Thursday, January 25, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 3 (Issue #621)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Pegasus slays dragon at Gulfstream Park, the site of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Saturday

THIS AFTERNOON: More than $3.2 million at stake in Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot. First post 11:35 a.m. Will a 20-cent quick-pick ticket take it down?

Who will be named 2017 Horse of the Year? This and other awards will be announced tonight at the annual Eclipse Awards Banquet at Gulfstream Park.

Flamboyant European jockey Frank Dettori to ride Toast of New York in Pegasus

  • Regular “I won big” group workshop at 10:30 a.m. to play Tampa Bay Downs late pick-5 and mega-millions Gulfstream Rainbow 6. Everyone invited.
  • First Player’s Choice handicapping tournament of the year with $1,750 in prize money. New rule: Play $2 win-place- show on 10 horses of your choice between noon and 4:30 p.m. (the Pegasus World Cup race will be included in the contest races). Entry fee $25. Sign up by 9 p.m. tomorrow.
  • Richest race in the world: The $16 million Pegasus World Cup from Gulfstream. Features first five finishers in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, Eclipse award-winning mare Stellar Wind and European jockey legend Frank Dettori riding Toast of New York who finished second to Bayern in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

See Margaret at VLT cage to join the fun (and wealth?)

SUNDAY: Special “I won big”: workshop at 10:30 a.m. to pursue a share in the MANDATORY PAYOFF of Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 which is estimated to grow to . . .

Shares of $20 each are available now from Margaret at the VLT cage. Assiniboia Downs will generously add $5 to each share. Margaret will email race picks to those who wish to receive them.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Yikes! Everywhere this horse goes results in disqualifications. Six DQs in a row!
  • How many gold, silver and bronze medals will Canada win in Winter Olympics?
  • Will "Big" group cap off a profitable January with a big score on Mandatory Payout Day?
  • Aqueduct and Gulfstream must send cheques to ASD, thanks to better bettors
  • In a world of electronic gimmickry, "the wave" still works fine, thank you!

How many Olympic medals will Canada win?
How many gold? How many silver? How many bronze?

Email your answers to

Mark McMorris, who almost died in a snowboarding accident, aims to improve on his single bronze medal at Sochi. (Christian Pondella/Red Bull photo)


What was Canada’s medal count in the previous two Winter Games?

  • Sochi 2014: 10 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze (Canada placed third behind Russian and Norway)
  • Vancouver 2010: 13 gold, 7 silver, 5 bronze (Canada placed first)
Will Canada’s medal count go up because Russia has been banned from the Games over drug doping at Sochi where the country finished first?

Midnight Thursday, Feb. 8. Winner will receive a prime rib buffet for two plus official Canadian Olympic mittens and scarf. In the event of a tie, a draw will be held.
QX104 � Today's Country

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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. 26 is $480.

Pasta station at your service tonight

WHAT DELICIOUS INGREDIENTS WILL YOU REQUEST TONIGHT for your special dish at the Pasta Station during the certified Angus prime rib buffet that also includes other entrees, home-style soup, freshly-baked buns, salad bar, side dishes and multiple desserts including self-serve ice cream. All you can eat $27.95 in the ambience-rich Terrace Dining Room from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.

Disqualifications follow this horse everywhere he goes

Has there ever been a record as quirky as this? Disqualifications—usually of other horses in the race—have been following Jls Crash This Party, a 3-year-old quarter horse gelding, from track to track like a dark cloud. An incredible six consecutive races in which he has been entered have had disqualifications, all at Louisiana tracks.
  • Dec.9 Evangeline Downs: Winner DQed. Jls is elevated to second.
  • Nov. 17 Evangeline: Fourth place finisher DQed. Jls elevated to fourth.
  • Oct. 7 Evangeline: Jls himself is DQed and placed 10th
  • Aug. 18 Fair Grounds: Second-place finisher is DQed. Jls is elevated to fifth.
  • July 1 Delta: Second-place finisher is DQed. Jls is elevated to third.
  • June 2 Delta: Second-place finisher is DQed. Jls is elevated to second.

When stewards see his name in a race, do they automatically press the inquiry button even before the starting gate opens?

"Big" group gathers around cheque displaying January winnings

Going for the gusto

Can "Big" group grab a slice of multi-million-dollar Rainbow?

Revelling in a big profitable start to 2018 (see cheque above), the “I won big” betting group hopes to (a) win the entire multi-million-dollar Rainbow 6 pool on Saturday (nothing wrong with thinking big) and, if not, then (b) hope the pool carries over to Sunday when the whole jackpot MUST BE distributed.

You’re invited to both sessions—Saturday and Sunday--at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Coffee and muffins will be served and the Downs will generously add $5 to each $20 group share.

Saturday’s play: Late pick-5 at Tampa and the Gulfstream Rainbow 6. Sunday: Just the Rainbow 6 which could grow to $10 million.

Although last Saturday’s group ticket had the $180 horse, Our Closure, in the third leg of Tampa’s late pick-5 (see race program page here), the group couldn’t complete the pick-5 which paid $35,000 for a 60-cent ticket. But the group DID have the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream which paid about $900 so, in all, the “Big” group almost broke even on the day, losing just $3.50 on each $20 share.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Of course, I'm excited. If you can't get excited about it, there's no point in getting out of bed.” – European jockey legend Frank Dettori talking about the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Saturday at Gulfstream and his chance to win it riding European invader Toast of New York.


BETTER BETTORS CRUSH AT GULFSTREAM AND AQUEDUCT: Gulfstream and Aqueduct owed Assiniboia Downs substantial money last month as ASD players proved to be better bettors at those two tracks. One player whom The Insider had written about had won $27,000 in a Super Hi 5 wager at Gulfstream. Other better bettor tracks for December were Zia Park, Dover Downs (harness) and Golden Gate. The most challenging tracks? Santa Anita and Mahoning Valley.

So what does Glen Sirkis, ASD’s fan education specialist, have to say about the spreadsheet in last week’s Insider showing Rob MacLennan’s 18.7 per cent ROI on win bets during live racing last year? Sirkis, who studied stats as Rob did, confirmed Rob’s exceptional ROI percentage but found a mistake in a Jackpot Hi 5 listing (which would reduce the total winnings on the Jackpot Hi 5 wager to $476.12, according to Rob, although he’s double-checking other amounts now, too). Sirkis also took issue with The Insider’s contention that players would have earned a certain amount of profit betting other Rob plays posted at the bottom of TV screens. Sirkis correctly observed that the amount available to be won would quickly decline in a pick-4, for example, if players bet Rob’s suggested wheels.

Solenoid breakdown can hold up a race for 15 minues

SEEN IT ALL? PROBABLY NOT THIS: Getting race 7 out of the starting gate at Los Alamitos on Sunday seemed to take forever. A horse broke through the gate and ran off, necessitating the gate being unloaded. Then there was another scratch and, when the gate was finally reloaded, came this announcement: “The starting gate button won’t work. The solenoid needs replacing.” What? So the horses again were unloaded.

The odd thing, though, is that the procedure was fairly quick—not the usual 15 minutes that ASD starter Derek Corbel said is required—so there was uncertainty about what was going on. But there you have it: “Solenoid breakdown”—another reason for a race delay. Corbel said he has a tool kit handy just in case he has to make the repair, something he has done “once or twice” in his 18 years as a starter.

Racing traditionalists have to like the fact that a simple human gesture has survived the infestation of electronics into the racing world: the wave. It’s been around forever and is likely to continue well into the future. The wave I’m talking about is the wave from the clerk of the scales to the steward’s box once a winning jockey’s correct weight has been ascertained on the scale next to the Winner’s Circle. No app needed for that!


Did you know . . . that trainer Ardell Sayler’s brother was killed in a plane crash in the early years of a promising riding career? Bob has those tragic details here.


  • TONIGHT: 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 OPEN FOR LIVE RACING BRUNCHES & BUFFETS. Book early for Mother’s Day as it sells out quickly. Call 204-885-3330 ext. 0. Live racing schedule.
  • Saturday, Feb3: Three Kentucky Derby prep races – Withers at Aqueduct, Holy Bull at Gulfstream, Robert B Lewis at Santa Anita
  • Saturday, Feb. 10: Sam F. Davis Kentucky Derby prep race at Tampa
  • Wednesday, Feb. 14: Valentine's Dinner from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.. $34.95. Candlelit dinner in the beautiful Terrace Dining Room featuring authentic Italian cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Gerardo Tummillo. Call 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Saturday, Feb. 17: Two Derby prep races: El Camino Real at Golden Gate and—beginning the championship series of prep races—the Risen Star at Fair Grounds

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