There’s no question who the two best claims of 2023 were at Assiniboia Downs, nor can you argue who the Claimer of the Year was.
SUGAR DADDY JACK was claimed for $6,250 and won his next start in the $40,000 J.W. Sifton Stakes, DELVECCHIO was haltered for $10,000 and ran the best race of his career in his next start to win the $40,000 Phil Kives Stakes, and Drop a Caribou won six of his seven starts in claiming races for three different trainers.
Sugar Daddy Jack was smartly trained for his three-year-old stakes debut in the Sifton by multiple Gold Cup-winning trainer Carl Anderson and responded beautifully after stalking a pace battle between favourites Private Frank and I Love My Life.
Anderson didn’t think he’d had enough time with his new horse when he entered him back two weeks after claiming him, but the Manitoba-bred gelding by Nonios-Nickel Candy by Silver Deputy got just the trip he needed under jockey Tim Tarasenco and drew off to win the 1 1/8-mile race by 1 ¾-lengths.
Bred by Larry Falloon and owned by Tom Boyko, Sugar Daddy Jack finished the year with three wins and two second-place finishes for earnings of over $40,000.
Delvecchio was scintillating in his Phil Kives victory with Damario Bynoe up, setting fast fractions in the 1 1/8-mile restricted stakes and drawing off to win by 4 ½-lengths for trainer Mike Nault and owner A2 Thoroughbreds.
Bred in Saskatchewan by Don Bjarnason, the seven-year-old Saskatchewan-bred gelding by Where’s the Ring-Briars Flash by Hurricane Center finished the year with two wins and three runner-up finishes from seven starts.
He too, earned over $40,000 on the season.
DROP A CARIBOU won his first three starts of the meeting at the $5,000 level for trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr., slicing through his non-winners of two, three and four conditions before being claimed out of his only losing effort in 2023 for a $5,500 tag by trainer Mike Taphorn.
The four-year-old Ontario-bred gelding by Where’s the Ring-Stormy Adieu by Silic then won his next two starts at the $5,500 level for Taphorn and was nabbed by trainer Shelley Brown, who then raised the game gelding up to $7,500 and guided him to his sixth win of the meeting in his final start of the season on September 6.
Jockey Ronald Ali was up for five of Drop a Caribou’s wins and leading rider Antonio Whitehall was up for the final victory. Drop a Caribou finished the season with All For One Stable as the horse everybody wanted to own, banking over $40,000 and easily paying for a well-deserved winter vacation.
There was a small gap back to the next winningest claimers on the grounds, five of whom formed a log jam with four wins a piece.
Quadruple claiming winners included Kate’s Princess for trainer Gary Danelson; That’s a Lot of Bling for trainer Mike Nault; Not Afraid, who won his first start for trainer Mike Taphorn and three more races after being claimed by trainer Carl Anderson; Annakhozana, who won three races for trainer Jerry Gourneau and another for Shelley Brown; and Kim’s Texas Bling, who won all four of her races for trainer Jerry Gourneau.
The four-time winners ran for tags that ranged from $3,750 to $10,000, and earned $35,000 – $45,000 each, easily paying their way through exceptional seasons and proving once again that…
There’s good money to be made at Assiniboia Downs.
~ courtesy Inside Track newsletter