'Strictly business'

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

The field for the 56th running of the $100,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby was announced yesterday at Assiniboia Downs and Toronto invader Angel of the House is the 5-2 favourite in the 12-horse field for the race on Monday afternoon.

Trained by David Cotey at Woodbine, Angel of the House is followed closely in the odds by Derby Trial winner Rage Till Dawn at 3-1 and Chicago invader Great Discovery at 7-2.

It will be strictly a business trip for Angel of the House, who is expected to arrive in Winnipeg sometime today.

QUICK GALLOP

"I'll talk to the trainer and discuss how the horse has been running, what he likes, what he doesn't like and then we'll go from there," said jockey Rohan Singh, who will take Angel of the House out for a quick gallop tomorrow as his only prep run for the race.

Rage Till Dawn stormed into Winnipeg last month after being claimed at Hollywood Park for $32,000 to edge favourites Country Humor and Western Deed in the Derby Trial.

Owners Robert and Rob Nokes believe he's the horse they've been searching for all summer.

"The real big kicker is when you look at his form there was a horse he ran against called Amazing Blue," Rob explained. "Amazing Blue won the Alberta Derby. Rage till Dawn doesn't like the turf. He got beat by Amazing Blue by three lengths on turf ... so he gets beat on a track he doesn't really care for by the Alberta Derby winner. I am sitting there going this is too good to be true.

"We watched all the replays, made sure this was a dirt horse that could run a mile and a eighth, a mile and a quarter. Then (trainer) Clay (Brinson) did his homework, checking to make sure he was sound.

"We wouldn't have got a horse unless we got a horse that we believed would at least be respectful in the race."

Shyman Farms and trainer Martin Drexler have brought Great Discovery, Weather Warning and Big Chief in from Arlington Park in Chicago specifically for the Derby.

"The nice thing about these three is that they are fast," Drexler said. "Whether they are going to get close, it's a huge question mark.

"They are the real deal these horses, except for some distance limitations we have to deal with. We're going to try not to use up too much (energy) early."

Lurking behind the invaders is trainer Emile Corbel's Western Deed, who finished third in the Derby Trial and second in the Golden Boy Stakes earlier this summer at the Downs.

"I like the hole Western Deed got," Corbel said of his horse drawing the first and inside position at the post.

"I had him too close the other day (in the Derby Trial). It was my own fault. I told the rider to get him up there close to Country Humor, but he won't be up there this time. I am going to take him back. There's going to be lots of speed. I hope to be sitting fifth or sixth along the rail.

"If you go wide on the first turn, you're dead. It's tough to come back on the spread."

It truly is Derby Weekend this August long at the Downs with five stakes races taking place Sunday and Monday, including the Winnipeg Sun Stakes, which will be the feature race Sunday afternoon.


Videos

Photos