Thursday, May 24, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 20 (Issue #638)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Alpine Luck looks terrific winning first stakes of 2018 ASD season

Alpine Luck gives Brown first stakes win in two years

Winner of Hollywood Park Juvenile five years ago wins first ASD stakes of 2018

Jared Brown
Stakes win a good omen?

Thanks to Luck—Alpine Luck, that is--ASD trainer Jared Brown has logged his first stakes win in two years Saturday in the Intercontinent with Adolfo Morales in the saddle ($10.60). Brown’s previous stakes win came in July, 2016, in the Inner Spirit Stakes with Cal McLish.

Alpine Luck, who started his career five years ago at the now-defunct Hollywood Park, winning the $100,000 Juvenile Championship race, has been in and out of the lives of ASD horseplayers the last few years.

In 2016, he finished second at ASD in two stakes races and two optional claimers for Brown and Nick’s Inn owner John Ganas. Then, in the fall of that year, Robertino Diodoro claimed him for $12,500 from Ganas at Turf Paradise, picked up a couple of quick wins and cheques for $22,000 U.S. and ultimately dropped him in value at the end of last year, leading to Brown’s claiming him for $5,000.

Good move. ‘Luck rewarded his former trainer with a victory in a $10,000 claimer at Turf Paradise before returning to the Downs where he won Saturday’s thriller. Is this a good omen for both the horse and his trainer?

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Manitoba breeder named "Canadian Breeder of the Year". Who is it?
  • Bald Guy replaces Unhappy Wives. What?
  • What does an online poll say about Justify winning the Triple Crown?
  • Rib-liciousness returns to Wednesdays. No drooling.
  • Why Irad deserves our praise for Preakness ride even though trainer wasn't happy

FIVE ENTRANTS NAIL FIRST AND WORST on the Preakness Stakes (Justify first, Quip “worst”). In a draw, Damian D'Souza won the $100 in wagering vouchers. Congrats, though, to the others who also got it right: Raymond Senko, Kevin Meadows, Jim Cretney and Bobby Ritchot.

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.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS AFTER LIVE RACING: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge following 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.

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker in the trackview gallery on the third level. Registration from 7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Game starts at 8:00 p.m. No late registration. The Royal Flush progressive jackpot for Friday, May 25, is $6,780.

New zesty drinks to try on the main level

BY POPULAR DEMAND: RIB-LICIOUS WEDNESDAYS RETURN! When Wednesday live racing returns next week, rib-licious Wednesday will once again be the theme. Dig into a half-rack of fall-off-the-bone barbeque pork ribs with coleslaw and fries for just $10. The special starts at 5 p.m. in the Clubhouse. Dine-in only.

likes to surprise and delight. Which is why you might do a double-take when you see the beverage sign on the main level during live racing. New drink sensations include strawberry basil and cucumber mint. Have you tried them? Strawberry basil apparently is a big hit. The less adventurous might prefer zesty lemonade or sweet tea. Oh yes, and a big shout-out to the concession crew for seasoning the popcorn just right!

next Wednesay's race night buffet to mark the return of Wednesday racing.
Ph 204-885-3330 ext. 0. Promo code: Wednesday


K-5 Stables--"Canadian Breeder of the Year"

Stable manager and Kives' wife to be honoured at Lexington awards banquet

K-5 Stables' trophy room

Chalk up another success story for Manitoba breeding. Those who carried on owner/breeder Phil Kives’ breeding program after he died two years ago will be honoured at a U.S. awards banquet in September for “Canadian Breeder of the Year.”

Phil’s wife, Ellie, and K-5 Stables manager Leona Stahl received the pleasant news last week. The honour comes from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association who will make a presentation at its 33rd awards banquet in Lexington, Ky.

Although the award refers to 2017, Stahl told The Insider she believes it is based on Kives’ breeding program in general, something she was closely involved with. “ I enjoyed many hours with Phil discussing which stallions we would breed to,” Stahl said. “A lot of studying stallion pedigrees for hours.” And it obviously paid off:
  • Leona Stahl and Ellie Kives
    To be honoured in Lexington

    Before he died, Phil set into motion a mating that resulted in the highest price ever paid for a Manitoba-bred horse--$310,000 U.S.--at an auction last year in England. It was for a filly, Daddy’s Daughter who had resulted from a mating between K-5’s Golden Stripe and Scat Daddy (who also fathered Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Justify). Stahl believes the filly’s buyer plans to use her for a brood mare and not for racing especially since Scat Daddy has died.
  • Kives’ mare, Golden Works, produced a colt, Goldencents, who went on to win two Breeders’ Cup Miles in a row.
  • Goldencents subsequently was mated to Golden Stripe to produce a colt, Gold Record, who is currently being trained by Don Schnell for his first lifetime start this spring or summer. That will certainly be a debut to anticipate excitedly!


Ralph Gelardi
Guess his stable name
HE NAMED HIS STABLE WHAT? The Bald Guy Stable. Which used to be—wait for it--the Wives Aren’t Happy Stable. A sense of humour is decidedly something that isn’t lacking in a semi-bald Ralph “I’ve always liked horses” Gelardi who, when he isn’t operating a jobs placement business or playing hockey in an old-timers league, is following the fortunes of This Cat’s Awesome, Joint Tenant, Son of Eleanor, The Spinmeister and Alpine Luck all under the tutelage of trainer Jared Brown. His season is off to a good start with a win by Joint Tenant and, especially, Alpine Luck who won the Intercontinent Stakes Saturday, worth $11,873 in purse money. “We needed that,” Ralph told The Insider. But did the victory make his wife less unhappy?


Triple Crown? "No," say majority of online voters

The distance of the Belmont Stakes--1 1/2 miles--causes concern

By 55 per cent to 45 per cent, voters in a Ray Paulick online poll have voted that Justify will NOT win the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes two weeks from this Saturday. The Belmont is a grueling 1 ½-miles and that, say players, is the rub.

If the colt does win the Belmont, he will be elevated into the stratosphere in a class all of his own since he will have done it without having raced as a 2-year-old. No other Triple Crown winners have done that and the prospect of that happening again anytime soon is very remote.

Trainer Bob Baffert will also become only the second trainer to condition two Triple Crown winners. This would tie him with the legendary "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons (1930s).

For the few of you who haven’t memorized the 12 Triple Crown winners through the years, here’s a refresher:

Sir Barton
(1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), CountFleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015).


HOTTIES OF THE WEEK (Fri, Sat, Mon):  
Hottest jockeys:
Adolfo Morales (5 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Jerry Gourneau (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Albert Flasher  $75.10 (race 6 Friday) 
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $3,500 (race 7 Saturday)
Stakes champion(s): Alpine Luck (Intercontinent)
Most impressive win: Pete Marwick (race 4 Friday) Watch that race here.

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Flashinthepants and Freshieintheforest. What? Yup, a turf sprint at Woodbine last Friday had those two horses competing in an 11-horse field but, unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear a duel of those two down the stretch but can imagine what fun that would have been had it worked out that way. For the record, Flashinthepants finished third while Freshietheforest was tenth. Take that, Frosh!

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to K-5 Stables manager Leona Stahl and Ellie Kives for carrying on the breeding tradition of the late Phil Kives and being honoured by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in Lexington after, ironically, Kives failed IN CANADA to be inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame. But that’s the fate of Canadian achievers in general, isn’t it? They have to receive recognition in the U.S. before getting the respect they deserve at home.

for challenging Justify every step of the Preakness Stakes with Good Magic, producing an exciting race for race fans but likely eliciting a tongue-lashing from trainer Chad Brown. “ I'm pretty disappointed,” Brown was quoted as saying after the race. “I know this horse very well and he's not a horse to be on the lead. No way.” Strange that he didn’t know what Ortiz had in mind. Ortiz had made no secret of what he had intended to do, saying so in the Daily Racing Form. It likely cost Good Magic second-place, though (he finished fourth). He simply could have chased Justify around the track as he did in the Kentucky Derby. Borrrrring!

Adolfo Morales
First hat trick of the season
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to ASD jockey Adolfo Morales for logging the first hat trick of the meet Saturday when he rode three horses to victory: Estherfourfourteen in race 3 ($3.60), Alpine Luck in the race 4 Intercontinent Stakes ($10.80) and Joint Tenant in race 7 ($26.70). Morales has typically been a high-percentage win jockey and this just might be the year he also earns the leading jockey title.


ESCAPE CLAUSE FINISHES SECOND AT CANTERBURY: Unable to find enough local horses to take her on, Horse of the Year Escape Clause shipped down to Canterbury Park near Minneapolis on Saturday for her second race of the year there. Racing in a 6 1/2f optional claimer, the 4-year-old filly finished second by ¾ of a length at 9-2 in a field of six and won purse money of $6,600 U.S.

If you picked a horse who had run this year to win a race at the Downs in the first four days of live racing, you were correct 75 per cent of the time. The conditioning edge of horses who had already raced this year was the most significant handicapping angle of the week.

No Funny Duck at Pimlico despite slop
“BIG” GROUP LUCKY TO GET HALF ITS INVESTMENT BACK: Considering the fact that favourites dominated the Pimlico card on Preakness Day last week, Saturday’s “I won big” betting group should consider itself lucky to get half their investment back. The horses in the five legs of the pick-5 paid $9.40, $7.80, $4, $3.20 and $2.80. Unlike the Kentucky Derby pick-5, no Funny Duck fluttered in to produce a mega payoff – even though the rain-drenched track suited ducks more than horses. The group will return to Woodbine this Saturday, races 2 to 7, at 10:30 a.m. Take a peak at Churchill, too, to see whether the 20-cent pick-6 is a play with the carryover almost $500,000.

The stage seems set for a Triple Crown of Sports Upsets. First the #1 team in college basketball is beaten by #16. Then Justify smashes a 136-year-old curse by winning the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2. And now does the Las Vegas Golden Knights become the first first-year NHL expansion team to win the Stanley Cup? Seems like a lock.

HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: Barn fire was part of trainer's legacy

Did you know . . . that one of our leading trainers was front and centre at old Polo Park race track on the night of August 30, 1946 – when fire destroyed a barn threatening the lives of 35 thoroughbreds?  Any ideas?  In this week’s blog Bob tells the story of this individual who was a part of racing in seven different decades. Read about him here.


  • Great racing on U.S. holiday Monday
    Tomorrow: Live racing continues 7:15. Jackpot Hi-5 carryover: $2,287.
  • Saturday, May 26: Live racing at 7:15.
  • Monday, May 28: Memorial Day in the U.S. Top racing.
  • Wednesday, May 30: Insider publication day. First Wednesday of live racing. Wed-Fri-Sat 7:15 schedule kicks in.
  • Friday, June 1: Live racing 7:15. Balooga Bull Stakes.
  • Saturday, June 2: Live racing 7:15. Miss Missile Stakes, Frank Arnason Sire Stakes.
  • Wednesday, June 6: Live racing 7:15.
  • Friday, June 8: Live racing 7:15. La Verendrye Stakes.
  • Saturday, June 9: Live racing 7:15. Free Press Stakes, Hazel Wright Sire Stakes.
  • Sunday, June 10: Manitoba Night Market and Festival with food trucks, artisans, beer garden, micro-brewery, entertainment, kids’ fun and fireworks. 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission $5 (kids 5 & under free).

NEXT INSIDER: Wednesday, May 30, since live racing will be held that night. The Insider will continue to be published every Wednesday when there is live racing.

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