Thursday, March 22, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 11 (Issue #629)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Named after the Greek sun god, Apollo, the 1882 Kentucky Derby winner is said to have cast a curse on future 3-year-olds who have tried to win the Derby without having raced at 2.

Second horse aims to shatter 1882 "curse of Apollo"

Now Magnum Moon, winner of the Rebel Stakes, is being touted as a curse-breaker

Will Justify (left) or Magnum Moon break the curse?

Last week it was Justify who was touted as the horse with the talent to break the 1882 “curse of Apollo”—that is, winning the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old.

Now add Todd Pletcher’s Magnum Moon to that possibility after the colt decisively put away rivals in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on Saturday, including Bob Baffert’s even-money favourite Solomini.

So now a poll of racing experts by Horse Racing Nation leads to this list of the top 10 Kentucky Derby contenders:
  1. Bolt d’Oro (pointed to the Santa Anita Derby)
  2. McKinzie (pointed to the Santa Anita Derby)
  3. Magnum Moon – curse breaker? (Pointed to the Arkansas Derby)
  4. Good Magic
  5. Audible (pointed to the Florida Derby)
  6. Justify – curse breaker? (Pointed to the Arkansas Derby)
  7. Solomini (pointed to the Wood Memorial)
  8. Enticed
  9. Promises Fulfilled
  10. Catholic Boy (pointed to the Florida Derby)
More on Derby doings below.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 climbs to $3.9 million. Mandatory payout Saturday, March 31
  • Kentucky Derby plot thickens with a "key" race hardly anyone is talking about
  • Have you signed up for Saturday's ASD tourney? Share $1,750 in prize money!
  • Catholic Boy, my Derby pick, hits the road today seeking glory in Florida Derby.
  • Race-caller's heart rate escalates to 157 beats per minute. Who? See Shout-Outs
  • What special racing event will take place in Transcona Sunday afternoon?
DRAW THAT COULD EARN YOU A VIP INVITATION CONTINUES SATURDAY: How much can you turn $50 in self-serve designated bets into? Enter the draw Saturday to get a chance. You keep the winnings and if your winnings are the highest in eight weekly draws, you and a guest will be invited to a press conference and spectacular brunch to kick off the live race season. Last week’s draw winner was Bernardito Cornejo whose $50 in wagers earned him $7.75. So that’s the amount to beat right now.

go here to see the leaderboard to win $200 in wagers on Kentucky Derby day. The winners of the two sets of Derby glasses on Saturday were Brian McKellar and Roger Bamburak. Who’s going to win the Louisiana Derby on Saturday and the Sunland Derby on Sunday?

(a week from this Saturday) if you’re at the track before 8:30 a.m. when the UAE Derby takes off at Meydan race course as part of Dubai World Cup Day that comes to a climax with the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

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Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in March? 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, March 23 is $3,460.

(3 p.m to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 12 p.m. daily) Two soft tacos ($7), two prime rib sliders ($7), crispy Downs chips sprinkled with parmesan/garlic ($5), pizza ($10).

Sunday, April 1. See menu here.


Click to enlarge
Morning racing: Racing from Europe. Betting available only on your HPI account.

Afternoon racing:
Racing in North America. Which tracks have carryovers? Click here.
Evening racing:
North America and Australia. Download a FREE Australia program here.

Set one up by phoning 204-885-3330 ext. 225.

Your first $20 in bets are on the house!

*       *       *

First OTB racing seminar is this Sunday in Transcona

Four more to follow around the city; invite your friends "for fun and profit"

Bring your friends to racing seminars at OTBs around the city; the first is Sunday

This Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Central Hotel in Transcona is the first of five “playing the horses for fun and profit” seminars that fan-education specialists Marshall and Glen are holding around the city.

It’s a perfect opportunity for your friends and acquaintances who live in the area (or elsewhere) to enjoy a fun afternoon in which a free $5 share in a group play could result in a nice score. Free food, drinks and race programs! Sign-up for an online wagering account (HPI) will be available as will the opportunity to obtain a free Player Rewards card.

Register with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0

Other seminar dates to tell your friends about:
  • Wednesday, April 4, 7 p.m.: Quest Inn, 367 Ellice Ave.
  • Sunday, April 15, 1 p.m.: Green Brier, 1611 Main St.
  • Sunday, April 22, 1 p.m.: Canad Inns Destination Centre Windsor Park, 1034 Elizabeth Road
  • Sunday, April 29, 1 p.m.: Pembina Hotel, 1011 Pembina Hwy.



The plot thickens

Did you know Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf race has become a KEY race for Derby hopefuls?

Mendelssohn (second from the right) wins BC Juvenile Turf that has produced three impressive Derby hopefuls

How about this? A TURF race last fall—the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf—has emerged as a “key” race for horses hoping to win the Kentucky Derby. Which, of course, is on the DIRT. That’s a rarity. Three horses from that turf race have run impressively in dirt prep races:
  • Catholic Boy, fourth in that turf race, subsequently won the Remsen at Aqueduct and finished second in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa.
  • Flameaway, eighth in that turf race, won the Sam F. Davis above.
  • Snapper Sinclair, 12th in the Juvenile Turf, ran second in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds— at juicy odds of 41-1.
So the obvious question is: What about the horse who WON the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Mendelssohn? Will his European trainer, Aidan O’Brien, bring him back to North America for a prep race coming off a recent turf victory in Ireland? After all, Mendelssohn’s mother, Leslie’s Lady, produced great dirt stars: Into Mischief and Beholder.

So the plot thickens. Mendelsson just may be the dark horse with a “rosy” future.

*       *       *

Date with destiny: My Catholic Boy heads south today . . .

. . . for Florida Derby in nine days; workout impresses

Catholic Boy leaves Ocala today for Florida Derby--and glory?

My (right-headed? wrong-headed?) pick to win the Kentucky Derby, Catholic Boy, is on the road today to a critical test. He leaves a training track near Ocala for a four-hour trip south to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach where he will continue to be primed to razor-sharpness for the Florida Derby on Saturday, March 31.

A recent workout, 5f in 1:00, had his jockey Irad Ortiz and trainer Jonathan Thomas in good spirits, especially since he had a good gallop-out.

The Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles will be a stern test. Catholic Boy is likely to face two salty Gulfstream prep race winners: Promises Fulfilled, winner of the Fountain of Youth, and Audible, winner of the Holy Bull. Important Kentucky Derby qualifying points are at stake: 100-40-20-10 (to the first to fourth place finishers).

The Florida Derby has been a stepping stone for 24 Kentucky Derby winners, the last being Always Dreaming last year.


Why did betting group single a 35-1 horse?

It didn't help the group win Tampa's pick-5 but did give group a moral victory

Blouberg Beach's 341 Tomlinson figure was highest

There it was on a sheet that members of Saturday’s “I won big” group get listing their tickets for Tampa’s pick-5 and Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6. One ticket at Tampa had #5 Blouberg Beach (35-1) SINGLED to win the final leg.

Why? Because the horse, who had a terrible first-start on dirt (that had been taken off the turf) was now racing on turf and he had the biggest Tomlinson figure of all horses in the nine-horse field—341. (The Tomlinson figure—printed on the top right corner of each horse’s past performances in the Daily Racing Form—is based on a horse’s turf breeding.)

Blouberg Beach took the lead and never looked back, forcing a carryover in the pick-5 pool to Sunday because no ticket anywhere was five-for-five with this longshot as part of the ticket. Had the “Big” group correctly predicted the other four legs, it would have won the pool—but such was not the case. But singling a 35-1 shot could be considered a bit of a moral victory. You can’t leave out that kind of horse.

MODEST WINNINGS AT GULFSTREAM: The group DID have success in Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 but couldn’t catch a longshot anywhere in the sequence and had to settle for just over $200 for a ticket that cost them over $1,000.

It’s back to basics again this Saturday—which is also a Player’s Choice horseplayer tournament day. Last Saturday’s 35-1 horse would have been a perfect tournament play, don’t you think? Will another such horse emerge at this Saturday’s discussion of the last five races at Tampa and last six races at Gulfstream? Find out at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza.

John Field
Great claim for racing club

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the Assiniboia Racing Club and its coordinator, John Field, who have made a great claim at Turf Paradise in their first horse purchase for the 2018 season that kicks off on Mother’s Day. Field paid the claiming price of $3,500 U.S. for a 4-year-old gelding that appears to be a win-early type at the Downs—Californium. He was claimed on Field’s behalf by trainer Jared Brown out of a race for non-winners of two races lifetime in which he was the 2-5 choice and won by three lengths. There are 54 members in the Assiniboia Racing Club holding 58 shares worth $500 apiece. Field is looking for another horse, hopefully of stakes calibre, he told The Insider.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan who has agreed to do what probably no one in the world does –- watch dozens and dozens of replays from around the world again to prepare picks for the Dubai World Cup races on the morning of March 31. There are a bunch of you who love it and are likely happy to hear he’ll be doing all that work again. His picks made nice money in 2015 and 2016 but last year not so much. I’m predicting a bounce-back year. (Maybe the pick-6?) Of course, The Insider will regale you with his choices next week and you’re invited to a special “I won big” group workshop early on March 31 where you’ll receive a free breakfast sandwich and a free $5 wager on the UAE Derby.

Rupert Bell
Heart rate 157 beats per minute

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to race-caller Rupert Bell in England WHOSE HEART RATE SHOOTS UP TO 157 BEATS PER MINUTE when he so impressively calls huge fields of hurdling horses at one of the biggest race events in the U.K, the Cheltenham racing festival. “Nothing short of impressive,” said ASD CEO and former race-caller Darren Dunn after watching a Cheltenham race replay which you may watch here. (And how does The Insider know Bell’s heart rate? Because Sky Bet hooked him up to a heart monitor. But his rate wasn’t the highest. A horse trainer’s heart beat soared to 179 beats per minute. See the heart rate video here.)


Dining at Meydan race course in Dubai

LOW ADMISSION CHARGE TO DUBAI WORLD CUP BUT NO BETTING: If you’re heading to Dubai for the World Cup of racing on March 31, it will only cost you $14.25 (Cdn) to gain entrance into the most ornate race track on the planet that cost a reported $2 billion to build. Only problem that you as a bettor will face: There is no betting. It’s disallowed in the United Arab Emirates. But you can buy raffle tickets on the races and can make phone bets to an account held elsewhere.

TRAGEDY AT PARX: Race fans were reminded again of the risks inherent in racing as 56-year-old Parx jockey Jose Luis Flores is not expected to survive injuries suffered in the ninth race Monday when his horse broke down during a duel for the lead. Parx, located in Bensalem, Penn., cancelled Tuesday’s card out of regard for a person who had won widespread respect during his three decades of riding in the U.S. His agent, Dave Yanuzzi, calls him “a true gentleman rider who would ride a 60-1 shot as hard as he’d ride a favourite.” Flores has won 4,650 races and is Parx’s all-time leading money-earner. He has a wife and three sons.



Did you know . . . that the Downs record for the Daily Double $4,235.50 ($2 wager) was set on July 23, 1971. The payout narrowly missed the Canadian record of $4,835.55 which took place at old Whittier Park on June 9, 1942. Find out about more records here.


  • Tonight: Tonight’s certified Angus prime rib buffet with salad bar and pasta station in the Terrace Dining Room also features Sambuca mussels, stuffed pork loin, fried chicken and cream of celery soup. All you can eat $27.95. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Saturday, March 24: Player's Choice handicapping tournament starts at noon. Kentucky Derby prep race:  Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Louisiana
  • Sunday, March 25: Kentucky Derby prep race: Sunland Derby at Sunland Park, New Mexico
  • Sunday, March 25 at 1 p.m.:  Seminar by Glen and Marshall at Rookies Sports Bar at the Central Hotel in Transcona: Topic: “Betting horses for fun and profit.” Free wager, perks and refreshments.
  • Saturday, March 31: $10 million Dubai World Cup – special workshop 8:00 a.m. Derby prep races: Florida Derby, UAE Derby, MANDATORY PAYOUT of Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6
  • Easter Sunday, April 1:  April Fool’s Day but Easter Brunch will be for real. See menu  here .
  • Saturday, Sunday, April 14-15: New! The Indulgence Expo at ASD. Fitness, beauty, cars, boats, home and garden, food trucks, micro-brewery, prize draws and much, much more. $10.


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