Thursday, April 29, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 16 (Issue #787)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

and, remember, if you don’t receive The Insider in the usual way,
you can always find it--and past columns--at


MANITOBA HPI PLAYERS: GET 2% CASH BACK when you wager $100 or more on the Triple Crown tracks or the feature tracks on those Triple Crown days:
  • May 1st – Churchill Downs, Belmont & Santa Anita
  • May 15th – Pimlico, Belmont & Santa Anita
  • June 4th – Belmont, Santa Anita & Woodbine

NOTE: You must opt-in at Some conditions apply. Go to for more information.

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NEW HPI SIGN-UPS: BET $250, GET $250! What a sensational deal for those who don’t yet have an HPIbet account. Sign up between now and the end of Derby Day Saturday then bet $250 in your account within 30 days and HPI will deposit $250 into your account after the 30 days are up. To make it happen (new accounts only), go to or call 204-885-3330 ext. 225.

Go here at 7 p.m. CT tonight
(then any time after that)

DERBY TRIVIA TEASER: What was the average payoff of a $1 superfecta ticket on the past 13 Kentucky Derbies? (a) $10,000 (b) $20,000 (c) $40,000 (d) $50,000?

And what was the average payoff of the $1 pick-4 using those same amounts? (See answers under KENTUCKY DERBY GREED.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Will Derby Day change your life?
  • Do the unexpected on Derby Day: look for opportunities at "B" tracks
  • How to nail a big Kentucky Derby superfecta
  • Tourney player invokes Alyssa Selman fund-raiser necklace luck
  • Catch Richard Grunder's final race calls at Tampa Sunday
LAS VEGAS ON THE LINE IN THE NEXT FOUR TOURNEYS: Okay, you’ve had warm-ups playing in the Player’s Choice handicapping tournaments; now get ready for the most consequential tourneys of the year: the four tournaments on live racing that could send you to Las Vegas to play for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The first will be Monday, June 14. Reduce the $50 entry fee by picking three winners on live race days leading up to the tournament.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in April/May? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Download 2021 LIVE RACING SCHEDULE here.

Do you have your new HPIbet account card that replaces the previous HPI card and the ASD Player Rewards card? Assiniboia Downs has joined the HPI rewards and bonus program and the new program began Monday, Feb. 1. See details here. If you haven't received your new card in the mail call 204-885-3330 (ext. 225) to check on the status.

for VLTs, simulcast racing and dining. Mask-wearing is required.

Pembina 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; Central Hotel (Rookies) 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. except Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. NOTE: Canad Inns Windsor Park and Green Brier are only open to purchase programs from the kiosks and to make HPI deposits on self-serve terminals. Both casinos and Quest Inn remain closed.

with daily specials. Fridays feature a Top Sirloin Steak dinner for $24.95 and Saturdays its Certified Angus Prime Rib dinner also for $24.95. Dinners are served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Celebrate the Run for the Roses at home . . .
. . . with a bunch of red roses, a mint julep drink and NBC sports

Okay, you may not be able to find fresh mint at your supermarket to make yourself an “official” mint julep Derby drink at home (I’m lucky to have mint growing in my window) but you CAN pick up a red rose(s) from a florist and click on NBC sports at 1:30 p.m. Saturday to envelope yourself in the Kentucky Derby experience while tapping your wagers into your HPI account.

Call it the COVID-safe Derby. Enjoy! And good luck.

Thank you, Alyssa!
Glen Gray wins tourney after waving fund-raiser necklace over program notes

Retired construction worker Glen Gray waved his “lucky” Alyssa Selman fund-raiser necklace over his handicapping notes before Saturday’s Player’s Choice handicapping tournament and--tadaa--he won!

And he’s particularly glad he did because “now I can remind everyone about Alyssa Selman who went through so much when she went down in a race a few years ago.” Jockey Selman was paralyzed in an accident at the Downs in 2015. Many fans bought a necklace with a mini-horsehoe attached to raise money for her.

Was it Gray’s thoughtfulness and consequent good karma that put him over the top? His bankroll was a considerable $117.10 boosted by a $45 horse in race 9 at Oaklawn Park. He told The Insider that 25 different aspects go into his horse selections--from Equibase speed and averaging pace numbers to the number of days a horse has been off. He also connected with a $16.90 horse at Gulfstream and a $17.10 horse at Churchill.

Harness player Glen Burke played bridesmaid again, just as he did in the February tournament, with just $1.80 less than Gray. Burke worked hard to get ready for the tournament. When his favourite track, Mohawk, cancelled racing over the past few weeks because of COVID-19 restrictions, he practised playing races at Meadowlands in New Jersey and Miami Valley in Ohio. He caught $30 horses at both of those tracks.

The top five players and their bankrolls and prizes were:
1. Glen Gray
--bankroll $117.10--prize $1,000 and a trophy
2. Glen Burke
3. Trevor Phelps
4. Len Charney
5. Scott Anderson
--$96.70--$50   See full results here.

ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER (at the top of The Insider): The average $1 superfecta ticket over the past 13 Kentucky Derbies has paid $54,000 and the average $1 pick-4 has paid $21,000. 

One bet on Derby Day could change your life
Pools and payoffs can be GIGANTIC!

With millions of dollars at stake in Saturday’s Derby Day pools, you have a chance to land a score that could change your life--or certainly make it more comfortable.

The past 13 years of Kentucky Derby superfectas, pick-4s and pick-5s (which started in 2011) are listed below. The highest $1 superfecta: $280,000 in 2009 when 50-1 Mine That Bird won, the highest $1 pick-4: $140,000 in 2018 when Justify won. The highest pick-5 came the same year. A $1 ticket paid $1.4 million.
  • 2008 – Big Brown (2-1 followed by horses with odds of 13-1, 27-1 and 37-1). $1 superfecta paid $29,300, $1 pick-4 paid $7,300. 
  • 2009 – Mine That Bird (50-1 followed by horses with odds of 16-1, 19-1, 12-1). $1 superfecta paid $280,000, $1 pick-4 paid $20,400..
  • 2010 – Super Saver (8-1 followed by horses with odds of 11-1, 2-1 and 30-1). $1 superfecta paid $101,000, $1 pick-4 paid $37,000..
  • 2011 – Animal Kingdom (20-1 followed by horses with 8-1, 9-1 and 23-1). $1 superfecta paid $24,000, $1 pick-4 paid $12,000. $1 pick-5 paid $427,000.
  • 2012 – I’ll Have Another (15-1 followed by horses with odds of 4-1, 12-1 and 30-1). $1 superfecta paid $48,000, $1 pick-4 paid $15,000 and $1 pick-5 paid $48,000.
  • 2013 – Orb (5-1 followed by horses with odds of 34-1, 6-1, 9-1). $1 superfecta paid $28,000, $1 pick-4 paid $175 and a $1 pick-5 paid $650.
  • 2014 – California Chrome (5-2 followed by horses with odds of 37-1, 8-1 and 6-1). $1 superfecta paid $7,500, $1 pick-4 paid $800 and $1 pick-5 paid $1,400.
  • 2015 – American Pharoah (5-2 followed by horses with odds of 9-1, 4-1 and 10-1). $1 superfecta $600, $1 pick-4 $1,000 and $1 pick-5 $5,000.
  • 2016 – Nyquist (2-1 followed by horses with odds of 5-1, 10-1 and 11-1). $1 superfecta $500, $1 pick-4 $11,000 and $1 pick-5 $48,000.
  • 2017 – Always Dreaming (9-2 followed by horses with odds of 33-1, 40-1 and 6-1). $1 superfecta $75,000, $1 pick-4 $7,000 and $1 pick-5 $100,000.
  • 2018 – Justify (5-2 followed by horses with odds of 9-1, 7-1 and 85-1), $1 superfecta $20,000, $1 pick-4 $140,000 and $1 pick-5 $1.4 million.
  • 2019 – Country House (65-1 followed by horses with odds of 14-1, 5-1 and 4-1), $1 superfecta $51,000, $1 pick-4 $22,500 and $1 pick-5 $145,000.
  • 2020 – Authentic (8-1 followed by horses with odds of 3-5, 46-1 and 7-1), $1 superfecta $8,000, $1 pick-4 $5,500 and $1 pick-5 $153,000.



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How to nail a big superfecta

With the potential of a superfecta paying tens of thousands of dollars, here’s a “take a shot” play that would cost you $306. Wheel ALL with Essential Quality with ALL with a horse you think will finish fourth. If you want to go bigger, you can take two horses in the fourth position.

Saturday’s “I won bigger” betting group will make a number of plays similar to that, based on the opinion of players in the group. Pick a horse you think will finish first or second and wheel that to a horse you think will finish third or fourth--with ALL horses between them in the “sandwich.” Will your HPIbet account be fattened with enough winnings to buy a new car--or even a house?
WIN A TON IN '21: Do the unexpected on Derby Day; play "B" tracks

With so much attention being paid by big punters on the Kentucky Derby card Saturday, much less attention is focussed on pick-4s, pick-5s, etc. at the “B” tracks such as Thistledown, Louisiana Downs and Lone Star. Which means you may pick up surprisingly good money betting them -- which is something I’ve found. I thought, for example, that a relatively easy pick-4 at a “B” track on a big day--that I spent only $36 on--would return hundreds of dollars when, in fact, it was a very surprising $2,000.

FORMER ASD RACE CALLER DOES A CAMEO THIS WEEKEND: Remember Ken Miller who called races at Assiniboia Downs from 1982 to 1989? Well, you’ll get to hear him in a cameo appearance tomorrow and Saturday calling races at Prairie Meadows in Iowa where he’ll be sitting in for regular announcer Bobby Neuman. “I can’t wait (to call the races again),” Miller told The Insider in an email. Ken has been hosting Sports Talk Radio in Des Moines for the past 25 years. Does he still have attachments to Manitoba? Look at the logo on his toque! Prairie Meadows races go to post tomorrow (opening day) and Saturday at 4 p.m.
THE FINAL "BEST OF BOB" by Bob Gates: Fresh new columns begin next week!

Did you know that Smoky Cinder, a $2,500 USD weanling, had a half-brother that sold for $225,000 USD? We lost Smoky in January 2020 and Bob dedicated his final blog of the 2020 season to the grey-roan. Click here to read Bob' tribute to Smoky Cinder. (First published in September 2020.)

This is the final instalment in the "Best of Bob" series. Watch next week’s Insider for his first fresh new column for the 2021 live race season.
  • Richard Grunder
    Former ASD announcer calls his final races at Tampa Sunday
    Tonight: Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. and anytime after that for “ASD Live - Kentucky Derby Preview” for insights into the Derby, the Kentucky Oaks and five other races from Kirt, Marshall and Stretch.
  • Tomorrow: Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. First post 9:30 a.m.
  • This Saturday: Kentucky Derby at Churchill. First post 9:30 a.m. The “I won bigger” betting group bets superfectas and the pick-4 on the Derby.
  • This Sunday: Farewell to announcer Richard Grunder at Tampa 11:35 a.m. (Grunder was an announcer at ASD in 1975 and 1980-82)
  • Saturday, May 8: $700K Grade 1 Man o' War stakes
  • Saturday, May 15: Second leg of the Triple Crown: Preakness Stakes from Pimlico
  • Monday, May 17: ASD live racing begins at 7:30, spectator-free, with “ASD Live” online handicapping show at 6:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 18: ASD live racing begins at 7:30, spectator-free, with “ASD Live” online handicapping show at 6:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 19: No live racing
  • Monday, May 24: ASD live racing begins at 7:30, spectator-free, with “ASD Live” online handicapping show at 6:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 25: ASD live racing begins at 7:30, spectator-free, with “ASD Live” online handicapping show at 6:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 26: ASD live racing begins at 7:30, spectator-free, with “ASD Live” online handicapping show at 6:45 p.m.

Give yourself permission to have a fun-filled profitable Derby!

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