Filly hitting her stride

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

Des Moines, the horse, has come to Winnipeg and Assiniboia Downs to cash in this weekend, much like the many financial corporations of the Midwest that call Des Moines -- the capital city of Iowa -- home.

A three-year-old filly, Des Moines, who arrived in Winnipeg yesterday morning from Iowa, has left the competition in the dust at Prairie Meadows in Iowa and Delta Downs in Louisiana this season, winning three of the four races she has run this season. Now she is looking to do the same in her northern excursion, as she is the favourite for the $45,000 Chantilly Stakes on Sunday afternoon.

"She had a little bit of trouble getting going, but once she hit her stride she's been pretty tough down there," said trainer Jared Brown, who is looking after Des Moines in Winnipeg for her usual trainer Ray Tracy Jr.

"If she runs like she looks, she'll be pretty tough." Des Moines was winless in her first five career races last season, but has since rattled off four straight wins -- one to end last season and three to begin this season. In her last race, Des Moines finished second in the Bob Bryant Stakes race at Prairie Meadows. She was actually leading that race by two lengths at the half way point, but finished six lengths behind the winner, Irish Party.

"I think they saw the spot and were looking for a place for her to rebound from her second place finish last time out," Brown said of the motive for Des Moines running at Assiniboia Downs.

Leading jockey Alan Cuthbertson will ride Des Moines on Sunday, but he won't have a lot of time to prepare because of her late arrival.

"I haven't had a chance to do much with it yet," Cuthbertson said.

"Saturday morning I will probably get on it and take it for a gallop around the track."

Even though she is the new gal in the stables at the Downs, Des Moines can already be considered a top horse because of the competition she has beaten so far.

"It's probably tougher," Brown said about the contrast in racing between Prairie Meadows and Assiniboia Downs.

"I don't know how many of our horses could go down there and compete down there. But, I am sure some of our good horses could compete there quite well. Typically it's a tougher race track."

Other contenders for the Chantilly Stakes are Out For Glory, who has a win and a second place finish in two starts at the Downs this season, and Time to Splurge, who has two victories in five starts.


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