Recent Posts by TheBigHorse

The Speers. A Modern Day History. Assiniboia Downs Resurrects RJ’s Race.

[caption id="attachment_10332" align="aligncenter" width="2948"] Cosmic Tip. Speers Handicap 1966. Harry Jeffrey presenting to trainer Gary Danelson. Gary's father holding the horse. Roger Jensen in he saddle.[/caption] by Bob Gates When we left off last week's blog story, horse racing's future in Winnipeg looked bleak.  R. J. Speers had known for some time that the Polo…
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The Early History of the R. J. Speers Stakes. 1926-1956

[caption id="attachment_10277" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Fort Garry wins the 1948 R. J. Speers at Polo Park.[/caption] by Bob Gates On Saturday, June 29 "The Speers" celebrates its 60th running, but what most don’t realize is that there is more than 90 years of history behind the race that honours Robert James Speers, the "Father of Thoroughbred…
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Yorkshire Lad CCR. $20 Wager Led to a Life-Long Career in Horse Racing.

[caption id="attachment_10218" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] L to R, Lou Davies, Jim Speers and Dr. Norm Anderson at 1st Horsemen's Ball, circa 1951.[/caption] by Bob Gates Following the death of one of the most popular and respected men in the history of thoroughbred racing in Western Canada in July 1977, Winnipeg Free Press sports editor Maurice Smith…
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A Man and his Horse: The Tale of “Slim” Keith & Contributor

[caption id="attachment_10163" align="alignright" width="1000"] 1941 Western Canada Handicap. Contributor (#3) finishes second on the rail.[/caption] by Bob Gates "Someday, in the future, when a historian begins to record the story of western racing there will be a chapter for gallant little Joey - the Duchess of York - for Help Yourself and Yorkie Prince -…
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The Big Man from South Dakota is Gone

[caption id="attachment_10101" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Trainer Ardell Sayler with his Champion Balooga Bull.[/caption] by Bob Gates Sunday, May 26 was a typical afternoon on the backside at Assiniboia Downs, after all, horses don’t do weekends. But this Sunday, Death came calling, and when he left the Sayler family was stricken with grief. Ardell Sayler had been…
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From cheap punch line to the pride of Canada

[caption id="attachment_10053" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Former racehorse Traffic Sub as Branch County with Michel Vaillancourt aboard winning a Silver Medal at the 1976 Olympics.[/caption] by Bob Gates "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust…" A catchy start for telling the tale of a thoroughbred, but not so much if it's the…
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Happy 50th Barbara Jo!

[caption id="attachment_9936" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] 50 years ago today. Barbara Jo Rubin becomes first female jockey to ride, and the first female to win, at Assiniboia Downs.[/caption] by Bob Gates On May 16, 1969, 19-year-old, Barbara Jo Rubin became the first female jockey to win a race at Assiniboia Downs. It's hard to believe, but a…
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62nd Season at Assiniboia Downs in the starting gate! Milestones and Memories.

[caption id="attachment_9884" align="alignright" width="1024"] Eye Catching wins 89th running of Winnipeg Futurity in 2018 for trainer Ardell Sayler. Chavion Chow up. Historical 90th running in 2019![/caption] by Bob Gates The crazy Kentucky Derby is in the books for another year, so you know live racing at Assiniboia Downs can't be far off. Season #62 at…
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Horses of the Great War. Lest We Forget.

by Bob Gates November 11, 2018 marks the centenary of "The Great War." Whether you know it as Armistice Day, Veterans Day, Remembrance Day or by its informal name, "Poppy Day," it is one of the most revered days on the calendar. The first of the world wars only came to be known as World…
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