Thursday, February 8, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 5 (Issue #623)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

"When is a horse considered a rabbit?"
When he looks like one? Could be. Responding to that question from a reader, Marshall's answer is below.
( photo)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who's better? Male or female jockeys?
  • Olympic opening ceremonies 5 a.m. tomorrow; enter contest by midnight tonight
  • Reader asks for rules for winning; here they are
  • My predicted winner of the Kentucky Derby will race Saturday at Tampa
  • What did the Eagles' Super Bowl celebrant grab in his teeth? (It's not as bad as it looks)
  • Got loose change? See what a handful of coins made a player on Friday

Play peekaboo with official Olympic scarf and mittens and enjoy a prime rib buffet for two

to enter "How many medals will Canada win at Olympics?"

Hurry! You have until midnight tonight to enter The Insider’s contest fo predict how many gold, silver and bronze medals Canada will win when the Games officially begin tomorrow in PyeongChang, South Korea at 5 a.m. Winnipeg time.

Email your prediction to

The entrant who comes closest wins Olympic mittens and scarf, a prime rib buffet for two and bragging rights for the rest of the year. Canada won 13 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze in 2010 and 10 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze in 2014.

Want a great one-page schedule on what events will be happening daily at the Olympics? Go here.

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

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, Feb. 9 is $1,055.

CANDLELIT VALENTINE’S DINNER IS JUST SIX DAYS AWAY in the Terrace Dining Room (Wednesday, Feb. 14) featuring Italian cuisine from Chef Gerardo who can hardly wait to regale you with his favourite dishes. See menu here, then call Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0 to make this year’s Valentine’s eats extra special. Buon appetito!
with Shannon Davis, Off-Track Betting supervisor


Green Brier

ROOKIES SPORTS BAR: A PERFECT PLACE TO PLAY “Located in Old Transcona, at 201 Melrose Ave E, Rookies Sports Bar at the Central Hotel features VLTs, pool tables, dart boards, beer vendor, Will's Tasty Food, poker and, of course, simulcast wagering seven days a week,” says OTB supervisor Shannon Davis. “A perfect place to play! Well lit, friendly staff and you never know who you will meet!” Open daily at 11:00 a.m.

“In the heart of the North End is the Green Brier Inn at 1611 Main Street offering Rellies Breakfast and More restaurant, VLTs, beer vendor, poker, bar, a pool table and year-round simulcast racing,” says Shannon Davis, “and it’s a mini-Assiniboia Downs where you can open HPI accounts, deposit or withdraw money from HPI accounts, enter handicapping tournaments, sign up for a Player Rewards card and bet on touch-tote terminals. I hope to meet new and old race fans at the Green Brier! Lots of adjacent parking!” Open daily at 11:00 a.m.

Two more OTBs will be featured next week.
See location of all OTBs here.

Who's better?

Who's better? Male or female jockeys?

A 14-year British study says . . .

Are male jockeys better than female or vice versa? Only about 14 per cent of jockeys are female but their riding ability is equal to their male counterparts, a 14-year British study has concluded. That should come as some relief. Can you imagine the controversy if one sex were found to be superior?

What that basically says is that power and strength is not necessarily an attribute. Riding smarts and “good hands” count more.

The study was carried out by the University of Liverpool in England. It matched the quality of horses with male and female jockeys through the years and essentially found no difference in race performances. I hope it helps to provide more opportunities for female jockeys and also encourages more women to further their careers as race riders.” the study’s author, Vanessa Cashmore, was quoted as saying.
YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Feed Me Carats. This filly racing on the turf at Gulfstream might love “carats” if she were human but, since she’s a horse, carrots would be her preference. You gotta love the play on words.

Player turned these coins into $320
What can you do with a bunch of coins? A harness fan on Friday night invested a whole nickel and three quarters (80-cents) in a 20-cent pick-4 wheel at Woodbine. Later, he dug deeply into his pocket and doled out four dimes and a whole toonie ($2.40) to buy a 20-cent Super Hi 5 wheel at Cal-Expo in Sacramento, California. The result? He picked up $70 for his pick-4 win and $250 for his Super Hi 5 which gave him $320 in real money—four reds, a brown and a green.

And what plans do YOU have for your pocket change?

Wins $6,660 U.S. for finishing 15th in new DRF tourney

A HUGE SHOUT-OUT to ASD’s own Trevor Tilston-Jones who finished 15th out of 111 entries in the Daily Racing Form’s new online World Championship of Handicapping tournament and picked up $6,660 U.S. in prize money. “I feel really good—it was my largest tournament win--but a few mistakes haunt me,” he told The Insider. Entry into the tournament was $5,000 but Tilston-Jones earned his way in by paying $11 in December and finishing first or second in three “feeder” tournaments. Players were required to place imaginary $2 win/place bets on 15 mandatory races last Saturday and Sunday.  

“I went seven wins and four seconds--same as the overall winner,”
Trevor said. “The difference was he hit a ‘cap’ horse (extreme longshot that earned the player $42 and $22) and my longshot play at Santa Anita (Tapitha Bonita paying $25.20 and $7.40) was a horse he had played, too.” Trevor’s bankroll was $139.40. The winner, Oklahoma lawyer Frank Polk, had a bankroll of $208.60. His prize was $138,750 out of total prize money of $555,000, a record for an online contest. Trevor said Marshall’s and Glen’s recent seminar “helped immensely in recognizing some nuances.”

Did you know . . . that the track now known as Tampa Bay Downs was used by the U.S. army in 1943 to train soldiers in jungle warfare for World War II?

My pick to win Kentucky Derby runs Saturday

Catholic Boy to race in the Sam F. Davis prep at Tampa

Catholic Boy wins Remsen
(Coglianese photo)

Well, we’ll find out this Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs whether my pick to win the Kentucky Derby, Catholic Boy, is progressing toward that end.

I like his versatility, being able to handle turf and dirt, and his apparent progress since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November. When he won the Remsen Stakes, a Derby prep, at Aqueduct in December, track announcer Frank Mirahmadi said: “He may have grown up some today,” And I thoroughly agree.

I had planned to play him in my Kentucky Derby Future Wagers this weekend so I hope his performance in the Sam F. Davis isn’t so spectacular that it substantially reduces the odds on him to win the Derby.

Wasn’t his Remsen win professional? Watch that race here.
See odds on this weekend’s Future Wager horses here

*       *       *

PREP RACE NAMED FOR QUARTERBACK: This Saturday’s Sam F. Davis prep race at Tampa is named for a one-time University of Florida quarterback who later became president of then-Florida Downs from 1972 to 1980 after which time George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, became a part owner until 1986. That was the time, too, that ASD owner Jim Wright had designs on Florida Downs. Can you imagine if Wright had bought it? Then ASD would have had a sister track in Florida!


COOLIDGE DROPS TO THE BOTTOM AND POPS: ASD trainer Don Schnell who is racing at Turf Paradise during the winter chalked up his first win of 2018 last Saturday when he dropped Coolidge, the second-place finisher in the 2015 Winnipeg Futurity, to the bottom of the claiming ladder ($3,000) and posted the 5-year-old gelding’s first win in 11 starts ($3.60). On the same day, Manitoba Derby winning trainer Murray Duncan sent 5-year-old Britt’s Vow into a $6,250 claimer at Oaklawn Park and the ungelded horse finished 10th as the longest shot on the board (62-1). Britt’s Vow’s last victory was at the Downs in September.

Eagles fan shushes onlookers before diving into horse chips

NOT AS BAD AS IT LOOKS: Overly excited at his Eagles winning the Super Bowl on Sunday, a crazy fan dropped to his knees next to a pile of horse dung and ….. ugh. But as I watched his disgusting action on a video online, the scientific side of my brain kicked in. Horse dung isn’t anything close to ours. That’s because a horse’s digestive system is different; it does most of its digesting near the end of the line instead of in the stomach so what you get, according to online details, is “undigested grass and grain fibres, minerals, shed cells, fats, water and sand or grit depending on the type of soil the hay or grass was growing in.” All of which “is unlikely to spread any disease to humans including bacterial problems.” So the attention-grabbing stunt was more or less safe but, hey, save the manure for the garden instead!

With eyes wide open, Saturday’s “I won big” group players rejected the day’s best bet of Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee in the third leg of the late pick-5 at Tampa. And that move cost the group $1,200. The group liked three other horses better. (“Those are the only ones we need”) so took their lumps with equanimity. But the loss may trigger a re-think especially since a 60-cent wheel taking JUST the top picks of the three Tampa DRF analysts in the five races would have cost $43.20—to pick up $1,200. This re-think will certainly figure into the group’s next adventure this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza -- the last five races at Tampa. Come add your nickel’s worth of opinions (since cents are now obsolete).
Readers write . . .

What are the rules for picking winners?

“Hi Insider: Is there any way I can get a list of the "rules" you use for rule horses? Also, so you don't miss a rule horse again (as noted in a previous Insider) make a list of the different types of races with the corresponding "rules" for them and then you have a reference point for each race.”. --Jim Michalak

Hi Jim!
Thanks for the advice on making sure the “I won big” group doesn’t miss “rule” horses again. Here’s a list of the top 12 rules:
  1. Use the “added up numbers” rule in maiden races, especially maiden claimers: Add up two numbers in each horse’s past performances -- where the horse finished in his last race plus the horse’s position AT THE FIRST CALL of the race before that. Lowest added-up number horses are huge contenders.
  2. Horses showing strong early pace in route races are especially dangerous when cutting back to a sprint. Especially valuable for finishing third or fourth in a superfecta wheel.
  3. Horse with outstanding Equibase pace figure (about 15 points higher than other horses in the race) have a great shot to wire the field.
  4. In turf route races, calculate how quickly each horse has closed from 6f to the end of the race. For one mile races, use 24 seconds as the standard, for 1 1/16 mile race, 30 seconds and for 1 1/8 miles, 36 seconds. Add or subtract one-fifth of a second for each length the horse loses or gains in the drive to the wire.
  5. In bottom-level claiming races and races in which there doesn’t seem to be game horses, look for the horse with the highest Equibase pace figure. Such a horse can clear and win.
  6. For first-time starters, look for horses with high-percentage debut sires. (Sires that produce more than 12 per cent first-out winners.)
  7. For first-timers in turf route races, look for horses with the highest Tomlinson numbers in the DRF
  8. Horses that have both a high Equibase pace figure and a high speed figure are often keys.
  9. When horses win big, then produce a clunker race, watch for a rebound win in his next race (the “bounce” factor)
  10. When you see “evenly” in a horse’s past performance line, read it as “didn’t try as hard as he might have”
  11. Examine the picks of analysts in the Daily Racing Form. Why is a selector picking a seemingly impossible horse? Watch out! Such a horse set up a $38,000 pick-5 at Tampa a couple weeks ago.
  12. Do the usual: jock/trainer, equipment change, workout pattern and horses-for-courses analysis

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. When is a horse considered a rabbit?

A. I laughed out loud when I received this email last week. For new horseplayers, understanding horse racing jargon is like learning a new language. So, the first thing I did was refer this person to the Racing Glossary, found on the HPIbet website, available in the footer of the site, under the LEARNING CENTRE menu (view image here).

This Racing Glossary is an extensive dictionary of the ABC’s of horse racing, covering every racing term from A-Z (view image here). Regardless of whether you’re an experienced veteran, an intermediate handicapper, or a complete novice, this comprehensive directory of racing terms and definitions is a great read. To start with, here’s the definition of when a horse is considered a rabbit…
  • Rabbit -  a horse that is considered to have little chance of winning a race but is entered purely to ensure a fast pace, softening up the competition for the benefit of the entry mate.  
Here are few of my other favourites:
  • False Favourite - a horse who is bet down to favouritism when others would appear to outclass him on form. 
  • Furlong – 1/8 of a mile, 220 yards or 660 feet.
  • Morning Glory - a horse who performs well in morning workouts but fails to reproduce that form in races. 
I encourage all of you to take a couple of minutes to review the entire HPIbet Racing Glossary and re-acquaint yourself with the lexicon of horse racing. You might even be surprised to learn a couple of new terms.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


Did you know . . . that long before Janine Stianson's four consecutive wins on opening day in 2008, Vicki won five races on opening day (races 1, 2, 3, 7 and 9) in 1984? Read about it here.


  • Predict Kentucky Derby winner this weekend for fame and possible fortune

    Tonight: All-you-can-eat certified Angus prime rib buffet featuring pasta bar, chicken parmesan, rosemary pork loin, lemon cream mussels and more. $27.95. Call 204-885-3330 ext. 0 for reservations.
  • Tomorrow to Sunday: Future wager the Kentucky Derby. Win and exactor bets available. See entries and odds here.
  • Tomorrow: Opening ceremonies for PyeongChang Olympics 5 a.m. (CST). Watch events on TVs in the Race Book. Will you win The Insider’s “how many medals for Canada” contest?
  • This Saturday, Feb. 10: Sam F. Davis Kentucky Derby prep race at Tampa
  • Wednesday, Feb. 14: Valentine's Dinner featuring authentic Italian cuisine. $34.95. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Thursday, Feb. 15: All-you-can-eat certified Angus prime rib buffet $27.95.
  • Friday, Feb. 16: Chinese New Year (year of the dog)
  • 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
  • Holiday Monday, Feb. 19: Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Presidents’ Day in the U.S. Fun perks: free breakfast sandwich to first 50, 5x Player Rewards points on bets, Spin to Win draws for up to $50 in wagering vouchers. Special “I won big” workshop 10:30 a.m. Kentucky Derby prep race: the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. NEW CONTEST: Predict winners of Derby prep races.

What are YOUR future wagers on the Kentucky Derby?
Bet them between tomorrow and Sunday

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