09/18/2008 12:00AM

Assiniboia: Top pair in Matron own similar credentials


Seven brave foes will try to do the seemingly impossible - defeat not only Manitoba's best mare, Polynesian Kitty, but also the shipper Tanika, the top female in Alberta, in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile Matron at Assiniboia Downs.

The $50,000 Matron purse, plus an additional $25,000 for entrants who are also Breeders' Cup-eligible, may have contributed to the number of older fillies and mares lining up against this daunting pair.

The similarities between Polynesian Kitty and Tanika, both Kentucky-bred 4-year old fillies by successful stallions, are striking.

Polynesian Kitty, by High Yield, has 3 wins and 2 seconds from 7 starts in 2008, and both times she missed the board the race was on the turf.

Tanika, by Orientate, also has 7 starts this year, with 4 wins and 3 seconds.

Tanika has finished worse than second in just one of her 16 lifetime starts, and has earned $355,565.

Polynesian Kitty has been first or second in 16 of her 24 career starts and earned more than $275,000.

Polynesian Kitty has been dominant over this oval in the past two years, racking up 6 victories and 2 seconds from 8 local starts. A 5 3/4-length victory in the Matron last year against older mares capped her season.

This year, Polynesian Kitty beat top sprinters in the six-furlong La Verendrye, won a one-mile allowance, then destroyed the field by seven lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Winnipeg Sun.

Most recently, in the $50,000 Dean Kutz Stakes at Canterbury, Polynesian Kitty tried to wire the field but ended up beaten by a half-length.

Leading rider Alan Cuthbertson regains the mount here Sunday.

Tanika's last 10 starts have been in stakes, and she won five of them. Her only losses this year are a one-length defeat to the talented sprinter Beth's Best Bet in a sprint stakes to start her season and two losses to Holy Nova, one of the top mares in British Columbia.

The balance of the field includes Fast Actress, Culpeper Moon, Out for Glory, Britannia Road, and Turn It Up - the first five finishers in a one-mile prep for this race - recent Woodbine maiden winner Colorino, and the maiden Meadow Vice.