Thursday, March 7, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14 No. 8 (Issue #678)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

RACING CANCELLED INDEFINITELY AT SANTA ANITA: Santa Anita has cancelled racing until it can determine the cause of a rash of breakdowns. Saturday was to have featured the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap and the 2019 debut of Game Winner in the San Felipe prep race. The track had also scheduled a mandatory payout of its Rainbow pick-6 jackpot for this Saturday.

Commenting on the breakdowns, ASD trainer Don Schnell, who has raced Escape Clause at the southern California track, tells The Insider he has noticed horses are trained “much harder” at Santa Anita than at other tracks.


National Meatball Day features three prep races

Aqueduct, Tampa Bay and Turfway in the spotlight along with future wagers

Even with the cancellation of racing at Santa Anita along with its big stakes races (see above), this Saturday has lots to be excited about:
  • Three Kentucky Derby prep races will be run with a draw for Justify Triple Crown glasses after each
  • It’s National Meatball Day with the Downs giving you four delicious choices
  • This weekend is your only chance to make a future wager on a filly you think will win the Kentucky Oaks and it’s your second-last chance to future-wager the Kentucky Derby (win and exactor bets)
  • Contest fun: win $150 in wagering vouchers in the “3 for the money” contest, earn points toward winning a $200 bankroll for the Kentucky Derby and win a set of Triple Crown “Justify” glasses in draws after each of the three Derby prep races


  • Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa. First post 11 a.m.
  • Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. First post 11:50 a.m.
  • Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway (“steaks” is correct; sponsor is a steakhouse). First post 5:15 p.m.

“NATIONAL MEATBALL DAY” choices ($10 each)

  • Honey garlic meatballs with mashed potatoes plus choice of salad or fries
  • Swedish meatballs with above
  • Meatball marinara with above
  • Meatball sub

Bullet briefs . . .

  • When will Escape Clause race next?
  • Why did losing tickets get paid at Delta Downs?
  • "Sure thing" misfires in Davona Dale Stakes; bridgejumpers go bridge-hunting
  • Here's a good reason to watch for "bridgejumper" races (See Shout-Outs)
  • Flashback: 37-cent horse wins the Winnipeg Futurity (See the Best of Bob)
51-1 winner killed last week's entries
$103 HORSE SHOCKS “3 FOR THE MONEY” PLAYERS; $150 AT STAKE SATURDAY: The “3 for the money” contest looked easy on Saturday at Gulfstream—until a $103 horse beat the 1-5 Jaywalk in the second leg—which means $150 is carried over to this Saturday's contest on the first three legs of Tampa's late pick-4 that includes the Tampa Bay Derby.

With three prep races being run on Saturday, that’s your chance to accumulate lots of points toward earning a $200 Kentucky Derby bankroll and also to win a set of Triple Crown “Justify” glasses that will be drawn for after each prep race. Congrats to Ray West who won last week’s draw after the Fountain of Youth. And shout-outs to Jeff Blair and Geoffrey Metcalfe who picked that race winner to top the leaderboard in the Derby Countdown Contest. See leaderboard here.

Win $20 in betting vouchers and an ASD T-shirt. Locations.
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 March? Find out here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jets. 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 $2,777.50.

GREEDY CORNER: ALMOST $900,000 at stake today at Gulfstream in the Rainbow pick-6. (Post time 11:35 a.m.) See other carryovers here.


Will turf race be mare's next start?

"I'm 50-50 on entering her in a 1 1/4 mile turf race at Santa Anita on March 30:" trainer

Mike Nault exercises Escape Clause early Sunday at Turf Paradise. (Photo and selfie by ASD's Derek Corbel who's on a horse recruitment trip.)
What’s the most important thing for Escape Clause as owner/trainer Don Schnell eyes the next race for Manitoba’s super star mare?

The most important is distance, he said. “Her preferred distances are 1 1/16-mile, 1 1/8-mile and 1 ¼-mile,” Schnell told The Insider in a recent interview from Turf Paradise where Escape Clause is stabled.

That would make the 1 1/4 miles Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Ana on Santa Anita turf his 50-50 choice at this point in the mare’s career. He said he would even consider the Grade 1 $400,000 Beholder Stakes at a mile on Santa’s main track on March 10 “if Marley’s Freedom weren’t in the race.” That’s the horse who beat Escape Clause in their last race, the Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Monica.

Schnell says Marley’s Freedom is the best mare in the world, having been favoured in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and there’s no way Escape Clause can beat her. The trainer said he also has nominated the mare for a $100,000 race at Sunland Park in New Mexico and also for the $350,000 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 16 to see if the race possibly comes up “light”—but said travelling there—two days each way—would take a lot out of his horse and would require a long recovery period.

So where will she race next? Should have a more definitive answer next week.

SHOCKER OF THE WEEK: Davona Dale Kentucky Oaks prep race

Prohibitive favourite Jaywalk runs fourth to Jeltrin . . .

. . . sending some show bettors searching for a high bridge while others cash big

Jaywalk at odds of 1-5 fades to fourth; bridgejumpers look for bridge
Uh-oh! When overwhelming 1-5 favourite Jaywalk didn’t get her customary lead in the Kentucky Oaks prep race, the Davona Dale, at Gulfstream on Saturday, experienced players knew she was in trouble. After pressing the leader, Cookie Dough, for 5 ½-furlongs of the mile race, she simply wrapped it up and drifted back to fourth, causing considerable dismay to bridgejumpers who had heaped more than $390,000 to show on the filly, hoping for a quick five per cent pick-up on their “investment.”

at 51-1, the longest shot in the seven-horse field, won by overtaking Cookie Dough in late stretch.

Those who bet against Jaywalk in the show pool were relishing their good fortune (see Shout-Outs of the Week below). Here were the resulting show prices:
  • Jeltrin $34.00
  • Cookie Dough $22.60
  • Champagne Anyone $15.40
If you had bet $2 on each of the six horses (leaving out Jaywalk) at a cost of $12, your return would have been $72. This huge upset is remindful of another prep race at Gulfstream, the Holy Bull Stakes, a month ago when Harvey Wallbanger won at 29-1 and Everlast finished second at 128-1, producing a $2 exactor payoff of $2,030.

Watch the upset race here. Imagine you bet a suitcase of cash to show on #1 Jaywalk.

SETS UP MONSTER PICK-6: Jaywalker’s loss to the longest shot on the board set up a monster Rainbow pick-6 payoff at Gulfstream Saturday. A 20-cent ticket paid $148,000 despite even-money horses winning two of the six legs. Here are the prices of the six winners: $17.20, $11, $4, $105, $21 (the Fountain of Youth stakes) and $4.20.

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Thankful Every Day. When do you see a horse name as openly gushing as the name for this 5-year-old gelding racing at Los Alamitos? It’s kind of refreshing when you think about it. It appears he derived his name from his mom, Thankfully. Thanks, mom!
HANDICAPPING TIP OF THE WEEK: Be sure to re-handicap a race after scratches. Race 6 at Tampa Saturday, the first leg of the pick-5, was a good example. Two horses that might have shown some early pace were scratched out of the seven-horse field. The default for speed then fell to only one horse: #4 Dalarna. Without being challenged, the stallion wired the field, paying $15.40, while the two horses that almost everybody loved, #2 Can’thelpbelieving, and #6, Surprise Twist, could only chase and finish second and third. They needed a contentious pace to win and there wasn’t one.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to ASD’s fan education specialist Glen Sirkis and other players who saw vulnerability in Jaywalk in the Davona Dale Stakes--a filly loved by bridgejumpers (see show bets above)--so he bet $100 to show on the closer in the seven-horse field, Champagne Anyone. He collected $700 when his horse passed Jaywalk to get third. “Jaywalk was primarily winning on the front in her races,” he noted. "What if she didn’t get the lead?” Which is exactly what happened. She chased the leader for 5 ½-furlongs, then tired. His was a low-risk wager (just requiring his horse to finish in the money) with a high-reward possibility. Do you watch for such huge opportunities? See the program page for that race here.

A shout-out in last week’s Insider should have said that VLT player Janet Gray’s winnings before each monthly horseplayer tournament covered not only her husband Glen’s $25 entry fee into four tournaments but also his $60 in win/place/show contest wagers for each of those tournaments. Some record! She’s become the “advance woman” who takes care of all expenses so all her husband has to do is show up and play. Nice!


DELTA DOWNS CASHES LOSING TICKETS: The misreading of a photo finish picture by a race steward(s) in the first race at Delta Downs Saturday evening cost the Louisiana track about $47,000 but meant a windfall for players holding losing tickets. An hour after #9, New Orleans Spice, was posted as the winner of the race, it was announced that #10, Mi Copa Rebosa, had really won the race. So the track paid out as if both horses won the race and honoured doubles off each horse as well. If you look at Equibase race results, you will see the correct winner but see the payout only on the losing horse, #9. The actual winner, #10, paid $9. The non-winner, #9, paid $12.40. If everyone cashed their tickets, the track paid out an extra $40,155 in win money and $7,595 in doubles. Not an error for a steward to easily live down.

My hope is that Hidden Scroll’s fourth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth prep race Saturday at Gulfstream will diminish support for him in this weekend’s Kentucky Derby future pool. After bumping and losing a couple steps at the start of the race the colt set the fastest pace of any horse so far in a prep race and remained game to the end. Doesn’t that set up for a big effort in his next likely race, the Florida Derby?

DID WINX’S WIN STREAK END? Winx, Australia’s super mare, was looking for her 31st win in a row in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick Saturday when the second-best horse in Australia, Happy Clapper, got a commanding and widening lead. So what happened? See race replay here.

The value to the “I won bigger” betting group of having a few “executives” drawing up the tickets became abundantly clear Saturday morning when one of them said to play one ticket with “all” five horses in the first leg of the late pick-5. Good move. A horse nobody really liked--#4 Dalarna--wired the allowance field ($15.40) setting up a 60-cent pick-5 payoff of more than $1,200, giving group members a 50 per cent return on their money.

Adding a highly-rated first time starter, #8 Bluski ($9.20) to the fourth leg instead of just keying an obvious horse (Take the Over at 3-5) helped, too. Let’s make that kind of analysis a template for the last five races again at Tampa at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza.

Of four starters on the weekend at Aqueduct trained by Manitoba’s Rob Atras, one horse won, two finished second and one finished out of the money. Rob’s current record is 21-10-7-0 for an in-the-money stat of 81 per cent.

THE BEST OF BOB: 37-cent horse wins Winnipeg Futurity

Did you know . . .a 37-cent horse won the Winnipeg Futurity way back when? What? How did a horse come to be bought for a few coins? Track historian Bob Gates has the details in " Psst, hey mister, wanna buy a horse?" here. (First published in September 2013.)


  • Tomorrow: Future wager pool #3 on the Kentucky Derby (until Sunday). Also includes wagering on the Kentucky Oaks. See Derby odds here. See Oaks odds here.
  • This Saturday: National Meatball Day features four meatball specials and three Kentucky Derby prep races–the Gotham at Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa and the Jeff Ruby Steaks (note the spelling because the sponsor is a steakhouse) on the synthetic Turfway track.
  • Tuesday, March 12: ASD training track opens (weather permitting)
  • Saturday, March 16: Kentucky Derby prep race–Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn
  • Saturday, March 23: Handicapper of the Month tournament; Kentucky Derby prep race—Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds
  • Sunday, March 24: Kentucky Derby prep race--Sunland Derby at Sunland

© Copyright 1996-2019 All Rights Reserved. Assiniboia Downs.
3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Read our Blog  See us on Instagram  Watch us on Youtube
Make Dinner Reservations
Book Your Event
Bet Online