02/23/2010 12:00AM

Derby, Oaks top Assiniboia's best card


The $75,000 Manitoba Derby and the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks will be the anchors on the Aug. 2 stakes tripleheader, which will be the biggest day of the 2010 meeting at Winnipeg's Assiniboia Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby for 3-year-olds and the one-mile Assiniboia Oaks for 3-year-old fillies will be joined on the holiday Monday program by the $30,000 Graduation at 5 1/2 furlongs for 2-year-olds.

The three stakes are among 30, worth an aggregate total of $1.12 million, that will be offered at the 65-day Assiniboia Downs meeting, which begins May 9 and concludes Sept. 26.

Gone from the stakes schedule this year are two North Dakota stallion stakes, one for 2-year-olds and one for 3-year-olds, which were underwritten by the North Dakota Thoroughbred Association. The purses for the North Dakota Derby and North Dakota Futurity have been cut from $15,000 to an estimated $10,000.

"Other than that, we're pretty much status quo," said Ray Miller, racing secretary at Assiniboia Downs. "We're hanging in there."

Wednesday evening racing, which proved a huge success after replacing Sundays at Assiniboia Downs last year, will continue. Tuesday racing, which had been offered in recent summers, has been dropped.

In addition to the opening and closing days, there will be Sunday cards on Father's Day, June 20, and Aug. 1.

Horses began trickling in to the Assiniboia Downs backstretch on Monday and Miller hopes to open the training track on March 1.