Thursday, April 27, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 16 (Issue #583)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


"BIG" GUNS: Brian McKellar, George Moehring, John Whitehill

Will a "Big" gun win another tourney?

All 2017 tournaments so far have been won by "I won big" players

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Will this be the mantra if, for the fourth month in a row, an “I won big” group participant wins Saturday’s Player’s Choice handicapping tournament?

These have been the “Big” guns so far: (1) January: Retired policeman Brian McKellar (2) February: Retired real estate appraiser George Moehring and (3) March: Retired bricklayer John Whitehill. All are thoughtful contributors to “I won big” discussions Saturday mornings.

Is there something about attending the workshops that hones players into razor-sharp horse selectors? Hmm.

At stake, of course, is $1,750 in prize money for the top five players and all players receive Handicapper of the Year points that will ultimately result in 10 players sharing in $3,500 at the end of the year. Sign up for the tournament for $25 by 9 p.m. tomorrow.

Just doubling your bankroll of $40 could have you pocketing 10 big ones ($1,000) as the tourney winner! The winning amounts above aren’t intimidating at all, are they? (You simply bet $2 win and place on 10 horses, your choice.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • What can you win for 20-cents today? $90,000 at Golden Gate
  • How well did deep closers do in the past nine Kentucky Derbies?
  • Will this post-Derby tale make you laugh, cry or leave you speechless?
  • Buff and Dink of the Year get ready for return
  • Why did Andy Beyer focus on the trailers in the 1989 Kentucky Derby?
  • What racing clues can you get from the post parade and paddock?

Andy Beyer watched the trailers in the 1989 Kentucky Derby

WHO WILL YOU PICK FOR WORST? You’re probably not surprised to hear that the 1989 Sunday Silence/Easy Goer Kentucky Derby is one of Andy Beyer’s favourite derbies. But you may be shocked to find out why: The speed guru had a huge bet in Las Vegas at 20-1 on Western Playboy to finish LAST in the 15-horse field. So, as he told an interviewer, while most race fans were watching the west’s favourite horse, Sunday Silence, hold off the eastern favourite, Easy Goer, his binoculars were firmly focused at the back of the pack. Would his Western Playboy—with a pessimistic trainer and slow works--give up on trying to beat Faultless Ensign? Yes, indeed! So Andy cashed big. You may be looking for similar signs when you enter the first/worst contest to win $100 on the Kentucky Derby next Saturday. Look for entry forms in the Race Book.


LAST WEEKEND TO PARLAY YOUR HEART OUT! Got one big $6 show parlay left in your system? Make it happen on five races starting at 7 p.m. tomorrow and/or Saturday, and you’ll do yourself proud (as well as getting the Downs to match your winnings and having a chance at winning a mouth-watering certified Angus prime rib buffet for two).

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? NHL playoffs

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.

TONIGHT IS YOUR SECOND LAST CHANCE TO ENJOY “PRIME” TIME! Tonight’s certified Angus prime rib buffet is the second last Thursday of the season for this favourite feast: 5 to 8 p.m. in the Terrace Dining Room. All you can eat—soup, salad bar, pasta station, other entrees and side dishes, multiple desserts including serve-yourself ice cream, for just $26.95. Call Samantha at 204-885-3330 to reserve.

HORSEMEN'S AWARDS BANQUET IN TWO WEEKS: What horses from ASD's 2016 racing season were voted tops in their various categories? You will be first to find out if you attend the 33rd annual awards dinner for the local chapters of the CTHS (Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society) and HBPA (Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association). It's on Friday, May 12 in the lower level Finish Line. Cocktails at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at $45 per person are available from the ASD general office, the HBPA and the CTHS.



Commanding Curve at 31-1 closed from 18th to finish 2nd in the 2014 Derby

Derby tip: Watch out for deep closers

Study shows many horses came from far back at high odds

An intriguing fact has emerged from a study I did of the last nine Kentucky Derbies: regardless who wins the race, horses that are way back in the early part of the 1 ¼ mile race often find their way into the superfecta and at high odds. Look at these:

2016: Nyquist wins.
Exaggerator closes from 15th to 2nd; Mohaymen closes from 14th to 4th.
2015: American Pharoah wins.
Frosted closes from 14th to finish 4th.
2014: California Chrome wins.
Commanding Curve (31-1) comes from 18th to finish 2nd; Danza closes from 12th to finish 3rd.
2013: Orb wins
by closing from 16th. Golden Soul (34-1) closes from 15th to finish 2nd, Revolutionary closes from 17th to get 3rd, Normandy Invasion comes from 12th to finish 4th.
2012: I’ll Have Another wins.
Dullahan (12-1) closes from 11th to finish 3rd, When the Day Went Well (30-1) comes from 17th to finish 4th.
2011: Animal Kingdom
(20-1) comes from 12th to first.
2010: Super Saver wins.
Ice Box (11-1) comes from 19th to finish 2nd, Paddy O’Prado comes from 13th to finish 3rd and Make Music For Me (30-1) closes from 20th to finish 4th.
2009: Mine That Bird
(50-1) wins from last to first.
2008: Big Brown wins.
Denis of Cork (27-1) comes from 20th to finish 3rd.

So, if you’re a longshot player, what’s the upshot of this? Look for horses that will be way back early regardless of odds (or maybe because of long odds) and add them to your exotics play, especially superfectas and the Super Hi 5.

*       *       *

Super Saver winner Glen Fullerton (right) with pitcher Johan Santana at a pre-game press conference

WILL THIS MAKE YOU LAUGH, CRY OR SIMPLY BE STUNNED? Remember the guy in 2010 who won a contest to place a $100,000 wager on the Kentucky Derby and he put it on the winning horse, Super Saver, at odds of 8-1? Well, I was going to write about this computer programmer, Glen Fullerton of Houston, Texas, being my most admired Kentucky Derby player of all time – until I found out this week what he did the following night with his $900,000 fortune. He bet it all—yes, all--on his favourite “consistent” ace with the New York Mets, Johan Santana -- who promptly pitched the worst game of his life in losing 11-5 to the Phillies. There’s “easy come, easy go” but what happened here defies words, doesn’t it?

*       *       *

You're invited . . .

. . . to a Kentucky Derby handicapping workshop next Thursday

Marshall and Glen have another interactive workshop happening on the Kentucky Derby. It will be at the Downs at 7 p.m. next Thursday. Bring your laptops.

Says Marshall: “ We’ll analyze the past performances of this year’s top contenders, examine the best prep races, review previous winner profiles, discuss pedigree angles to determine which horses are best suited for the distance, assess the DRF workout reports and collaborate on various wagering angles to maximize your betting opportunities for the first Saturday in May.” 

Participants will receive 2,500 Player Rewards Points and $10 added to their HPI accounts when they’ve bet $50

To sign up, call Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0

Merry's Jay winning Manitoba Derby

SEASON 60 TRIVIA TEASER: What made the victory of Merry’s Jay in the Manitoba Derby in 1976--the first Manitoba-bred to do so--so impressive? (a) The colt came off a stakes win only a week before (b) He won the Derby by 10 lengths (c) A horse he beat went on to win the Canadian Derby (d) He beat a son of Northern Dancer. See answer at bottom of column.


320 HORSES ON THE GROUNDS: With live racing 17 days away, assistant director of racing Derek Corbel reports there are 320 horses on the grounds. Two tracks that are expected to deliver a large number of horses to the Downs, Fonner Park and Turf Paradise, will be winding down their meets before opening day at the Downs on Mother’s Day May 14.

BUFF HAS TWO WORKOUTS; DINK TO RETURN, TOO: Two fan favourites from last year, Buff and Dink of the Year will be back for Season 60. Buff, in fact, has already had two workouts: 3f in :38.60 and 4f in :49 flat. Lori Mann, co-owner of Dink of the Year with trainer Elton Dickey says the filly they bought in Iowa last year because they liked the name will also be looking to return to the Winner’s Circle after winning near the end of last year’s meet.

COIN COLLECTOR STRIPS BRIDGEJUMPER(S) OF COIN: The Coin Collector Stakes at Charles Town Saturday was a big coin loser for a bridgejumper or bridgejumpers when 2-5 Aaron’s Tap with tens of thousands of dollars in show money finished fifth in the six-horse field and showvantagers made big coin--$26.80, $48.80 and $8.20--on the resulting show finishers. Did you happen to be one of those showvantagers?

Tickets range from $313 on the tarmac to $5,000 in the Clubhouse

BREEDERS' CUP TICKETS RANGE FROM $127 TO $5,000 (U.S.): Thinking of attending the first Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in the fall? With attendance capped at 37,500 each day, tickets are limited and will cost you (to attend both days) from $127 to stand in the infield to $5,000 for a seat in the Clubhouse—all prices U.S. Wiggling your toes on a manufactured “beach” in the infield will cost you $812. Trackside general admission is $313 and a box seat to watch the stretch run from the second level (about the same place ASD boxes are situated) will cost you $2,171.

A "BIG" OPPORTUNITY MISSED: So Saturday’s “I won big” betting group HAD selected 6-1 Point Roll in the last leg of the pick-5 at Tampa but had NOT included the horse on the tickets that mattered so the group had an off day in picking either the pick-4 (which paid $871 for 60-cents) or the pick-5 (which paid $6,874 for 60-cents). The picks were right; composing tickets was not. So the group just cashed $175 in the Charles Town pick-4 thanks to Len Charney’s thoughtful suggestion to play the ticket posted in the Daily Racing Form by a handicapper we respect, Ken Peck. A $1 wheel cost the group $45. Now it’s back to making amends in the last five races at Tampa this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. -- with no greasy fingers to worry about.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: If you had to name a filly to mark the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada, what would the name be? It might be worthwhile to think on that. (Hint, hint.) Remember, names cannot be longer than 18 characters including spaces between words.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. What signs should I look for in the Paddock and Post Parade to provide insight into how my horse will run?

Not a positive sign

A. 1. Muscle Definition – Most star athletes have prominent muscles and horses are no different. Look for nice, toned muscles around the horse’s chest, rib cage area and hind quarters (especially in sprinters). Also, make sure the horse isn’t overweight and therefore not in top condition.
2. Hair/Coat
– A shiny, dappled coat indicates a horse is in good health
3. Ears
– If ears are pricked and the head is held high and confident, you can assume the horse is alert, aware of its surroundings and ready to go. Flattened ears and a head hanging low is not a good sign.
4. Nerves
– It's natural for horses to have some nerves before a race, especially younger horses, but over-anxious horses usually aren’t a good bet. If the horse is too fidgety or sweating too much, the horse may be wasting too much energy before it has even hit the track
5. Nipping at a pony’s mane
– If the horse nips at the mane of the accompanying outrider’s horse, that’s a sign he’s ready to give a peak performance

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

This week Bob puts the finishing touches on the "Season of Promise" that was highlighted by the first horse to win the Gold Cup three times and in three consecutive years – at 3, 4 and 5 years old. Who was the horse? That should be an easy one! See Bob's blog here.

SEASON 60 TRIVIA ANSWER: All are correct! Merry’s Jay, owned by Hugh Jackson, trained by Clayton Gray and ridden by Ken Hendricks, became the first Manitoba-bred to win the Manitoba Derby in 1976 eight days after winning the Harry Jeffrey Stakes, the prep race for the Manitoba Derby. In the Derby he beat the 1-5 eastern invader Laissez Passer by 10 lengths and that colt, the son of Northern Dancer, went on to win the Canadian Derby in Edmonton two weeks later by eight lengths. To be sure, Merry’s Jay also had Northern Dancer blood in him since he was sired by Northern Hawk whose dad was Northern Dancer.

Good luck in Saturday’s tourney!

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