05/29/2008 11:00PM

Shippers look best in La Verendrye

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba – A field of nine fillies and mares, including seven stakes winners, will go postward in Sunday’s six-furlong La Verendrye Stakes at Assiniboia Downs. The four leading contenders have all shipped in to Winnipeg to try and grab the winner’s share of the $50,000 purse.

R Lucinda comes into the La Verendrye with three consecutive victories to her credit to start the 2008 season, two of them over the Stampede Park oval. Sandwiched in between a pair of allowance victories, R?Lucinda won the $50,000 Alberta Sales Stakes at the La Verendrye distance.

R Lucinda’s most recent score came at Assiniboia on May 17 in the allowance prep for this race. She stalked the pace before dispatching her five foes with a quick move rounding the turn. Quincy Welch, Stampede Park’s leading rider, is in town for the mount.

Des Moines looms as a strong threat to lead from wire to wire. She has won 6 of her 9 starts in the past two seasons using her blinding early speed.

Now 4 years old, Des Moines earned her only stakes win last year at Assiniboia in the six-furlong Chantilly by 7 1/2 lengths. Des Moines has had two starts in 2008, her most recent a six-furlong allowance score at Will Rogers Downs in which she wired the field in 1:09.20.

Polynesian Kitty, named last year’s champion 3-year-old filly by the Manitoba Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, makes her second start of the year. In her seasonal bow, she finished an even fifth going one mile on turf at Tampa Bay Downs.

Last year, Polynesian Kitty scored in 3 of her 4 local starts and won two stakes. All three of Polynesian Kitty’s local wins were at a mile or longer.

Starlite Strike is a 5-year-old two-time stakes winner who competed at Hastings last year. While her stakes wins were at 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles, Starlite Strike does have 2 wins and 2 seconds at 6 1/2 furlongs. If she is ready to fire in her initial start of the season, then Starlite Strike could make her presence felt down the lane.