Thursday, May 2, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14 No. 16 (Issue #686)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

LATE NEWS: OMAHA BEACH TO BE SCRATCHED FROM DERBY Kentucky Derby favourite Omaha Beach is being scratched from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby because of a breathing obstruction that requires minor surgery, his trainer, Richard Mandella, announced last night. Coughing after a workout resulted in the discovery of an entrapped epiglottis in the horse’s throat. That means also-eligible Bodexpress draws in and is #21. That also has resulted in trainer Bob Baffert’s three horses being designated the top three horses in the 20-horse field: Game Winner is now the favourite at 9-2; Roadster and Improbable are 5-1.


9:30 a.m. (CDT)

  • New! A $2 two-day pick-6 that starts with TWO races tomorrow (races 8 and 11, the Oaks) and concludes with FOUR RACES Saturday (races 6, 8, 11 and 12, the Derby)
  • A double combining the winner of the Oaks and the winner of the Derby
  • A pick-3 with these three legs: (1) race 11, the Kentucky Oaks tomorrow (2) race 11, the race before the Derby on Saturday (3) race 12, the Kentucky Derby
SUPERFECTA MINIMUM: The superfecta minimum both days is $1

Hard copies of the Kentucky Derby program are available on-track at the VLT cage or may be downloaded, as usual, at program kiosks

Saturday 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Discussion will centre on Churchill’s pick-5 and pick-4 which ends with the Kentucky Derby and on the Derby itself with emphasis on the superfecta. (A $1 triactor on last year’s Derby won by Justify paid $140. A $1 superfecta paid $19,000.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Will a Manitoba-connected horse, described as "a beast," win the Kentucky Derby?
  • Bad luck for Badrie: Injured on first day of riding at new Century Mile track
  • One-time Handicapper of the Year makes a comeback in April tournament. Who?
  • Is there a better way to pick a Derby winner than with your (often imperfect) opinion?
  • Will Derby Day make you a life-changing fortune? It's possible.
HOW WILL BANKROLL WINNER BET THE KENTUCKY DERBY? George Moehring, a retired real estate appraiser, will pick up his $200 bankroll to play the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, a prize he won by accumulating more points predicting prep race results than other entrants. How will he bet the money? Maybe he’ll tell us Saturday.

Congratulations to teacher/coach Roger Bamburak, who won ASD’s “3 for the money” contest twice and therefore also wins an invitation for two to the hottest media event in town: the live race press conference with gourmet buffet next Thursday.

This Saturday:
  • Free mint julep souvenir glass to the first 100 on-track plus giveaways at OTBs (while supplies last)
  • Draws for KD merchandise including a hat, long-sleeved polo shirt, set of Triple Crown glasses and a tote bag at the track and at OTBs: at Pembina Hotel, Quest Inn, Canad Inns Windsor Park and Green Brier.
  • $100 first-and-worst contest on the Derby (Who will finish first and who will be last?)
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 May? Find out here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? NHL playoffs.

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge every Friday and Saturday 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.

POKER EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker in the clubhouse on the second level. Registration starts at 7:00 p.m and the game starts at 8:30 p.m. Maximum of 60 players. No late registration. Royal Flush progressive jackpot for tomorrow, Friday, is $5,812.50.

GREEDY CORNER: $700,000 & $300,000 are the jackpot amounts available at Gulfstream and Santa Anita respectively to be won for a 20-cent Rainbow 6 ticket.

KENTUCKY DERBY: Manitoba connection

"Looked like a beast"

Manitoba-connected colt, By My Standards, wins clockers praise

Will a Manitoba-connected colt win the Kentucky Derby? Will By My Standards, the son of Goldencents, show ability inherited from Goldencents’ mother, Golden Works, and grandmother, Body Works, both of whom were bred in Manitoba by the late Phil Kives? Body Works was a top stakes-winning mare at ASD.

Manitobans are already proudly watching the exploits of the Manitoba-bred mare, Escape Clause, who came within a nose of winning a Grade 1 stakes at Oaklawn Park. A win or exceptional performance by By My Standards would enhance that pride.

By My Standards has already excelled in winning the $1 million Louisiana Derby. Subsequent workouts have won over-the-top praise from two clockers:
  • The son of Goldencents has been training at Churchill Downs for weeks, and frankly, he’s looked like a beast,” said Laura Pugh in Horse Racing Nation. She gives him a Grade A, behind Roadster and Improbable whom she rates A+.
  • And DRF clocker Mike Welsch said this on Sunday: “Gonna save what I thought was the best for last. By My Standards. Really poured it on in the gallop-out. Gets my #1 star this morning.”

The 3-year-old (whose mom is A Jealous Woman) was described as the “buzz horse” at the Derby post position draw at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. He was the last of 20 horses to be drawn (a good omen?) and drew post #3. He’s trained by Bret Calhoun and ridden by Gabriel Saez.

By My Standards leaves from post #3

CRAZY HOUR IF HE WINS: If By My Standards wins the Kentucky Derby, it will be Crazy Hour in the Clubhouse to celebrate -- and, wow, what a celebration that would be! Beer, wine and shots $2.95 and half-price appetizers.

*       *       *

Is there something better than your "opinion" . . .
. . . to pick a Derby or Oaks winner?

You know what this column thinks about opinions. If opinions were the glue that holds together model airplanes, the airplanes would fall apart. So is there anything more solid than mere opinions to help pick a Derby or Oaks winner? How about these:
  • Look for improving speed numbers. Three-year-olds generally haven’t reached their peak. An improving performance in each race is a positive sign. Three Derby horses fit that criterian: Tax, Tacitus and Roadster. Improbable is on the fringes.
  • Look for horses that won by three or more lengths two races back and didn’t show that much last time. Those horses often bounce back to put out an even bigger effort than in their previous win.
  • Workouts, workouts, workouts. This is the best indication that a horse is sharp and ready to run his or her best race. Comments from the clocker are especially important to consider. All of DRF Mike Welsch’s reports are on YouTube. Google Kentucky Derby Clocker Reports.
  • Trust your gut. What? Logic may tell you one thing (an opinion) but your gut may be leaning another way. Why does this work? Because you’ve unconsciously absorbed little clues through the years that point to a peak performance by a horse. Don’t ignore. It’s like a veteran doctor having a correct hunch about a patient's ailment when tests show nothing.
And here’s hoping Lady Luck takes a shining to you, too. And that the mischievous racing gods mess with someone else and leave you alone.

*       *       *

Learning from the past
Popular choices have won last six Derbies; add a longshot or two to your supers

Examine the last 11 Derbies below to get a feel for what to expect this Saturday. An Equibase speed of 109 or lower is likely to win the race and some crazy longshot is likely to find its way into the superfecta.

Pick-4s and pick-5s can pay staggering amounts of money. Last year, a $1 ticket and a 50-cent ticket took down the entire pick-5 pool when Funny Duck came waddling through the slop to win at odds of 39-1 in the Pat Day Stakes. A 50-cent ticket paid $621,000.

One bomber in one leg of a pick-5 or superfecta can set you up for life. For life!

The highest $2 superfecta payout was in 2009 ($557,000), the highest $2 pick-4 was in 2010 ($73,700) and the highest $2 pick-5, introduced in 2011, was last year ($2.8 million). 
  • 2008 – Big Brown (2-1 followed by horses with odds of 13-1, 27-1 and 37-1). $2 superfecta paid $58,700, $2 pick-4 paid $14,675. Equibase speed figure of winner: 114.
  • 2009 – Mine That Bird (50-1 followed by horses with odds of 16-1, 19-1, 12-1). $2 superfecta paid $557,000, $2 pick-4 paid $40,800. Equibase speed: 103.
  • 2010 – Super Saver (8-1 followed by horses with odds of 11-1, 2-1 and 30-1). $2 superfecta paid $202,000, $2 pick-4 paid $73,700. Equibase speed: 107.
  • 2011 – Animal Kingdom (20-1 followed by horses with 8-1-, 9-1 and 23-1). $2 superfecta paid $48,000, $2 pick-4 paid $24,600, $2 pick-5 paid $856,000. Equibase speed: 105.
  • 2012 – I’ll Have Another (15-1 followed by horses with odds of 4-1, 12-1 and 30-1). $2 superfecta paid $96,000, $2 pick-4 paid $31,000 and $2 pick-5 paid $96,000. Equibase speed: 109.
  • 2013 – Orb (5-1 followed by horses with odds of 34-1, 6-1, 9-1). $2 superfecta paid $57,000, $2 pick-4 paid $358 and a $2 pick-5 paid $1,300. Equibase speed: 109.
  • 2014 – California Chrome (5-2 followed by horses with odds of 37-1, 8-1 and 6-1). $2 superfecta paid $15,400, $2 pick-4 paid $1,577 and $2 pick-5 paid $2,800. Equibase speed: 109.
  • 2015 – American Pharoah (5-2 followed by horses with odds of 9-1, 4-1 and 10-1). $2 superfecta $1,268, $2 pick-4 $2,000 and $2 pick-5 $9,600. Equibase speed: 109.
  • 2016 – Nyquist (2-1 followed by horses with odds of 5-1, 10-1 and 11-1). $2 superfecta $1,084, $2 pick-4 $22,800 and $2 pick-5 $96,000. Equibase speed: 108.
  • 2017 – Always Dreaming  (9-2 followed by horses with odds of 33-1, 40-1 and 6-1). $2 superfecta $152,000, $2 pick-4 $13,800 and $2 pick-5 $200,000. Equibase speed: 106.
  • 2018 -- Justify (5-2 followed by horses with odds of 9-1, 7-1 and 85-1), $2 superfecta $40,000, $2 pick-4 $280,000 and $2 pick-5 $2.8 million. Equibase speed: 112.

Not again! Badrie injured on first day at new track

After fracturing hip at Century Downs last fall, breaks collarbone at Century Mile

Prayven Badrie
Now a broken collarbone

Talk about bad luck. Assiniboia Downs’ co-leading rider last year, Prayven Badrie, who broke his hip on the last day of the meet at Century Downs last fall, broke his collarbone in a fall at the sister Alberta track, Century Mile, on opening day Sunday. That will sideline him for four to eight weeks with his arm in a sling and produce lots of discomfort as he tries to find a comfortable position in which to sleep.

He started the day with early success, winning race 2 aboard Mongolian Cheetah (2-1), but his mount in race 5, Biffy, went down at the top of the stretch, throwing Badrie to the track.

Last October, Badrie required extensive hip surgery after he was trampled when his horse fell on the last day of the meet at Century Downs. He returned to his native Trinidad to convalesce and resumed riding there this spring before returning to Alberta.

On a positive note, the new Edmonton track has won praise from jockeys and horsemen, according to assistant race secretary, Rob MacLennan, a former ASD employee. “They absolutely love the surface and the track,” he told The Insider. “The big crowd on-track was thrilled. We’ve got some minor kinks to work out but other than that the racing side of it was pretty functional.”

One of those kinks was the camera work which reminded one of video shot during an earthquake. “It’s all new camera staff and they really struggled but it was also a 20 mph wind day,” Rob said. 

The $195,000 in wagering for the nine-race card was “lower than expected,” he said. Rob teamed up with TVG representative Peter Lurie to analyze each race. Now, Rob said he expects to be doing that on his own as he was at ASD. Racing continues Saturdays and Sundays at 2:45 p.m.

Ice-fishing is Rozmus' other passion. That's a 10-pound walleye he caught in Lake Winnipeg.
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to 2014 Handicapper of the Year, Jeff Rozmus, for making a comeback by soaring to the top to be named Handicapper of the Month in the April Player’s Choice tournament Saturday. The retired city employee, whose strategy is to find an early longshot or two, then coast, nailed a 25-1 horse at Laurel in race 3 and a 10-1 horse at Woodbine in race 1 that set him on his way to accumulating a bankroll of $129.50, $15 more than runner-up Kevin Meadows.

In the Laurel race “I noticed first-time starter Mr. d’Angelo opened up at less than 10-1 then drifted up. The horse had good turf breeding and a ton of works.” The horse’s trainer, Tim Woolley, was hitting at 33 per cent, too. His Woodbine horse, Quietly Quick “had some good works. She had Blair Miller for a trainer (former trainer at ASD) who was coming off a dismal year and due for some racing luck.” The horse has Manitoba ownership connections, too.

The top five, their bankrolls and their prizes were:
  1. Jeff Rozmus: Bankroll $129.50. Prize $1,000.
  2. Kevin Meadows -- $144.40 -- $400
  3. Damian D’Souza -- $101.90 -- $200
  4. Glen Gray -- $89.80 -- $100
  5. Roger Jones -- $77.60 -- $50


BETTING GROUP BREAKS EVEN AFTER $11,000 CHANCE LOSES AT WIRE: “Hang on, baby!” participants in last Saturday’s “I won bigger” betting group urged 41-1 Colonel Red that would give them an $11,000 payoff in their Tampa Bay pick-5. Unfortunately, a few jumps from the wire in the 5-furlong turf sprint, the 9-5 favourite, Epic Drama, passed Colonel Red to win by ¾ of a length and the group had to settle for little more than the return of their original share money.

In contrast to the previous two Saturdays, at least a horse with big pace numbers DID get the lead and gave the group a thrill. But the biggest thrill could be plays on Kentucky Derby Day with mega-rich pools to chase. Join us at 10:30 on the Clubhouse plaza to discuss the pick-5 and pick-4 ending with the Derby and superfectas on the Derby itself. (Last year, a $1 triactor on the Derby paid $140 while a $1 superfecta paid $19,000. You read right. That’s where the big money is.)

THE BEST OF BOB: Filly evokes memories of strawberry shortcake

Why would the story of the 2-year-old champion filly from 1968 evoke memories of strawberry shortcake, a leather coat and an evening of celebration at the Paddock Restaurant?  Bob explains here. (First published in August 2017).

This is the final instalment in the "Best of Bob" series, Bob’s new blogs to mark the 2019 live racing season kick off next week.


  • Today: Final prime rib buffet of the season 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Still some room. Book with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Tomorrow: Kentucky Oaks at Churchill. First post 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Kentucky Derby at Churchill (first post 9:30 a.m.) with giveaways and contest fun (see Fun & Games)
  • Thursday, May 9: Press conference to kick off live racing with gourmet luncheon.
  • Friday, May 10: ASD horsemen’s 2018 awards banquet to honour last year’s live racing stars including Horse of the Year
  • Sunday, May 12: Happy Mother’s Day! 50-day live racing season begins at ASD 1:15 p.m. Dinner tickets available from Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.

JANUARY: Geoffrey Metcalf, retired salesman. Bankroll $90.30.“I look for trouble lines, equipment changes, good trainer stats.”
FEBRUARY: John Whitehill
, retired bricklayer. Bankroll $124.60. “I look for horses with odds at least 5-1.”
MARCH: Roger Jones
, bus driver. Bankroll $122.20. “I look for longshots I’m hoping others will overlook.”

APRIL: Jeff Rozmus: Bankroll $129.50. “I always try to get a longshot early in a tournament then top that off with some sure picks. Different strategy in live tourneys. You’ve got to pick winners.”

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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
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