Thursday, March 23, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 11 (Issue #578)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Set your alarm!

Full day of action Saturday starts with Dubai Gold Cup at 7:50 a.m.

Talk about intense! Saturday is wall-to-wall action: the richest race card in the world, the best horse in the world, the third handicapping tournament, two Kentucky Derby prep races. Which is followed on Sunday by the third prep race of the weekend. Where to begin? Let’s start with early tomorrow morning.

You’ll receive The Insider World Cup Special early tomorrow with details on the World Cup races and the picks of ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan who watched dozens of replays from tracks around the world and is looking for his third straight year of World Cup success. Free World Cup programs will be available, too, as an Insider link and as hard copies at the track.


  • 25 will be given away

    6:45 AM: The first two Dubai World Cup races go to post but you may bet them only on your HPI account, not at the track.
  • 7:30 AM: ASD DOORS OPEN and on-track betting begins for Dubai World Cup races 3 to 9 with race 3, the Dubai Gold Cup going off at PRECISELY 7:50 AM.
  • 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: FREE BREAKFAST SANDWICH (first 25) and special “I won big” workshop with Rob MacLennan and yours truly hosting. Each $20 share will be generously bumped up to $25 by the Downs.
  • 8:25 AM: UAE Derby is off. Draw for a free Kentucky Derby travel mug and pint glass. Three more Dubai races follow.
  • 10:35 AM: “I WON BIG” WORKSHOP #2 to discuss and play the last five races at Tampa Bay and peek at Gulfstream’s mega-carryover in the Rainbow pick 6. Each $20 share bumped up to $25 by ASD.
  • 11:45 AM: THE HEADLINER $10 million Dubai World Cup featuring Arrogate, impressive winner of the Travers Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic and $12 million Pegasus Cup. The 4-year-old has already earned $11 million.


  • 12:00 PM: Player’s Choice handicapping tournament -- $1,750 in prize money plus points toward $3,500 in prize money for the year’s top 10 players. Current standings.
  • 4:55 PM: Spiral Stakes prep race at Turfway Park in Kentucky. Draw for Derby travel mug and pint class will be made after race.


  • ALL DAY: Your third opportunity of the weekend to enter a Derby Countdown contest.
  • 6:28 PM: SUNLAND DERBY GOES TO POST followed by a draw for a Kentucky Derby travel mug and pint glass

Whew! What a weekend! Best of luck all around!

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Getting your share of weekly cash bonuses? Find out here.
  • What if you had bet Rob's pick for every live race last year? Surprised?
  • Invent a word to describe someone who takes advantage of bridgejumper races
  • Wonderful Winx: Super mare wins 16th straight race Down Under
  • She was a "plain Jane" who wasn't -- and Bob tells you why in HISTORY ON THE HOOF
HE’S BA-A-A-CK! MR. PARLAY THROWS DOWN GAUNTLET WITH $62.50 PARLAY: Al “Mr. Parlay” Ilott, winner of the Mexican trip for his parlay smarts last year, was back at it Saturday in the 5-Alive Show Parlay Challenge, increasing his $6 to $62.50 in five races at Meadowlands. Which means the Downs matched his winnings. Which also means he’s the highest parlayer of the month and is in line for a prime rib buffet for two – unless you have something to say about it (and want the Downs to match your winnings, too). Make it happen Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Race Book.

$200 DERBY COUNTDOWN FEATURES THREE PREP RACES THIS WEEKEND: So there are three Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend for you to pick the winner and enter the Derby Countdown contest to win a $100 win/place wager in the Derby. And three chances to be drawn to win a Derby travel mug and pint glass. Last Saturday’s draw winner was Trevor Acco.

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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

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.

HOP TO IT! BOOK EASTER BRUNCH FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS NOW! $25.95 will get you sumptuous brunch on Easter Sunday April 16 (half price for kids12 and under). Call Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0 to reserve a table in the Terrace Dining Room. Menu.


Remarkable stat

If you bet ALL of Rob's picks last year, you would have made money

How’s this for a significant stat? If you blindly bet $10 to win and place on EVERY ONE of paddock host Rob MacLennan’s picks during live racing last year, YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN UP MORE THAN $338 at the end of the season. (If you just bet $10 to win, you would have been up $190.)

The same with his pick-4s. Simply wheeling his selections for $1 would have given you an end-of-season profit of $153.85. Not huge, of course, but you would not have lost money. And, with a little of your own initiative, you could have massaged his picks and perhaps turned out bigger profits both in the win/place department and in pick-4s.

Win/place and the pick-4 was the way to go. His recommended exactors resulted in a $220.95 loss and his Super Hi 5 plays resulted in a total loss of $326.52, his stats show.

Interestingly, if you simply had bet $2 to show on all of his top selections, you would have had almost a break-even season, with a tiny $4.70 loss. Lots of action, lots of cashing, at hardly any cost – with, of course, no expectation either that you’d be going on a shopping spree at the end of the season.

Don’t you think Rob’s win/place record is better than one could expect from any handicapper anywhere? After all, track handicappers don’t have a choice; they MUST pick a horse to win every race -- often when races are confusing toss-ups.

What were Rob’s highest money-making picks?
• Lucy’s Coin on July 8 paid $28.30
• Oxford City Slew on July 9 paid $26.20


Derby gets even deeper

Malagacy wins Rebel and 112-1 Sonneteer (who?) is suddenly a prospect

What gives? The favourite, American Anthem, was nowhere in last Saturday’s Rebel Stakes prep race at Oaklawn, a lukewarm Malagacy won the race and a rank outsider at 112/1 by the name of Sonneteer finished second and is suddenly a Derby possibility.

Expect the unexpected continues to be the norm of Kentucky Derby preps heading into a fat weekend with three preps: the UAE Derby in Dubai and the Spiral Stakes at Turfway on Saturday and the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico on Sunday.

Generally speaking, one would not expect the Spiral Stakes to yield a Derby winner since it’s on a synthetic surface which is more akin to turf and not Churchill Downs dirt. But, then again, Animal Kingdom turns that theory on its head. And the UAE Derby is a stretch for yielding the Kentucky Derby winner. After all, last year’s UAE winner, the Japanese horse Lani, ran ninth in the Derby. But then again, he DID finish third in the Belmont Stakes.

And the Sunland Stakes has been the stuff of Hollywood movie-making lore because Mine That Bird came from that race to win the Kentucky Derby in dramatic last-to-first fashion at 50-1.

Whatever. If we’ve learned anything at all in this topsy-turvy lead up to the Kentucky Derby, it’s that we not get carried away with the favourites and be flexible in our wagering, especially in the exotics. Enjoy all three but be careful!

Wrack your noggin and invent a word!

What should we call a person who takes advantage of bridgejumper races?

What the racing world lacks is a word for a horseplayer who takes advantage of bridgejumper races where monster show prices result when the “sure” thing fizzles.

Invent a word! The Insider will use it and maybe it will come to be known throughout racing circles and eventually be added to the dictionary – which means you’ll have a word as part of your legacy!

I’ve wracked my brain and nothing emerges. What about you? Submit your suggestion(s) to

LATEST BRIDGEJUMPER BONANZA: The latest bridgejumper bonanza was in race 7, the Azeri Stakes for fillies and mares at Oaklawn on Saturday. Favoured Terra Promessa at 1-5 finished fifth in the seven-horse field after being steadied a couple times and coming up flat. About $300,000 had been bet on her to show. Show prices were:

  • Streamline $19.60
  • Eskenformoney $12.40
  • Tiger Moth $45.40

Did you or would you have bet against Terra Promessa in the show pool? See program page here.

SEASON 60 TRIVIA TEASER: What was the highest win price ever for a winner of the Manitoba Derby? (a) $48.60 (b) $82.40 (c) $101.60. See answer at bottom of column.


Winx easily disposes of rivals in eye-popping fashion.

NEW DARLING OF AUSSIE RACING WINS 16th IN A ROW: Move over Black Caviar, Winx is the new darling of racing-crazy Australians. The 5-year-old mare, recently awarded the title of best turf horse in the world, just won her 16th in a row in eye-popping fashion. See stretch drive here. That race is the $1 million George Ryder Stakes at 1,500 metres (about one mile) which was simulcast in North America Friday night. It was the mare’s 11th group 1 victory and spectators say she appears to be getting even better. Her next start will be the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 8.

"I WON BIG" CHANCE AT $26,000 FIZZLES WHEN FAV WINS: Nailing a $20 recently-gelded horse in the tenth race at Tampa last Saturday gave the “I won big” betting group a chance to score up to $26,000 in its 60-cent pick-4 ticket but—you know it—the worst possible horse, the favourite, won the last leg so the group just got its investment back. Which is fine because that will be applied to this Saturday’s plays.

, the 52-1 horse that would have given the group $26,000, was a worthwhile longshot play because he was dropping from non-winners of two races in the last six months to non-winners of one. And he came out of a key race where the top two finishers went on to win their next race. As it turned out, he was never close. But next time for this kind of horse? Maybe ka-ching! Group play continues Saturday at 8 a.m. on Dubai races and 10:30 a.m. on Tampa’s last five and a peek at Gulfstream’s Rainbow with about $1 million at stake.

WHAT WOULD IT HAVE COST TO BOX ALL HORSES IN $38,000 JACKPOT? There is still discussion about what it would have cost a player to box all 12 horses for 20-cents in the Jackpot Hi 5 wager at Woodbine two weeks ago when there was a mandatory payout. A 20-cent ticket paid $38,000. The cost to box all 12 horses to guarantee a win? $19,008. So a player who had done that would have doubled his money – although there has been no indication anyone did that. No one at the Downs won the bet.


HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

This week Bob remembers another K5 champion, a horse that the late Don Gray once described as a "Plain Jane" who wasn't worth a dime! This time Don got it wrong. Find out who that horse was here.

SEASON 60 TRIVIA ANSWER: (c) $101.60 was the highest win payout for the Manitoba Derby which occurred on Aug. 3, 1992 when Jan Arctic went gate-to-wire out of the 12 hole in the 44th running of the Derby.

Watch for World Cup Special tomorrow morning

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