09/15/2010 12:48PM

Ruby's Big Band faces elders in Matron


Ruby’s Big Band, who has been the top 3-year-old filly racing at Assiniboia Downs this year, and Golden Stripe, the leading older female in the province, will clash in the $72,500 Matron Stakes on Friday.

The 1 1/8-mile Matron attracted a field of eight, which also includes Preservata, whose hold on the older female division has slipped this year, and Anna Bella, upset winner of the Winnipeg Sun.

Ruby’s Big Band, trained by Charlie Smith, has won 6 of her 7 starts at Assiniboia Downs, including the 1 1/16-mile Assiniboia Oaks via disqualification.

A speed-oriented type, Ruby’s Big Band will be stepping out of her division for the first time and will receive six pounds from each of her older rivals as she carries 117 pounds.

Rohan Singh retains the mount on Ruby’s Big Band, who will begin from post 4.

Golden Stripe, a Manitoba-bred who is trained by Shelley Brown, has improved dramatically since returning to Winnipeg following a spring campaign at Prairie Meadows.

After ending Preservata’s eight-race local win streak in the one-mile Canada Day, Golden Stripe was edged by Anna Bella in the 1 1/16-mile Winnipeg Sun.

In her last start, which amounted to little more than a paid workout, Golden Stripe was an 18 3/4-length winner of the restricted Distaff Stakes.

Gary Baze returns aboard Golden Stripe, who will begin from post 5 and should be pressing or setting the pace.

Preservata has been freshened since finishing third in the Aug. 1 Winnipeg Sun and will be looking to reassert her dominance under usual partner Tyrone Nelson.

Anna Bella was recording her third straight win in the Winnipeg Sun but then was a flat fifth when facing males under open allowance terms. Rocco Bowen retains the mount.

◗ Friday’s card also includes the $50,000 Buffalo, a one-mile race for Manitoba-bred 2-year-olds that attracted a field of nine.

Kommando Kate, coming off a third-place finish in the open Osiris Stakes after winning the restricted North Dakota Futurity, could rule a slight choice for trainer Chad Torevell.

Thereisnofiteclub, beaten 1 1/2 lengths as the runner-up in the North Dakota Futurity, came back to win the CTHS Sales and is the one to fear most.