The best straight and exotic wagers for the Manitoba Derby

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August 1st, 2021

Stakes racing on a Monday? Assiniboia Downs has a special treat in store for horseplayers. The week kicks off with an eight-race card highlighted by the C$100,000 Manitoba Derby and a $327,526 mandatory-payout Pick 5 carryover.

Planning to play the Manitoba Derby? Let’s take a horse-by-horse look at the field, then assemble a straight wager, an exotic wager, and a multi-race wager.

Manitoba Derby analysis

#1 Cozy Bear (4-1): Former competitor on the California circuit enters off a series of third-place finishes sprinting at Century Mile, including a late-running effort in the Western Canada H. Sire Commissioner finished second in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont S. (G1), so Cozy Bear’s pedigree offers potential for stretching out in distance. He did break his maiden racing one mile in a $30,000 maiden claimer at Los Alamitos.

#2 Stone Cafe (25-1): Finished fifth of sixth in the one-mile Derby Trial S. at Assiniboia after challenging for command in midstretch. Son of Stonesider hasn’t hit the board in two starts racing one mile and might be questionable to stretch out over 1 1/8 miles in the Manitoba Derby.

#3 Myopic (8-5): The clear favorite on the morning line enters off a six-length romp against maiden special weight company at Indiana Grand. The bay colt led all the way to prevail with a 90 Brisnet Speed rating (the highest figure in the Manitoba Derby field) and looks tough to beat in his first start for high-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro.

#4 Witt’s Taquito (15-1): Employed pace-tracking tactics to finish second by a neck in the Derby Trial, but his Brisnet Speed ratings overall look a little light against Monday’s field. He’ll need to produce a stronger finish while stretching out over 1 1/8 miles.

#5 Uncharacteristic (6-1): Hasn’t missed the exacta in four starts, including a runner-up effort in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Hastings Park last month. That race unfolded with absolutely pedestrian fractions of :26.38, :52.34, and 1:16.70, so Uncharacteristic—rallying from fourth in a field of five—did well to finish just 1 1/4 lengths behind a pace-tracking winner. The 111 Brisnet Late Pace rating Uncharacteristic received suggests he still has upside.

#6 Etu Babou (30-1): Broke his maiden racing one mile for a $30,000 claiming tag at Turfway during the winter and enters off a couple of third-place efforts against allowance company at Assiniboia. The son of Speightster has been earning competitive Brisnet Speed ratings while facing older rivals and figures to benefit from facing off against his own age group in the Manitoba Derby.

#7 Major Shepard (20-1): Carved out the pace in the Derby Trial before weakening slightly to finish fourth, beaten less than a length. He subsequently cut back to six furlongs to win an Assiniboia maiden special weight, which means he’s crossed the wire first or second in all six of his sprint starts. The talent is there, but racing 1 1/8 miles may push the limits of Major Shepard’s stamina.

#8 Yerosilverbiz (30-1): Finished third against older rivals in a six-furlong allowance at Assiniboia on July 20, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths after making a midrace move to take the lead. He came home fourth in his lone route run to date, but that was a $25,000 maiden claimer at Aqueduct, so Yerosilverbiz might find the competition more agreeable at Assiniboia.

#9 Warriors Hero (10-1): Rallied gamely to finish third by a neck in the Derby Trial, which followed a series of competitive efforts against claiming company at Canterbury Park and Turf Paradise. Having posted seven straight Brisnet Speed ratings in the 76-80 range, Warriors Hero is fast enough to challenge in the Manitoba Derby.

#10 Flash of Glory (8-1): Capitalized on slow finishing fractions to gain five lengths down the homestretch of the Derby Trial and prevail by a neck. He was previously fifth against older rivals in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance at Assiniboia and may need a bit better to challenge Myopic for supremacy.

#11 Mister Snickers (50-1): Hasn’t missed the exacta in two starts since arriving at Assiniboia, winning a six-furlong maiden special weight before finishing second in an allowance over the same distance. Both efforts came against older horses, and as a son of Belmont S. (G1) winner Empire Maker, Mister Snickers has the potential to improve while stretching out in distance for high-percentage trainer Jared Brown.

#12 Midnight Salute (25-1): Romped by four lengths in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Assiniboia, but previously came home fourth—with Stone Cafe among his conquerors—in the six-furlong Golden Boy S. over this track.  Well-bred son of Midnight Lute will need to take a step forward in his route debut if he’s going to factor from the outside draw.

Best straight bet

Assuming Myopic’s 8-5 morning-line odds hold up—which admittedly isn’t a certainty—a straight $25 win bet on the favorite looks like a solid play with the chance to yield a fair return on investment.

$25 to win on #3 Myopic

Best exotic bet

We’ll key Myopic on top of two $1 trifectas. Underneath, we’ll spread deep while emphasizing Cozy Bear, Uncharacteristic, Warriors Hero, and Flash of Glory.

$1 Trifecta: 3 with 1,5,9,10 with 1,5,6,8,9,10,11 ($24)
$1 Trifecta: 3 with 1,5,6,8,9,10,11 with 1,5,9,10 ($24)

Best multi-race bet

The Manitoba Derby (Race 7) is followed by a $5,000 maiden claimer (Race 8), in which #1 Midnight Judge (2-1) looms as the primary speed in a largely paceless field. Conditioned by hot trainer Lise Pruitt, Midnight Judge is dropping down from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company and looms as the horse to beat.

We’ll bet Myopic and Midnight Judge in a cold double.

Race 7, $20 Double: 3 with 1

Good luck!