Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Vol. 11 No. 19 (Issue #538)

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.

NOT another day at the office

When someone who works at the Downs opened his office door last Saturday, this is what he found. Whose office is this and what was going on? See THE WEEK THAT WAS.


  1. $109,000 carryover in the Jackpot Hi 5. Will your 20-cent ticket take it down?
  2. PC’s Bluff Stakes (on the path to the Gold Cup): After his tightener, will Sprinter of the Year Zdeno put daylight between him and Horse of the Year Magic D’ Oro? The odds will be good.
  3. Manitoba Dancer Stakes (on the path to the Manitoba Derby): Will Mumbles feel more heat from two horses he beat last time--Winnipeg Futurity winner Heber and California claimer Media Melee

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Take that bro'! Rob's sis wins in her debut as a trainer
  • Bonus bucks keep right on rolling
  • Mandatory payout of G'Gate millions on June 12; special "I won big" session
  • Isle of Man players inflate ASD's Jackpot Hi 5. Exactly where is it?
  • Richest race in the world is a done deal at Gulfstream

VETERAN PLAYER ALMOST UNSEATS MAY'S "PLACE IN THE SUN" WINNER: Going into the third leg of his $5 “Place in the Sun” place parlay last Friday, a veteran player who preferred to remain anonymous (but he showed me his ticket) parlayed his $74 ticket to the race favourite, #2. He stood to increase his parlay to a whopping $140. But the fav fizzled, leaving Katie McKenzie as the top parlayer of the month with $68.25. She wins a race night buffet for two and a year’s subscription to the Winnipeg Sun, a prize package worth more than $300.

Will YOU be the top June player and will you take over the lead to win the $4,000 trip to Mexico in January courtesy of Charleswood Travel and WestJet Vacations?


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 June? 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:
Tonight, Friday and Saturday—parade to post at 7:15.

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

SPECIAL “I WON BIG” SESSION ON SUNDAY JUNE 12: If no one wins Golden Gate’s “Golden 6” jackpot before June 12, there will be a special meeting of the “I won big” group that Sunday morning in a bid to share in a pool that is likely to be many millions of dollars. A suggestion is to play a pick-4 ticket at Woodbine as well. The get-together on the plaza will be the usual 10:30 a.m. with your $20 shares being topped up with a generous $5 per share from the Downs. Complementary coffee and pastries served. Pass it on.


"Can't take out the garbage" but . . .

. . . Rob's sis DOES win her first race as a trainer

Take that, bro’!

Katie MacLennan with Rincon

Katie MacLennan, the 21-year-old sister of ASD paddock host Rob MacLennan made her first start as a trainer last Friday a winning one – despite her brother’s dismissive remarks on a BetAmerica podcast: “She can’t clean her room, she can’t take out the garbage so I don’t expect her to win a race,” she quoted her 23-year-old brother as telling podcast viewers.

Ohhh, fighting words. But she did—at odds of 9/1. So there! Don’t you love sibling teasing? All in good fun, I would expect. Rob had picked her horse, Rincon, to finish third in the sixth race, a $5,000 claimer at 5 ½ furlongs.

In an interview with The Insider, Katie said it was nerve-wracking enough just getting the 3-year-old gelding saddled and out of the paddock “but then to win the race was surreal. We were screaming and jumping around,”

She had been working as a groom since she was 18, she said, first for Rob Atras, then Ardell Sayler, then Heather Wallerstedt and this year for Elton Dickey and bought the horse (one-third of it is hers) in a good deal at Turf Paradise where he had been racing through the winter. (The other thirds are owned by Dickey’s dad and accountant William Derksen, she said).

She figured the 3-year-old had been overworked since starting his racing career in California last July (14 starts without a win in 10 months of racing) so her strategy has been to let him “hang out and relax.” And that appears to have worked. Jockey Skye Chernetz rode him gate to wire and he was never threatened.

Katie said she wants to make a career in the horse business but, as a back-up plan, she said she is working toward a degree in business at the University of Manitoba (where she’s an honours student) and plans to study agriculture and animal science after that.

But that’s in the fall and winter. In the meantime, have her horsey smarts made a believer out of brother Rob? Somehow, I wouldn't count on it.


(Four stakes down, 31 to go. Download “path” here for ready reference)

Tonight’s two stakes races honour two racing greats:

P.C.'s Bluff wins 1994 Manitoba Derby
(Photo courtesy of Bob Gates. Winner's Circle)

THE P.C.’S BLUFF: This $18,000 stakes on the path to the Gold Cup honours P.C.’s Bluff whose “incredible career,” says HBPA vice-president Wayne King, included the Osiris Plate at 2, the Manitoba Derby at 3 (1994), the Free Press three times and numerous other stakes, earning $180,000 in 29 lifetime starts for owner Stan Ryan and trainer Tom Dodds.

TONIGHT’S RACE FAVOURITE: Magic D’ Oro (even money)

THE MANITOBA DANCER: This $18,000 stakes on the path to the Manitoba Derby honours one-time great Manitoba Dancer. Owned by Bison Stable, trained by Barry Hodgson and ridden by Jerry Pruitt, the colt won five stakes races as a 3-year-old in 1995 but whose “best race,” says King, “might have been his second-place finish in the Manitoba Derby.” He finished his career with 18 top-two finishes and earned more than $125,000.



Hottest jock: Adolf Morales (3 wins)
Hottest trainer: Jared Brown, Jerry Gourneau (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Cowboy Curlin (5th Sat) $29.80
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,000 (Friday 6th)

RACE OF THE WEEK: Click here for video.


Isle of Man is dead centre in this map

JACKPOT HITS $109,000; THANK YOU, ISLE OF MAN!  Shortly before the horses loaded into the starting gate for Friday’s last race at the Downs, more than $200,000 suddenly appeared in the Jackpot Hi 5 pool. What? It seems European players betting through the Isle of Man hub, an island in the North Sea equidistant from England, Wales and Ireland (see map), were looking for race-betting action in the wee hours of the morning and ASD’s race was it. Half of the wagers were paid out as consolation payoffs and the other half was added to the jackpot which tonight is almost $109,000. The jackpot can only be won when there is only one ticket with the top five finishers in the correct order.

This is the biggest ever pool since the Downs started offering the wager last year. Isle of Man hub bettors also helped inflate a pool last year that ended up paying about $65,000 to a Manitoba HPI bettor, whose identity was never discovered. (Was it you? Isn’t it about time to come out of the shadows and declare your great handicapping smarts?)

RICHEST RACE IN THE WORLD IS A DONE DEAL: That didn’t take long! Frank Stronach’s bid to run the richest race in the world next January, the $12 million Pegasus Cup, is already a done deal, can you believe. Twelve entrants have ponied up $1 million each for a place in the starting gate—without even knowing which horses will be in those gates. The wily Canadian billionaire obviously knew what he was doing when he announced this race. Not to be undone, will Dubai’s leaders now raise the value of the trifling $10 million World Cup that runs at the end of March?

Manley Chan wades through balloons

HAPPY 50th, MANLEY! NOW CLEAN UP THE MESS! When he approached his office door last Saturday and saw all the “50” signs, his picture and a birthday balloon plastered to it, “I knew something was up,” ASD’s director of food and beverage services Manley Chan said. When he cautiously opened the door, out swept a wave of balloons--all in celebration of his 50th birthday.

Chef Michael , who hatched the idea with assistant food and beverage manager Abbi, used lung power to blow up about 100 balloons out of the 400, he said, rather than waiting for the air compressor to boot up. Manley took great delight pricking the balloons one by one but took less delight in having to clean up the rubbery mess afterward.

A HORSE NAME I CAN'T SHAKE: Bambazonki. Just out of nowhere that name pops into my brain. Bambazonki. Now it’s going to pop into yours, too, isn’t it and you’re going to blame Bigg. He’s a Florida-bred 6-year-old who won a couple races at the Downs last year for trainer Gary Danelson but has come up short in two attempts this year.

VLT hostess Roseanne rewards Jim Flett

FREE SPINS EARN FLETT $366 IN VLT TOURNEY: Retired mechanic Jim Flett unleashed his luck playing the Viracocha game in the Club West Gaming Lounge and it netted him not only $116 from his free spins but another $250 because he was he highest winner among 10 in the monthly finale. Congrats, Jim!

CANADA VS. CANADA IN STANLEY CUP FINALS? For those moaning about no Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs, hey, the two goalies in the current final round are Canadians: Matt Murray, 22, from Thunder Bay is the net minder for Pittsburgh and Martin Jones, 26, from North Vancouver does it for San Jose. So whomever wins, Canada wins, too!

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. Are there any new features or functionality that have been added to HPIbet?

A. There are always minor updates and/or fixes being made to the HPIbet system. Some recent new features include: The TRACK PANEL with the list of all available tracks, horses’ odds, links to upcoming races and minutes to post can now be pinned as a separate window and stays pinned after signing out and signing back in. To pin this panel, simply click on the white arrow button in the right hand corner and you’ll have the Full Odds View in a pop-out window (view image here).

Another new recent addition is the ability to watch replays directly from the MY NOTES section. Now you can re-watch a horse’s last race directly from your trip notes as opposed to having to bounce around to another screen (view image here).

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: It's Oscar time

It’s Oscar time in the old history blog.  Who are the front runners in the category of “Finest Equine Performances?” The winner is . . . (Find out Bob’s toppers here.)


NEXT INSIDER: Wednesday. What’s happening on ASD’s birthday—Friday,June 10?


© Copyright 1996-2016 All Rights Reserved. Assiniboia Downs.
3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Read our Blog  See us on Instagram  Watch us on Youtube
Make Dinner Reservations
Book Your Event
Bet Online