Thursday, May 25, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 19 (Issue #587)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Club members off to a quick start

No drama (thank goodness)

Racing club horse owners win at first try

Thirty-five race fans who bought 41 shares at $500 apiece in the 2017 edition of the Assiniboia Racing Club didn’t have to wait long to be celebrating in the Winner’s Circle.

On Saturday, just three days into the 50-day meet, their This Cat’s Awesome romped to a six-length victory in a $7,500 claimer, netting a $6,000 share of the purse which not only covered the purchase price for the horse (claimed for $3,500 U.S. at Turf Paradise) but covering other bills as well.

The Club’s leader, John Field, a director in the HBPA, was understandably beaming which was quite a difference from last year when the Club endured four months of drama--including having to retire their first purchase-- before their new acquisition won a race just before the meet ended.

Now Club members can entertain happy thoughts about racing their horse at a higher level and maybe even looking at making another purchase? And keeping their fingers crossed for four months—because an investment in a horse is like buying shares in the futures market. You never know what the next day may bring.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • "Drinks for all!" says player after big win
  • Lesson from the Preakness Stakes: Ignore stats at your peril
  • What's behind the 1965 $20 ticket on the program cover? You may be surprised.
  • Are you a good shopper? Betting a horse has similar elements, Marshall explains.
  • Kudos to ASD players! They were better at 20 tracks last month!

BETTING SPREE: WHERE A MINUTE FEELS LIKE FOREVER. For an eye-opener, read out $2 bets as quickly as you can steadily for a minute. You’ll find that a minute does not go by that quickly and you’ll see why players emerge almost breathless, but entertained, by the 60-second betting spree contest. Lucien Collet has been the biggest winner this month with $41.40 in winnings. The biggest winners from each month also win a race night buffet for two and $60 in wagering vouchers – and get invited back to the finale on Sunday, Sept. 10 where an extra $600 will be given away.

Larry Liebrecht
Mr. First & Worst

ELECTRICIAN WIRES PREAKNESS FIRST/WORST CONTEST; ONE MORE LEFT: Congrats to electrician Larry Liebrecht for wiring (pun intended) Saturday’s First & Worst contest on the Preakness Stakes. He was the only one to predict the first and last place finishers (#2 and #7) which he did after listening to a podcast on the race so he received $100 in wagering vouchers. There will be a final First & Worst test on the Belmont Stakes two weeks from this Saturday.

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.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? NHL playoffs

AFTER LIVE RACING: Free VLT tournaments after live. 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. Plus Crazy Hour. Beer, shots and wine only $2.95 plus half-price appetizers (nachos, chicken fingers, chicken wings and gyoza.)

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker. Registration 10 p.m. Game starts at 10:30 p.m. New Royal Flush progressive jackpot is at $725! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for exciting new features!

DO YOU HAVE YOUR RCMP MUSICAL RIDE/RAY ST. GERMAIN TICKETS on Sunday, June 11, a non-race day? Events include:

  • Family fun, pony rides, petting farm, bouncy gym (12 p.m. - 4 p.m.)
  • RCMP Musical Ride and meet and greet (starts at 1 p.m.)
  • Ray St. Germain concert (following the musical ride)
  • Rush general admission tickets $14.95 (rain or shine)
  • Reserved box seats (includes admission & four seats $80.00
  • Terrace Dining Room brunch (includes general admission) $39.95
  • For information or to buy tickets go to or call Samantha at 204-885-3330 (ext 0)

BUFF IS BACK!   Buff, named after you know who, makes his 3-year-old debut tomorrow in the fifth race with apprentice jockey Jennifer Fielding back in the saddle after winning her very first lifetime race on Buff last September. That was Buff's maiden victory in his second try. The morning line on Buff is a healthy 12-1. (For the uninitiated, Buff is the popular defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien, who plays for the Winnipeg Jets hockey team.)



Look at you!

ASD players were better bettors at 20 tracks last month

Congrats to ASD players for being such good bettors in April--especially at Belmont, Aqueduct and Tampa.

In fact, you were better bettors at 20 tracks last month. Others high on the list: Evangeline, Laurel, Prairie Meadows, Lone Star and Remington. On the harness side, Saratoga was way up there. Harrington and Rosecroft were next.

And the tracks you were least successful playing? Surprisingly, Turf Paradise and Indiana proved to be the most challenging.

Being a better bettor, of course, makes you a good citizen because it means other tracks are having to send cheques to the Downs to cover your winnings – and that’s an economy booster.



This lass has class -- and sass

Gold N Sochi is a "fire-breathing dragon:" trainer

What is sassy Gold N Sochi saying by raising a foreleg? (That's trainer Heather Wallerstedt on her flank)

Trainer Heather Wallerstedt has her hands full with Gold N Sochi, the 4-year-old Manitoba-bred filly who was named for the Jennifer Jones curling team that won a gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

In fact, Wallerstedt calls the filly “the red dragon. And when she’s being galloped, she’s the fire-breathing dragon. If she were a person, she’d be a tomboy.”

But no one can argue with the filly’s talent. In six lifetime starts she hasn’t finished worse than second. In her 2017 debut in a $10,000 optional claimer on Monday she beat horses bred in Kentucky, California and New York, all of whom had the advantage of having raced this year. She paid $12.10 to win.

In the Winner’s Circle, though, the daughter of Stephen Got Even showed a bit of her sassy, unruly side when she raised a foreleg and kept it up while her picture was being taken.

“She’s tough,”
Wallerstedt said. But if that toughness leads to her stretching out to a mile and winning her trainer’s ultimate goal—the $25,000 Distaff for Manitoba-breds in August—no one will be complaining.

*        *       *

DANELSON WATCH: ASD’s winningest trainer Gary Danelson--whose mission it is to win 1,200 races by his 80th birthday on Aug. 25--won another race this past week—Tadaa in race 2 Saturday—to give him 1,190 wins. He needs 10 more to reach his objective.

SEASON 60 TRIVIA TEASER: On the ASD program cover is a photo of a $20 wager made on #4 in race 2 on Aug. 2, 1965. How much would an equivalent wager be in today’s dollars? (a) $65 (b) $101 (c) $154.(d) $199. See answer at bottom of column. Also see the fascinating background to that ticket.

Renaldo Cumberbatch
Bags hat trick on Monday

Hottest jockey(s): Renaldo Cumberbatch (5 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Tom Gardipy Jr. & Shelley Brown (2 wins)
Biggest longshot: Golds Venice $38.10 (race 7 Friday)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,775 (race 5 Monday)
Stakes champion(s): Plentiful
(Northern Spike Stakes for 3-year-olds), Angel Falls (Remiewaterbluz Stakes for fillies and mares)


Wednesday's Major Enterprises Stakes to honour popular horse

Clayton Gray and wife Margaret share a laugh with Christopher Husbands who won Monday's Remiewaterbluz Stakes, a race that honoured another Gray trainee

THE ROAD TO THE GOLD CUP begins next Wednesday with a stakes race that honours one of the most popular horses ever to race at the Downs—Major Enterprise. Was there a stakes he DIDN’T win? Trained by ASD great, Clayton Gray and former trainer and now MHRC Steward Bill Billous, the Major began his career in 1978, winning five of seven races as a 2-year-old including the Osiris Stakes. And over the next seven years the handsome chestnut won the R.J. Speers and the River Park Handicap twice, the Gold Cup, Winnipeg Free Press, Whittier Park Handicap, Red River Stakes, Jet Stream Handicap and the Birds Hill Handicap.

His tilts against Intercontinent were classics. When he didn’t win, he was second: the Minnesota Derby, Norway House Handicap, Maple Leaf Handicap, Polo Park Handicap, Canada Day Stakes and the Speedball Stakes. Overall, he won 25 races from 72 career starts at ASD (35 per cent) and finished in the top three an astonishing 74 per cent of the time in a nine-year career.



Lesson from the Preakness

Ignore a stat at your peril

Always Dreaming finishes eighth
Trainer stat foreshadowed result

We were warned again and again last week that trainer Todd Pletcher is not good at bringing back his class horses on just two weeks rest. But most of us ignored that stat with Always Dreaming, concluding that the colt seemed to have come back no worse for wear after dominating the Kentucky Derby and therefore should air in the Preakness.

Wrong. Stats are stats are stats. Just like rules you’ve read about consistently in this column. The Pletcher stat made Always Dreaming vulnerable. So we shouldn’t be overly surprised that he faded to eighth after going head to head with Classic Empire in the early going.

How many times during “I won big” workshops did I hear “but the rule won’t apply in this race” and the rule asserts itself. Same as the Pletcher thing in the Preakness. Funny how that works.


PLAYER BUYS DRINKS FOR ALL AFTER BIG WIN: A player’s good fortune playing Mohawk races Monday night turned into a good time for everyone in the ASD race book as the player declared “drinks for all – and food, too” after he won $22,595 for 20-cents on the pick-5 on the first five races. His $20 ticket keyed horses in the first three legs wheeled to all horses in the last two legs. His huge price was set up by the longest shot on the board, 103-1 Dubious Claim, winning the last leg, a maiden race, in an exciting stretch finish where the other horses looked like they were standing still. WATCH THAT RACE HERE. These were the five legs:

That bet would be $154 today

Race 1 -- #9 Musical Spell $7.10
Race 2 -- #5 Bella Palazzo $11.20
Race 3 -- #6 Rebellious $5.60
Race 4 -- #5 Rockin Ronnie $8.80
Race 5 -- #1 Dubious Claim $208.50

SOBERING THOUGHT: Examining the background of the1965 $20 win ticket on the cover of the Downs racing program has provided an interesting insight. Let’s compare that race more than 50 years ago with a race run on Monday:

  • Race 3, Aug. 2, 1965: Total bet on that race: $21,931. Purse: $1,100.
  • Race 1, May 22, 2017. Total bet on that race: $23,566. Purse $7,500.

What do those numbers show? While the amount wagered is roughly the same, the purse today is seven times what it was back then, reflecting the increases in cost of living and inflation. To keep up, players should be making $15 wagers instead of $2 wagers.

DAY TWO; TWO DQ'S: It didn’t take long for ASD’s stewards to bring down the hammer. Two horses were disqualified on Day 2 Friday:

  • In race 3, Rich Girl (5-1) with Stanley Chadee Jr. riding was disqualified from third and placed sixth for drifting into Fiasco (32-1) who was mounting a rally with Prayven Badrie aboard.
  • Then in race 5, it was Queen vs Queen. Corinthian Queen (14-1) ridden by Chavon Belle was set down from third to fourth after it was determined he had shut off Queen Magica (8-1) twice as Chavion Chow was making a stretch move. Magica was elevated from fourth to third.

DREAM MATCHES REALITY FOR "I WON BIG" GROUP: Can I say it? In a dream, I foresaw #9, Lookin at Lee finishing fourth or fifth in the Preakness Super Hi 5 but that one position would kill “I won big” group tickets. Unfortunately, the dream came true. Lookin At Lee did finish fourth and the group’s ticket was dead-on (2-5-4-9-6) except for #8 in the third position (2-5-8-9-6). That winning ticket paid $253,000. So close. That marked the end of formal workshops during the live race season except there’s interest in having one more--on Belmont Stakes Day. So a workshop will be held that day at 9:30 a.m. dedicated to the Belmont and the pick-4 that includes the Belmont. That’s two weeks from this Saturday – one last chance to get it right and hopefully, big.

OOPS! WRONG BREEDER: Last week’s Insider had the breeder of Paint My Ride wrong. The colt was bred by Colin Lounsbury of Brandon who happens to be the cousin of Downs starter and assistant director of racing Derek Corbel.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

What does it mean to find value in a bet?

A. Betting on horses has changed over the years and it’s no longer just about picking the winner and betting it no matter the odds. When you go shopping, you demand value; do the same for your bets. Generally speaking, “finding value” refers to betting on a horse that is paying more than he should be based on your estimation of his chance of winning the race. Sometimes you can find value in a favourite that is paying 8/5 if you believe the horse’s fair odds should be more like even money. Often, you’ll find value in betting horses that are going off at much longer odds than you think they should. For example, a 3-1 third choice morning line that is paying 6-1 because the two race favourites are being over bet provides excellent betting value.

This type of scenario plays out at every track and on every race card so be mindful of the bets you’re making and demand value in your plays! Happy “shopping!”

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: When "Betting a Gray" yielded lots of winners

If you had “Bet a Gray” throughout the 1970s, you would have had lots of winners. What? Bob has the details here.

ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER: (c) $20 in 1965 is equivalent to $154 today. So you’d have to bet about $15 today just to match a $2 wager made in 1965. I’m sure you’re keeping up.

Intrepid historian Bob Gates reports that the $20 was wagered on a horse by the name of Dorothy Byrle who finished third at odds of 6-1. She was ridden by John Livingstone AND OWNED BY MURRAY DUNCAN (yes, the same Duncan who won the Northern Spike Stakes Friday with Plentiful). Can’t Get No Satisfaction was playing on the radio. You’re welcome!

Go, Ottawa!
Don't forget Monday is Memorial Day in the U.S.; great racing!


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