Thursday, February 11, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 5 (Issue #776)

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

NO CHANGE! 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.



Escape Clause and son share a tender moment six days after his birth in Japan (Noriko Takahashi photo) See more below.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Go for greed today as Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 closes in on $900,000
  • So what else is new? Mr. Longshot collects $23,000 for a $28 outlay
  • Will Senor Buscador sweep the Risen Star as impressively as Springboard prep?
  • TravyFootball wrap-up: How many Super Bowl props did Travers get right?
  • Holiday Monday features major tracks, "I won bigger" group play
NEXT HANDICAPPING TOURNEY IN TWO WEEKS: Yes, time certainly flies, eh? Player’s Choice handicapping tournament #2 for 2021 goes two weeks from this Saturday, Feb. 27. But what about doing a practise round this Saturday or next Saturday? That could set you up for a better performance in two weeks.
Click to enlarge.

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

Do you have your new HPIbet account card that replaces the previous HPI card and the ASD Player Rewards card? Assiniboia Downs has joined the HPI rewards and bonus program and the new program began this past Monday. See details here. If you haven't received your new card in the mail call 204-885-3330 (ext. 225) to check on the status.

GREEDY CORNER: Mandatory Rainbow 6 payout at Gulfstream Saturday with an expected pool of $6 million if there is no winner today or tomorrow (pool close to $1 million). Other tracks:  
--More than $150,000 at Turf Paradise
--More than $100,000 at Charles Town

Since Monday is Louis Riel Day in Manitoba and President’s Day in the U.S., major tracks are racing starting with Laurel at 11:20 a.m. That’s followed by Aqueduct, Fair Grounds and Santa Anita (Oaklawn is cancelled because of severe weather forecast.) The “I won bigger” betting group will tackle Santa Anita where the forecast is for sunny, 20C weather.

Mr. Longshot turns $28 into $23,000

So what else is new?

Les “Longshot” Buzzell
Makes Super Bowl Sunday extra-special
Ho-hum! Les “Longshot” Buzzell was at it again on--appropriately--Super Bowl Sunday. The day will be memorable for the railway-signals company owner, not just because the Bucs crushed the favoured Chiefs, but because he nailed the early pick-5s at both Gulfstream and Tampa without hardly touching his bankroll.
  • He spent $28.80 to bag $23,000 at Tampa. His wheel was 2 X 3 X 2 X 2 X 2. His horses paid $9.60, $12.40, $21.60, $9.80 and $41.60. See that program here.
  • He spent $86.40 to pocket $4,175 at Gulfstream. His wheel was 3 X 4 X 2 X 2 X 2. His horses paid $4.40, $5.20, $3.40, $32.20 and $55. See that program here.
See his HPI transaction tickets here. Les must have been a heavy baby with the nibs of lucky horseshoes beginning to develop in his body. There ought to be an Eclipse Award (U.S.) or a Sovereign Award (Canada) for someone who does what he does -- consistently.

The face of a winner?
Escape Clause’s son six days after birth
(Noriko Takahashi photo )

Will Escape Clause's foal take after his MB mother . . .

. . . and/or his record-breaking Japanese father?

Tokyo Racecourse where Escape Clause’s sire won the 2015 Japanese Derby in record time
Thanks to Noriko Takahashi at the vast Northern Farm in Japan, we have our first picture above of Escape Clause’s son who was born on Jan. 30. “I love Canada,” she said, explaining she learned English after visiting Vancouver. So I think we can expect her to pay special attention to the development of the Manitoba mare’s foal.

An obvious name for the colt would be Duraclause which combines mom’s name with the sire’s name, Duramente, who made headlines in Japan by running the fastest-ever Japanese Derby in 2015 at the beautiful Tokyo Racecourse. They don’t normally name horses until they reach 2, however.

There are 10 race tracks in Japan with some of the richest purses in the world. Next Sunday, in fact, one of four prep races for the Kentucky Derby will be held in Japan -- the Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse that has room for 223,000 fans. The Hyacinth winner receives 30 Derby qualifying points.

Wouldn’t it be special if a colt with a Manitoba mother could earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby by way of a race held in Japan? I know -- way too early -- but one can dream.

Will Senor Buscador do what he did in the Springboard Mile?

All eyes on Senor Buscador in Risen Star prep race

Will he duplicate his jaw-dropping last-to-first Springboard Mile feat?

Here comes a race many of us have been looking forward to. It’s the Risen Star Kentucky Derby prep race at Fair Grounds Saturday that features the return of Senor Buscador who turned heads at Remington Park in December when he swept from last to first in the Springboard Mile prep race. His Equibase speed was 107, the second-highest of prep race winners. (Highest was Life Is Good with 112 in the Sham Stakes.)


Senor Buscador’s connections: Jockey Louis Quinonez, trainer Todd Fincher
If you bet Senor Buscador in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool at juicy odds of 34-1, you’re particularly interested in seeing how he runs in the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star that gives the winner a vaunted 50 qualifying points for Derby entry.

Senor Buscador has been training well. In his most recent 4-furlong workout at Sam Houston he was third-fastest of 24 horses and reportedly galloped out well. He is trained by Todd Fincher (six wins in 24 starts at Sam Houston) and ridden by Luis Quinonez (who was fifth in jockey standings at Remington last year). Fincher has scored one graded stakes victory in his 20-year career: Runaway Ghost in the 2018 Sunland Derby.

The main competition in the field of 12 is likely to come from two Steven Asmussen trainees: Midnight Bourbon, winner of the Lecomte prep race at Fair Grounds (98 E speed) and Jackie’s Warrior, winner of two Grade 1 stakes last year (top E figure 105).

As a deep closer, Senor Buscador will need an honest early pace. The Risen Star will be the last race on the 12-race Fair Grounds card.

*       *       *
ESSENTIAL QUALITY SHARES SAME ODDS AS LIFE IS GOOD IN FUTURE POOL: Tomorrow through Sunday is your next chance to bet a horse you think will win the Kentucky Derby. Essential Quality and Life Is Good are the 8-1 morning line individual horses in this wagering pool. See all horses here. (Senor Buscador at 30-1 and The Great One at 20-1 look like great plays.)

The El Camino Real prep race goes Saturday on the Tapeta track at Golden Gates Fields. NOTE THAT THE SOUTHWEST STAKES AT OAKLAWN MONDAY WILL NOT GO because racing is cancelled in the wake of a severe weather forecast.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I really like his mentality, the way he just enjoys running,” -- Todd Fincher, trainer of Senor Buscador who swept by his rivals, last to first, in the Springboard Mile and is racing Saturday in the Risen Star Kentucky Derby prep race.
WIN A TON IN '21: How to get a betting edge playing the Super Hi 5

Off the radar of most horseplayers is the Super Hi 5 wager but, actually, there’s excellent value and even "easy" money at times. The secret is to wait for carryovers going into a short field, especially fields with only seven horses.

That’s what happened on Saturday when almost $20,000 was carried over to race 9 at Tampa where three horses were scratched, leaving a field of seven. Only five horses seemed live. A $120 box of those five netted $655, a relatively easy profit of $535.

What the bet demands, then, is that you pay attention to the carryovers and not dive in until you have a carryover/small field edge.

A FAVOURITE COMPANION FADES INTO OBLIVION: Shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, while I was working on this column, there was a kind of kerfuffle and a strange voice and sounds on the radio station I was listening to. Then music started up with occasional announcements between songs stating “something brand new is coming 9 a.m. Friday.” And thusly ended the format of a station I had listened to first thing in the morning and last thing at night for years--and that Assiniboia Downs sponsored for an hour each day and carried hundreds of interviews with CEO Darren Dunn--TSN 1290 sports radio.

It was gone -- just like that. To be replaced, apparently, by stand-up comedy programming. “The reality of the quickly evolving broadcast media landscape in Canada have made this change unavoidable,” said a Bell Canada statement posted on the internet. The company also dropped sports radio in Vancouver and Hamilton. This is going to take a long time to get over. It feels like the death of a friend.

Did it help that the Super Bowl was in town at Tampa? Wagering on the 12-race card at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday was $13.2 million, a record for Festival Preview Day in which the Sam F. Davis prep race for the Kentucky Derby was held. The betting total was $2.1 million more than last year’s Preview Day and was the third highest for any day ever.

As Ontario carefully begins opening up its province to more activity in the face of COVID-19, standardbreds at Mohawk have been given the go-ahead to begin training again but uncertainty still surrounds the beginning of racing. Racing hasn’t been conducted at the Campbellville track since December.

Everything was different -- yet the same.
(Look at who was MVP!)

So, in what turned out to be a very lopsided game, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers came out victorious over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Brady, at the ripe old age of 43, captured his seventh Lombardi trophy and fourth MVP title on a team NOT called the Patriots, proving he is not just a “system” quarterback.

The Chiefs opened the scoring with a FG but, from that point on, it was all Bucs. Rob Gronkowski (who wasn’t even playing football last year) scored two touchdowns on a team with no answers. It didn’t help that penalty flags were flying against the Chiefs (for discussion on another day) but that is no excuse for the Chiefs scoring nine points and zero touchdowns. Pat Mahomes had his worst game as a professional, thanks to a daunting Tampa Bay defense. They pressured him all night, forcing him to run 497 yards--on an apparently painful turf toe--trying to get a pass off. The Bucs stuck to their game plan and put this game out of reach relativity quickly so congrats to them! 

  • National Anthem run time - O/U 2 minutes  
  • Coin Flip - Heads or Tails
  • First points to be scored - TD or FG X  
  • First team to score - KC/TB
  • The jersey number of the first player to score a TD - O /U #35 X
  • Passing TDs for Mahomes in the 1st half - O/U 2.5
  • Interceptions for Tom Brady O/U 1.5 X
  • Which player will score first? Tyreek Hill /Mike Evans N/A
  • Halftime Show runtime - O/U 22 minutes
  • Colour of winning team’s Gatorade - Red/Any other colour X (It was blue.)
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE 2020 SEASON: In a year where we weren’t even sure that football was going to happen, we ended up with Tom Brady as the last man standing. So, in the end, was this season much different from any other? Given all the circumstances, I give this season an A+ and look forward to next year. But, then again, I look forward to EVERY year! 

It’s been exactly six months since my achilles tendon rupture that occurred while quarterbacking my touch football team and I’m still on the road to recovery. The tendon has healed and now it’s about building back the strength (rehabbing every day). With no setbacks, I should be back as pivot this summer--fingers crossed! 
THE BEST OF BOB by Bob Gates: $20 wager leads to lifelong racing career

Henry Louis Davies died to little fanfare in July 1977. There was virtually no mention of his name or his years of service to the old Prairie Racing Circuit. Yet he was an integral cog in the Robert James Speers racing empire in the west. Get Davies' story here. (First published in June 2019)
Who’s going to win Kentucky Derby? Future wager Friday to Sunday
  • Tomorrow: Chinese New Year, the year of the ox. Three-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool #3 begins. See betting interests and odds here.
  • This Saturday: Derby prep-- El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate and Risen Star at Fair Grounds. Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
  • This Sunday: Valentine’s Day. Watch for hunch plays. Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
  • Holiday Monday, Feb. 15: Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, President’s Day in the U.S. Derby prep race: Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park will not go because racing is cancelled at Oaklawn from Saturday through Monday because of severe weather forecast.
  • Saturday, Feb. 20: $20 million Saudi Cup
  • Friday, Feb. 26: New Kentucky Derby prep race: John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.
  • Saturday, Feb. 27: Player’s Choice tournament, Kentucky Derby prep race: Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream

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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