Thursday, February 23, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 7 (Issue #574)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Have you signed up yet?

Horseplayer tourney is this Saturday; handicapping seminar Wednesday

TOURNEY TIME: The deadline is tomorrow night at 9 p.m. to sign up for the second Player’s Choice handicapping tournament of the year with $1,700 in prize money at stake to the first five finishers. Accumulate the biggest bankroll Saturday afternoon by betting $2 win/place on 10 horses. Entry fee $25; late entry by Saturday noon is $35.

Tourney strategies to be discussed

BE A BETTER BETTOR: Next Wednesday at 7 p.m. is a chance for you to participate in a discussion with handicappers Marshall and Glen at a Downs seminar in which tournament strategies, how to interpret workouts, Trakus and the Road to the Kentucky Derby will be discussed. Get 2,500 free Player Rewards points and a free deposit into your HPI account. Find out more here.

SIGN UP BY CALLING SAMANTHA AT 204-885-3330 ext. 0

Bullet briefs . . .

  • What name did breeder choose for first Manitoba-bred foal of 2017? Yours?
  • Backstretch diner opens tomorrow; training track, Equi-ciser Wednesday
  • Top Saskatchewan trainer bringing 28 horses
  • Bridgejumper saga: "He who laughs last . . . "
  • Who was the greatest female horse ever to race at ASD? See HISTORY ON THE HOOF
  • "Countdown to the Kentucky Derby" contest begins Saturday with Risen Star prep

YOUR LAST CHANCE SHOW PARLAY; AMOUNT TO BEAT-- $54: If you don’t produce a show parlay on five races either tomorrow or Saturday evening that is bigger than $54.25, Shawn Gorrie will win the prime rib buffet for two. That’s what he parlayed his $6 into on five races Saturday on Woodbine harness. The Downs matched his $54 and now he’s waiting to see if it will stand up as the highest of the month. Or maybe he’ll be playing again this weekend to try to improve on that. Will you argue the point? Is Al “Mr. Parlay” Ilott waiting to pounce? Should be a thrilling finish.

“COUNTDOWN TO THE DERBY” CONTEST BEGINS SATURDAY: Starting with Saturday’s Risen Star at Fair Grounds, predict the winner of Kentucky Derby prep races to win a $100 win/place wager on the Kentucky Derby. After every prep race, a draw will be made for a Kentucky Derby travel mug and pint glass. There are 15 prep races remaining. You’ll get five points for a win, three points for place and one point for show. Your 10 best scores will count toward winning the Derby wager.

PLAYERS HAD FUN WITH “PLAY IT AGAIN” ON HOLIDAY MONDAY: Twenty draws were made Monday afternoon and these players got back the money they had spent on their winning and/or non-winning tickets.

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EVERY FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY: 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: 5-Alive "Double Your Winnings" contest from 7 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. and $10 buy-in poker. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m.

WHO WILL WIN KENTUCKY DERBY AND OAKS? BET THEM THIS WEEKEND! Your next chance to be shrewd—or psychic—is this weekend for the second-last Kentucky Derby future pool. It also is your only chance to predict the winner of the Kentucky Oaks. The Derby favourites at 8/1 are McCraken and Classic Empire. One Liner has been added, too, at 15/1. You may place your bets from Friday through Sunday. Exactors are available, too. Who do you like, Brian McKellar? SEE HORSES AND ODDS HERE.

ASD IS NOW AN HPI-FREE ZONE: Cooperation between the Downs and Woodbine now means your on-track wagers through your HPI account will be the same as if you were betting at the windows. That means the Downs will get the full takeout on each wager instead of part of that takeout going to HPI (Horse Player Interactive) which is operated by Woodbine. This includes HPI wagers you make on the Downs’ touchtote machines and HPI bets you make on your mobile device while you’re on-track. It doesn’t change anything for you but obviously is better for the Downs.


Saskatchewan trainer plans to ship 28 horses

Backstretch diner opens tomorrow; training track, Equi-ciser Wednesday

Jamie Hartmann
To bring 28 on April 1

As the Downs gets ready to welcome horsemen and women and their horses to Season 60, a top Saskatchewan trainer, Jamie Hartmann, has told The Insider she will be bringing 28 horses to race at the Downs on April 1.

Hartmann was leading trainer at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon in 2014 (68-17-14-8) and in 2015 (88-28-11-11) and was second last year (89-18-20-10).

She said she plans to use the Downs as a base to race horses here, down in Fargo and at Marquis which has a short 27-day summer meet, racing Friday and Saturday night. She had raced eight horses near the end of the Downs season last year, finishing second twice.

The backstretch diner opens tomorrow and the training track is scheduled to open Mar. 1 as will the Equi-ciser.

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A steal of a deal (and escape) for horsemen

It costs a trainer just $200 a month to park his trailer, get all amenities plus WIFI

Derek Corbel
On the road promoting ASD perks

It almost makes one think of getting into the horse training business! For what must be the best deal anywhere for horsemen, the Downs only charges $200 a month for a trainer to park his or her trailer in the backstretch – and that includes utilities and WIFI. And entering a horse in a race guarantees a minimum $200 return!

Those are a couple of the selling points race secretary Ray Miller and assistant director of racing Derek Corbel have in their arsenal as they promote the merits of racing at ASD in a two-week trip that takes them through Western Canada, Washington, Idaho, Arizona and Nebraska.

Essentially a trainer can shut out the world, be only steps from his barn and the track and enjoy hearty meals in the backstretch kitchen from May to September without hearing a single thing about a certain political leader whose initials are “DT.” Sounds like an opportunity many Americans (and Canadians) would jump at!


"He who laughs last . . ."

Players mock my wagers in bridgejumper race

While some contemplated this sign, others were counting their windfall

They made fun of my $10 show wheel on six horses in a seven horse race at Laurel Park in Maryland Saturday. “What kind of wager is that?” they were guffawing among themselves, according to an eavesdropper.

But I got the last laugh when I collected $672 for the $60 in bets. What I essentially was doing is betting that the 1/5 favourite in the $75,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes, Wait Your Turn, with a quarter million dollars in bridgejumper show money, might falter—which she did—giving me three show payoffs on the remaining horses that ranged as high as $80 for each $2 bet.

Even when the favourite wins in bridgejumper races, I usually get back about two-thirds to three-quarters of my show outlay because of often high odds on the other two show horses. That makes it well worth the risk. (Remember that tracks are forced by law to cover the negative show amount for the bridgejumper horse out of their own pockets; the money does NOT come from show money bet on other horses – so even when the favourite pays $2.10, the other two might pay $3.50 and $4.20 or whatever.)

Wait Your Turn put out a very lacklustre effort and was never in the race. Here’s her running line: “Wait Your Turn broke a bit awkwardly, recovered and moved up four wide entering the first turn, had a mild advance three wide leaving the far turn and gave way entering the stretch (finishing sixth).”

I owe a big shout-out to the player who told me about that show anomaly—unlike Monday when someone yelled across the Race Book: “You missed one at Gulfstream!” AFTER the fact. (The show horses in race 4 paid $7.40, $16 and $15 after 1/5 Shaft of Light finished fourth in a six-horse starter stakes.)

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Futile. “Who’s that on the track?” “It’s Futile.” “Why is the race futile?” “No, the horse is Futile.” “Why is the horse futile?” Etc. Etc. The 4-year-old gelding by that name lived up to it in the Pelican Stakes at Tampa Saturday when he finished seventh as the even-money favourite in the race. He’s a classy horse, though (6-4-0-1) and is likely to rebound.



One Liner hits 117 speed figure to become Derby flavour of the month

Not many saw that coming. One Liner, the winner of Monday’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn wasn’t even included in the last Kentucky Derby future pool. But, by posting the biggest Equibase speed figure of any Derby prep horse—a giant 117—he suddenly becomes the flavour of the month on the countdown to the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

Even-money favourite Uncontested set a blazing pace in the 1 1/16-mile test, with early fractions of 22.93, 46.55 and 1:10.98, setting it up for the son of Into Mischief to put away Petrov (a 99/1 future pool horse) to win by three lengths and pay $8.80.

Until the Southwest, Classic Empire’s 116 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Gormley's similar figure in the Sham Stakes had been the highest E speed of any Derby hopeful.

*        *        *

Brian McKellar
He was right, we were wrong

"UNCONTESTED WON'T HIT THE BOARD" -- MCKELLAR: A few players, including me, were smarting after the Southwest Stakes Saturday because we had to pay off last month’s Player’s Choice tournament winner, Brian McKellar, who had declared with great conviction “Uncontested won’t hit the board” and we bet him that he was wrong. He was right, of course, and it cost me $50 and others lesser amounts.

He had said it with the same authority that he had predicted McCraken would cream the field in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa and we should have learned from that. But we hadn’t.

It seems his expertise in breeding is serving him well along with keen observing skills. He certainly will be the go-to guy in predicting future prep race winners. Let’s see how successful he is in the “Countdown to the Derby” contest.

*        *        *

50-point Championship Series begins

It's the Risen Star at Fair Grounds Saturday; enter contest

Note the colour change in the accompanying Countdown to the Kentucky Derby chart: the races in green begin the Championship Series where winners get 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (runners up in those races get 20-10-5).

There are eight 50-pointers in all followed by the biggest preps of all, the 100-pointers, shown in maroon on the Countdown chart.

Remember to enter the “Countdown to the Derby” contest on each of the 15 Championship Series races to earn a $100 win/place wager on the Kentucky Derby and get into a draw for a Derby travel mug and pint glass after every prep race.

*        *        *

Bombs away!

Synthetic track produces a 48/1 winner in El Camino Real Derby

It doesn’t matter how good a horse looks on a dirt track, you don’t know what horses will do on a synthetic surface until they race on it. Bettors who took this into account for the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Saturday were profiting nicely.

The longest shot on the board, Zakaroff at 43/1, with experience on Golden Gate’s Tapeta, won the race while the even-money favourite from Santa Anita dirt, Ann Arbor Eddie, was disqualified from second and was placed fourth after being found to have interfered with the horse that finished third.

The 20-cent superfecta in the seven-horse field paid a monster $536. Betting against dirt horses on synthetic tracks obviously represent huge value plays.


Meet Sixtyshadesofblues

AND THE NAME CHOSEN FOR THE FOAL (FROM YOUR SUBMISSIONS) IS . . . ? Thanks to your submissions, the first Manitoba-bred foal of 2017 has a name! Says breeder Dean Melnic: Thanks to everybody for the overwhelming responses and suggestions for my Wilko/Slewie Blues filly. One name struck a chord. It is Edwina Larsen’s suggestion of Sixtyshadesofblues. This name has it all: It celebrates Season 60 at the Downs and defines the filly’s classy sassy personality. Love it! The Name Claim has been sent to the Jockey Club for approval.”

So there you have it. Thanks to all readers who gave it a shot. Many of you will recognize Edwina Larsen as a horse owner who first became an owner six years ago when she bought a yearling by the name of Jon’s Golden Run named for Jon Montgomery’s Olympic gold medal run. Now she has a different kind of personal connection with a horse! When she’s not cheering her horses to victory, Edwina works for a car dealership as the secretary-treasurer.

OOPS! WRONG COMPARISON: A sharp reader noticed an error in last week’s "Did you know” segment in The Insider. It said the time of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate has become slower by seven seconds when it moved from the dirt to Tapeta.  As the reader noted: “The El Camino Real Derby was held at the distance of 8.5 furlongs on dirt up to the year 2008.  When switched to the all-weather surface in 2009, the distance was increased to 9 furlongs.  These synthetic surfaces may affect times, but not that much!” Thanks for setting the record straight!

LAST CHANCE TO JOIN HORSE OWNERSHIP GROUP: If you or someone you know has been thinking about participating in horse ownership during the live season while limiting your expenses, there are still a couple $500 shares available in the Assiniboia Racing Club, says coordinator John Field. Field says the group is getting close to buying a horse and, once that happens, the chance of joining ends. This would make a great gift, too! If you’d like more info, email and your email will be forwarded to John.

ONE WORD SAYS IT ALL FOR "I WON BIG" GROUP -- BACON: “Bacon” was the first word out of the mouth of Len Charney last Saturday when the “I won big” betting group nailed a pick-4 at Tampa paying almost $4,000. It seems that getting a crispy crunchy bacon treat this Saturday is more important than the six-fold profit each member made on his or her shares. A 33/1 longshot set up the great price.

By comparison, holiday Monday’s special workshop on Oaklawn races netted a pick-5 of just $430 when the group’s ticket failed to hit any longshots. Still, it was better than zero which would have been the case had it not been for horse owner Dave Champion who pointed out an analyst’s reason for liking #9, Blueridge Traveler, in the last race when the group was about to drop it from the ticket. The horse ended up winning and it showed the value of group participation. We’ll do it again this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza when Tampa’s last five races will again be considered. And, oh yah, Mr. Charney: Something crunchy will be served!


HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

Who was the best filly/mare ever to race at the Downs? Was it Taboga, Electric Fever, Miss Missile, Picatune or someone else? Who's your choice? Go here to see Bob’s choice.

15 Kentucky Derby prep races remain; how many will you get right?
Good luck in Saturday's horseplayer tourney!

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