Smart Miss ready to fly

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

The ladies get to show their stuff in the main race tomorrow night at Assiniboia Downs.

The $45,000 R.C. Anderson Stakes for three-year-old Manitoba-bred fillies is the race, but who the favourite is, well, that depends on who you talk to.

Trainer Lorna Gray is hoping her horse Smart Miss will be the one to beat.

"She's been in the money a lot, but we haven't had a chance to run her against her own kind," Gray said.

"You don't get much chance to run against Manitoba-bred three-year-old fillies."

If her active feet as she walked around the barn earlier this week are any indication, Smart Miss will be ready to fly out of the gate tomorrow night.

"Oh, she's feeling good," Gray chuckled. "She's actually a mild-mannered filly.

'NOWHERE ELSE'

"It'll be close to three weeks (between races) by the time the race comes. Maybe a little longer that you would have liked, but there was nowhere else to run her."

Come tomorrow night, Gray won't be surprised if Smart Miss is a couple lengths behind the leader heading into the final turn.

"She comes from off the pace," Gray said. "She doesn't go to the front.

"She's gone seven and half furlongs and the rest have been shorter races. This one is a mile. I think she'll like it, but we'll find out."

A victory by Smart Miss this weekend would do a lot to boost the fortunes of Gray's stable that seen a rocky first half to the season.

"Not well," Gray shrugged of how the summer has gone so far because of injured horses. "Usually you don't have that many with leg problems that need to be turned out for a year.

"Some years it just goes like that. There's been a lot of problems with two-year-olds staying sound this year."

A couple barns over, trainer Emile Corbel will get a chance to see how Shooting Astra --a horse he picked up just for this race -- is against the local competition.

"We claimed her in Arkansas because we needed a three-year-old filly," Corbel said. "She turned out that she's just not good enough for the wide open, but she's got a few problems from running all winter. I only run her three times the whole summer, just saving her for this race."

Shooting Astra was foaled in Manitoba, but bred in Kentucky. Corbel hopes her return home is a triumphant one.

"I've been running her against Open Company and Out For Glory and horses like that," he said. "We've been taking it easy on her, but we're tightening the strings for this one and we'll see what happens."


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