Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 20 (Issue #539)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Charlie Smith
Brings Pecos to win Oaks

Look who's back tonight!

Uh-oh! Watch out, Cole Bennett! Trainer Charlie Smith’s Pecos who won last year’s Debutante and Graduation Stakes, returns tonight to take on your horse (About a Girl) in the Black Knickers Stakes as she seeks to conquer the $50,000 Manitoba Oaks on Derby Day, the race you said you would win with About a Girl!

What will happen tonight? Pecos is the 3/2 favourite; About a Girl is 5/2. Tonight’s six-horse field also marks the 2016 debut of Gold N Sochi who finished second to Pecos in last year’s Debutante.

Tonight’s seven-race card includes a whopping Jackpot Hi 5 carryover of $126,000 in the final race. Someone could win it. The race has a competitive nine-horse field. Will it be you?

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Another monster weekend: Birthday, Belmont, big bucks at Golden Gate
  • Special "I won big" workshop Sunday to scoop a share of Golden bucks
  • Isn't it time to ditch Dick and Jane? Entering "Place in Sun" could help
  • Assiniboia Racing Club cries "Fowl" - which is good news
  • Pilot Darryl Dash leaves other parlay players in his wake
  • Magic's death leaves "best horse" berth wide open
  • Ridiculously lucky: Player bets his cell phone #. Wins 5 of 6 in pick-6

Kate McKenzie (centre) receives top prizes for May from Michelle Wheatcroft (left, Winnipeg Sun) and Abbi Church (ASD)

BIGGEST PARLAY OF WEEK WAS $60: Congrats to pilot Darryl Dash who produced the biggest $5 three-race place parlay last week -- $60. That’s the amount you need to beat for the biggest of the month and perhaps to win the $4,000 five-star Mexican vacation courtesy of Charleswood Travel and WestJet Vacations.

Fitness instructor Kate McKenzie who produced the highest parlay in May and the highest to date ($68) was congratulated in the Winner’s Circle Friday and presented with a one-year subscription to the Winnipeg Sun from Sun sales executive Michelle Wheatcroft and a race night buffet for two from ASD’s assistant food and beverage manager Abbi Church. Will that be you in the Winner’s Circle early next month?

QX104 – Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

Is there a better deal anywhere?

Vegas for two for $50

People are entering contests all the time where they buy a ticket(s) for $50 with a zillion-to-one chance of winning anything. Yet, if you put up $50 (or less) to enter the horseplayer tournament this Saturday evening, you have about a one-in-60 chance of earning a trip for two to Las Vegas next March and a seat in a tournament where $300,000 is the top prize.

Tell me this isn’t the best deal around. And, unlike other contests where you have to rely on luck and chance, Saturday’s tournament is based on horseplayer smarts.

So? Enter at the track by Friday at 9 p.m. (Some of you will pay less than $50 by having predicted three winners on live cards leading up to the tournament.)

Never entered a tournament before? Then you have “beginner’s luck:” on your side already. Go for it! Picture your mug taking the place of the Tournament Tigers question mark for June 11.


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.

P - A - R - T - Y!
Come celebrate the Downs' 58th birthday Friday!

The Downs was “born” on June 10, 1958 which means this Friday, June 10, is the track’s 58th birthday at which you can enjoy these celebratory perks:

  • Concession and program discounts
  • Draw for a very desirable collage of Whittier Park memorabilia
  • Free Derby history collector card (while quantities last)
  • Spin to win draws
  • Complementary mini-cupcakes after the races in the Clubhouse
  • Balloon rides: Sit down in a lawn chair attached to 50 helium balloons and take off! (Not. But entertaining to contemplate.)

NOTE SPECIAL “I WON BIG” SESSION SUNDAY: With approximately $1.3 million in Golden Gate’s Golden 6—and millions more likely to be bet Sunday because it’s a mandatory payout day—the “I won big” group will convene Sunday on the Clubhouse plaza to discuss the pick-6 (the usual groups should look at each race). Also, we’ll look at Woodbine pick-4s since some of you already are doing so on Saturday. So, see you Sunday 10:30 a.m.! Let’s grab a Golden piece!

You're better than you think

And entering "A Place in the Sun" could prove it

Remember Dick and Jane? For many of us, that was our introduction to reading back in grade 1. Similarly, $2 quinellas and $1 exactors are among our first bets as horseplayers.

Of course, we soon moved beyond Dick and Jane in our reading proficiency. And, on the racing side, we improved our handicapping and soon began betting $5, $10 and $20 exactors.

Or have we? How many will own up to still being Dick and Jane bettors?

Consider this: If you bet $2 in 1970, you’d have to bet $11 today just to equal that $2 back then. And you would have to bet $7 today to equal your $2 wager back in 1980. Have you increased your betting so it’s on par with what you bet when you started out as a fan?

Darryl Dash's entry

Well, entering A Place in the Sun could just be the catalyst you need to leave those Dick and Jane days behind because the contest forces you to wager $15 or $30 or more to continue your three-race place parlay.

And what will the result be? Many of you will find you’re better than you think you are and that you HAVE grown beyond Dick and Jane.

Darryl Dash , an air ambulance helicopter pilot, said as much last week when he turned his $5 three-race parlay into $60. He found it exciting to be forced to put $30 on a horse to place. Not only did he win the prize as best of the day but he was happy to say “I’m ahead by $60, too!” Because he was forced to do something he doesn’t normally do.

Here’s a challenge for you: For one day, pretend its June, 1980 when $1 was equal to what $3.50 is today and make every wager in 1980 money. In other words, bet 3 ½ times (responsibly, of course) your intended amount. Call it your “Bet in 1980 Dollars” day.

Belmont Stakes Day

Exaggerator a good favourite to bet against

Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator is the likely favourite to win the Belmont Stakes Saturday which gives you a chance to play against him and capitalize nicely.

Why? Because Exaggerator is unlikely to get it all his own way as he did in his Preakness and in his previous win at Santa Anita where a wet track and a sharp early pace was a perfect set-up for his late move.

The Belmont track is likely to be fast, with only a slight possibility of a shower on Saturday.

I’m thinking the race could be a reprise of the Arkansas Derby where front-runner Gettysburg takes care of the speed for his owner, WinStar Farm, which also owns Creator, the horse who roared from last to first in the Arkansas Derby.


--Tomorrow: First post noon. $75,000 guaranteed pick-6, $250,000 late pick-4
-- Friday: First post 11:50 a.m. Two daily doubles to Saturday races. Guaranteed $150,000 pick-6, $500,000 late pick-4
-- Saturday: First post 10:35 a.m. Guaranteed $500,000 pick-5, $250,000 pick-3 (starts race 3), $1 million pick-6, $1.5 million late pick-4.


(Seven gone, 28 to go. See list here)

Black Knickers wins Chantilly
Photo courtesy of Bob Gates. (Winner's Circle)

TONIGHT: Black Knickers Stakes. This race on the road to the Manitoba Oaks honours Black Knickers, a Manitoba-bred who left a strong impression despite only 11 starts: She won her first three races for Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Marzolf (Little Rock Acres) including the Chantilly (1999) and finished second in the R.C. Anderson, the J.W. Sifton (vs boys) and the Victoria Day Stakes.


SATURDAY: Two stakes – the La Verendrye on the road to the Manitoba Matron in September and the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes.


Hottest jock: Christopher Husbands, Adolfo Morales (5 wins)
Hottest trainer: Elton Dickey (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Storming Cecelia (6th Fri) $16
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $272

RACE OF THE WEEK: Click here for video.

Magic D'Oro (2010 - 2016) with groom
Tiffany Husbands


SAD DAY -- MAGIC DIES OF HEART ISSUE: Just a month after being honoured as 2015 Horse of the Year, Magic D’ Oro, 6, collapsed and died of a suspected ruptured aortic valve during the P.C.’s Bluff Stakes last Wednesday which leaves the field wide open for best horse on the grounds. His death hit hard, especially the Tanya Lindsay barn that had dealt just days before with the loss of Regalized, a 3-year-old Manitoba-bred maiden filly. She died from internal bleeding after the second race on Saturday.

A horse actually has an amazingly efficient and adaptable heart, beating at the rate of 32 to 40 beats a minute during rest but accelerating to 240 beats a minute during a full gallop in which it pumps 60 gallons of blood a minute through its body.

Rick Wise's Swiss Idol wins P.C.'s Bluff

A WORD TO THE WISE -- "WISE": He’s had two horses race at the Downs and both of them won, including a stakes race. That should tell you something about Rick Wise. Also, note his win percentage at Turf Paradise was 33 per cent (seven wins from 21 starts). So obviously pay attention if you see Rick Wise attached to horses racing at the Downs. His stakes win came last Wednesday with Swiss Idol ($14.90) in the P.C.’s Bluff Stakes gate to wire on a sloppy track, with Chris Husbands aboard. His second win came on the same card: Secret Wishes ($5.40) won a $10,000 optional claimer.

Second year for Robert Nokes and Jerry Pruitt

NOKES/PRUITT DO IT -- AGAIN! It’s becoming a habit. Robert Nokes supplies the horse and Jerry Pruitt handles the reins and they win the Frank Arnason Sire Stakes. They did it last year with Madd Edition; they did again Saturday with Sound Design ($8). Pruitt has been around the track forever but still let out a happy whoop as he left the Winner’s Circle—and who could blame him? A stakes win is a stakes win.

WILL "FOWL" BE A FRIEND TO RACING CLUB? After having to retire the first race horse it purchased, the new 39-member Assiniboia Racing Club--which bought shares for $500 apiece--is hoping a 3-year-old maiden filly it bought at Woodbine, Spanish Fowl, will turn around its fortunes. The early speed she showed in an $10,000 claimer at Woodbine could foreshadow a gate-to-wire attempt at the Downs. How will she handle dirt after racing on synthetics? Maybe she’ll like it better!

Derby bound?
Adolfo Morales and John Ganas

MEDIA MELEE HOT ON THE DERBY TRAIL: It looks like restaurateur John Ganas has a good one – Media Melee – a 3-year-old that came off the pace impressively last Wednesday to win the Manitoba Dancer stakes, stamping himself as a leading local candidate for the Manitoba Derby on Aug. 1. Media Melee had been claimed for $16,000 at Santa Anita. Next stop on the Derby trail: the Golden Boy on Father’s Day, June 19.

RIDICULOUSLY LUCKY: What do you do when you’ve run out of time to bet Santa Anita’s pick-6? You simply play your cell phone #. Ridiculous as that sounds, restaurateur and former jockey agent in Maryland, Joseph McKay, did exactly that on May 30, the holiday Monday in the U.S. And he won $1,960 ( U.S.) because his cell number picked five of six winners. You can’t make this stuff up. He tweeted a picture of his betting account with the bet. Using two of his cell numbers for the fourth leg, his $2 ticket wheel looked like this: 2/5/8/5,8/2/9 for a cost of $4. The race winners were 9/5/8/8/2/9. McKay’s ticket just missed the first leg which happened to be the race favourite. Six correct paid $1.48 million.

BIKERS GALORE IN PINK AND BLACK: Assiniboia Downs turned over its main level to fund-raising bikers Sunday for the annual breast cancer pledge drive where 570 of them dressed in pink and black raised an amazing $100,000.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. Are there any free thoroughbred programs available on HPIbet or online?

A. A couple of months ago, I mentioned that HPIbet provides FREE program downloads to most of the harness tracks as well as FREE program downloads for the European and Australian thoroughbred tracks. It’s always worth checking to see if your favourite track is providing a FREE program because from time to time, HPIbet will provide a FREE program download to tracks such as Hastings Park. Just scroll down to the DOWNLOAD PROGRAMS section of any track to see if there is a FREE program available (view image here).  

Speaking of FREE past performances, did you know that 2 of the top 3 leading trainers post FREE PP’s for all of their horses that are entered in races across North America? That’s right, you can download almost an entire race card at Belmont or Gulfstream when Todd Pletcher has lots of entries. The same goes for Santa Anita when Bob Baffert has multiple entries. At any rate, if you’re looking to just play a couple of top races each week from around the country, you can download FREE PP’s using the following links:

For Bob Baffert - Go here. For Todd PletcherGo here.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


Did you know. . . a female jockey holds the record for most wins on opening day at the Downs? Who was she? She recorded more wins than any other female jockey, too. Give up? See Bob’s blog here.

NEXT INSIDER: Thursday because there is no Wednesday racing.

See Dick bet. Bet, Dick, bet!


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