Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 23 (Issue #641)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Will pool grow to $100,000? See entries here.

Here's the way I see it for a $108 ticket and a budget $18 ticket. Who do you like?

With a double carryover of ASD’s pick-4 to $26,385, tonight’s pool could reach a very juicy $100,000 which would make it the biggest pool ever. The parade to post for race 1 is 7:15. Who are the main contenders?

7f specialty distance ($10,000 optional claimer) – The two obvious 7f horses are #2 SmartCopy (3-1) who showed speed last time and #5 Ebadan who’s a closer. With other speed in the race (#4 Budlitelarry, and #7 Beach Mode), I would give the edge to Ebadan.

5 1/2f sprint ($10,000 claimer) – Who can upset likely favourite #7 Lit Obito Pepper (3-2) with leading jockey Adolfo Morales aboard? Likely front-end tryers are Rohan Singh on #5 Mi Hossenda (4-1) and Prayven Badrie on #8 Cool N Ready Red (12-1). Watch out for #4 Witt’s Cash Day who won at $5,000 and will be winging late.

Another 7f specialty race ($10,000 claimer) – Will Kayla Pizarro double up with #4 Wildcat Blues at 7f though he’s going up in class? Obvious other horse is #6 Uncle Mo Money, shipping in from a turf race at Lone Star.

6f sprint for maiden fillies and mares – The “added up numbers” rule horse is #2 Spiteofsuccess (5-2). (Add where the horse finished last time with her position at the first call in her previous race – which is 5, the lowest of all.) Problem with this race, though, is the lack of a true “finisher.” Maybe #8 Honouraprilsrules (9-5) but she has had 10 chances already. Watch out for #1 Blondilikestodance (5-1) who was second in last year’s Debutante.

$108 ticket: 2,4,5/4,5,7/4,5,6,8/1,2,7
$18 ticket:

*       *       *

ALSO TONIGHT: It’s rib-licious Wednesday which means a $10 special on barbeque ribs. Tonight is also a big night for the 54 members of the Assiniboia Racing Club since their two horses, Californium and Ebadan, will be racing, both with great chances to win. Good luck!

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Why Justify's victory was so important to players traumatized by 2008 Belmont Stakes
  • John "Longshot" Whitehill is first to earn trip to Las Vegas in Saturday tourney
  • Enter track via Saskatchewan Avenue during Red River Ex that starts Friday
  • Escape Clause and Plentiful continue where they left off last year
  • No live racing Friday; racing Saturday 7:15 & Father's Day Sunday 1:15. Use Sask Ave.
  • What horseman raced at all four Winnipeg tracks going back a century? See Bob's blog

Name him by noon Saturday

NOTE DEADLINE SATURDAY (AT NOON) IN CANSTAR’S “NAME THE YEARLING” CONTEST: You may submit up to two names to Subject line: Yearling. About the colt: Father—Going Commando. Mother—Bear’s Princess. Personality: “King of the castle within the herd but kind to be around.” Prizes include race night buffet for four, $50 in wagering vouchers on Canada Day, July 1, when winner is announced, $500 donation to Final Furlong by Assiniboia Downs in winner’s name, two tickets to Alabama concert at Bell MTS Place Aug. 1 and a gorgeous reclaimed wood horse plaque from The Painter’s Café valued at $300 (visit on Facebook).

winning $100 in betting vouchers in a draw that included trainer Murray Duncan’s wife, Pat Duncan. The other correct entry was submitted by “I won big” group player Clovis Gonzalez. Congrats to them, too. The next First & Worst contest (for $50) will be on the $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown a week from this Saturday.
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Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in June? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Bombers

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS AFTER LIVE RACING: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge following live racing. 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.

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker in the trackview gallery on the third level. Registration from 7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Game starts at 8:00 p.m. No late registration. The Royal Flush progressive jackpot for Friday, June 15 is $8,110.

Note the red detour because part of Saskatchewan is closed

USE SASKATCHEWAN AVENUE DURING EX: While the Red River Exhibition is playing next door to the Downs from this Friday to a week from Sunday, use the Saskatchewan Avenue back entrance to the track. Access Saskatchewan via Cavalier Drive or Buchanan Boulevard. If you are driving west down Saskatchewan Avenue from Sturgeon Road you will have to take a detour down Hamilton Avenue because a part of Saskatchewan Avenue is closed during the reconstruction of a bridge over Sturgeon Creek.


They're baaaack!

Escape Clause and Plentiful continue winning ways as pick-4 player licks wounds

Plentiful finds room to win Free Press
Leaving last year’s Manitoba Derby winner, Plentiful, off his pick-4 ticket Saturday—costing himself $26,000—likely still has that player grumbling today. (The money he would have won is the carryover into tonight’s pick-4.)

He had taken four horses, half the field, in the third leg of the pick-4, the Free Press Stakes. Would he have taken Plentiful had he heard CEO Darren Dunn talking up and picking the horse to win during a TSN radio interview? With all the speed in the race, it appeared a closer would win and Plentiful, who had raced at tough Oaklawn Park, appeared ready for a big effort.

Oh well, that player gets to make amends tonight. And, who knows, maybe he’ll do it!

Escape Clause airs in the La Verendrye
So the champion 3-year-old colt was back in the Winner’s Circle at 4 for co-owner Audrey Farol-- representing the estate of her late father, Garylle B. Stewart--and for owner/trainer Murray Duncan who had the best year of his training life last year.

And, in the La Verendrye Stakes for fillies and mares Friday night, Escape Clause showed why she was named Horse of the Year. The Manitoba-bred romped under a hand ride at odds of 1-9. Her record is 17-10-3-2 with earnings of $162,154

*       *       *

HOTTIES OF THE WEEK (Wed, Fri, Sat):  
Hottest jockeys:
Chavion Chow, Prayven Badrie, Kayla Pizarro (3 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Jerry Gourneau, Don Schnell (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Dreaming Ez $37.30 (Friday race 4)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,888 (Friday race 4)
Stakes champion(s): Escape Clause (La Verendrye), Amaretto (Hazel Wright Sire Stakes) and Plentiful (Free Press)

“Drew out under no urging.” – Equibase chart-writer George Wlliams’ description of Escape Clause winning the La Verendrye Stakes race Friday.


Why Justify's victory was so important

Restores faith after years of being haunted by Big Brown

Perfection: Justify wins 13th Triple Crown
(Victor J. Blue/New York Times photo)
Thank you, Justify. We needed that.

For those who were deeply traumatized by Big Brown’s debacle in the Belmont Stakes 10 years ago—after going five for five just like Justified--and have been haunted by that memory ever since (me), Justify’s victory has served to take the remaining sting out of that shattering upset.

Trainer Bob Baffert knew Justify was extraordinary and the colt lived up to his billing, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes even though he hadn’t raced at 2. He restored faith in those who have seen high expectations dashed to pieces.

He has given us permission to believe again. Not that the future won’t throw curve balls at us but Justify has proven there’s such a thing as greatness and that greatness can indeed prevail.

, cited by his trainer, Richard Dutrow, as a “foregone conclusion” to win the Triple Crown in 2008, took more than $18 million in win-place-show wagers as the 1-5 favourite to win the Belmont Stakes. What happened after the starting gate opened reads like a horror story which you can read in the Equibase chart here. Interestingly, that was Big Brown’s only loss in eight lifetime starts, two of which took place after the Belmont bust.

John "Longshot" Whitehill
First to earn Vegas trip
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to retired bricklayer John Whitehill who again will be heading to Las Vegas to play in the Horse Player World Series after winning ASD’s first Vegas Challenge tournament of the season on Saturday. He built up his $120.10bankroll on the strength of two longshots which he has a knack of doing. He played $2 across the board on #7 I’m a Flashy Girl (13-1) in race 4 because it was the “main speed” in the race and took #9 Palamon (16-1) in race 5 “because he ran well fresh last year” and had a jockey change, from Jerry Pruitt to Chavion Chow. Congrats, too, to runners up Earl Grantham (bankroll $94.20) and Randy Premachuk ($91.30). There were 56 entrants.  The next tournament is Saturday, July 7. See full results here.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to part-time school division clerk Terry Mymryk and her roofing company husband, Brian, who were excited to see they held the only 20-cent ticket on the top five finishers in the last live race Wednesday (she screamed) that won them the entire $8,395 Jackpot Hi-5 pool.

Terry and Brian Mymryk hold up winning ticket
But that didn’t come without some drama, the couple explained. First was the discussion on spending $24 for a five-horse box and, then, “she wanted another horse but I said "No, throw in #1,” Brian said. That happened to be 11-1 longshot Zar’s Star ridden by Rohan Singh instead of a 6-1 horse his wife initially wanted and that helped make their ticket the only correct one. That’s the most they’ve ever won, they said. The previous high was $4,000 in a slot machine win in Las Vegas. Let me guess that they’ve regaled many others with their big night at the Downs.

to those who donated to “Camp for Backstretch Kids.” HBPA organizer John Field said the $4,000 raised will send 17 kids to day camp at Camp Manitou. Good on Field taking up the torch to make this happen. Field, a retired Crown attorney, also heads the Assiniboia Racing Club that has two horses racing tonight: Californium and Ebadan.

Megabots were a huge hit at Sunday night market
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to ASD event coordinator Cory O’Grodnik and the Assiniboia Downs team for putting together a night market Sunday that saw attendance grow to 10,724 compared to 9,053 at last September’s event and 8,549 at the Downs’ first night market last July. The place was packed, bands and other music set the right mood and a dazzling fireworks display whetted appetites for an even bigger one on Canada Day Sunday. It marked the debut of “megabots,” roaming robots that gave us a glimpse of a future in which we may be hobnobbing with ‘bots. They were a particular favourite with kids who looked up – way up – to them and posed for pictures. The second night market of the season is Sunday, August 12.


A BAD DAY FOR BAFFERT -- AND FOR BRIDGEJUMPERS: Was it an omen? Thankfully for trainer Bob Baffert, it wasn’t. Two days before his Justify was to race in the Belmont Stakes, his highly promising filly, Amada Rafaela, who had produced the fastest time of the year for a 3-year-old filly in her previous race, suffered a breakdown during the allowance seventh race at Santa Anita as the huge 1-9 favourite. Jockey Martin Garcia pulled her up at the top of the stretch. Her catastrophic mishap was a big blow to bridgejumpers, too, who had heaped $317,000 to show on her in the six-horse field (see program page here). That resulted in mega show payoffs:
  • Best of Me $12.20
  • Kimberlea K $22.80
  • Newport Breeze $15.80
DID “BIG” GROUP MISS AN OPPORTUNITY BY NOT BETTING BELMONT PICK-6? After a player at Saturday’s “I won big” workshop strongly rejected the idea of playing a pick-6 at Belmont Park, the group spun its wheels playing a couple pick-4s, a pick-3 and superfectas but only cashed $200 on the pick-3. But, had the group played the pick-6, keying the first leg and last leg (with Justify) as initially suggested and loaded up the middle legs, there was a good chance of winning a share of the pick-6 that paid $81,000. Even with one wrong leg, the group still could have cashed five of six consolation payoff tickets multiple times at $457 a ticket. Something to think about, especially when playing future big days. We’ll be back at Woodbine this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for races 2 to 7. Longshots have been lighting up the board at Woodbine lately. Is that a good sign for this Saturday’s play?
HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: He raced at all four Winnipeg tracks
Was there any horseman who raced at River Park, Whittier Park, Polo Park and Assiniboia Downs? Yes indeed, there was!  So who was the Hall of Famer who goes back a century to the beginning of racing in Winnipeg?  Bob has the details here.
The Great Mascot Race goes on Father's Day
  • Friday, June 15: Note there is NO LIVE RACING because of the added card on Father’s Day Sunday.
  • Saturday, June 16: Live racing 7:15
  • Sunday, June 17: Father’s Day live racing at 1:15. $20 rib special. The Great Mascot Race and family fun
  • Wednesday, June 20: Live racing 7:15
  • Friday, June 22: Live racing 7:15. Chantilly Stakes
  • Saturday, June 23: $500,000 Ohio Derby, Thistledown. $50 first/worst contest. Live racing 7:15. Golden Boy Stakes
She had the Belmont Stakes "nailed"
Each colour on VLT gal Margaret Birkett's finger nails Saturday represented a post position in the Belmont Stakes. That's her limit, she said. "No toe nails for larger fields."

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