Thursday, January 31, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14 No. 3 (Issue #673)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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



The Rainbow 6 pool at Santa Anita has been growing since Dec. 26 and MUST be paid out this Saturday. Want to share? Come to the “I won bigger” betting group workshop Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza where the last six Santa Anita races will be discussed and group tickets constructed. (The group won two of the last three Saturday Rainbow 6’s.)

The Downs will generously top up each $20 share will an extra $5.
Coffee and muffins will be served.

Workout reports for the horses in the Rainbow races will be obtained and discussed--information that is not widely available.

The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent wager in which you predict the winners of the last six races. Quick-pick tickets are available at 20-cents each, five for a loonie.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Escape Clause's gallop boy gets a surprise gift from the mare's jockey
  • Who's the Handicapper of the Month?
  • Seconditis-type horse forgets to stop, killing "Bigger" group tickets. Sigh.
  • It's a busy day for Kentucky Derby prep races Saturday: Three on tap
  • What former ASD trainer is on fire at Aqueduct?
  • In praise of porridge. What?
“3 FOR THE MONEY” PRIZES CLIMB SATURDAY AS ENTRANTS STRIKE OUT: So Saturday’s “3 for the money” contests on thoroughbreds and harness horses have increased because no one correctly predicted three winners in a row last week. Pick the first three legs of Santa’s Rainbow 6 to win $100 and the last three races at Woodbine harness to win $75. (All prizes in wagering vouchers.)

Get into the draw each Saturday at these OTB locations.

Countdown to the Kentucky Derby contest
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

Click to expand


Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in February? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jets, NFL. ASD subscribes to NHL League Pass - watch any NHL game any day!

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge every Friday and Saturday 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.

POKER EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker in the clubhouse on the second level. Registration starts at 7:00 p.m and the game starts at 8:30 p.m. Maximum of 60 players. No late registration. Royal Flush progressive jackpot for tomorrow, Friday, is $1,092.50.

MANITOBA RIDING FOR THE DISABLED FUNDRAISING MARKET & FAIR at the Downs Saturday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Admission $5. Free parking.

I can’t believe I’m raving about a humble bowl of porridge but I am. I’ve never had a better bowl of porridge than that served at the track. The consistency is perfect. (Add brown sugar and request extra milk.) To forego eggs benedict for porridge is a stretch for me, but it IS that good. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s part of a wide-ranging breakfast menu served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. which you can view here. (Note that breakfast is available now to 2 p.m.)


"What a classy move"

Jockey Tyler Baze sends a cheque to Escape Clause's gallop boy

In a surprise move showing extreme thoughtfulness, California jockey Tyler Baze sent a cheque for “hundreds of dollars” to Escape Clause’s gallop boy at Turf Paradise after Baze won a recent stakes race at Santa Anita aboard Escape Clause.

“What a classy move,”
owner/trainer Don Schnell told The Insider from Turf Paradise this week. “Tyler is an awfully good kid.”

And the gift meant so much to the gallop boy, Mike Nault, that Nault told Schnell he was going to frame it. “Take a picture of it and frame that—and cash the cheque,” Schnell said he told Nault.

Nault came to ASD in the spring from Alberta, Schnell said, looking for a job galloping horses and Schnell hired him—and he became Escape Clause’s exclusive exerciser as well as working out other horses. Nault accompanied Schnell to Turf Paradise where he continues to partner Escape Clause.

For winning the $100,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita, Baze would have received 10 per cent of Escape Clause’s $60,000 in purse money ($6,000) of which 25 per cent typically is paid to the jockey’s agent. That would have left Baze with $4,500.

Schnell said Baze has also offered to fly to Turf Paradise at his own expense to exercise Escape Clause before the mare’s next race at Santa Anita which is the Grade 2 $250,000 Santa Monica on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Baze’s record at Santa Anita since the winter/spring meet began on Dec. 26 is 106-7-21-14.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Geoffrey Metcalf who bounced back from a bout of the flu where “I hardly had the strength to feed my cat” to win his first handicapping tournament ever, the Player’s Choice on Saturday, becoming January’s Handicapper of the Month. (Has a nice ring to it, eh Geoff?). He wins $1,000 and 51 points atop the Handicapper of the Year leader board. Among the horses he prefers to play, he says, are those with trouble lines in their past performances, trainers with good stats and favourable equipment changes. He played a $33 horse at Sunland because of two compromised starts and the trainer adding blinkers.

The serious expression on the face of second-place finisher Al Ilott in the accompanying photo belies his mood after he says he “accidentally” wagered on #4 in a contest race when he meant to press #3 on the touch-tote terminal. Number three won. The top five who shared $1,750 in prize money were:
  • Geoffrey Metcalf -- $90.30 bankroll -- $1,000 prize
  • Al Ilott -- $89 -- $400
  • Chuck Whalen -- $79.10 -- $200
  • Greg Earl -- $77.20 -- $100
  • Glen Gray -- $65.40 -- $50   See full results here.
Handicapper of the Year points have been increased for the top three finishers (5-3-2). February’s Handicapper of the Month tournament is Feb. 22, three weeks from this Saturday. The player who has the seven best finishes out of the 12 tournaments during the year will earn the title of Handicapper of the Year.

to horse photographer Barbara Livingston for capturing the horse-biting photo above that rightfully won her an Eclipse Award at the annual awards banquet at Gulfstream last Thursday.


MURRAY DUNCAN’S LONGSHOT ANCHORS GIANT SUPER: Duncan’s Gotta Curlin finished fourth at 45-1 on opening day Friday at Oaklawn, anchoring a superfecta that paid $1,900 for 20-cents.

ASD’s leading trainer has been inactive lately. His last start came at Turf Paradise on Dec. 4 when the Henry Witt-owned horse, Western Maid, finished fourth at 21-1.

In nine starts this year at Turf Paradise, Brown has had three seconds. His last win came three days before Christmas with Alpine Luck.

In 20 starts at Turf Paradise, Schnell has a record of 20-5-3-2. In addition, of course, he also had wins at Del Mar and Santa Anita with Escape Clause. A 10-hour van trip to Santa Anita last week with a 4-year-old claimed at Woodbine, Big Shanty, turned into a calamity Sunday as the colt didn’t take to the dirt (having won three times on Woodbine’s synthetic surface) and finished last. But there was a silver lining: Big Shanty was claimed. “Maybe they’ll race him at Golden Gate (which has a Tapeta surface),” Schnell said.

*      *       *

FORMER ASD TRAINER ON FIRE SINCE STRIKING OUT ON HIS OWN: Since leaving Robertino Diodoro’s stable and striking out on his own at Aqueduct, one-time ASD trainer Rob Atras from Oakbank, Man. has been on fire, winning five of his eight starts and finishing second in one. Players have been on to him, however, betting down all of his horses to favouritism except one which paid $8.10.


SADLY FOR THE “BIGGER” GROUP, SECONDITIS WAS THEM, NOT THE HORSE: With a lifetime record of 22-2-8-4, Christy Jackson, a 6-year-old mare racing at Santa Anita, seemed to suffer from seconditis so, in a final ticket tweak Saturday by the “I won bigger” betting group, another horse was substituted for her in Santa’s Rainbow 6. Bad move. As the betting favourite, she forgot to stop and cost the group $4,861 in winnings—which only poured salt into a $4,502 wound which had been ripped open earlier on a Tampa pick-5 play in which something similar was done: a horse was deleted from an early leg in favour of more horses in the last leg. A call out to Superman to reverse time so the group could amend their tickets, wasn’t answered.

But hope springs eternal—especially in the racing world—so attention quickly turns to greedy possibilities in Santa Anita’s mandatory Rainbow 6 payout Saturday. Group players should look at both the usual late Tampa pick-5 but also at the last six races at Santa. It’s likely that more funds will be directed to nailing the Rainbow. That’s 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Leave crying towels at home.

IF PLAYERS COULD HAVE VOTED, WOULD HORSE OF THE YEAR BEEN DIFFERENT? From my discussions with players, it seems the Horse of the Year result might have been different if players were able to vote instead of industry and media types who gave Justify 191 votes to Accelerate’s 54. A now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t February to June career doesn’t cut it with players who believe they are owed more from talented horses.

AT LEAST CATHOLIC BOY GETS TURF VOTES:To those who enjoy pooh-poohing my Catholic Boy allegiance, at least the colt received 14 Eclipse votes for Turf Horse of the Year (won by Stormy Liberal with 85 votes). Here’s hoping that racing columnist Laura Pugh is right about 2019: “ I’m looking forward to seeing McKinzie trounce the older male division in California while enjoying watching the versatile Catholic Boy rack up more Grade 1 wins on both dirt and turf.”

THE BEST OF BOB: "He was a real gentleman."

Did you know that one man was responsible for training Jack and Yvette Hardy's JY Stable for more than two decades? Some of the horses in his charge include Ruling Lark, Bocage, Windspray, Mays Relic and Bala Roman. Who was this top-notch conditioner? Do you remember these stars from the Hardy barn? Relive those special days here. (First published in August 2014.)
Races Sunday in the U.S. wrap up before the Super Bowl


  • This Saturday: Mandatory payout of Rainbow 6 at Santa Anita. Will it reach $12 million? Three Kentucky Derby prep races on tap: Withers at Aqueduct, Holy Bull at Gulfstream, Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita
  • This Sunday: Super Bowl Sunday with all U.S. tracks completed before kickoff at 5:30 p.m. First post: 11 a.m. at Gulfstream. Schedule.
  • Monday, Feb. 4: Reservations open for Mother’s Day brunch for live racing. Call Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0 for tickets.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5: Happy Chinese New Year! (Written below in Chinese characters) Guess what animal is celebrated?
  • Saturday, Feb. 9: Kentucky Derby prep race (Sam F. Davis at Tampa)
  • Thursday, Feb. 14: Valentine’s Dinner & Dance on the main level with NuFrequency Light & Sound. $29.95. It features a great Italian-inspired feast by Chef Gerardo. See menu here. Call Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0 for tickets.
  • Holiday Monday, Feb. 18: Perks, perks, perks and Kentucky Derby Countdown contest begins. Souvenir “Justify” Triple Crown glasses—set of two--will be awarded in a draw after 15 prep races. Contest winner receives $200 bankroll to bet the Derby.

(Do you know what this is? See Feb. 5 above)

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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
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