Thursday, March 29, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 12 (Issue #630)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Rainbow 6 jackpot must be paid out Saturday

Will you share in the Jackpot?

More than $15 million likely in mandatory Rainbow 6 payout Saturday

Saturday will be a fat, fat day of fun and possible fortune that starts at 7:50 a.m. The fun is a given. The fortune is up to you and your possible involvement in group play in Dubai World Cup races in the morning and the must-pay Rainbow 6 Jackpot which is likely to grow beyond $15 million at Gulfstream in the afternoon (if it’s not won today or tomorrow):
  • $10 million Dubai World Cup trophy: Will a mare win it for the first time?

    7 a.m.: Assiniboia Downs opens with a free breakfast sandwich to everyone until 9 a.m.
  • 7:50 a.m.: First of seven Dubai World Cup Day races worth more $30 million
  • 8 a.m.: “I won big” betting workshop on Dubai hosted by yours truly and ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan who watched 57 races from 11 countries. Discussion will centre around playing pick-3, pick-4 and pick-6 tickets.
  • 8:30 a.m.: UAE Derby from Dubai featuring Mendelssohn, the horse bred to win the North American Triple Crown. FREE $5 WAGER to everyone in attendance. Also, enter your pick in the prep race contest to win $200 in wagers on the Kentucky Derby. Draw for Derby mugs will take place after the race
  • 10:30 a.m.: Second “I won big” workshop to discuss Gulfstream Rainbow 6 which must be paid out
  • 11:50 a.m.: The biggie: The $10 million Dubai World Cup with West Coast favoured to win perhaps the most prestigious trophy in the racing world
  • Saturday afternoon: The Florida Derby with fingers crossed in this corner that Catholic Boy will flash Kentucky Derby-winning form

Arrive early to beat bingo traffic

NOTE: Heavy traffic is expected down Race Track Road after 10 a.m. Saturday as the highly popular Monster Bingo will be taking place on the main level. PARKING IS RESERVED for you (i.e. Clubhouse parking) behind the grandstand. Security staff will guide you. Also, you can avoid traffic congestion by using Saskatchewan Avenue. Your best bet is to arrive early to enjoy a free breakfast sandwich and coffee and take in the Dubai World Cup races.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Dubai World Cup: MacLennan burns the midnight oil so you don't have to. See his picks here.
  • It's Easter weekend so isn't Catholic Boy a great hunch play in the Florida Derby?
  • What unusual plea did an Australian announcer make during Winx's record-setting race?
  • Quest Inn is site of next newbie seminar. When?
  • Overlooking a trainer's curious aggressive move costs "Big" group $30,000
  • You'll fall in love with Bimbo the pony horse. Who? Bob's blog is a must read
$200 KENTUCKY DERBY PREP RACE CONTEST CONTINUES WITH TWO PREP RACES: Who’s going to win the UAE Derby at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and the Florida Derby Saturday afternoon? See current leader board here. The winners of Kentucky Derby souvenir mugs in draws after last weekend’s prep races were Joe Vocadlo and Anne Champion

Congrats to Bill Latta who turned $50 in self-serve wagers Saturday into $120 in a bid to be invited with a guest to the hottest media event in town: the live racing press conference and lavish brunch in May. Enter the draw Saturday to try for a chance to beat that amount!
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
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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 Saturday, March 31, is $3,880. Please note that there will be no poker played on Good Friday, March 30.

HAVE YOU TRIED THE PRIME RIB SLIDERS? Have you tried the finger food specials--sliders, tacos or Downs potato chips--during happy hours? (Every day 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight) You’ll love ‘em. Two prime rib sliders or two soft tacos (chicken or beef) for $7 and crunchy deep-fried potato chips sprinkled with parmesan and garlic for $5.

Sunday, April 1. See menu here.


on your HPI account. Don’t have one? Phone 204-885-3330 ext. 225. Your first $20 in wagers are on the house. 

Big money carryovers. Gulfstream entries. Charles Town program.

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Spread the word

Next OTB workshop is at the Quest Inn at 7 p.m. next Wednesday

Quest Inn: Site of next Wednesday's seminar

Newbies and regulars attending the first of five off-track betting workshops at Rookies Sports Bar at the Central Hotel in Transcona Sunday almost shared in the Rainbow 6 with their $5 free shares. They had five of six while enjoying complementary snacks and drinks.

Fan education specialists Glen and Marshall discussed “Playing the races for fun and profit” which will be the topic at each of the upcoming workshops. Spread the word!
  • 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
Sign up with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “He was mad.” – jockey Gary Stevens talking about the colt, Bravazo, who resisted Stevens’ two-handed pulling on one side of his reins to try to keep him from lugging out in the Louisiana Derby, resulting in the 5-2 horse finishing eighth.


It's crunch time

Will Catholic Boy (your Easter weekend hunch play) live up to my faith in him?

Catholic Boy works out faster than 53 horses (Lauren King photo)

So let’s see how right I am about Catholic Boy. The son of More Then Ready signaled in a Sunday workout that he’s more than ready to produce a top effort in the Florida Derby this Saturday at Gulfstream Park. He posted the fifth-fastest 4f workout of 58 horses.

The colt who won the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and came second in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa needs a strong effort in the Florida Derby to set himself up to be draped with roses on the first Saturday in May. My $180 in future wagers depend on it.

His morning line odds in the nine-horse field are 7-2, the third choice behind Audible (winner of the Holy Bull) at 9-5 and Promises Fulfilled (winner of the Fountain of Youth) at 3-1. But doesn’t he have the racing gods on his side? Shouldn’t a nice Catholic Boy be most deserving of Winner’s Circle honours on the most religious weekend of the year?

The other prep race on Saturday is the UAE Derby for early risers. It goes promptly at 8:30 a.m. from Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

Of particular note in that race is Mendelssohn, a $3 million sales topper at a Keeneland yearling sale, who essentially was bred to win the Triple Crown by virtue of his sire, Scat Daddy, who had won the Florida Derby (but suffered a tendon injury in the Kentucky Derby) and his mom, 2016 Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady who had produced Beholder and Into Mischief.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Mendelssohn won a turf race, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last fall, a race that has turned into a KEY race because three other horses have come out of that race to perform well on dirt including Catholic Boy, Flameaway and Snapper Sinclair.

Arrive at the track before 8:30 a.m. (doors open at 7 a.m.) and you’ll get a free $5 wager on that race in addition to a breakfast sandwich. And, of course, be sure to enter the prep race contest that could earn you $200 in bets on the Kentucky Derby.

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“HORSE FOR COURSE” WINS SUNLAND DERBY: Selecting the Sunland Derby winner at Sunland Park on Sunday was simply a matter of looking for a horse who had raced at Sunland. Only one horse had—Runaway Ghost, the son of Ghostzapper—and he’s the colt who won, paying $9.80. He had finished first and second in two stakes events there.

His 96 Equibase speed figure was on the low side, however, when compared to winners of other Kentucky Derby prep races. Noble Indy ($7.40) had a speed figure 10 points higher in winning the Louisiana Derby on Saturday.


Costly oversight

Overlooking a trainer's curious move costs "I won big" betting group $30,000

Madison's Luna: Costs group $30,000 (Coglianese Photo/Lauren King)

Q: Why would a trainer ship a horse with just one lifetime race, a maiden allowance win at Tampa, to a grade 3 stakes race in the big leagues of Gulfstream Park?

To have the horse get trounced and have the heart taken out of him. Yeah, sure. Isn’t the real answer: Because the trainer feels the horse has the talent to beat seasoned rivals?

Not asking that question cost Saturday’s “I won big” betting group workshop $30,000. Tampa trainer Philip Bauer sent Madison’s Luna to race—and impressively win—Gulfstream’s 12th race, the $100,000 Hutcheson stakes, which was the only leg of the Rainbow 6 that the group missed. Call that a very costly oversight. “Trainer intentions” figures highly in handicapping.

To its credit, though, the group did have the winner of the last leg, a turf race, because the horse had the highest Tomlinson figure, something that had been emphasized in last week’s Insider. And, in fact, the horse with the second-highest Tomlinson ran second in that race and the exactor paid $75. So are  Tomlinson figures something you now pay attention to?

The Insider found out later (i.e. too late) that Madison’s Luna, the horse that cost the group $30,000, HAD BEEN DRF’S “SPOT PLAY” OF THE DAY ON YOU TUBE. Nobody in the group had tuned in to that regular feature. Groan!

Here’s the program page for that race. Would you have taken #3?

*       *       *

"I'd never take 'all' horses in a leg."

So how would a Tampa race specialist have won last Saturday's pick-5?

A Tampa betting specialist told The Insider he’d never take “all” in a sequence wager. “That’s not handicapping,” he said.

Do you share that opinion? Then how might a player have scored the pick-5 at Tampa last Saturday when #3 Thru Street won the last leg (and killed the “I won big” group tickets). Look at that program page here and see if you could have added that horse to your ticket without pressing the “all” button.

Aren’t bottom level claiming races at least occasionally an “all” leg because horses at that level are often inconsistent?.

(on the Clubhouse plaza):
  • 8 a.m. Discussion of the Dubai World Cup races with ASD handicapper and over-the-top World Cup handicapper Rob MacLennan and playing pick-3, pick-4 and pick-6 tickets. Free breakfast sandwich and free $5 wager on the UAE Derby.
  • 10:30 a.m. Discussion of the last six races at Gulfstream that comprise the Rainbow 6, that will have a mandatory payout of likely more than $15 million.

Tournament Director: Dawn Forbes presents $1,000 to George Williams with runners up (from left) Geoffrey Metcalf (4th), Trevor Phelps (2nd) and Chris Lucyshyn (5th)

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to racing writer and blogger George Williams who became a first-time winner of the Player’s Choice handicapping tournament Saturday,doubling $60 in win/place/show wagers to $126.30. How did he do it? (1) By betting a dropping speed horse at Aqueduct (Wrong Ben), netting $13,80, $7.10 and $4.90 across the board. (2) By betting a first-time starter at Gulfstream (Breaking the Rules) because the colt has “blue chip connections” (rider Irad Ortiz, trainer Claude McGaughey) paying $19.40, $5.40 and $3.20 and (3) betting Brickhouse at Santa Anita. Why? “Because that’s the house the wolf couldn’t blow down.” (April Fool!) Brickhouse paid $27.20, $14.40 and $9.20. George’s shrewd picks won him first prize of $1,000. Shout-outs, too, to the other four runners-up:
2. Trevor Phelps -- $89.90 bankroll; won $400
3. Damian D’Souza -- $88.50 bankroll; won $200
4. Geoffrey Metcalf -- $88 bankroll; won $100
5. Chris Lucyshyn -- $86.30 bankroll; won $50

Full tournament results . Handicapper of the Year leader board.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Australia’s Winx for setting a world record Saturday by winning her 17th group one stakes—but it was the race caller’s words as she crossed the wire that created the biggest buzz. Rarely do you hear an announcer stick out his neck like he did. What did he say? Watch the race here. This was the mare’s 24th consecutive win.
By Rob MacLennan

ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan watched 57 race replays from 11 countries to make his picks for this Saturday’s $30 million in races from Dubai. Here’s his analysis of the UAE Derby that runs at 8:30 a.m. (Get a free $5 wager on this race at the track!)

The UAE Derby features an international field for a spot in the Kentucky Derby as well as a $2 million purse. The field is international, in many ways untested and highly competitive. My selections are 3-4-5.


Will Reride (seen here winning at Sunland) pull the upset? (Coady photo)

3. Reride (8/1) goes for trainer Steve Asmussen and is the lone American in the field. He will be an okay price off a good win at Sunland over Runaway Ghost who was ultra-impressive in winning the Sunland Derby. He seems to be an improving type for connections that have to be respected. Reride is versatile, can be close up to the pace and can pull the upset.

4. Mendelssohn (5/2)
is an Aidan O’Brien trained colt who is absolutely regally bred by Scat Daddy out of Leslie’s Lady making him a half-brother to multiple champion Beholder. He has yet to run on dirt but did win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (a key race) and then came back to start his sophomore campaign with a win in a prep at Dundalk, Ireland on the all-weather surface. The field flew home at Dundalk covering the final three furlongs in thirty-four and change after a slow early pace. He will be a shorter price and tries dirt for the first time but the pedigree and past results say he is the horse to beat.

5. Gold Town (6/5) rode a golden rail last time to make the lead in the 2000 Guineas and will now attempt to stretch out. He is outside the other two main contenders and that may pose an issue if the rail continues to be a good place to be. This is by far his toughest test and the distance may pose a question but his talent is unquestionable.

See Rob’s analysis of all other races here.
Will a mare, Forever Unbridled, win the $10 million Dubai World Cup for the first time?
What does Rob think?



Did you know . . . that Bimbo the pony horse was as "bomb proof" as they come and had the distinction of ponying Bobby Stewart's only Manitoba Derby winner, Nice Dance, to the gate in 1972? You’ll fall in love with a pony horse from the past here.


  • Tonight: Tonight’s prime rib buffet from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Terrace Dining Room will also feature a pasta station, roasted garlic and rosemary chicken, pork souvlakia and potato crusted cod. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • This Saturday:  $10 million Dubai World Cup, Derby prep races: Florida Derby, UAE Derby, MANDATORY PAYOUT of Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6
  • Saturday, April 8: The “big three” in Derby preps: the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita
  • 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.


"Gulliver's Travels got it right. We're the smart ones and the guys who do this to us are the Yahoos. Happy Easter, anyway"

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