Thursday, May 5, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 15 (Issue #534)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

Something very exciting will take place on ASD’s Festival of Racing weekend from July 30 to Aug. 1. (Besides the Manitoba Derby, that is.) What will it be? CEO Darren Dunn will make the “big reveal” at today’s press conference at the Downs at 11:45 a.m. Today’s media event kicks off the live race season which begins Sunday—with horses parading to the post at 7:15 p.m.


This pen automatically circles winners; get yours Saturday!

A magic Kentucky Derby pen that automatically circles winners (don’t you wish?) will be given to the first 150 attendees in the Race Book Saturday morning as well as at the OTB’s across the city. First post at Churchill is 9:30 a.m., the same time “I won big” group play begins on the Derby (on the Clubhouse plaza).

  • A $14.95 buffet will be available on Kentucky Derby Day 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Get into the draw for Derby merchandise baskets at the track and OTBs
  • A very limited number of Derby glasses will be sold (many were broken in transit)
  • Tomorrow is Kentucky Oaks Day with Churchill’s first race going to post at 9:30 a.m., too. Play the Oaks/Derby double! (See suggested horses below.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • $619,000 carryover in today’s 20-cent Golden Gate pick-6
  • Who’s going to beat Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby Saturday?
  • They’re off! First live parade to post Sunday at 7:15 p.m.
  • A Player Rewards card will earn you cash bonuses during live
  • New and exciting: Earn “a Place in the Sun” during live racing
  • Life after death: Kives family to continue racing—but will cut back

And what amount came closest to that amount in The Insider’s contest last week? Believe it or not, only $18 million, so that person gets to make $50 in free wagers this weekend. Most other answers were very low or very high. Kind of tricky, eh? Watch for billboards around town trumpeting this amount.

SPECTACULAR NEW CONTEST DURING LIVE RACING: Play a $5 place parlay on any three races each day during live racing and you could win an all-inclusive trip for two to Mexico and $500 cash. The contest invites you to “earn a Place in the Sun” and it will be co-sponsored by the Winnipeg Sun, Charleswood Travel, WestJet Vacations and the Downs.

There are daily prizes ($20 in betting vouchers and a three-month subscription to the Sun), monthly prizes (race night buffet for two and a one-year subscription to the Sun) and the grand prize above that will be won by the person who increased their $5 the most during the 50-day race meet.

Who will beat Nyquist in the Derby?

Look for improving horses: Outwork or Creator

Who has the best chance of beating the unbeaten Nyquist in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby? An improving horse. And who might that be?

DRF clocker Mike Welsch has been singing the praises of Creator the past week or so, calling him “sensational.” And Outwork, he says, “has been improving in every start.” So there you go.

Last year, ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan had predicted American Pharoah wouldn’t finish in the top four because he had been lightly raced (and Pharoah won, of course—but this year, Rob’s playing it safe and won’t even hazard a guess. “No clue,” he says. “The winner is ALL. I hate this Derby!”

But he and I (and Welsch) all agree Rachel’s Valentina is the horse to beat in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. So take her to Outwork and Creator in the Oaks/Derby double, with a saver ticket on Nyquist.

You’re welcome!

See Derby post positions and morning line odds here.


What are the highlights for the next 10 days? See calendar here.
What’s the simulcast schedule for May? See it here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers at all tracks? See them here.

DRAW THURSDAY FOR SUNDAY’S LIVE CARD: The first race card of the 50-day live race season, with the parade to post at 7:15 p.m. on Mother’s Day, will be drawn on Thursday. What trainer(s), jockey(s) and owner(s) will get the quickest jump on the season? See the live race schedule here.

LIVE RACING CONTINUES FRIDAY THE 13TH WITH STAKES: Right off the hop next Friday will be two overnight stakes races that will celebrate past ASD champions. The De Cat will be a prep race for the Gold Cup on Sept. 10 and the Hi Lord will be a prep race for the Manitoba Derby on Aug. 1. Follow the progress of these and other prep races on the Champions board on the main level and in the Clubhouse.

QX104 – Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

Sports schedules:  Blue Jays  Blue Bombers

Chubby Checker and Phil Kives

Phil Kives (right) at the Downs with Chubby Checker in 2009

Chubby Checker and Phil Kives

Final farewell at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue Sunday

Final farewell

Kives laid to rest; family will continue racing

Assiniboia Downs trainers, staff and fans were among mourners Sunday at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue as the remarkable life of the late Phil Kives was recounted: a poor Saskatchewan farm boy who milked cows and drove a cab, then discovered television, created the first “infomercial” and sold a million “feather-touch” knives in Australia, to become a worldwide marketing phenom. He died last Wednesday at 87.

Racing fans may recall the day Kives brought Chubby Checker—originator of the “twist” dance craze—to the track when the famous celebrity was in town to produce a commercial for another Kives creation: a “checkerboard” chocolate bar with alternating flavours. (Phil abandoned the project after his launch in Germany proved difficult because of the dominance of major chocolate manufacturers.)

But it was Phil’s breeding and racing that especially interested us and his executive assistant, Shelley Colquhoun, told The Insider on Monday that family members will likely continue racing but not with his volume of horses, which currently stands at 48. She said K5 Stables horses will continue running at the Downs (where Shelley Brown has 10 in training) and at Northlands Park (where Tim Rycroft trains 10).


2014 HANDICAPPER OF THE YEAR GROWLS AGAIN: Retired railway man Maurice Gregoire (right), the 2014 co-Handicapper of the Year, clawed his way back into the Tournament Tigers den by winning Saturday’s Player’s Choice tourney with a bankroll of $75,20 He receives $500 and an engraved mug. Second was Mr. Colourful Marker Man, John Urbanski, with $67.50, (won $250). In third (and having already left on Saturday) was Barry Mymko with $66.40 (won $100). There were 39 entrants. A trip to Las Vegas will be at stake in the next tournament during live racing on Saturday, June 11.

April tournament results   Handicapper of the Year standings

LAST CHANCE FOR “BIG” SCORE: The “I won big” group hopes to go out in a blaze of glory Saturday with thoughtful picks and plays in the Kentucky Derby and pick-4. If you have a hunch that that will happen, throw $20 into the group ticket and the Downs will top it up by $5. What’s more, you will get a range of opinions on the Kentucky Derby. Should be interesting. That’s 9:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Coffee and pastries served. (Last week’s pick-5 play at Tampa—which was “overthought”—resulted in players getting back a bit less than half of their investment.)

RETURN TO DIRT LEADS TO RECORD-BREAKING WAGERING: Two years ago, Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes was a novelty race few horsemen cared about on the Road to the Kentucky Derby because the track surface was Polytrack. But a return to dirt – resulting in the track landing the Breeders’ Cup World Championships last fall –vaulted Keeneland into the stratosphere wagering-wise.

The storied track saw its all-sources wagering increase by 23.8 per cent over last spring’s meet, to $145.6 million. And the track recorded an all-time record of $21.7 million in wagering on Toyota Blue Grass Day April 9. “The momentum from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup carried forward to this spring and contributed to so many positives,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. Obviously.

AQUEDUCT “KICKS AROUND” SYNTHETIC TRACK IDEA: The New York Racing Association is “kicking around” the possible installation of a synthetic track on the inner track Aqueduct uses for winter racing. One of the reasons would be to attract horses from Woodbine’s Tapeta surface because Woodbine’s meet ends at about the same time that Aqueduct’s meet on their inner surface begins.

MARCH THANKS “HOOTERS” FOR HIS SUCCESS: Retired chemist Bob March loves those “hooters.” Hooters? Yup, the owls in the VLT game called Gaucho because the owls and other western images lined up just right to win him a whopping $433.75 that included $250 as the April month-end champion. Amused by it all, hostess Roseanne was all smiles when she presented him with his winning cash last Saturday.

DID JETS BENEFIT FROM GOOD KARMA? To their credit, the Winnipeg Jets wanted nothing to do with “tanking” to get a better chance at a top draft pick, they played their hearts out to win their last four games of the season which left them with only a 7.5 per cent of landing the top pick. But that appears to have earned them a good helping of karma because they still landed the second draft pick. Good to see honourable play being rewarded. (Interestingly, after I had written this I saw that exact “karma” headline in The Globe and Mail. Nice to see national respect for Jets’ integrity.)

WHO NEEDS CANADA? TSN reported in the first week of the NHL playoffs that viewership was down 61 per cent because no Canadian teams were part of it. But anyone who has been watching the games has been saying these playoffs are the best they’ve seen in some time. Close, exciting, nail-biting matches. And, hey, 125 of the players in the playoffs are native Canadians anyway.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I review my bets and/or cancel them?

A. There are a couple of ways to check the bets you’ve placed. First, it’s always a good idea to review your bets on the PLACE BET window before you hit CONFIRM BET. However, you can always review a list of all the bets you’ve placed at any time. To get started, you can access a quick summary of the most recent bets you’ve placed for that day by scrolling to the bottom of any racing screen window to the section called TODAY’S BETS (view image here). This section will only display up to four bets so you’ll likely have to click SHOW MORE at the bottom to access the larger report.

This will take you to the MY TRANSACTIONS screen where you have the option to sort by type of transaction, date range and/or track. For example, you could view only the bets you’ve placed at a single track over the last 30 days (view image here). You can go as far back as 60 days from the current date. If you have a current wager for a race that hasn’t gone to post yet, you can also cancel your bet. Just click on the blue CANCEL button next to your wager (view image here).

You can also access the MY TRANSACTIONS section anytime from the MY HPIBET navigation menu found along the top of the site.

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: Bob’s inaugural 2016 blog

Track historian Bob Gates kicks off the live race season with a blog that looks back at opening days from years gone by and explains how horseracing figures into a Tale of Two Wolves. Read his blog here.


Will your 20-cent quick-pick ticket win today’s $619,000 jackpot pick-6 at Golden Gate?


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