The most exciting part of a horse race is when the field reaches the final turn and heads into the stretch. Either the leader has enough in the tank to hold off the charging group of horses behind him, or someone speeds past the leader, snatching victory in the process.
Trainer Blair Miller's Jimmijazz has been doing the latter of late, causing bettors who have called Jimmijazz's number to go from tearing up their ticket to rejoicing in some new found cash.
In his past few races, Jimmijazz has been upwards of 20 lengths off the leader before activating the jets and catching the frontrunner by the finish line. His come-from-behind success has made him the 5/2 favourite for the R.W. Sifton Stakes tomorrow night at Assiniboia Downs. The race will pit the top three-year-old Manitoba-bred horses against each other.
"He was an ordinary horse until his last two races when we stretched him out... and turned him into a deep closer, coming from way, way back," Miller said yesterday.
"I've been pretty impressed with his last couple races, his last one especially. He was 21 lengths behind the leader at one point and came back in the last part of the race to win."
It appears Miller has found how Jimmijazz likes to run.
"That's one of tricks of training horse, to find out the style the horse wants to run, whether it's a speed horse or a deep closer," Miller said. "He seems to favour the running style where he drops back early and just let him settling into a stride and get his feet under him. We ask him to run the last part and he has a very, very good kick.
"We were giving him long mile breezes where you'd go slow for the first half mile and then ask him to finish really strong the last half mile.
"Every horse tries to kind of tell you what they want to do."
According to the morning line odds, Jimmijazz will see his biggest competition tomorrow night from 3-1 Super Duper Me and his barn mate in the Blair Miller Stables, Rock a Fella.
"I hope both my horses do well," said Miller, who has been around Assiniboia Downs since he was 11 years old 35 years ago.
A win tomorrow night would cap off what Miller calls an excellent season of racing.
"I've had a very good year," he said. "Other than Clay Brinson, I am the only guy that has run less than 100 horses in the top 10 trainers... I am definitely the only local trainer that's in the top 10 with under 100 starts.
"I'd like to win a stakes races. They are the races that make your year from good to really good. If one of the two I have in (the Sifton) can jump up and win the race, it would make the year that much better."