upward, and the $30,000 Graduation for 2-year-olds.

Up Jumps a Monster, trained and partly owned by Rob Chabot, was a smart maiden winner in Edmonton last August and then landed his first allowance condition at Tampa Bay Downs this February, with both starts coming at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Back at his home base this spring, Up Jumps a Monster won a six-furlong race for nonwinners of three and then made a successful debut in stakes company by capturing the one-mile Ky Alta despite a wide trip on July 14.

“After his first race we kind of thought we had a decent horse, but we certainly didn’t think he’d be this kind,” said Chabot.

Up Jumps a Monster could have stayed home and run in Saturday’s Count Lathum, but when Devil in Disguise shipped in from Vancouver for that $50,000 stakes, Chabot elected to head east.

“I don’t want him to have two really hard races in a row, and I thought this race might be a little easier for him,” said Chabot.

“I don’t think the mile and an eighth would be a problem – he probably ran a mile an eighth last time.”

Apprentice jockey Scott Williams, who was the second-leading rider at Northlands heading into Saturday’s card, rode Up Jumps a Monster for the first time in the Ky Alta and is making the trip to Winnipeg.

The Gov, invading from British Columbia, shapes up as the main danger.

Trained and co-owned by Phillip Hall, The Gov is coming off a third-place finish behind Devil in Disguise and Taylors Deal, who are the top 3-year-olds at Hastings, in the Chris Loseth Handicap on July 2.

The Gov, who began his career at Turf Paradise last winter, had knocked out his first allowance condition at Hastings and then finished second behind Devil in Disguise in the River Rock before his most recent appearance. Each of his last three outings have come at 1 1/16 miles over sloppy surfaces.

“It would be nice to get a fast track,” said Hall. “I think he’ll like the mile and an eighth. The only reason he was on the lead the last few times is because the pace was just so slow.

“If there’s too much speed, I think he can track. I’ll just leave it up to the rider.”

That would be Adolfo Morales, who will ride The Gov for the first time.

Clear the Runway chased The Gov before faltering to third in the River Rock and then pressed the pace in the Ky Alta before yielding to Up Jumps a Monster.

Rico Walcott, the leading rider at Northlands coming into Saturday’s races, retains the mount.

Cahill Chrome turned in some big efforts over Golden Gate’s synthetic surface this past winter, including a fourth-place finish in the one-mile Gold Rush and a second in the 1 1/16-mile California Derby.

Trained by Roger Hansen, Cahill Chrome recorded his first career win in a dirt sprint at Fresno last summer, but his current form is cloudy, as he comes off two unplaced turf outings in San Francisco, with the most recent coming on June 16.

Rohan Singh, leading rider at Assiniboia, picks up the mount.

Pleasant Closing and Balooga Bull are exiting one-three finishes in the 1 1/16-mile Harry Jeffrey, the local stakes prep for the Manitoba Derby.

After finishing second to Balooga Bull in two sprint encounters this spring, including the six-furlong Golden Boy, Pleasant Closing turned the tables stretching out for the Harry Jeffrey.

The front-running Balooga Bull, a four-time stakes winner, was suffering his first defeat when he made his seventh career start there but failed to stay the trip and would appear to have his work cut out for him at this longer distance.

So Shiny, who split Pleasant Closing and Balooga Bull in the Harry Jeffrey, has a late-running style that should play well here.

Rounding out the field will be Runaway Lion, who finished a well-beaten fifth on his local debut, the Harry Jeffrey.

Oaks: Claresmiezie ships in

Claresmiezie ships in from Northlands for the Assiniboia Oaks, a one-mile race that attracted a field of six.

A multiple sprint stakes winner trained by Greg Tracy, Claresmieizie is coming off a second-place finish in the one-mile Red Smith Handicap, which was her longest trip to date.

Heavenly Lioness and She’s Copacetic, who ran 1-2 in the 7 1/2-furlong allowance prep for the Assiniboia Oaks, are leading contenders in the contentious field, which also includes She’s Regal, Plus Ultra, and Rahab Your Soul, a newcomer from Texas.

She’s Regal has been running amok in the Manitoba-bred 3-year-old filly ranks and will be looking to take her game to a new level.

Speers: In His Glory one to beat

Tracy also has sent over In His Glory for the 1 1/16-mile R.J. Speers after claiming the 4-year-old gelding for $35,000 at Hastings on June  9 and then sending him out for a third-place finish in the one-mile Spangled Jimmy at Northlands on July 21.

Alisal also comes over from Edmonton in good form, having recorded back-to-back wins under allowance terms at 6 1/2 furlongs and then one mile.

Rod Cone has been his trainer of record this year, but Alisal will run here for Shelley Brown, who sent out the 5-year-old horse for a second-place finish in last year’s 1/8-mile Gold Cup at Assiniboia.

Lake Sawyer, Dandy’s Legacy, and Ask Eddy, the 1-2-3 finishers in Assiniboia’s 1 1/16-mile Wheat City on July 7, also are in the field of 11 for the R.J. Speers.

Graduation: Portales favored

Trainer Charlie Smith, no stranger to the stakes winner’s circle at Assiniboia Downs, has the probable choice for the Graduation in Portales, who is coming off impressive back-to-back wins at Canterbury Park.

Cattle Hauler, a maiden winner at Northlands Park last out, is the only other shipper in the field of nine for the 5 1/2-furlong Graduation.

Chica Wow Wow, who scored by nine lengths when debuting in maiden $18,750 company at 4 1/2 furlongs, heads the local contingent.