Smart Miss has short break between races

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Smart Miss is hoping a second stakes race in as many weekends will bring her to the winner's circle.

Last weekend in the R.C. Anderson Stakes, Smart Miss saw eventual winner Shooting Astra pass her at the mid stretch. This weekend she is the favourite in the North Dakota Stallion Stakes for three year olds.

"It went all right, but we got beat," Smart Miss' trainer Lorna Gray said. "She ran all right, but she just couldn't catch 'em.

"She couldn't compete with the winner that day."

The only apprehension Gray has about Smart Miss for tomorrow in the short layoff between races.

"She should be up in there too. The only thing I am worried about is running her back so quickly," Gray said. "You usually like to give them a little more time."

At least a couple of weeks is the norm for most horses, but Smart Miss will be galloping on just six days rest.

Across the backstretch, trainer Clay Brinson is looking for Unite Tonite to beat the pile for a full mile.

"She was a little short the other day, wasn't quite fit enough to go a mile," he said yesterday. "I didn't have her that long and she hadn't run in awhile. Between that race and I've worked her since then, I think she'll run better."

Only a couple of horses in the race, including the likes of Dr Ty, have ran a full mile before, which should put everyone an even playing field.

Unite Tonite has also shown she can leave the pack way, way behind if given the chance.

"She won one race by 21 lengths at Belcourt," Brinson said. "I didn't have her then, but she's shown some ability anyway."

He'll find out exactly how much talent she has tomorrow.

"I think she can go a mile," she said. "If she doesn't hang on (tomorrow) better than she did the other day, then she's not a mile horse."

The North Dakota Stallion Stakes is the final stakes race before next weekend's Derby Weekend that will feature the Winnipeg Sun Stakes on Sunday and four more stakes races Monday, including the $100,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby.


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