09/15/2004 12:00AM

Deputy Country wins his fifth stakes of year


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Deputy Country ($5.90) stalked a quick pace before taking the leading heading into the far turn and then held on to win last Saturday's R.J. Speers at Assiniboia Downs for his fifth stakes win this year.

Trained by Carl Anderson, Deputy Country crossed the wire 2 1/2 lengths ahead of runner-up Smoked Em, with Indy Lead, also an Anderson trainee, third.

A son of Silver Deputy, Deputy Country was recording his ninth win from 22 starts and increased his earnings to $211,830. Deputy Country finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.40 under Ken Hendricks.

* On Sunday, Ericka's Lass ($5.40) set fractions of 23.20 seconds, 48.20, 1:13.80, and 1:41.20 en route to winning the 1 1/16-mile Assiniboia Oaks in 1:48. Victory Thrill, the 4-5 favorite, was second, with Strike an Image third.

Trained by Emile Corbel and ridden by Vince Guerra, Ericka's Lass was winning her third race of the year, all in stakes, and improved her lifetime mark to 5-2-2 from 9 starts for earnings of $114,050.

* Guerra, third in the jockey standings here with 51 wins, has returned to Phoenix to prepare for the upcoming Turf Paradise meet, but is scheduled to ride two-time stakes winner Your Excellence in the Buffalo Stakes here Sept. 26.

With nine racing days remaining, Travis Hightower leads the jockey standings with 88 victories, 35 wins ahead of second-place Larren Delorme, and appears to have wrapped up his second consecutive rider title.

A closer race is shaping up in the trainer standings. With the win in the Assiniboia Oaks, Corbel moved within two victories of leading trainer Ardell Sayler, who was held winless last weekend but has saddled 35 winners.