Thursday, April 26, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 16 (Issue #634)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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



Your bets now worth 4X Player Rewards points

And could grow to 10X if Jets make it into the 'Cup finals

So, as the Winnipeg Jets win, so do you, in the bets you make on days the Jets play. You earned 3X the Player Rewards points on the five Minnesota Wild game days. Now earn 4X as the Jets take on—and dispose of—the Nashville Predators.

The first game of Round Two goes tomorrow which means all of your bets tomorrow are worth 4X the usual points!

What we’re all looking forward to, of course, both as hockey fans and horseplayers, is the Jets making the Stanley Cup final round in which your Player Rewards will be worth a huge 10X. Go, Jets, go! And, go to you, too!

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Player's Choice tournament this Saturday. Sign up by 9 p.m. tomorrow.
  • Why may Kentucky Derby julep glasses be more valuable this year? (Get one free!)
  • Whom do you trust more for Kentucky Derby speed figures? Andy or Equibase?
  • Danelson filly burns up track in first workout, beating 121 others. Who is it?
  • Marty gets 'em screaming in the Race Book. Who? And why? See Shout-Outs.
  • Good news! Canadian Derby to run later, giving Manitoba Derby entrants a chance

Jim Cretney, Stan Stewin split $200 bankroll

TIED CONTEST WINNERS SPLIT $200 KENTUCKY DERBY BANKROLL: Jim Cretney and Stan Stewin who tied in the $200 Kentucky Derby bankroll contest on the prep races leading up to the Derby decided to split the bankroll rather than engage in a tie-breaker on the Charles Town Handicap last Saturday. Will the good karma generated from that cooperative move lead to Derby success? Good luck!

So Earl Gratham came up short on Saturday of turning his $50 in self-serve wagers into the kind of winnings he needed to beat Bill Latta’s $120 and earning an invitation with a guest to the press conference and brunch to kick off live racing. Grantham won $50. Will your entry be drawn this Saturday?
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 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 27, is $5,300.


Will these giveaways grow in value?

Will souvenir glasses be more historic this year?

If Justify or Magnum Moon break the curse, memorabilia demand could increase

Because next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby could become more historic than usual, you’ll want to be sure to get a free Kentucky Derby souvenir julep glass that day because its value could grow more than those from most other years.

1973 glass sells for $100

And what would make it more historic? If Justify or Magnum Moon win it, becoming the first colt in 136 years to win the Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old, thus breaking the 136-year-old “Curse of Apollo,” the only horse who did it in 1882.

Souvenir glasses will be available at the track and at OTB locations (while quantities last) and there also will be draws for classy Derby merchandise packages pictured above. They include a Derby cap, T-shirt, tote bag and four Triple Crown glasses that include the three Triple Crown races (Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes) plus a special Triple Crown glass.

The most historic glass in Derbies past is from the year Secretariat won the Derby in 1973. That glass is being offered for $100 U.S. There will also be a First and Worst contest on the Kentucky Derby to award $100 in wagering vouchers. Enter at the track: Predict the winner and last-place finisher in the Derby.

*        *        *

Whose figures do you trust?

Beyer says Justify is best; Equibase says Bolt d'Oro is better by many

Justify beats Bolt d'Oro in Santa Anita Derby but will tables be turned in Derby?

What figures do you swear by? Beyer or Equibase? If you trust Andy Beyer, you will unload on Justify in the Kentucky Derby. By Beyer’s calculation, Justify is five lengths better than other horses in the field. If you’re an Equibase fan (as I am), however, then Bolt d’Oro is your horse because:
  • Justify: Highest Equibase speed figure this year 108
  • Bolt d’Oro: Highest figure 118.
But you might say: “But Justify beat Bolt d’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby.” To which my response is: “But Justify pretty much had it his own way on the lead in a small field—and he’s not likely to have the same trip in the Kentucky Derby. In my books, he will be a false favourite.”

You’re welcome to differ. That’s what makes a horse race a horse race. Four other horses have figures higher than Justify and one has a similar figure (108):
  • Enticed 113
  • Audible 111
  • Magnum Moon 109
  • Mendelssohn 109 (on the grass – but crushed on Dubai dirt where there is no figure available)
  • Good Magic 108
So what that means is that Bolt d’Oro is your key in superfecta wheels with the above horses. And throw in a longshot that will be dawdling at the back of the pack. You’re welcome!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I liked my 40-1 on Justify when the bet was made in late February. I obviously like it now that Justify is going to be the Derby favorite. I would like it even more if Mendelssohn would miss his flight to Kentucky.”DRF columnist Dick Jerard



Danelson's Tadaa sizzles 3f in 35 seconds, better than 121 other horses

Tadaa with jockey Rohan Singh after winning the Manitoba Oaks last year (George Williams/Winnipeg Free Press photo)

Gary Danelson is back – with a vengeance! The win-early trainer from last year--and ASD’s all-time winning trainer – is not resting on his laurels or in a rocking chair, for that matter. The 80-year-old sent 4-year-old filly Tadaa out on the main track as soon as it opened for the season last Wednesday and she set a mark--three furlongs in 35 seconds—that none of the other 121 horses that have been on the track so far have matched.

Tadaa, a Manitoba-bred Going Commando filly bred by Barry Arnason and owned by Arnason and Danelson, won last year’s Manitoba Oaks and three other races out of eight tries and appears ready to be a force again as a 4-year-old. And what 4-year-old filly looms the one to beat? Escape Clause, of course, who bypassed the Oaks last year to race in the Manitoba Derby in which she finished second.

Danelson won two races on the opening day card last year and Tadaa won her maiden race two days after that. Will history repeat?

OTHERS WORTH WATCHING: Linda Kropius’ Dandy Deen
, winner of last year’s Winnipeg Futurity, appears ready to continue where he left off last year. He was fourth-fastest of 37 this past Saturday, working 3f in :35.60. Manitoba Coin was fastest that day in :35.20. The 4-year-old Manitoba-bred gelding trained by Steven Gaskin ended last season with a maiden victory.

Martin Yeroschak
Bold play leads to big hit

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Martin Yeroschak, an electrician and owner of the late stakes-winning Magic D’ Oro, for making a bold superfecta play on a race at Keeneland last Saturday that resulted—to the delighted screams of onlookers in the Race Book—in a $9,500 payoff. Using funds from a previous pick-4 win, he told The Insider, he wheeled three horses on top to ALL horses in the 11-horse difficult-to-handicap 10th race for maidens, a ticket that cost him $430 in 20-cent combinations. One of his keys, Mac Jagger at 5-1, won while the longest shot on the board, 78-1 Chateau finished second. While his demeanor was calm, those around him let the whole Clubhouse know that someone had made a big score.

This is his second appearance in Shout-Outs. Last spring, he parlayed a sizable win on InsideStraight, a winner of the Manitoba Derby the previous season, who was racing at long odds at Oaklawn Park, into big superfecta wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and then to being the sole holder of a $17,000 pick-4 ticket at Assiniboia Downs because he added a longshot by the name of Magic in Overtime, who reminded him of the horse he owned, Magic D’ Oro. Say, Martin, why don’t you drop in to “I won big” group play Saturday mornings—especially on Kentucky Derby Day? Don’t forget to bring your lucky horseshoes!


NORTHLANDS MOVES CANADIAN DERBY A WEEK LATER THAN USUAL: Here’s good news for Manitoba Derby entrants: Northlands Park in Edmonton will stage the Canadian Derby THREE weeks after the Manitoba Derby, making it more possible for Manitoba entrants to race at Northlands, too (and vice-versa). The Manitoba Derby goes Monday, Aug. 6 and the Canadian Derby will go Saturday, Aug. 25. That will be the final day of racing at Northlands before thoroughbred racing in Alberta resumes at Century Downs near Calgary. The 43-day Northlands thoroughbred race meet begins May 5, Kentucky Derby Day.

Century Mile between airport (top) and golf course (bottom)

CENTURY MILE TO OPEN NEXT SPRING: Work is proceeding next to Edmonton’s International Airport on the Century Mile race track that is scheduled to open next spring “with a minimum of 100 race days” according to the track’s website. Century Mile will replace Northlands Park that will make Saturday, Aug. 25, Canadian Derby Day, its final thoroughbred racing card. The one-mile circumference of the Century Mile track will be a first for Alberta. Northlands is 5/8th mile, as was Stampede Park in Calgary.

It wasn’t pretty--again. Saturday’s “I won big” betting group watched in dismay as a 22-1 first-time starter named Siggie in Tampa’s sixth race sent its tickets into the dumpster and had players fuming that “all” horses weren’t taken in that leg. The only saving grace is knowing this is a game of ups and downs and that luck can turn on a dime (or 20-cents). So, with that in mind, Tampa’s last five races will be tackled again this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. as everyone also looks forward to the Kentucky Derby the following Saturday where a $1 superfecta last year paid $76,000 and a $1 pick-5 paid $100,000. A hit like one of those would merit at least two months of bacon! Onward and upward!

"I love lush pasture grass!"

AS WE GET PLUMPER, SO DO HORSES. WHAT? Is it catchy? Seems so. As we get plumper, it seems horses are, too. But, you say, they aren’t ripping open bags of potato chips and gulping down sugar-filled pop. So what’s the deal? A study done 20 years ago showed about five per cent of horses in the U.S. were overweight, today it’s more than half. Horses with the most weight-gain were fed pasture and hay and little grain. Richer pasture grass seems to be the main culprit. Horses do some sort of grazing for 17 hours each day. Seventeen! Excess weight can lead to problems similar to those of humans and to laminitis, painful inflammation of the hooves.

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q: How important is weight when handicapping a race?

This is a question I get asked frequently. There are actually two different answers to this question.

How jockeys were weighed in 1850 England

JOCKEY WEIGHT: Weight usually refers to the weight of the jockey and extra weight he/she is required to carry in the saddle. Generally speaking, this is the only piece of information in the running lines that I pay absolutely no attention to, especially in sprints. The only time I’ll consider weight is in marathon races (1 ½ miles or longer). Otherwise, I feel it’s one of the most useless pieces of information in the past performances.

Some people consider a weight allowance of five to ten pounds a good angle when an apprentice jockey takes the mount. Remember, though, you’re losing racing experience. It’s not always worth the trade-off, especially in shorter races.

The second is horse weight which more and more tracks are listing. How relevant is this difficult-to-access information that is available only during track TV broadcasts? Could it possibly be useful for maiden sprints with lots of first-time starters? For example, you usually want a stocky compact horse with muscled hind quarters for sprints and a larger, more evenly built horse for route races.

For well-informed analyses of horses in the paddock between races, I would strongly recommend listening to Maggie Wolfendale at NYRA tracks. She’s the most insightful paddock host I’ve ever heard.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


Did you know . . . that lawyer/horse owner Garylle Bruce Stewart—the brother of legendary ASD jockey BobbyStewart--passed away on Derby Day 2016? The Downs lost a good friend and loyal supporter so it only seems fitting that the following year’s Derby should be won by Plentiful, owned by Murray Duncan and the Estate of Garylle Stewart. Bob reflects on a colourful life well-lived here.

Dig into lemon oregano pork skewers tonight


  • Tonight: Second-last Thursday night all-you-can-eat certified Angus prime rib buffet. Tonight’s other entrees: Asian glazed chicken, lemon oregano pork skewers and potato crusted cod. Minestrone soup. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Tomorrow:  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.
  • This Saturday:  Player’s Choice horseplayer tournament. Churchill Downs meet begins 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 3: Final Thursday night prime rib buffet of the season
  • Friday, May 4: Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs. First post 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, May 5: Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. First post 9:30 a.m. Free souvenir Derby glasses and merchandise giveaways at the track and at OTBs; Escape Clause makes 2018 debut at Canterbury Park
  • Friday, May 11: Who will be named ASD 2017 Horse of the Year? Manitoba horsemen’s 2017 awards night in the Finish Line Banquet Hall. See list of nominees in various categories here.
  • Sunday, May 13: Assiniboia Downs live race season kicks off at 1:15 p.m.


The Run for the Roses
Or should that be WITH the Roses? (Playbuzz photo)

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