09/16/2010 12:03PM

Double Shuffle looks to extend streak at Assiniboia

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Double Shuffle, undefeated since relocating to Assiniboia Downs this spring, will be looking for his fifth consecutive victory in the $72,500 Gold Cup on Saturday.

The Gold Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, is the feature on an eight-race card that also includes the $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity for 2-year-olds and the $50,000 J.W. Sifton for Manitoba-bred 3-year-olds.

Double Shuffle, trained by Robertino Diodoro, came north to Assiniboia Downs this summer and is undefeated in three starts over the oval, including the one-mile Wheat City and 1 1/16-mile R.J. Speers.

Venturing out of province for his latest start, Double Shuffle triumphed over the best Alberta had to offer in the $75,000 Speed to Spare, the top race for older horses at the Northlands Park meeting.

Competing again under weight-for-age terms in the Gold Cup, Double Shuffle will be difficult to deny as he begins from post 9 in the field of 10 under returning rider Vicky Baze.

Cherokee Goal, the lone 3-year-old in the Gold Cup lineup, will carry 119 pounds while receiving five pounds from his older rivals.

Trained here by Clayton Gray, Cherokee’s Goal also went on the road for his latest and was an easy winner of last Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Saskatchewan Derby.

Cherokee’s Goal finished second in the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby and then was third behind older rivals. He looms a dangerous foe here under regular rider Juan Crawford.

Vindgari and Monsoon Rain, who finished one-two while leaving Cherokee’s Goal behind them in the one-mile allowance prep for this race on Aug. 27, also are back for the main event.

Second to Double Shuffle in the Wheat City, Vindgari threw craps in the Speers before rebounding for his second win of the meeting.

Monsoon Rain, winner of the Gold Cup in 2008, had been in indifferent form heading into his last start but could call upon his back class for trainer Tanya Lindsay.

◗ Paris By Night and Little Widow Maker will renew acquaintances in the six-furlong Winnipeg Futurity.

Both fillies already boast a win over male rivals, with Paris By Night having left Little Widow Maker in second place in the 5 1/2-furlong Graduation and Little Widow Maker having returned to capture the six-furlong Osiris.

Blue ‘Em Away, one of four males in the Futurity’s field of seven, ran second to Little Widow Maker in the Osiris.

◗ Major Hurricane, who finished fourth as the odds-on choice in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance, will be stretching out to 1 1/8 miles as he seeks redemption in the Sifton.

Applicant, the winner of that June 3 allowance race, and Mt. Charles, a winner of two restricted stakes at Assiniboia this year, will provide some salty opposition.