Ashton Kucher's 2000 comedy film was set in the '60s when he "lost" his car in the Downs' parking lot? Uhm… No!
But, in the early days of Assiniboia Downs there were always large crowds and that meant cars, hundreds of cars, and a parking lot that was busting at the seams. At the end of a long day of racing finding your vehicle was a challenge.
Back in the day, it wasn't unusual for the parking lot to fill. It was 50 cents back then to park on the black-topped lot. However, you could park for free on the balance of the lot, if you didn't mind the walk, and parking on gravel. But finding your wheels amidst row after row of vehicles was no easy task!
In 1966 the Downs conceived a plan to erect colourful parking lot markers on the paved portion of the lot. These stanchions were labeled A to L with each featuring the name of nationally known champions of the past, with a few prominent local performers thrown in for good measure.
How many of these blue-bloods do you recall?
A - Already Dia: Multiple stakes winner that raced at the Downs in the early '60s and held the track record for a mile from 1964 to 1972.
B - Bold Ruler: Graded stakes winner and hall of famer that was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-year-old Colt in 1957 and champion sprinter in 1958.
C - Count Fleet: Multiple graded stakes winner and hall of famer that won the Triple Crown in 1943.
D - Determine: Graded stakes winner that won the 1954 Kentucky Derby.
E - Equipoise: Multiple stakes winner and hall of famer that was Champion 2-year-old Colt in 1930 and Horse of the Year in 1932 and 1933.
F - Flyalong: Multiple stakes winner that won the 1965 Manitoba Derby and was second in the Queen's Plate.
G - Gunbow: Multiple stakes winner and hall of famer that was one of America's top racehorses in 1964 and 1965. He was famous for his rivalry with the mighty Kelso.
H - Hill Rise: Multiple graded stakes that finished second to Northern Dancer in the 1964 Kentucky Derby and third to the Dancer in the Preakness.
I - Intent: Multiple stakes winner and grandson of the legendary Man O' War that posted a record of 8-4-6 in 21 lifetime starts and sired the champion sprinter Intentionally.
J - Joey: A multiple stakes winner, the "Toytown Express" raced on the old western prairie circuit from 1932 to 1941. He won the 1932 Winnipeg Futurity and the Western Canada Handicap in 1935 and 1940.
K - Kelso: Multiple stakes winner and hall of famer, was Champion 3-year-old Colt in 1960, Horse of the Year in 1960, 61, 62, 63, and 64, and Champion Older Horse in 1961, 62, 63 and 64.
L - Langcrest: Multiple stakes winner that won the 1964 Manitoba Derby and finished second in the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes.
What better way to brighten the parking lot, remember champions of days gone by, and help patrons find their ride home. Sadly, Father Time and the elements have long since erased all evidence of these historical monuments.
Imagine the conversation.
"Ashton, we'd get home a lot faster if you remembered where we parked!"
"We didn't park by Already Dia?"
"No, we were way down there at Joey. Weren't we?"
"Dude, where's my car?"