Thursday, April 19, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 15 (Issue #633)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Does Winx make it #25?
Winx, unbeaten in 24 starts, is last
at this point in the Queen Elizabeth
Stakes last Saturday in Australia
(Click photo to see what happens.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • "When Jets play, we pay" continues tomorrow with 3X Player Rewards on your bets. Go Jets!
  • Woodbine thoroughbreds kick off Saturday at noon
  • Get into the draw Saturday for five $50 HPIbet deposits, courtesy of Woodbine
  • Oddsmaker says the 136-year-old Kentucky Derby curse will get the one-two punch
  • What trainer is likely to have the most horses at ASD?
  • What ASD trainer's name is part of a horse? (Was he born to train?) See PARTING SHOT.

$250 in free deposits

ENTER FREE $250 HPIbet DRAW SATURDAY: To kick off Woodbine’s thoroughbred season Saturday, Woodbine has generously offered $250 in free HPIbet account deposits. FIVE DRAWS FOR $50 WILL BE MADE in the Race Book Saturday from the same entries you fill out to win $50 in self-serve wagers noted below.

Painter Manny Medeiros’ name was drawn in the $50 self-serve betting contest on Saturday but he blanked on his picks, leaving Bill Latta just three more Saturdays of holding his breath, hoping his $120 in winnings holds up to be invited with a guest to the hottest news conference in town for live racing—with an over-the-top lavish lunch. Will you be Latta’s spoiler? Get into the draw Saturday.

Congratulations to Stan Stewin and Jim Cretney who correctly picked Magnum Moon to win the Arkansas Derby, making them tied to win the $200 Kentucky Derby bankroll. As a tie-breaker, they will pick the top three finishers in the $1.2 million Charles Town Handicap this Saturday. Good luck to both of you!
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 April? 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, April 20, is $5,000.


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. Charles Town program. Australia program.

*       *       *

LAST TWO OFF-TRACK SEMINARS; GET READY FOR LIVE RACING! Glen and Marshall will discuss “Playing the races for fun and profit.” Complimentary snacks and a free $5 share in a group ticket. Have friends and newbies sign up with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0:
  • This 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 Highway


Main track opened Tuesday with Sheldon Riskin timing workouts

Main track opens

Tom Gardipy, Jr., likely will have the biggest contingent of horses

So race announcer Kirt Contois is three Sundays away from hollering the words that have echoed through the Assiniboia Downs grandstand since 1958: “They’re off!” And there will likely be lots of moms clutching tickets, urging their horses on, because that will be Mother’s Day.

Assistant director of racing (and race starter) Derek Corbel reports there are about 200 horses on the grounds with about a dozen trainers and eight jockeys. Many more are expected, of course, as meets at Turf Paradise in Arizona and Fonner Park in Nebraska wind down.

The largest contingent is likely to be in the barn of Tom Gardipy, Jr. More than 50 horses are expected.

The usual Wed-Fri-Sat schedule will come into play after the first couple weekends. Racing will start at 7:15 p.m. except for special Sundays and holidays when races will begin at 1:15 p.m. The only exception will be Canada Day Sunday when racing will begin in the evening, to be followed by another knock-your-socks off fireworks display that had elicited so many favourable comments last year.

Remember race presentations are a great way to celebrate special occasions. See the race schedule here.


A writer's dream

Oddsmaker says 136-year-old curse will be broken by either Justify or Magnum Moon

Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia
He says Justify will break the curse

It’s a writer’s dream. And I guess that means me. As I contemplate my first “At the Races” column of the year for the Canstar community papers, this year’s Kentucky Derby has handed me a gift: two horses who are on the cusp of breaking the 136-year-old Curse of Apollo. That is, winning the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old. That only happened once in the 143-year history of the Derby. And this year, there’s not one but now TWO very talented horses at the top of their game who can do it. Who can’t relate to that?

And, thank you, Mike Battaglia, oddsmaker at Churchill Downs, for giving the Derby hopefuls extra credibility by picking them to finish one-two in the Kentucky Derby—Justify and Magnum Moon. Battaglia has been around the game for almost five decades so he should know, shouldn’t he? Kentucky Derbies rarely have a “hook” as obvious and interesting as this one. After all, it’s a curse longer than the one that was broken by the Chicago Cubs two years ago, i.e. winning the World Series. Their curse only went back to 1908.

So the big dance is two weeks from this Saturday. The two most exciting minutes in sport. Whose side are you on? On the side of “the curse being shattered to smithereens?” Or the “yeah, sure, it’s not going to happen” side?

And, oh yeah, to add more interest to Kentucky Derby Day, remember that ASD’s super filly Escape Clause wants to make her 2018 debut a winning one in a $50,000 stakes race for fillies and mares at Canterbury Park 30 minutes southwest of Minneapolis.


Table "E" shines . . .

. . . as players put group money where their mouths are in Saturday workshop

Cheers to Table "E"

Players at Table “E” at Saturday’s “I won big” workshop can take a bow as their $3 pick-3 wheel for $54 on the last three races at Tampa Bay Downs paid a handsome $270. The other four tables saw their key horse, My Boy Lenny, sputter in the late going in race eight killing their pick-4 tickets and the main group ticket (so each $20 share picked up just $6.75.)

Their key was a horse who had won his first lifetime start, gate to wire (early fractions :22.88 and :46.49) but this time was forced to go faster in the early going (:21.42 and :45.00), causing him to tire in the stretch, finishing third. But each of the five tables liked the idea of making their own picks (each with $60) and that will continue this Saturday in the last five races at Tampa at 10:30 a.m.

What table(s) will show the right stuff this Saturday? If EVERY table makes money for the group, A BACON TREAT WILL FOLLOW! No pressure.


Woodbine's new logo

WOODBINE RE-BRANDS ITSELF TO GET YOU THINKING OUTSIDE THE HORSE: Have you noticed Woodbine Entertainment’s new logo? No horse or even a suggestion of a horse. That, according to Toronto’s Concrete Design Communications, the logo creators, is to get you thinking outside the horse—although you do see a race track and a star which is representative of jockey silks. But, says Concrete, the star also represents entertainment in general and that’s what the company wants you to think.

On its 684-acre site, Woodbine has plans for a “hotel, shopping, post-secondary education (what?), recreation, health, wellness and urban residential living.” Outside of Toronto, however, the track is the only thing and the star is simply what every player wants to become by hitting a big superfecta, pick-5 or Jackpot Hi-5. Opening day for thoroughbreds is Saturday at noon and there will be five draws to award $50 in deposits to HPIbet account holders, compliments of Woodbine.

The 54-member Assiniboia Racing Club has claimed its second horse, Ebadan, at Turf Paradise for $6,250 U.S. Ebadan is an Irish-bred 5-year-old gelding who raced last year for $50,000 and slid to the new low this year after failing to win at higher claiming levels. His record is 27-3-1-3 with $94,000 in earnings. He finished fifth in the race from which he was claimed by the Club’s trainer, Jared Brown. The Club’s other horse is Californium, a speedy 4-year-old gelding claimed for $3,500 U.S. The 54 members have 58 shares worth $500 each in the Club.

SHE DECORATED THE WINNING HORSE – BUT WHAT WAS SHE WEARING? In researching Manitoba Derby history, track historian Bob Gates came across a newspaper clipping in 1930 that, in today’s politically correct times, would make a reader cringe or at least be amused. The article concerns a “Miss Hester Russell,” who made a race presentation in the Polo Park winner’s circle to the Manitoba Stakes winner Jack Whittier (precursor of the Manitoba Derby). What was the writer most interested in in the Winners’ Circle? Read the third paragraph of that article attached to this item and see and then read the full item here.

Did the hearts of the bettors with $175,000 in show wagers and $49,400 in place wagers on Unique Bella in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park Friday skip a beat when the speedy 1-5 filly decided to squat in the starting gate when the gates opened, resulting in a tardy start? Thankfully for the bridgejumpers, her raw talent under jockey Mike Smith took her to the lead, although she then couldn’t hold off Unbridled Mo ($11.60) and finished second. Speaking of which, why do players bet “place” on such horses when the price is likely to be the same as “show” and is riskier? Duh! Watch the anxious moments of that race here.

Giant's Causeway loses by a neck to Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic (Getty images)

“IRON HORSE” DIES: A horse that came to be known as “The Iron Horse” after winning FIVE G1 stakes races IN A ROW in Europe as a 3-year-old—and described by his connections as “a horse of a lifetime”--Giant’s Causeway has died at 21 at the Coolmore America stud farm in Versailles, Kentucky, his birthplace, after a brief illness. His last race was in 2000 when, in his only start on dirt, he finished second to Tiznow by a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. He won nine of 13 starts--never worse than second--and earned $3 million and as a stud produced a phenomenal 31 G1 winners.

Aren’t you totally blown away by what just happened in the NHL playoffs? A team that wasn’t a team a year ago, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, just swept the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by eliminating the L.A. Kings in four games. I’ve been trying to come up with a racing similarity but nothing comes close. If you can think of one, let me know. And, oh yeah, Happy Birthday Patrik Laine. The Winnipeg Jets sniper turns 20 today. And, remember, you’ll get three times the Player Rewards tomorrow for your bets because the Jets will be on a mission to send the Minnesota Wild packing for the season.


Did you know . . . that in 2016 Gary Danelson entered Power Driven in the 57th running of the R. J. Speers—50 years after he won the same stakes race with his well-bred, classy, fixer-upper CosmicTip? Read more on Bob’s flashback here.

Hastings Park begins Sunday 3:50 p.m.


  • Today: Sovereign Awards banquet in Toronto to name top 2017 jocks, horses and horsemen and women in Canada. Also, third-last Thursday night prime rib buffet featuring these other entrees: burgundy chicken, cajun crusted salmon and Swiss meatballs.
  • Saturday, April 21: Woodbine thoroughbred season begins at noon, Free giveaway $250 in HPIbet deposits courtesy of Woodbine. Get into the draw.
  • Sunday, April 22: Racing begins at two tracks in the northwest: Hastings in Vancouver at 3:50 p.m. followed 10 minutes later by Emerald Downs in Washington .
  • Friday, April 27: Three tracks open their meets: Belmont from New York at 11:55 a.m., Belterra in Ohio at 12:20 p.m. and SunRay Park in New Mexico at 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 28: Player’s Choice horseplayer tournament. Two tracks begin: Finger Lakes in New York at 12:10 p.m. and Churchill Downs in Kentucky starts at 5:00 p.m.


A “natural” affinity for horses? Steven Gaskin, a Barbadian whose name corresponds with a horse part, started riding at 13 and training at ASD two years ago, producing stakes-winners Media Melee and Why So Blue. (Grand River Raceway image)

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