Thursday, January 28, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 3 (Issue #774)

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

ASSINIBOIA DOWNS REMAINS CLOSED AS COVID RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE but online wagering fun continues as does emailing of programs, home delivery and pick-ups by ASD staff. See bottom of column.



New HPI rewards and bonus program begins Monday

Do you have your new HPIbet account card that replaces the previous card and the ASD Player Rewards card? Assiniboia Downs has joined the HPI rewards and bonus program and it begins this Monday, Feb. 1. See details here.

NOTE: NEXT MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY ARE DOUBLE BONUS DAYS! Because ASD is transitioning from its Thursday to Wednesday bonus week to HPI’s Monday to Sunday bonus week, players are eligible to receive TWICE the bonuses next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday--Feb. 1, 2, 3--because those days are part of both the ASD and HPI bonus week.
  • Current ASD bonus program - Thursday, Jan. 28 – Wednesday, Feb. 3 (deposits on Friday, Feb. 5)
  • New bonus program – Monday, Feb. 1 – Sunday, Feb. 7 (deposits made Wednesday, Feb. 10 by 5 p.m.)


Horse of the Year to be revealed tonight

Who will be named Horse of the Year tonight? Authentic, Monomoy Girl or Improbable? That is just one of 17 equine and human awards that will be announced at the 50th annual Eclipse Awards streamed live on and many other platforms starting at 7 p.m. CT.

It will be a virtual broadcast anchored by NBC sports’ Kenny Rice from Lexington, KY and will include drop-ins at various locations including Santa Anita with former jockey Gary Stevens. See the 17 categories here.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who were the top plays in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool?
  • Here's a big-bucks strategy for playing pick-3s
  • What Baffert horse should you watch for in Saturday's Derby prep races?
  • The good, the bad and the ugly: TravyFootball recaps memorable NFL plays
  • How did caveman tickets fare in the first two weeks?
IT’S TIME TO GEAR UP FOR THE FIRST ASD TOURNEY OF THE YEAR this Saturday online. Sign up by 5 p.m. tomorrow. See more below.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in January? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Download 2021 LIVE RACING SCHEDULE here.


Will your mug fill one of these spaces this year?

Challenge yourself Saturday
Play in ASD's first 2021 Player's Choice tourney for cash and bragging rights

Ramp up your race-playing fun this Saturday by entering the first Player’s Choice handicapping tournament of the year by 5 p.m. tomorrow. Same rules as last year:
  • Bet 10 horses $2 win/place/show until 10 p.m.--thoroughbreds, quarter horses or standardbreds.
  • If you’re among the top five players with the highest bankroll you share in $1,750 in prize money ($1,000, $400, $200, $100, $50). The winner also receives a trophy.
  • Longshot plays are capped at $42 win, $22 place and $12 show.
  • Earn points toward Handicapper of the Year who will be awarded a trip for two to Las Vegas to compete in the Horse Player World Series for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your seven best bankrolls out of 12 tournaments will count toward the HOTY competition.
  • Make plays in your HPIbet account.
  • Enter quickly and easily by calling the mutuel desk at 204-885-3330 ext. 225 or emailing Sheri at See full rules here.
ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Two prep races Saturday

Will Spielberg do Baffert proud?

Races Saturday in the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita; Holy Bull goes at Gulfstream

Bob Baffert’s Spielberg won the Los Alamitos Futurity in December by a mere nose with an Equibase speed figure of 99. But the horse he beat, The Great One, roared back to post 108 in demolishing a field of maidens by 14 lengths.

So should we now expect Spielberg to show vast improvement as well in this Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis prep race at Santa Anita? Trainer Baffert hopes so. It would add to his Derby hopeful list that is topped by Life Is Good who was favoured in last weekend’s Future Wager pool to win the Kentucky Derby (see below).

The Robert B. Lewis is one of Santa Anita’s oldest stakes races, inaugurated in 1935 as the Santa Catalina Handicap. It was changed in 2007 to the Robert B. Lewis to honour a prominent horse owner. It’s a prep race for the Santa Anita Derby on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

Meanwhile, the Holy Bull headlines six stakes races at Gulfstream. The race, which is a prep for the Florida Derby, is named for Holy Bull who, from 1993-1995 won 13 of 16 races, the majority of which were Grade 1 stakes.

*       *       *
Future wagers put Life Is Good, Essential Quality on top
Senor Buscador and Medina Spirit offer great longshot value

Players predict Life Is Good will win Kentucky Derby
It was no surprise in this past weekend’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool that Life Is Good at 7-1 and Essential Quality at 8-1 were the top single-horse wagering choices among 24 possibilities. Life Is Good leads all Derby prep horses with a 112 Equibase speed figure. Essential Quality won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

There was great value to be had on Senor Buscador, the eye-popping last-to-first finisher in the Springboard Mile. His odds settled at 34-1. And Medina Spirit who finished a closing second to Life Is Good in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita will reward his backers with $50 if he wins the Kentucky Derby.

$2 EXACTOR PRICES: Life Is Good to Essential Quality would pay $73, the reverse is $78. An exactor of Life Is Good to Senor Buscador would pay $616 and to Medina Spirit $353. Essential Quality to Senor Buscador would pay $628 and to Medina Spirit $592.

Obviously, lots of good value there. Who did you lean to? Your next chance to future-wager will be on Valentine’s weekend Feb. 12 to 14.

WIN A TON IN '21: Here's a strategy for collecting big in pick-3s

You already know that some races are more chaotic than others. A pick-3 strategy for collecting big bucks is playing ALL horses in a potentially chaotic race with logical horses in the other two legs. Here are my race recommendations for your ALL race:
  • Bottom claimers for non-winners of two races. Play “all” only when there are no class droppers in the field. Class droppers go off at low odds and often win.
  • Claiming races for 3-year-olds. Yes, anything can happen in this condition as well.
  • Races with many first-time starters
So the idea is, you take two or three horses in the other two legs with ALL in one of those races. Your outlay of around $50 can result in your collecting many hundreds of dollars.

  • Week 1 (Saturday, Jan. 16): Two tickets costing a total of $1,537 were bet on the pick-5 and pick-6 at Tampa. The pick-5 ticket won, returning $1,788. Profit: $251.
  • Week 2 (Saturday, Jan. 23): A total of $1,620 was wagered on similar bets at Tampa and neither won. It was one of the toughest cards of the year. In fact, no winning tickets were sold on the pick-5. And the pick-6 had no ticket even with five of six winners. Loss: $1,620.
SPOT PLAYS: Nothing special to report. Group play continues each Saturday with 80 per cent of the bankroll on two big tickets and the remainder for spot plays through the week. (To share in group play, contact Sheri at

With the Queen’s Plate delayed to Aug. 22 this year, the $400K Prince of Wale Stakes--the second leg in the Canadian Triple Crown--has been set for Fort Erie on Tuesday, Sept. 14 with management hoping fans will be permitted to attend. It is the 86th running of For Erie’s signature race run on dirt. The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Stakes, will be run on Woodbine turf in October. No 3-year-old has won the Canadian Triple Crown since Wando in 2003.

A criticism in the Los Angeles Times for allowing races to proceed at Los Alamitos on a sloppy rain-sodden track reminded me of my horseback riding days as a teenager. I came to appreciate the agility and sure-footedness of horses under extreme conditions. Not only did my horses gallop through sloppiness with aplomb but also negotiated steep inclines down to a gravel pit and up again at a speed that had riders closing their eyes. Never did I see a horse lose his footing. Which makes me feel there are few instances when track condition necessitates race cancellations.

What were the most memorable moments of the NFL season?

With the Super Bowl still 10 days away, today’s column recounts “the good, the bad, and the ugly”-- the memorable (or not so memorable) moments of the 2020-21 season: 

  • Joe Burrow’s first career touchdown run. Watch.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick’s no-look throw. Watch
  • Kyler Murray’s Hail Mary to win the game vs Buffalo. Watch
  • DK Metcalf chases down Budda Baker after an interception. Watch
  • The Falcon’s terrible onside kick strategy. Watch
  • Joe Burrow’s season-ending knee injury. Watch
  • Jets lose on last play of the game. Watch
  • Steeler’s bad snap to start the game. Watch
  • Tom Brady forgets it’s 4th down. Watch
  • Daniel Jones is tripped up by a ghost. Watch
  • Odell Beckham runs through the entire Cowboys defense on a trick play. Watch
  • Aaron Rodgers throws on 3rd down instead of possibly running in a TD. Watch
LAST WEEK: The Bills were unequipped to handle the Chiefs ... and the last two minutes of the Packers vs Bucs will be the topic of discussion for months to come...but after 17 regular-season weeks, and three rounds of playoff games, the Super Bowl has been set! 
THE BEST OF BOB by Bob Gates: Heart-warming memories from a half-century ago

Did you know that filly Ruling Lark with her jockey Bobby Dimma in tow was the class of the 2-year-olds more than 50 years ago? Bob tells the heart-warming memories of Sandy Dimma from a special night along time ago here. (First published in August 2017)
  • Tonight: 50th Eclipse Awards presentation virtually from Lexington, Kentucky at 7 p.m. CT.
  • This Saturday: First Player’s Choice tournament of the year; two Kentucky Derby prep races: Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita, Holy Bull at Gulfstream
  • Saturday, Feb. 6: Two Kentucky Derby prep races: Withers at Aqueduct and Sam F. Davis at Tampa
  • Friday, Feb. 12: Chinese New Year, the year of the ox
  • Saturday, Feb. 13: Derby prep-- El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate and Risen Star at Fair Grounds
  • Sunday, Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day
  • Holiday Monday, Feb. 15: Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, President’s Day in the U.S. Derby prep race: Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Good luck in the first handicapping tourney of the year Saturday!

While Assiniboia Downs and OTBs remain closed due to Code Red coronavirus directives, here’s how to play races, make deposits or withdrawals and get racing programs.

Where can I wager and watch the races?

  • You can wager on your account at or by calling a Telephone Account Betting Operator at 204-885-9800. No account? Call 204-885-3330 ext. 225.
  • Watch the races at or on MTS T.V. channels 179 & 180

How do I open an HPIbet account?

  • You can open an acccount quickly and easily at or by calling the mutuel desk at 204-885-3330 ext. 225.

How do I make a deposit to my HPI account?

  • Deposits can be made at using a Credit Card, Interac Online or PayPal.
  • Deposits can be made by e-transfer. Send e-transfer to and place your HPI account number in the message portion of the e-transfer .
  • Deposits can be made using a credit card by calling 204-885-9800.
  • Deposits can be dropped off at the General Office by using our curbside drop-off service. Please call 204-885-3330 ext. 225 to make these arrangements in advance.
  • Deposits can be picked up from your home. Please call 204-885-3330 ext. 225 to make these arrangements in advance.

How do I make a withdrawal from my HPI account?

  • Withdrawals can be made at
  • Withdrawals can be made by calling 204-885-9800

How can I get a Program or Daily Racing Form?

  • Programs and Daily Racing Forms will be emailed to you. Request the track you want by emailing Sheri at
  • Programs and Daily Racing Forms can be obtained via contactless curbside pickup. Call 204-885-3330 ext. 225 in advance to make those arrangements or email
  • Programs and Daily Racing Forms will be delivered to your home. Call 204-885-3330 ext. 225 to make those arrangements or email

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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
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