Are any of these among your favs?
My 10 favourite headlines of 2016
Isle of Man
1. ASD sets $1.1 million betting record with help of Isle players
The bee gees were born there and the most famous motorcycle race in the world is held there but Insider readers came to know the Isle of Man, a tiny island equidistant from England and Ireland (measuring just 52 km x 22 km), as the hub for race players who love to pour money into ASD’s Jackpot Hi-5 pool. It was Isle of Man wagers of more than $500,000 on Manitoba Derby Day that gave ASD its biggest betting day ever: $1.1 million. Its previous high was $714,000 in September,1988. Read more here.
Voice of Jets cashes in on Dink
2. Dink of the Year raises eyebrows and wins hearts
Who says the horse-naming registrar in Kentucky doesn’t have a sense of humour? Dink of the Year was deemed perfectly acceptable for the name of an Iowa-bred filly that caught the attention of ASD horse owners Elton Dickey and Lori Mann. Despite the 2-year-old’s spotty record (one win in nine starts primarily at Prairie Meadows) they bought her. And, as (good) luck would have it, a tenacious ride by leading jockey Christopher Husbands had Dink digging in to win her final start of 2016 by a nose, making her fans—many who bet her simply because of her name—happy. Including the TSN radio voice of the Winnipeg Jets, Paul Edmonds, who tweeted it was “the best name ever” – and cashed in. Read more here.
3. Veggie farmer turns quick-picks into major moola ($13,000)
When Al Siwak wasn’t picking cucumbers, tomatoes and corn from his veggie plot in Winnipeg Beach to sell at his roadside stand he was at the Downs making 20-cent quick-pick plays on the Jackpot Hi 5. And, lo and behold, $4 worth—20 tickets in all—he bought on Saturday, Sept. 3 gave him $13,011 (see picture at top of column) because one of the combinations had the top five finishers in the correct order. The next day Siwak was looking for a tractor (not to be confused with a triactor). Read more here.
New commish likes to do this
4. New racing commission chair is a shark-diving speedskater. Whaa?
After the two previous chairs of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission were lawyers—I mean, what can you write about lawyers?—it was fun having the newest appointment, Brett Arnason, be a world-class speedskater and an adventurer who likes to go face-to-face with killer sharks. Whaa? And how satisfying was it for ASD management to hear the new chair say: “The horse racing industry provides many jobs, it needs to be taken care of, it needs to survive.” Amen. Read more here.
5. Bargain basement filly lifts racing club from gloom to boom
A career-ending injury to the first horse they purchased in the spring left the 39 members of the newly-formed Assiniboia Racing Club on the ropes with little remaining of their $500 shares. But then along came a bargain basement buy at Woodbine -- a filly by the name of Spanish Fowl who had looked terrible in her races at Woodbine but had a sudden form-reversal at the Downs as if a switch were flipped in the 2-year-old’s brain. In what seemed like a Hollywood ending, a legion of horse owners came rushing into the Winner’s Circle to celebrate the filly’s nine-length maiden victory in her last start of the meet. Read more here.
6. Buff lives up to his name and mows down foes
It had worked for Jon’s Golden Run. And it had worked for Gold N Sochi. So why shouldn’t it work for Buff? And it did. Buff became the third horse to live up to a name linked to sports prominence. Maybe that’s the secret to juvenile success. Buff, who was named, of course, for popular Winnipeg Jet defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, vanquished a field of 2-year-olds at odds of 14/1 in his second lifetime start. You may recall Jon’s Golden Run, named for Olympic gold medalist Jon Montgomery, had done that after the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. And Gold N Sochi, named for Winnipeg’s 2014 Olympic gold medal curlers in Sochi, hasn’t finished worse than second in five starts. So, breeders, what you gonna name your next foal?
Rob MacLennan: Impressive
7. ‘Capper Rob watches replays in 8 languages to crush ‘Cup
Have you ever watched a horse race broadcast in French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Arabic or German? Doing so will give you only an inkling of what ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan went through to find you winners in Dubai World Cup races last March. In fact, he watched 106 replays in eight languages. And the result? If you simply had wheeled his top four finishers in the pick-3s, investing a total of $384, your profit would have been $1,869. If Rob’s efforts and results didn’t impress you, nothing will. Will you be paying attention when this year’s World Cup races roll around in less than three months?
8. The Queen hits up Woodbine for $200,000
If The Queen were at her computer at Buckingham Palace on the Sunday night, Oct. 16, that her horse, Dartmouth, ran in the $1 million Canadian International Stakes, she was cheering for him to hold on and not let Erupt pass him as he did. But picking up $200,000 in Canadian money for finishing second was no slim pickings even for a monarch. Wouldn’t it be nice if she visited Canada this year--its 150th anniversary--on the same day as her horse is entered?
Arrogate runs down Chrome
9. Cal Chrome and Beholder meet their match; thanks, Mike!
It was in the tea leaves. In the cup of DRF clocker Mike Welsch. For anyone who paid attention prior to last fall’s Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita Welsch gave huge chances to Arrogate and Beholder in their respective races. So it came as little surprise to his believers that Arrogate caught California Chrome in the Classic for Chrome’s only loss of the year and Beholder ran down the unbeaten Songbird in the Distaff. The Beholder/Arrogate double paid $28.40. Is there any doubt Welsch is the OBFH? (Official Best Friend of Handicappers).
10. Aircraft fueling manager hoses retired fireman to win trip
A place parlay contest during live racing to win a Mexican vacation seemed to be won almost before it started. Surely, many thought, Katie McKenzie’s $68.25 for a $5 place parlay on three races in May would never be surpassed. Oh yeah? The fun was just beginning. Al Ilott, an intensely competitive aircraft fueling manager, struck with $129 in early June. Then retired fireman Dennis Lloyd shot back with $166 a few days later. While Ilott stewed on the sidelines itching to make a new bid, Donn Jenkins came close with $160. Then came the hammer. On Saturday, Aug. 6, Ilott caught place prices of $16.00, $13.20 and $4.30 for a breathtaking $567.60. “Uncle!” cried his would-be pursuers. Will the popular game resume this season with a tweak or two to make it more competitive? Stay tuned.