Thursday, March 18, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 10 (Issue #781)

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



Bullet briefs . . .

  • Keying a Manitoba trainer in New York races produces $6,000 windfall
  • When should you bet a horse that lost by 43 lengths?
  • He had just 35-cents left in his betting account, so what did the player do?
  • Good news! Australian races are being shown again in Race Book, OTBs
  • Got questions for ASD handicapping trio as they tackle Dubai & Florida Derby Day?
NEXT PLAYER’S CHOICE TOURNEY IS 10 DAYS AWAY, Saturday, March 27. It’s one of the bigger days on the racing calendar with early-morning races from Dubai and the Florida Derby in the afternoon. It’s a Kentucky Derby prep day, too, with the UAE Derby on the Dubai card. Sign up to play in the online tournament for $25 by next Friday at 5 p.m. Enter with Clubhouse supervisor at ASD, email or call the mutuel desk at 204-885-3330 ext. 225. Prize money is $1,750.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in March? 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 Monday, Feb. 1. 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.

for VLTs, simulcast racing and dining. Mask-wearing is required.

Pembina 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; Central Hotel (Rookies) 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. except Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. NOTE: Canad Inns Windsor Park and Green Brier are only open to purchase programs from the kiosks and to make HPI deposits on self-serve terminals. Both casinos and Quest Inn remain closed.

with daily specials. And Fridays feature a Top Sirloin Steak dinner for $24.95 and Saturdays it’s Certified Angus Prime Rib dinner time also for $24.95. Dinners are served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

: Go for greed tomorrow in the Stronach 5--the most exciting hour in racing--that features a $155,000 carryover. Starting at 3:30 p.m. CT, pick the winners at Laurel-Gulfstream-Laurel-Santa Anita-Golden Gate and you could be cashing big at 4:30 p.m. Note, too, that 20-cent jackpot pick-6 pools are in the hundreds of thousands at Gulfstream and Santa Anita.

Manitoba trainer wins three legs of $6,000 pick-5 at Aqueduct

Rob Atras
Four wins on Saturday
If you have homer tendencies and are therefore a fan of trainer Rob Atras from Oakbank, Man., you might have cashed the early pick-5 at Aqueduct Saturday simply by keying his horses in three races with ”all” horses in the other two legs. The $1 pick-5 paid $6,022. Atras wins were:

Race 1: #8 Saint Selby
won a maiden race and paid $8.90
Race 4: #2 Heavy Roller
won a $10,000 claimer and paid $3.60
Race 5: #4 Storm Advisory
won a $16,000 claimer and paid $6.20

In the two legs not won by Atras horses, there were eight horses and six horses. So 6 X 8 = $48 to bet a $1 ticket with Atras horses. But he had an even bigger moment on the day: His Sadie Lady won the $100,000 Correction Stakes in race 9 ($13).

Ever since winning his first race at Assiniboia Downs in 2009, Atras has been a high-percentage trainer at U.S. tracks. As he told the online Paulick Report: “Every time I lead a horse over, I like to be a contender. That's the focal point of the operation.” He’s third in Aqueduct trainer standings with 20 wins from 88 starts. That’s a 23 per cent strike rate.
VIRTUAL WORKSHOP with Kirt, Marshall and Stretch

Got questions for ASD's tip trio?
They'll answer your questions in a Dubai World Cup, Florida Derby workshop

Kirt, Marshall and Glen will be doing what they did in the Breeders’ Cup and answering your questions, too
A week from tonight, ASD’s tip trio--Kirt, Marshall and Stretch--will be presenting a special online workshop dedicated to the Dubai World Cup and the last six races at Gulfstream on Florida Derby Saturday.

They’ll discuss the $12 million Dubai World Cup that runs on Saturday morning, March 27, and offer their take on the Rainbow 6 and pick-5 on Gulfstream’s card that day. Kirt will try to duplicate his Breeders’ Cup feat when he correctly predicted a pick-3 that cost just $28 but paid more than $2,700.

And they’d like to get questions from you to answer during the workshop. Send your questions to One question may be: “What accounted for your biggest successes playing Dubai races?” Another: “When should you play the Rainbow pick-6?”

You may watch them next Thursday night or later as a podcast. Links will be provided in next week's Insider.

Good news! You can again watch races from Down Under in Race Book

Exciting big-field simulcast races from Australia are once again being shown nightly in the Race Book at Assiniboia Downs. Races from Down Under had been unavailable in recent months because of a technical issue which has now been overcome by OnTrack Media, the folks who make live and simulcast races available to players.

Australian races have been particularly popular because wagers are similar to Woodbine and Mohawk, with 20-cent pick-3s, pick-4s, triactors and superfectas. You can actually spend just 20-cents for a single superfecta ticket if you wish. An impossible-to-win bet you say? Not really. Read on . . .

A memory worth recounting: Player hits $700 superfecta for 20-cents!

What do you do when you’re down to your last 35-cents in your HPI account? For bookbinder/motorcyclist ASD player Mel Peddle six years ago the answer was easy: He would play a straight 20-cent superfecta at Gulfstream. He would play his wife’s longshot pick for first (Birdatthewire), his longshot pick second (Lassofthemohicans) and two other horses underneath. The result? His account soared to almost $700. But, then again, it WAS his birthday and obviously the racing gods were in a celebratory mood that day.  

Australia’s greatest-ever mare, Winx, is being eternally honoured with a statue just inside the main entrance to Rosehill Gardens race track in Sydney. Sculptor Tanya Bartlett took 14 months to produce the remarkably detailed larger-than-life bronze likeness of the mare who was never beaten in 33 starts, 25 of the races Group 1s from May 2015 until she was retired in April 2019 at 8-years-old. Nice!

100-pointers begin Saturday

Eight prep races worth 100 points to the winner are set for next four Saturdays

Mandaloun, seen here winning Risen Star Stakes, is likely Louisiana Derby favourite Saturday (Amanda Hodges Weir photo)
Let the 100-pointers begin! The first prep race worth that many qualifying points to get into the Kentucky Derby goes this Saturday at Fair Grounds with the $1 million Louisiana Derby at 5:44 p.m. CT. The first post of the 14-race card is 11 a.m. CT. The points available to the top four finishers are 100-40-20-10.

Brad Cox’s Mandaloun
, winner of the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, is likely to be favoured. However, his 97 Equibase speed is light compared to other prep races featuring horses with E speed ranging to 112. The other 100-40-20-10 point prep races are:
  • Saturday, March 27: Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Florida, UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park in Kentucky
  • Saturday, April 3: Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in Kentucky, Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York and the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita in California
  • Saturday, April 10: Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
There is no Sunland Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico this year because the New Mexico racing commission cancelled racing because of COVID health concerns. It didn’t run last year, either.
WIN A TON IN '21: When should you bet a horse that lost by 43 lengths?

It’s not easy to like a horse that lost his first two lifetime races by a combined 60 lengths--except when you notice something peculiar. Because of that peculiarity, Sunday’s “I won bigger” betting group added the horse to its pick-5 ticket at Tampa and collected almost $900 as a result.

So what was the peculiarity? In each of his two lifetime starts, the 3-year-old gelding #6 Congrats Smoke, was bet down to 7-2 and 5-2. That showed there was a strong belief that this horse had more talent than he was showing. Sure enough. His morning line in race 7 was 20-1 and he ended up at 10-1 but won the race as if he were the favourite. Les “Longshot” Buzzell loves this kind of play. Do you? See race page here.

WINNIPEG NATIVE CHANTAL SUTHERLAND TO RIDE AGAIN APRIL 1: Born in Winnipeg, Man. 44 years ago, model/jockey Chantal Sutherland wants to get back to riding again starting April 1 at Gulfstream Park. “The combination of boxing, yoga, and meditation has created a great balance of grit and calm that I will leverage to win,” she said in a statement. Chantal, who has won 1,060 races, last rode at Turfway Park on Dec. 9. She is best known, besides posing nude on a horse for a magazine shoot, for having ridden Game On Dude to victory 10 years ago in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap.

: So what else is new? Trainer Bob Baffert’s two horses captured most of the $1 million purse in Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes Saturday when they finished one-two: Concert Tour at 3-2 and Hozier at 18-1. A $2 Baffert exactor paid $66.80. Trainer Steve Asmussen’s horses were third and fourth. Concert Tour’s Equibase speed for that Kentucky Derby prep race was 105. It’s not far-fetched to believe that Baffert horses could actually finish in the first four positions of the Kentucky Derby. That would make him the ultimate Hall of Fame trainer, wouldn’t it?

At least the “I won bigger” betting group has been cashing its bets the last couple of weeks, the latest being the pick-4 and pick-5 at Santa Anita Saturday (the pick-5 paid $971 for a $115 ticket) and the same bets at Tampa on Sunday. Overall, those bets resulted only in a doubling of share money but, as group player John Field observed: Really good handicapping! Only a few lengths in two races from a really big hit.” Yes, a 23-1 horse was a neck away from winning the first leg of the pick-5 at Tampa and a 13-1 horse was a half-length from victory in the last leg--and group tickets had them both. Group play returns to Santa Anita Saturday.
THE BEST OF BOB by Bob Gates: Horse owner's empire began with a "Fling"

Did you know that Phil Kives' first horse was Island Fling and that only once in his career did he ever run for a "tag?" On November 11, 1976, Phil claimed Fling for $30,000 at Greenwood racetrack and the rest is history. Click here to learn more about the horse that was the foundation of the K5 racing empire. (First published in June 2020.)
Here’s where Jeff Ruby Steaks gets its name (located in Cincinatti). Hungry? Tomorrow is Top Sirloin Steak dinner day at ASD.
  • This Saturday: Kentucky Derby prep race: Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. First post 11 a.m.
  • Friday, March 26: Beginning of three-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager offerings
  • Saturday, March 27: Dubai World Cup day starts at 7 a.m. Player’s Choice handicapping tournament. Kentucky Derby prep races: the Florida Derby, Jeff Ruby Steaks, UAE Derby.
  • Thursday, April 1: April Fool! Watch out!
  • Saturday, April 3: Three big Kentucky Derby prep races from Santa Anita, Aqueduct and Keeneland. (See Road to the Kentucky Derby above)
  • Saturday, April 10: Final major Kentucky Derby prep race from Oaklawn Park

When you wake up Saturday morning, it will officially be spring!

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