Thursday, May 23, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14 No. 19 (Issue #689)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Hot, hotter, hottest
Ridden by hot jock Alex Cruz and conditioned by hotter trainer Juan Pablo Silva, last year’s hottest claimer, Hot Rodin, wins the Magic D’ Oro stakes at ASD Saturday.
(Jason Halstead photo)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who's the most daunting racing duo at the Downs?
  • After only four days of Chase the Ace game, student wins $500
  • Balooga Bull has his third workout. Is his entry in a race near?
  • Let's make it official: He's the greatest, gutsiest longshot player in ASD history
  • Loonie kills players' tickets Monday. What?
  • Remember, Monday is a U.S. holiday with racing at top tracks

PICKING JOKER GIVES STUDENT $500 IN CHASE THE ACE GAME: Congrats to student Phung Nguyen who picked a joker Monday in ASD’s new, ultimate Chase the Ace game which won him $500. His big win came after only four days of the game in which players buy $5 tickets to get into a draw to try to psyche out the Ace of Diamonds jackpot card from a deck of playing cards that has cards previously picked by players eliminated from the deck. He said he bought four tickets.

This Friday’s estimated jackpot is $1,500. But another joker is worth $500 and the other three aces are worth $250 each. Every other card is worth $100. Buy your tickets between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Guest Services. The game raises funds for Manitoba’s Final Furlong a non-profit organization that helps find good homes for retired race horses.

Veteran player Bill Latta nailed the first place finisher in the Preakness Stakes (Will to Win) and last place (Market King) to capture $100 in wagering vouchers. You’ll get one more chance to play First & Worst in the Belmont Stakes two weeks from this Saturday.

Enter daily with an ASD teller at an off-track betting location to get into the draw Saturday for a $50 ASD gift certificate (every Saturday afternoon in May and June). Also, get 5x the Player Rewards points on your Assiniboia Downs wagers at McPhillips Station Casino, Club Regent Casino and Rookies during May.

Three draws: one for Fan of the Day, the other two to win Ribs ‘n’ Rewards which includes BBQ ribs dinner for two on a Wednesday preceded by $20 share in group tickets on ASD pick-5 and Woodbine pick-4 for possible big rewards.
QX104 � Today's Country

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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.

Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge after live racing. 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 FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker in the Trackview Gallery on the third level. Registration starts at 7:00 p.m and the game starts at 8:00 p.m. Maximum of 60 players. No late registration. The royal flush progressive jackpot for Friday is $3,406.25.

GREEDY CORNER: $1,200,000 & $600,000 at stake for 20-cent tickets in the Rainbow pick-6 at Gulfstream and Santa Anita respectively.


Daunting duo

Trainer Silva and jockey Cruz team up to lead the standings

After four days of live racing, the Silva-Cruz duo has emerged as the team to beat (or bet). Juan Pablo Silva leads trainers with seven wins, a 33 per cent win clip and Alex Cruz heads jockeys with five wins, all of them on Silva horses, a 28 per cent win clip.

Silva horses have won both stakes: his Settle Down Eileen at juicy odds of 10-1 won the Preservata (with Richard Mairs aboard) and Hot Rodin the Magic D’ Oro with Cruz.

Silva comes off a good season at ASD last year when his horses won 20 of 90 starts or 22 per cent and he continued to rack up the wins at Turf Paradise with 36 wins from 186 starts or 19 per cent. Cruz, who is new to the Downs, was one of Silva’s go-to riders at Turf Paradise. He had 30 wins from 341 starts, a nine per cent win clip.

Will they continue to dominate as local horses become more fit? Silva has a good-sized stable with 27 horses registered so far. Seven more are on the way and two babies require tattooing before officially joining his stable. So watch out! He’s on track to win one of four starts--or better.

*       *       *

Bittersweet win
Lost his beloved Magic D' Oro during a race three years ago, wins stakes race honouring Magic

Three years ago, horse owner Martin Yeroschak lost his beloved 6-year-old multiple stakes-winning stallion, Magic D' Oro, who collapsed in the stretch with a ruptured aorta while racing in the P.C.’s Bluff Stakes.

It was fitting, then, on Saturday that the horse he co-owns, Hot Rodin, would win a stakes race named for his Magic. Hot Rodin was the winningest horse in North America last year with 10 wins and won Manitoba HBPA awards for Sprinter of the Year, Claimer of the Year and Most Astute Claim of the Year. The 6-year-old gelding obviously hasn’t lost a step since his award-crushing year. Will he once again win more races than any other horse on the continent?

*       *       *

Balooga watch: Entry in a race soon?
The Bull notches third workout; will he do a Gordie Howe?

While there are mixed feelings among race fans about three-time Gold Cup winner Balooga Bull returning from retirement to race, the 10-year-old gelding continues to work out. His latest was Sunday at 5-furlongs. He posted a 1:02.8, the third fastest of a dozen who worked out Sunday.

That gives the multiple stakes winner three workouts at increasingly longer distances. While trainer Ardell Sayler has been coy about entering him in a race, some fans are saying they wouldn’t want to see him entered in a low-level claiming race after such a storied stakes career.

Balooga’s return to racing is remindful of Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, coming out of retirement twice after his 25 glorious years with the Red Wings: once to join the World Hockey League and the second time to play a shift at the age of 69 with the now-defunct International Hockey League. That worked out well. Will the same be said for Balooga Bull?

*       *       *

Hottest jockeys: 
Alex Cruz (4 wins) 
Hottest trainers:
Juan Pablo Silva (5 wins)
Biggest longshot: Lucky Ricky  $55.20 (race 2 Fri)

Stakes champion(s): Hot Rodin (The Magic D' Oro), Settle Down Eileen (The Preservata)
Stakes this week:

Pick-4: None.
Jackpot Pick-5 (starts race 3): $738
Jackpot Hi 5 (last race): $1,326

A HUGE SHOUT-OUT to Les “Longshot” Buzzell. The Insider has run out of superlatives to describe the railway signal company owner who has a knack for ferreting out longshot winners and betting $60 to $100 on each. After Saturday’s tour de force, let’s just call him the greatest, gutsiest longshot player of all time at the Downs. See if you don’t agree after examining this list of horses he bet $60 to $100 on (four of them $100) that won:
  • Belmont: Playthatfunnymusic 12 to 1
  • Belmont: Fleet Admiral 31 to 1
  • Belmont: Seek and Destroy 10 to 1
  • Gulfstream: Liza Star 17 to 1
  • Gulfstream: Early Delight 40 to 1
  • Pimlico: Lexitonian 17 to 1
  • Churchill: Gambling Train 11 to 1
  • Churchill: Dreamzapper 15 to 1

It was, he said, his best day ever at the Downs. No kidding. His most novel reason for betting a horse? I’ll let him describe it: “My best bet was the fog bet. The 31 to 1 horse at Belmont, Fleet Admiral, raced in the fog in his last race and was 22 lengths back of the winner. But if you looked at his second last race he finished 3rd with no fog. So my thinking was the horse or jockey was afraid in the fog. Now, no fog so why not take him?” His final bet of the day was a $100 win wager on #10 Everfast in the Preakness Stakes who finished second at 25-1. (He never bets a horse to place.)

to last year’s leading trainer, Jerry Gourneau, for notching a hat-trick on Monday which included the daily double of Anxious Times (7-1) and Sorcerer’s Wildcat (3-2) that paid $67.30 and Empirical Data in the fourth that paid $4.60. His philosophy is “to honour the horse” with the hopes they will reward him right back, which they did on Monday.

to ASD announcer Kirt Contois who, as the track handicapper, suggested an $18 pick-4 ticket on Monday’s races which won and paid $513.75 and a $10 exactor in race 5 that paid $254.50. His $129.60 in plays paid $1,051.22.

He said he was feeling the heat for predicting only four winners in the first three days of the meet and needed a big day to prove his mettle--which he did in spades.

See all of Kirt’s picks and payouts for his winning wagers here.


KILLED BY A LOONIE: ASD players who bet #5 Circus Ride on their pick-3, pick-4 and pick-5 tickets in race 6 at the Downs Saturday were given the post-time favourite when #5 was scratched. Two horses were very close to being the favourite. Which one would they get? As it turned out--the wrong one--by a mere $1. The race winner, #1 Louden’s Gray, had one less dollar bet on him than #2 Lifesbeengoodsofar so #2 became the favourite. Killed by a loonie!

A CATHOLIC BOY FOAL IN MANITOBA? Four-year-old Catholic Boy won his 2019 debut in the Dixie Stakes at Pimlico rather easily on Saturday, gate to wire (thanks for supportive comments after the race!) and now a Florida breeder has suggested breeding Catholic Boy with an “A++” filly when ‘Boy heads to the breeding shed at Claiborne Farm and then transporting the pregnant filly to Manitoba to drop her foal. “Maybe we could go with Bigg Boy if a colt,” said the Floridian, W.G. Wind. “I like the sound of that.” What a thrilling prospect if that could really happen!

If you’ve noticed blood dripping from my head at the Downs, it’s from bashing my head against anything solid following the Preakness Stakes. That’s because the “I won bigger” betting group’s pick-5 ticket didn’t have the $36 horse recommended by one of the players in the group. Despite the fact I had told the group “We’d get a nice pick-5 if THAT horse won,” not adding that horse (who won leg 3) was both an oversight and the fact that the group had to eliminate horses after finding out the pick-5 was a $1, and not a 60-cent, wheel.

Also, even though I’m a Catholic Boy supporter (who won leg 4), his trainer’s comments in the Daily Racing Form hinted he wouldn’t be all-out in his 2019 debut because he has a long campaign ahead of him--which resulted in the group going deep in that leg. So the group missed out on $12,000 and I’m running out of bandages. The next workshop is during live racing 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 5 in Boots N Saddles on the main level for the ASD pick-5 and Woodbine pick-4. That will be followed on Saturday, June 8 with 10:30 a.m. play on the Belmont Stakes.

HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: Best and worst times for jock

This week Bob’s blog takes a Dickensian-like look at the date May 3 and the 16 years from 1969 to 1985.  For one of the Downs’ perennial leading riders, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.  Cryptic enough for you? (Attached is a photo of the rider early in life.) Bob makes sense of it all here.
  • Friday, May 24: Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. $10 buy-in poker (registration 7:00 p.m. and game at 8 p.m.)
  • Saturday, May 25: Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. $10 buy-in poker as above.
  • Monday, May 27: U.S. Memorial Day: All major tracks are racing.
  • Wednesday, May 29: First Wednesday night of live racing at 7:15 with Chase the Ace.
  • Friday, May 31: Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. Hey Hey Renee Stakes --5 ½-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies
  • Saturday, June 1: Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. Ladies Night at ASD with drink specials, exhibitors catering to women, $1,000 in prizes. Royal Frolic Stakes --5 ½-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds
  • Wednesday, June 5: Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. Handicapping workshop 6 p.m. in Boots N Saddles main floor for group play of ASD pick-5 and Woodbine pick-4. Everyone welcome.
  • Friday, June 7: Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. $30K La Verendrye Stakes --6-furlong race for older fillies and mares
  • Saturday, June 8: Belmont Stakes and likely Escape Clause appearance in an undercard race. Live racing/ace-chase 7:15. Two stakes: $30K Free Press --6-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up, $25K Hazel Wright Sire Stakes --6-furlong race for Manitoba-bred fillies
  • Sunday, June 9: Manitoba Night Market, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. with food trucks, exhibitors, beer gardens, entertainment, kids’ fun and lots more. Admission $5.
NEXT INSIDER: Wednesday, May 29. During the live race season, The Insider will publish on Wednesdays when there is live racing that night and Thursdays when there is no Wednesday racing that week.
Race starter’s view
The gorgeous billowing red sky caught the attention of race starter/assistant director of racing Derek Corbel when he was starting horses from the ASD backstretch Saturday evening

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