Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vol. 11 No. 18 (Issue #537)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

If there appears to be too much space between lines or the pictures are askew, click here for an online version. Some email systems don’t display items as intended.

Should it be our duty?

Introducing "newbies" to the races is made easier with fan-ed


Marshall Posner, left teaches Richard and Fern Nosaty and Dylan Karpiak, right, at the Fan Education Kiosk

Should racing veterans feel duty-bound to introduce newbies to the races? No, of course not. “Duty” is too strong a word. But, then again, if each of us introduced one new person—just one—each year to racing, how many more fans would the sport have?

Gets you thinking, doesn’t it? So how about this: Bring out a newbie and have him or her go to the Fan Education Kiosk on the main level to pick up the basics. It opens an hour before the first live race and continues until race 4. And it takes pressure off you to be the diligent teacher.

Two seminars are coming up, too. Sign up at the kiosk:

Beginners: Saturday, May 28

Advanced: Saturday, June 4

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who wants to be a millionaire? It’s possible at Golden Gate
  • Bonus cash continues into June!
  • Does Doug O’Neill owe Nyquist fans an apology?
  • Some claim! $4,000 claimer wins $18,000 stakes at ASD Monday
  • Teen trainer logs another milestone: wins stakes before his 19th
  • Great racing Monday: it's a U.S. holiday
  • This Buff is behind bars - and getting ready to spring into action

FANS SEE THE VALUE OF PARLAYING: The Place in the Sun contest (where entrants play a $5 three-race place parlay) is having a secondary effect: Fans are seeing the value of playing parlays. In just three wagers, they see a minimal wager turn into real money, regardless whether the parlay is the highest of the day. Here’s a reminder of the prizes available:

(a) Daily highest parlay: $80 in prizes. ($20 in wagering vouchers and three months of the Winnipeg Sun)

(b) Monthly highest parlay: More than $300 in prizes. (Race night buffet for two and one year of the Winnipeg Sun)

(c) Season high: A trip for two to Mexico in January courtesy of Charleswood Travel and WestJet Vacations plus $500 in spending money.

Enter every day! And why not play a four- or five-race parlay on your own?


Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen


Want the highlights for the next 10 days? Go here.
Want to know what tracks are racing in May? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers at all tracks? See them here.
Want to know live race dates? Click here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jays - Bombers

Next live race days:
Friday and Saturday—parade to post at 7:15.
Wednesday - parade to post at 7:15 p.m.

After every live race card: Crazy Hour and free VLT tournaments. Beer, wine, shots $2.95 and half-price appetizers

MONDAY IS A U.S. HOLIDAY (Memorial Day): Which means great racing action starting with Churchill at 11:45 a.m., then continuing with all the “A” tracks: Monmouth, Gulfstream, Pimlico, Belmont, Santa Anita as well as other track favourites. Evening racing starts with Mountaineer at 6 p.m. and includes Mohawk harness at 6:30 p.m.


Does O’Neill owe Nyquist fans an apology?

Said he told jockey to gun to the lead


Doug O'Neill with Nyquist
"My strategy backfired"

If trainer Doug O’Neill’s comments about the Preakness Stakes are to be taken at face value (and why shouldn’t they?), then he owes Nyquist fans an apology.

He said he told jockey Mario Gutierrez to get the lead in the second leg of the Triple Crown, That meant setting the quickest quarter-mile in the history of the Preakness. Seasoned horseplayers were aghast at what was unfolding in the early stages of that race. They knew the unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner was setting himself up for a fall.

“It was me and it backfired,” O’Neill has been quoted as saying.

How many of you think that a different strategy—i.e. letting the front-runners do their thing while Nyquist tucked behind them—would have led to another Nyquist victory? I’m certainly one of them. Nyquist still ran a monster race to hang in for third (and almost second).

So, instead of dreaming about the second Triple Crown in a row (like 1977-78), we can only muse about what might have been had O’Neill not called for a pedal to the metal. Boo!

10-year-old still impresses

“Runs like a 2-year-old,” player says

Ben's Cat loves to win

Ben’s Cat likely means little to you. But after the 10-year-old gelding’ won Friday’s Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico—making it two wins for two starts in 2016--maybe you should add him to your memory bank.

“With 50 yards to go, you think he can’t possibly win,” said a huge fan of the horse, handicapping contest specialist Roger Jones, “but then he mows ‘em down. He runs like a 2-year-old.”

Agreed. It was a very impressive burst of energy from the senior citizen to win the same stakes four years in a row. His lifetime record is a spectacular 32 wins from 55 starts, most of which have been stakes. He has earned $2.6 million.


Hottest jock: Chris Husbands (6 wins)
Hottest trainer: Jared Brown (5 wins)
Hottest horses:
--About a Girl (winner of the Miss Royal Gold for 3-year-old fillies)
--Woodlandsway (winner of the Prairie Star for older fillies and mares)
Biggest longshot: Indian Ancestry (7th Sat) $32.60
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,152 (Monday 8th)

RACE OF THE WEEK: Click here for video.


About a Girl wins for Cole Bennett

ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR BIRTHDAY BOY: A year ago, Cole Bennett won his very first race as a trainer five days after his 18th birthday. Closing in on his 19th birthday Monday, he pre-celebrated with his first STAKES victory as a trainer. His About a Girl won the $18,000 Miss Royal Gold for 3-year-old fillies last Saturday, a horse he boldly predicts will win the $50,000 Manitoba Oaks on Derby day. (Cole had named one-time ASD jock Kirk Johnson to ride her but Johnson was busy at Woodbine, Cole said. Catch rider Kayla Pizarro did just fine, beating 1/2 favourite Sun Tsuzy to pay $6.40.)

Lisa Smith leads stake-winning Woodlandsway with Jared Brown

“TRAMPLED” JOCKEY BOUNCES BACK: It didn’t look good. In Saturday’s last live race, Cat Sister with apprentice Jarell Beckles in the saddle drifted out in the turn, causing the horse in that lane, Victory Song, to clip heels, sending jockey Corey Jordan tumbling to the track where he seemed to be run over. Fans that night were abuzz with concern and rumours of serious injuries. Not to worry. Jordan was back riding on Monday. Beckles’ horse was disqualified from fifth and placed last for interference.

$4,000 CLAIMER WINS STAKES: What a claim! Jared Brown’s $4,000 claim of Woodlandsway at Turf Paradise last November certainly looked like a bargain on holiday Monday as the 6-year-old mare posted a wire-to-wire victory in the $18,000 Prairie Star Stakes under Adolfo Morales at 9/1. Next stop? “I’ll enter her in the La Verendrye and see what happens,” Brown said after the win. (The La Verendrye on June 11 is the next stakes race on the path to the $25,000 Manitoba Matron in September.) Brown and owners Ross and Val Brown will be hoping for another speed-biased track that day.

Buff readies to roll (Derek Corbel photo)

BUFF READIES TO SPRING FROM “PENALTY BOX:” When ASD’s assistant director of racing, Derek Corbel, snapped a picture of 2-year-old Buff being schooled in the starting gate, he imagined the gate as a “penalty box” from which Buff will emerge to power around the track in his debut race soon. Fans of the hockey-playing Buff are likely to be amused by the hockey reference and the colt is likely to attract betting action simply because of his name. The question then becomes: Will he live up to it?

RACING CLUB DEALS WITH DISAPPOINTMENT: It is the nature of horse ownership that you hope for the best but are prepared for what happened to the newly-formed Assiniboia Racing Club last week. The first horse purchased by the 39 owners for $5,000 U.S. had to be retired from racing after two stress fractures were found after a slow workout. To his credit, HBPA director John Field, who manages the club, telephoned every club member to deliver the news—to which he said they responded with understanding. “They were mostly concerned about the horse.” But all is not lost. He said the club still has $8,500 to claim a horse and pay for training bills. The new owners had bought shares for $500 each.

Monday's crowd watches stretch drive

EVERYTHING IS LOOKING UP AT THE DOWNS: Big crowds and sizable wagering increases appear to be the name of the game at the Downs this year. Wagering is up both on track and from simulcast partners. Now all eyes are on New York. That city’s 215 off-track betting parlours will start receiving Downs races next Wednesday, June 1. How much will they wager? By the way, tomorrow’s Jackpot Hi 5 pool at the Downs starts with a carryover of almost $30,000.

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I turn on the Bet Confirmation screen?

A. Several people have recently told me that they’ve accidentally turned off the BET CONFIRMATION screen by clicking the checkbox on the Review Bet screen (view image here). This is the reminder screen when you place a bet to review your bet and then CONFIRM the bet before it is placed. It’s a good idea to always ensure that this extra step is in place because without it, once you click PLACE BET there is no opportunity to review it. If you’ve removed this feature and want to put it back, just click on the cameo icon in the top right corner of the screen and select SITE PREFERENCES.

This will bring up a new page that offers you the ability to turn the BET CONFIRMATION screen back on. Just click on the green button and turn it to the ON position and click SAVE CHANGES (view image here). Now the next time you place a bet, the confirm bet screen will be back in place.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


What is a jockey’s favourite day of the week? How about Wednesday? That day became memorable for five jockeys through the years at the Downs. Why? Bob tells us in: “Oh, what a night!” here.


Next Insider is Wednesday because it's the first day of Wednesday live racing. Be ready for Magic.


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