Thursday, January 18, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 2 (Issue #620)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

(If this column looks askew in your email, click here for an online version.)


How many colts have won the Kentucky Derby WITHOUT HAVING RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD? (More than 60 have tried to accomplish that feat.) (a) 3 (b) 5 (c) 1 (d) 8 (e) none. See answer at bottom of column.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 grows beyond $2.3 million. Will you take it down today? First post 11:35 a.m.
  • On a roll: "Big" betting group nails another biggie. How much? See below.
  • Skeptical about Rob's phenomenal 18.7% ROI as ASD's handicapper? See proof below.
  • Boost profits with new HPIbet link leverage. What? Marshall's got details below.
  • What's so special about jockeys and Wednesdays at the Downs? See historian Bob's blog.
FORMER PRO CURLER HITS ALL FIVE IN 5-ALIVE: Congrats to former professional curling skip Dave Boehmer who picked up $100 in wagering vouchers Friday in the 5-Alive contest, betting $10 show-show-show-place-win in Delta Downs races 3 to 7. He also won $96 for his bets. 5-Alive continues tomorrow and Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
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94.3 The Drive

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Want highlights for the next 17 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? Jets

FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS : Free VLT tournaments starting at 8 p.m. 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.

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. The Royal Flush progressive jackpot for Friday, Jan. 19 is $275.

Skeptics want proof: HERE IT IS

Most public handicappers have an ROI of about -15%; Rob's is +18.7%

Every race pick and payoff are exhaustively documented

“Outstanding,” said a big bettor on the West Coast. “I’m skeptical,” said a local semi-professional handicapper.

That was the extreme of opinions after last week’s story about ASD paddock host Rob MacLennan’s phenomenal 18.7 per cent return on investment if you bet his top picks in all 343 live races last year. The success rate of the average public handicapper is MINUS 15 per cent.

A $10 win wager on each race would have earned you $638.50. Furthermore, you would have made $5,922 by betting his plays posted at the bottom of the TV screens for each race and $1,242 if you bet all his Jackpot Hi 5 suggested wheels.

(These are plays Rob emailed each afternoon to the ASD receptionist for inclusion in each night’s TV broadcast).
NOTE: To expand the tiny text in the spreadsheet, scroll to the bottom of the spreadsheet and click multiple times on the plus (+) sign.

Can you imagine the amount of work that went into that exceedingly exhaustive spreadsheet? It’s a good thing Rob likes statistics, having studied the subject at university--and that’s why you’re unlikely to see any similar posting by any other public handicapper.

Ka-ching #2
"Big" group followed up last week's $9,553 pick-5 win with this biggie

Saturday drama: "Big" players hold breath . . .

. . . as Tampa stewards decide whether to take down their $11,600 horse

For the second Saturday in a row, the “I won big” betting group hit a big pick-5 at Tampa Bay ($11,600) and for the second Saturday in a row the winner of the last leg was a horse with the fastest closing kick in a turf race.

But this win didn’t come without a bit of drama. Stewards at Tampa Bay Downs reviewed the stretch drive over and over again to determine whether the group’s winner in the final leg of its pick-5 should be set down for interfering with the third-place finisher. It seemed like an eternity before group members could breathe (and cheer) again when the objection was overruled. Each $20 share was worth $304.

Calculating closing fractions on turf produced the big bucks

If you don’t know the “closing kick” rules in turf route races, here they are:
  1. For mile turf races, use 24 seconds as your standard as you calculate how fast the horse closes from the three-quarter pole to the wire.
  2. For 1 1/16th mile races, use 30 seconds to make the same calculation.
  3. For 1 1/8th mile races, use 36 seconds.
When you’ve made the calculation, add or subtract one-fifth of a second for each length the horse gains or loses from the three-quarter pole to the end of the race.

Like anything else, it takes practise to fly through a turf race analyzing turf kicks. But if that helped the “I won big” group win $21,000, isn’t it worth taking the trouble? The group actually had a shot at winning the entire pool of $51,000. That horse closed late and finished fifth.

*       *       *  

“BIG” GROUP KEEPS RECORD PERFECT WITH A THIRD WIN ON HOLIDAY MONDAY: It was nothing to get really excited about—the “I won big” group won $2,000 primarily on Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday. The best thing was that it kept the group’s 2018 winning streak intact. Each $20 share was worth $45.50. So, in the three workshops this year, participants have collected almost $600 for their $20 shares. Some had multiple shares.

The group will aim for its fourth winning session in a row this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza and, as usual, you’re invited. Discussion will include the late pick-5 at Tampa and Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 if the jackpot hasn’t been won.
YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Sipmychardonnaynae. Gotta love the clever “naynae” in the name of this 4-year-old filly racing at Gulfstream.


“INSIDE STRAIGHT” LEAVES THE GATE THIS TIME – AND WINS! Whatever caused 2016 Manitoba Derby winner Inside Straight to refuse to leave the starting gate in a race at Belmont Park last July wasn’t evident in his first 2018 race, a $75,000 mile stakes on the turf Saturday at Turf Paradise. Trained by Robertino Diodoro and still owned by sugar beet grower Randy Howg of Alberta, the 5-year-old gelding tracked the early leaders under jockey Glenn Corbell and took over late to win by a head, paying $11. High Security at 17-1 was second and 2-1 favourite Way Striking third.

Gorgeous crystal Pegasus World Cup trophy designed by Mark Raynes Roberts

GULFSTREAM INCREASES PEGASUS GRANDSTAND PRICE TO $180: With about 17,000 attending the inaugural Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream last year, the track has increased grandstand admission this year to $180, from $165. Other sample prices (all U.S.): Ten Palms restaurant $550 for a seat, The Aficionado carrels for serious players $150, The Fountain Club (“an intimate outdoor dining area with the best view of the walking ring”) $750 per seat. Last year’s race featured Arrogate vs California Chrome. Without a similar thriller, will the day still produce big bucks for the Stronach Group? Time will tell. The $16 million 12-horse race, likely favouring Breeders’ Cup winner Gun Runner, will be held a week from this Saturday. The first ASD horseplayer tournament of the year with $1,750 at stake is also on tap that day.

Harness aficionados have likely noticed the earlier post time for harness racing at Woodbine: 6:10 p.m. This is the fourth-last month of harness racing at Woodbine; races will move permanently to Mohawk in Campbellville WEST of Toronto (thanks to a sharp-eyed reader who pointed out my directionally-challenged error) in April. Woodbine races Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:10 p.m. A 20-cent pick-5 is on the first five races.

Winnipeg artist Jordan Van Sewell with his horse heads on the Red River (Winnipeg Free Press photo)

YES, THOSE ARE HORSE HEADS SEEMINGLY PEEKING OUT OF THE RED RIVER ICE in Winnipeg. But, never fear, they are only painted plywood cut-outs of horse heads courtesy of Winnipeg artist Jordan Van Sewell who created the fantasy based on movie-maker Guy Maddin’s 2007 mockumentary My Winnipeg which has horses galloping into the river to escape a race track fire and freezing in the water up to their necks. Want to see the scene up-close? Drive down Sutherland Avenue off Main Street until you get to Annabella Street. Then turn left and drive to the end of the street which ends at the Red River. Read the Winnipeg Free Press full-page story here.

Former Winnipeg trainer Rob Atras who now trains for Robertino Diodoro did not go to Oaklawn Park as usual this year. Instead, he continues training at Aqueduct in New York where his winning percentage has been about 23 per cent.

Tomorrow, Jan. 19, is, on average, the COLDEST DAY OF WINTER. But look at the prediction for Winnipeg: 6C (or 43F), which could very well be the WARMEST day of winter. Topsy turvy for sure – but we’ll take it!

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I use the new HPIbet "Links" functionality in My Stable?

A. HPIbet just launched an enhancement to their recently released My Stable module called “Links”. This new functionality allows you to create a Link alert based on a Jockey/Driver, Horse or Trainer combination.

Using the new system, you can now create a Link between:
  1. Jockey/Driver & Horse
  2. Horse & Trainer
  3. Trainer & Jockey/Driver
To check it out, simply go to the My Stable Page, accessible under the MY HPIBET menu along the top of the screen, and choose the Links tab to begin. To create a link, type in the name of a horse, rider or trainer in the first box and select from the options provided (view image here). Then do the same for the second box as well and click the green + button to create the link. Once you’ve created a Link, you can then choose to be alerted when that Link is entered in a race, on the race day and the results of that race (view image here). This is a great way to ensure that you’ll always be notified when your favourite jockey/trainer combination is entered to race.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


Did you know . . . that only five jockeys have ridden six or more winners on a single race card at the Downs—and all but one did it on a Wednesday? Jimmy Sorenson won seven on a nine-race card (June 1976), Bobby Stewart won six races on an eight-race card (June 1971), Salvador Rodriquez won six on a nine-race card (May 1983), Tommy Adkins won six times from nine races (August 1984) and Alan Cuthbertson won six out of eight races in July 2008, the only time the feat wasn’t accomplished on a Wednesday. So what day was it? Read Bob’s fascinating flashback feature here.

Who will be named Horse of the Year next Thursday?


  • Thursday, Jan. 25:  Horse of the Year revealed at Eclipse Awards banquet at Gulfstream
  • Saturday, Jan. 27:  First Player’s Choice tourney of the year; $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream
  • Thursday, Feb. 1: Bookings begin for LIVE RACING -- Mother’s Day brunch and dinner and beyond.
  • Saturday, Feb. 3: Three Kentucky Derby prep races – Withers at Aqueduct, Holy Bull at Gulfstream, R B Lewis at Santa Anita
ANSWER TO DERBY QUIZ: (c) Only one horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby has won the Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old and that horse was Apollo in 1882. Because no horse has done it since then, that failure has been called The Curse of Apollo. The closest finisher was Bodemeister who ran second in 2012.

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