Friday, June 4, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 21 (Issue #792)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

and, remember, if you don’t receive The Insider in the usual way,
you can always find it--and past columns--at


How does COVID lockdown affect you and racing?
  • Assiniboia Downs is closed to patrons.
  • Wagering on all racing on your HPIbet account continues normally. If you don’t have an account, sign up at
  • LIVE RACING EVERY MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY AT 7:30 P.M. No spectators allowed on site.
  • Manitobans with Player Rewards points under the old rewards system NOW HAVE UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR to redeem those points for programs and food and beverage when the track re-opens.
  • FREE RACE PROGRAMS WILL BE EMAILED to Manitobans who request them. Email Sheri at and include your HPIbet account number.
  • FREE RACE PROGRAMS WILL BE DELIVERED to the residences of Winnipeggers who request them. Call the mutuel desk at 204-885-3330 ext. 225.
  • FREE PROGRAMS MAY BE PICKED UP via curbside delivery behind the grandstand. Order programs from the mutuel desk at 204-885-3330 ext. 225. Place your orders in advance.
  • Click here for detailed information on programs, HPI deposits and HPI withdrawals.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Why is ASD oddsmaker Man of the Week? (See Shout-Outs)
  • Mandatory pick-6 payout at Santa Anita Sunday; $2.5 million likely at stake
  • "Your horses aren't welcome," Churchill tells Bob Baffert
  • Another handicapping trick? Count the claims? See "Win a Ton in '21"
  • Will Rock Your World make amends for bad Derby start in Belmont Stakes?
ONE WEEK TO FIRST LAS VEGAS CHALLENGE TOURNAMENT: The first of five tournaments during live racing to earn a trip for two to Las Vegas to play in the Horse Player World Series goes one week from Monday. You know the drill: Reduce the $50 cost of entering the tourney by picking three winners in live cards leading to the tourney. Email picks to Click here for tournament qualifiers. See full rules and entry form here.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in June? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Download 2021 LIVE RACING SCHEDULE here.

Do you have your new HPIbet account card that replaces the previous HPI card and the ASD Player Rewards card? Assiniboia Downs has joined the HPI rewards and bonus program and the new program began Monday, Feb. 1. See details here. If you haven't received your new card in the mail call 204-885-3330 (ext. 225) to check on the status.

GREEDY CORNER: MANDATORY Jackpot pick-6 payout at Santa Anita on Sunday. Pool likely to grow to $2.5 million.

Single ticket takes down $10K Jackpot Hi-5

When 17-1 Warren’s Van Gogh won the last race at ASD Wednesday you had to wonder whether a bettor took down the Jackpot Hi-5 pool with a single unique ticket -- and the answer was “yes.” A single 20-cent ticket 7-6-4-2-3 paid $9,387.77.

Did the lucky ticket holder make a bet that simply eliminated the top three favoured horses in the eight-horse field and box the other five horses? As it turned out, the three most popular horses (1,5,8) finished at the back of the pack.

The pool built up over five days of racing. The other pool requiring a single unique winning ticket, the Jackpot pick-5, continues to grow. It’s at $41,425.


Hottest jockey: Leroy Nelson, Neville Stephenson (4 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Jerry Gourneau (5 wins)
Biggest longshot: Warren’s Van Gogh $37.70 (Race 7 Wednesday)
Stakes champions:
City Champ (Proven Reserve Stakes), Melisandre (Sail to France Stakes)
Upcoming stakes:
La Verendrye (Wednesday)
Top analyst on ASD Live: Stretch--8 winners in 21 picks
Carryovers: $41,425 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $0 in the Jackpot Hi-5


--Wondering why top jockey Antonio Whitehall isn’t riding at the Downs? He chose to leave and base out of Edmonton after starting the season at ASD. However, COVID-19 interprovincial restrictions are now keeping him in Alberta where he is riding at Century Mile in Edmonton. When restrictions are lifted, he is destined to alternate between Century Mile (Friday and Sunday) and Assiniboia Downs from Monday to Wednesday as he did last year.

--A 3-year-old gelding, City Champ, claimed for $12,500 by Bill Meikle at Golden Gate Fields appears to be one heck of a buy. Trained by Wendy Anderson, the sophomore immediately won a $15,000 optional claimer and came right back to win the Proven Reserve Stakes Wednesday as the prohibitive $2.30 favourite. Is the $100K Manitoba Derby in his future?

Oddsmaker Dustin Davis was perfect with horses finishing first or second
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to race secretary and oddsmaker Dustin Davis for handing you a whole night of winning bets. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, if you made pick-3, pick-4 and pick-5 wagers on Davis’s top two picks in the program for the seven ASD races on Monday, you would have turned $120 into $1,118. Here are his top two picks for each race with the winner in red: Race 1 -- 1,2; race 2 -- 3,5; race 3 -- 3,2; race 4 -- 2,7; race 5 -- 2,1; race 6 -- 3,5; race 7 -- 3,6.

If all your horizontal sequence bets were 2 x 2 x 2, etc. (taking his top two choices from each race) in $1 wheels, here’s what you would have collected:

Race 3: $1 pick-3. Spent $8, collected $115
Race 4: $1 pick-3. Spent $8, collected $281.60
Race 5: $1 pick-3. Spent $8, collected $49.40
Race 6: $1 pick-3. Spent $8, collected $43.05
Race 7: $1 pick-5. Spent $32, collected $481.30; $1 pick-4 spent $16, collected $112.50; $1 pick-3, spent $8, collected $35.80.

So, for spending $120, you would have collected $1,118.65

What a field for the 1 1/2 mile test!

Will Rock Your World make amends? You need to go six horses deep

Rock Your World left slowly in Kentucky Derby then was sandwiched
What a race the Belmont Stakes on Saturday is shaping up to be. By my accounting, six of the nine horses have a legitimate shot of winning the 1 ½-mile test.

Rock Your World
jumps off the page because of his slow start in the Kentucky Derby. Will he make amends? And, of course, Essential Quality is forecast to run his best race. But what about Rombauer who won the Preakness Stakes or Hot Rod Charlie who had many fans in the Kentucky Derby or Known Agenda who had the tough post position #1 in the Derby? And, as a long shot, what about France Go de Ina who really didn’t run his race last time?

Wherever you land, the odds should be good--and the excitement will be palpable. Too bad COVID-19 restrictions are keeping the ASD Race Book closed because this will be a race that ordinarily would evoke lots of cheering. Good luck, anyway, on your selections. Oh yeah, a 20-cent superfecta box with all six of the above horses would cost you $72. Worth it? Hmm.

Bob who?
Horse owners wanting to win the Kentucky Derby will be passing on Baffert

Bob Baffert
Banned at Churchill
He’s trained horses that have won the Kentucky Derby four of the past seven years but Bob Baffert is persona non grata at Churchill Downs for the next two years. That includes the Churchill-owned tracks of Arlington Park and Fair Grounds. That’s because Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, tested positive for a corticosteroid that shouldn’t have been in the horse’s blood. The original test was confirmed by a second.

That means the Baffert Kentucky Derby winners since 2015 will look like this:
2015--American Pharoah
2021--Medina Spirit
(possible disqualification)
--not Baffert
--not Baffert

Baffert said the corticosteroid, betamethasone, likely got into Medina Spirit’s system from an ointment used to treat a skin condition. Up until last fall, a tiny amount was allowed even in race day horses; now it’s zero.

Yet to be determined is whether Medina Spirit’s connections, Zedan Racing Stables, will be deprived of the Kentucky Derby purse money. No one in Baffert’s employ, directly or indirectly, will be allowed to race at Churchill tracks either. Baffert is under suspension at New York Racing Association tracks as well.
WIN A TON IN '21: How many times has a horse been claimed? Does it matter?

Should claim box popularity be a consideration in handicapping a race? You might think so after ASD race 5 Tuesday in which the two most-claimed horses finished first and second, producing a $2 exactor price of $75.40. Both #7 Zucchini (paid $23.50 to win) and #3 Overanalyzer (paid $3.80 to place) had been claimed four times in the nine past performance lines in the program. Of the other horses in the race, two had been claimed twice.

So do you think number of claims is a “thing?” Seems to be an element not to ignore, especially in a chaotic-looking field.

So how many show parlays did you play this past week? Or did they slip your mind -- which is easy to do. Why not play one today -- just to humor this insistent columnist. Maybe your parlay will take unexpected turns or produce an unexpectedly large return. In which case, The Insider would love to hear about your experience. “Show” others the way.

It’s widely accepted that the 1970s were the Golden Age of Horse Racing so this week's history blog sets the Time Tunnel Trip dials to the year 1971. It’s hard to believe that a half century has gone by! Click here for your ticket to the year 1971 and a look back at the events that helped to shape the history of the Downs’ 14th season.
  • Tomorrow: Belmont Stakes, third leg of the Triple Crown, from Belmont Park. 2% cash back on Belmont and Santa Anita races.
  • Monday, June 7: ASD race night 7:30 p.m. See below.
  • Tuesday, June 8: ASD race night 7:30 p.m. See below.
  • Wednesday, June 9: ASD race night 7:30 p.m. with the $35K La Verendrye Stakes. See below.
  • Monday, June 14: Mohawk begins again. ASD race night 7:30 p.m. See below. Enter the first of five Las Vegas Challenge tournaments on live racing.
  • Tuesday, June 15: Second night of Mohawk. ASD race night 7:30 p.m. with the $35K Chantilly Stakes. See below.
  • Wednesday, June 16: ASD race night 7:30 p.m. with the $35K Free Press Stakes. See below.
  • Friday, June 18: Woodbine thoroughbred season opens.
RACE NIGHT AT THE DOWNS includes “ASD Live” show online at 6:45 p.m. with racing analysts Kirt, Marshall and Stretch followed by spectator-free live racing at 7:30 p.m. To watch ASD Live, go to and click on the ASD Live icon at the top of the home page or tune into MTS channels 179 & 180.

“Show” your worthiness!

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