Thursday, January 9, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15 No. 1 (Issue #721)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

and, remember, if you don’t receive The Insider in the usual way,
you can always find it--and past columns--at


10 predictions for 2020
  1. You’ll complain that you lose more photo finishes than you win
  2. You’ll look for a sympathetic ear when you just miss a big payoff
  3. The sympathy you get seems insincere but you’ll take whatever you can get
  4. You’ll get into an argument about a stewards’ disqualification
  5. You’ll change your mind on a bet at the last moment only to watch your initial pick win
  6. You’ll claim to see something amiss in a race but nobody else will have seen what you saw
  7. You’ll boast about cashing a big ticket without admitting you bet a wrong number and it came in
  8. You’ll claim you did a lot of investigative work on a race but really your pick was just a lucky guess
  9. You won’t get your wager in on time so you root for other horses, only to watch your horses come in, probably at good odds
  10. You’ll have a very, very good day and look up to the heavens, whispering the words: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Bullet briefs . . .

  • How is Escape Clause's sister doing after injuring herself during lightning storm?
  • Manitoba native scores a training hat trick in the big leagues in New York
  • How to take advantage of lazy players
  • What are the best podcasts to watch to make 2020 a banner year?
  • What teams are going to win weekend NFL games?
“3 FOR THE MONEY” JACKPOT WON; RETURNS TO $50: Congrats to horse owner and knitter extraordinaire Anne Champion who won $150 in wagering vouchers when she picked the winners of races 2 to 4 at Santa Anita in the “3 for the money” game Saturday and had her entry drawn from among five correct entries. This Saturday, with $50 at stake, “3 for the money” will comprise the first three legs of the late pick-4 at Gulfstream where there is a giant Rainbow pick-6 carryover likely.

with a draw in the Race Book at 4 p.m. for a chance to pick the ace of diamonds from 44 cards to win $1,000 or pick one of the two jokers for $100 (the other cards are $25). Tickets are $5, three for $10, available until 3:30 p.m. and you’re helping the Winners Foundation.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in January? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? NFL, Jets

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8 PM: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge Friday and Saturday. Get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins. Top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.

POOL TABLES, ELECTRONIC DARTS, TAP TV TRIVIA: These are the new games added to Clubhouse fun on the plaza. Pool games are just $1 (insert coins). Tap TV Trivia: Download the free app on your phone to answer 12 questions every 20 minutes to see if you’re better and faster than others. NOTE: FRIDAY & SATURDAY ARE TRIVIA NIGHTS WITH PRIZES! Starts at 7 p.m.


GREEDY CORNER: See all jackpot carryovers here.

"Doing well"
Filly injured in a lightning storm in October is feeling a saddle for the first time

Breeder Cam Ziprick with Escape Clause’s sister in Russell, Man. before she was taken to Kentucky where she was injured. (Sherisse Ziprick photo)
While Manitoba’s greatest race horse of all time, Escape Clause, gets ready for motherhood in Japan, her baby sister in Manitoba has recovered from a life-threatening injury suffered in a lightning storm in Kentucky and is getting the feel of a saddle for the first time.

“Filly is doing well,”
Sherisse Ziprick of Ziprick Thoroughbred breeding in Russell, Man. told The Insider after visiting her in the stable of Barry Arnason in Rosser, Man. “She’s started under saddle and doing well. Just deciding on her name.”

That means the filly, who turned 2 on Jan. 1, has come a long way from her experience in Lexington, Kentucky in October when she required more than 100 stitches to close a huge gaping wound under a foreleg when she tried to leap a fence when lighting hit a tree at night at her Fasig-Tipton enclosure. She had been taken there from Manitoba to be sold in a yearling sale.

Of course, she didn’t go to auction and it was touch and go on whether she would ever race and, if so, whether she would take after her sister, Escape Clause, now 6, who earned more than $1 million before being sold in the fall to Japan breeders for $300,000 U.S.

The name she is given will be interesting in itself, given her sister’s accomplishments and the drama she has faced in her young life. Stay tuned.

BETTING: Be the best you can be in 2020

from an intrepid handicapper and tourney player
Rated “A” . . .

Rated “B” . . .

“For podcasts, I usually listen to the In the Money podcast and TimeformUS pacecast. Sometimes I listen to DRF Out of the Gate and HRRN, especially the weekend preview and Steve Byk. I listen to most of those to hear how opinions are generated and what types of ideas others are using. I listen to the TimeformUS pacecast because they discuss figures and how they made the figures.” 

Rob Atras and wife Brittney
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Oakbank, Man. native Rob Atras who scored his first hat trick as a trainer in the big leagues of New York. Fans were cheering in the Race Book Saturday (“C’mon, Robby, c’mon Robby!”) as his horses won a third of the nine races at Aqueduct, all three of the races he entered.
  • Race 2: Heavy Roller, a $50K claimer, paid $6.10
  • Race 4: Inscom, a starter allowance race, paid $10.40
  • Race 5: O Shea Can U See, an $8K claimer, paid $5.50
His horses earned $78,378 U.S. of which Atras would receive 10 per cent or $7,837. Those wins boosted his stats to 18-4-3-2 at Aqueduct, seventh in the trainer standings. Rob, 35, began his training career at ASD in 2009, then worked primarily as an assistant to Robertino Diodoro from 2015 to 2018 before striking out totally on his own a year ago with his new wife, Brittney. His horses earned more than $1.8 million in 2019.
POCKET PLENTY IN '20: How to take advantage of lazy players

You gotta love lazy players. They’re the reason some payoffs are way bigger than they should be.

Take Saturday’s Rainbow pick-6 at Gulfstream. The “I won bigger” betting group cashed a 20-cent ticket that paid $1,503 because the sequence included a horse that not many players took because it required them to compute closing fractions in a turf race. That horse, #12 She’s My Type, in the ninth race, went off at 9-1 despite being a “jump off the page” horse for those who went to the trouble of computing closing fractions. Its closing kick of 22 4/5 seconds was lowest in the field; the standard is 24 seconds. (See program page here.)

If you resolved to be a better horseplayer in 2020, here’s how to get that edge in turf route races: Compute how quickly a horse runs from the six-furlong time to the end of the race. When a horse gains lengths, subtract one-fifth of a second for each length gained. If a horse loses ground, add one-fifth of a second for each length. The standard is 24 seconds for a mile, 30 seconds for 1 1/16-miles and 36 seconds for 1 1/8-miles.

It will be slow-going at first but soon you’ll be able to calculate the times at a glance. Then again, you’ll make other players happier if you don’t.

2020 IS OFF TO A MODESTLY GOOD START FOR “I WON BIGGER” GROUP: At least 2020 started on a positive note for the “I won bigger” betting group. Participants received more than $36 for each $20 share at last Saturday’s workshop and it could have been hundreds more if two nose finishes had been reversed in Gulfstream’s Rainbow pick-6. The group will concentrate on the Rainbow because of the giant carryover but also will look at the late pick-5 at Tampa. That’s 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the Clubhouse plaza. You’re invited. ‘Twould be nice to get on a roll for 2020.

Despite fires everywhere, racing continues in Australia
RACING CONTINUES IN AUSTRALIA DESPITE FIRES: Because there are 360 thoroughbred tracks in Australia, racing is finding a way to continue despite bushfires everywhere in the country. When a meet needs to be cancelled because of the fires, jockeys and horsemen generally receive some compensation. Simulcast racing from Australia continues nightly in North America with three tracks in play.

in my living room since getting a stationary bike a couple years ago, a great investment. What are you doing to stay sharp and healthy? My motivator is visualizing my body repairing itself with nice round cells rather than clumpy, misshapen cells prone to disease if I don’t work out.
SAVVY NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Divisional round
  • 49ers over Vikings (Saturday afternoon): The Vikings pulled what some considered to be the upset of the wild card round. The defense played better than most anticipated and the offense did just enough. But facing the 49ers will be a whole different ball game. The 49ers are expected to have two key parts of their defense back: pass rusher Dee Ford and linebacker Kwon Alexander. The Vikings playoff run will end here.
  • Ravens over Titans (Saturday night): It’s been three weeks since we last saw Ravens QB Lamar Jackson play. He should be well rested and ready to get his first career playoff win against the Titans who accomplished the feat of knocking off defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. This young man turned 23 this week, it’s amazing how dynamic he is already. The bigger question is whether RB Mark Ingram will play after suffering a calf injury in week 16.
  • Chiefs over Texans (Sunday afternoon): The Texans could easily have lost last week to Buffalo. It was 16-0 for Buffalo when suddenly the wheels came off and Texans QB Deshaun Waston was escaping the grasp of two defenders and chucking the ball downfield in overtime to help set up the game winning field goal. The Chiefs defense has been playing much better of late which should make it easier for Pat Mahomes and the offense to do their thing.
  • Packers over Seahawks (Sunday evening): This should be the game of the week. Seattle struggled to beat an Eagles team that lost Carson Wentz early in the first quarter. Even with 40-year-old Josh McCown taking over, the Eagles were never really out of it until the very end. Now the Hawks will travel to Lambeau Field to face Aaron Rodgers. It might be one of those cases where the Packers’ 13-3 record isn’t an indication of how average a team they actually are.
MY $5 PROLINE TICKET (worth $41.65): 49ers over Vikings ($1.45), Ravens over Titans ($1.30), Chiefs over Texans ($1.30), Packers/Hawks tie ($3.40)

PICKS RECORD: Last week: 0 correct out of 4 (Yikes!). Overall (since week 3): 34 correct out of 60

NOTE: In exceptional cases (e.g. injuries to key personnel), these picks may be amended in the online version of The Insider early Saturday afternoon. Go there ( for updates.

THE BEST OF BOB: Local legend is grandson of Northern Dancer

Did you know that Smoky Cinder is a grandson of the great Northern Dancer? Bob's story from July 2013 gives you a glimpse of Smoky's time with Ed and Joyce Pawluk out at Woodlands Manitoba. Click here for more on Smoky. (First published in July 2013)
First handicapping tourney of 2020 and Pegasus World Cup will kick off the Year of the Rat
  • Saturday, Jan. 18: Kentucky Derby prep race: Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. Sunshine Millions stakes at Gulfstream and Santa Anita
  • Monday, Jan. 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S.; major tracks are racing.
  • Friday, Jan. 24: Oaklawn Park meet begins 1:30 p.m. Kentucky Derby prep race: Smarty Jones.
  • Saturday, Jan. 25: Year of the Rat begins on the Chinese calendar. Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream. First Player’s Choice handicapping tourney of the year with A TRIP TO VEGAS as the ultimate prize for Handicapper of the Year.
EVERY THURSDAY: Dig into super-tender certified Angus prime rib buffets with soup, salad bar, pasta station and signature Bourbon Bacon Brownie dessert every Thursday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. in the ambience-rich Terrace Dining Room. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.

Bookings for Mother’s Day brunch and dinner open Monday, Feb. 3. It’s the first day of live racing on Mother's Day. See schedule here.

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