Thursday, June 16 , 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 21 (Issue #540)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Destiny Lily backs into office, trapping Dunn & Corbel

Scary stuff!

Filly backs into tiny office, trapping Dunn and Corbel

When first time starter Destiny Lily starting backing up erratically in the paddock before race 5 Friday, ASD CEO Darren Dunn and assistant director of racing Derek Corbel sought safety in the tiny paddock judge’s office.

Bad decision. The 3-year-old Manitoba-bred filly didn’t stop backing up and backed right into the office in which only about three people could fit. Now there were two people plastered against the wall and most of a horse—backwards.

“This is not good,” Darren said he was thinking as life and limb were put into serious jeopardy.

Derek Corbel
Shouldered horse's bum

Derek swung into action: “It happened so fast that my first reaction was to put my shoulder against her bum hoping she wouldn't come back any further and ‘please don't kick.’ Then there was a split moment to scope the surroundings and realize we were in big trouble if she decided to come back further or flip over.

“Someone made a comment to take the blinkers off and then she perked up and took off out of the office sending sparks from her shoes scraping the cement. Darren and I looked at each other half grinning and half ‘what the heck just happened?’ It was definitely one for the books that is in the memory vault and a story to tell the next generation.”

Destiny Lily ended up running last in the $5,000 maiden claimer at odds of 3/1 that was won gate-to-wire by Twice as Easy at 7/1.

(The paddock photo was snapped by the fast-thinking valet Rick Sampson who also happens to be the best horse artist on the continent at BelleFosh Signs, providing all the brilliant cartoon-style graphics of the “sunglasses” horse—see HOTTIES OF THE WEEK--and most Downs signage.)

You're welcome

Insider correctly predicts Belmont Stakes

Last week’s Insider offered this prediction on the Belmont Stakes:

“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.”

Which, of course, is exactly what happened. Gettysbury on the lead, Creator coming late to win at odds of 16/1. Some days you get a feel for this kind of race, other days you don’t. I stuck to my prediction despite being reminded horses coming from far off the pace don’t usually win the Belmont.

How did you do?

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Think "Ex." And use the Saskatchewan Ave. entrance starting tomorrow
  • $134,000 Jackpot Hi 5 carryover tomorrow at ASD
  • Manitobans show they're better bettors at Woodbine, Churchill and 24 others
  • The baby wars: who was the youngest baby ever in the Winner's Circle?
  • Ex-firefighter snuffs out Al's dream of a Place in the Sun - for now
  • 2015 Handicapper of the Year is back at it: Earns first 2016 trip to Vegas
  • Pot sleuthing: Woodbine swabs, ASD takes urine samples

Al Ilott (left) overtaken by Dennis Lloyd

RETIRED FIREFIGHTER SNUFFS OUT ILOTT'S DREAM: Al Ilott’s dream of a Place in the Sun after parlaying $5 into $129 last Wednesday evaporated in a puff of smoke just three days later when retired firefighter Dennis Lloyd took the contest to a dramatic new level: $166. His place horses on Saturday’s last three races paid $2.90, $5.80 and $16.60.

So it is back to the drawing boards for shell-shocked Al and everyone else who is thinking “fun in the sun” (Mexico) in January courtesy of WestJet Vacations and Charleswood Travel. It’s amazing what $5 parlayed in three races can increase to. Don’t forget the daily and monthly prizes, too!

QX104 – Today's Country

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94.3 The Drive

Not-so-golden pick-6

From frenzy to fiasco as two races are taken off the turf

With some $5 million at stake in Sunday’s mandatory-payoff Golden Pick-6 at Golden Gate, players came into the day with dollar signs in their eyes. They ended the day with dazed looks on their faces.

Jockeys deemed the turf course unsafe (following an earlier turf race in which a horse apparently stepped into a hole) so the 10th and 12th races were taken off the turf. Since that happened after players had bought their pick-6 tickets, those two races were declared ALL legs: every horse counted as a winner.

So with an abundance of correct tickets, each 20-cent ticket at the Downs was worth $135. So nobody was thinking of quitting their jobs or buying a house in Vancouver.

For the “I won big” participants who bought a group ticket, it was a bad news/good news day. The bad news was having trouble playing a track they were unfamiliar with—and missing a couple legs of the pick-6—and the good news was: if they had won, they would just have tripled their money anyway. Not worth whining about.


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:
Friday, Saturday & Sunday—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.

COME IN THE BACK WAY WHILE EX IS PLAYING: You'll avoid parking congestion in the Downs' main lot if you come in the BACK WAY-Saskatchewan Avenue-while the Red River Ex is on next door. The Ex begins tomorrow. Regardless what way you come in, parking is $6 unless you have an ASD parking pass..

The baby wars

Who was the youngest baby in the Winner's Circle?

Fourth generation Kasen Wedge, one week old, rests in father Darren Wedge's arms (third person from left)

There used to be contests that awarded the first baby born each year an abundance of prizes. That has long since passed. But now there’s a tussle over who was the youngest baby ever to appear in a Downs Winner’s Circle photo.

I started it all by saying, in my At the Races column in the Canstar community papers, that it is likely that paddock host Rob MacLennan was the youngest at six months.

Quickly, I heard from former Manitoba Horse Racing Commission member, Bob King, who said his 16-day-old grandson, Dylan, was present in a picture of the winning horse, Vimy’s Secret, on Aug. 25, 1996.

Okay, Bob. Nobody’s likely to top that.

But someone did. A long time racing family, the Wedges, had a four-generation photo taken in the Winner’s Circle on Aug. 15, 2014 that included baby Kasen, just ONE WEEK OLD (see photo).

So one week it is. Until, I guess, the Downs gets an urgent call from a mom in a maternity ward wanting to book a hastily-arranged race presentation package. You never know.

PEOPLE IN PICTURE, left to right: Shirley Hansen (nee Jewell), Brianne Wedge (Kasen's mother), Darren Wedge (father) holding week old Kasen, friend of Terry Propps, Terry Propps, Linda Scott (nee Wedge), Iris Wedge (great grandmother holding blinkers), Jake's Mission held by Darlene Wedge, Terry Wedge (grandfather/trainer).  


Mighty Misko strikes again!

But the buzz is about runner-up Dennis Lloyd

Winner Wayne Misko (left) and runner-up Dennis Lloyd congratulate each other

Last year’s handicapper of the year, Wayne Misko, hasn’t slowed down a whit, capturing the first trip to Vegas by winning Saturday’s horseplayer tournament.

But the buzz mainly surrounded runner-up Dennis Lloyd, a retired Winnipeg firefighter for 40 years who had lost his hearing being close to the piercing siren as he hung on to the pole on fire trucks. His bankroll was $84.60, $12 less than that of the winner. But Lloyd also logged the week’s highest parlay--$166 (see Fun & Games).

Finishing third with a bankroll of $81.10 was horse owner Randy Premachuk. There were 56 entrants.

The biggest payoff was #1 Sugah Sweet in the last race. Since there’s a cap on winning payoffs in the contest, players who took him added $42 to win, instead of the posted price of $48 (and $16 to place).

*       *       *

Your handicapping brilliance continues

Woodbine, Churchill topped your "better bettor" tracks

Look at you! You were such good bettors last month that Woodbine and Churchill owed money to the Downs to cover your winnings instead of the other way around.

In fact, you were better bettors at 26 tracks, continuing the trend set the previous month when you were better bettors at 25 tracks. Without thinking about it, that also makes you good citizens because you’re adding to the economy.

After Woodbine and Churchill, your top better bettor tracks were Belmont, Los Alamitos and Charles Town, Golden Gate and Arlington.

On the negative side, these were the tracks that you took a bit of a hit at (does that mean you should be concentrating more on the “better bettor” tracks?): Gulfstream, Hastings, Parx and Delta. Month after month, Gulfstream seems to be the nemesis of local horseplayers.


(10 down, 28 to go. See list here)


Sun Tsuzy sweeps by tiring duelers


CHARLIE'S PECOS FINISHES AN UNCHARACTERISTIC FOURTH: Usually when Texas lawyer Charlie Smith ships a filly up to the Downs, he can count on a win or, at worst, a second-place finish. Not last Wednesday. When Charlie saw speed was holding in early races, he logically sent his 3-year-old filly, Pecos, to the lead in the Black Knickers Stakes. But Cole Bennett’s About a Girl would have none of it and challenged Pecos every step of the way, setting the stage for trainer Heather Wallerstedt’s Sun Tsuzy to charge late under Antonio Whitehall and win ($13.70).

So Pecos, the daughter of Miss Missile and winner of last year’s Debutante and Graduation Stakes, finished fourth. Will Charlie now re-think Pecos’ ultimate journey to the $50,000 Manitoba Oaks on Derby Day Aug. 1, a race that Bennett has predicted he will win with About a Girl? The next prep race for the Oaks is the Chantilly on Saturday, June 25.

Quest Essential edges Eugenie

CLAIMED FOR $5,000, WINS $15,000 INSTANTLY: For the second year in a row, a sharp stable turned a $5,000 claim into $15,000 in purse money by winning the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes. Last year, it was Black and Blue Stable’s Zenzound; last Saturday it was Bullets Buried Stable’s Quest Essential. Bettors and horseplayer tournament entrants cashed nicely, too, with a win/place payoff of $18.70/$5.40. Kudos to the brain behind the claims.

SAYLER'S GIRL BOSS LIVES UP TO HER NAME: Her name says it all: Girl Boss. She’s the 4-year-old filly others will be targeting on the road to the Manitoba Matron in September after she won last Saturday’s 6f La Verendrye impressively for Ardell Sayler. He said she will be even better stretching out. Next stop on her path to ultimate glory is likely the Canada Day Stakes on July 1 which is also Canstar Day at the Races and mascot day.

Girl Boss show she's boss


MEDIA MELEE TO CONTINUE DERBY BID IN GOLDEN BOY: The second-last prep race before the Manitoba Derby, the Golden Boy, goes this Father’s Day and Media Melee is expected to be the horse to beat after his previous impressive win in the Manitoba Dancer.

FREE PRESS STAKES: WHO WILL BE THE NEXT MAGIC? The death of Horse of the Year Magic D’ Oro in the P.C.’s Bluff on June 1 has opened the way for a new leader in the best-horse category. Who will step up? The Free Press Stakes Sunday should be a bit of an indicator.


Hottest jock: Christopher Husbands (5 wins)
Hottest trainer: Jared Brown, Cole Bennett (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Sugah Sweet $48 (7th Sat)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $382 (7th Sat)

RACE OF THE WEEK: Click here for video.


Skye Chernetz
Returned to Woodbine

WHAT DOES "THC" STAND FOR? "TRAINER'S HORSE CUT": A high-percentage trainer in Canada and the U.S., Brian Lynch, was banned from running sprint star Private Zone in a stakes race Friday at Belmont because he tested positive for marijuana (THC). Lynch wins 31 per cent of his races at Belmont and 25 per cent at Woodbine. This doesn’t sit well with race fans. An avalanche of online criticism chides New York authorities for citing a trainer despite the fact he’s not in control of the horse during a race.

Speaking of which, two ASD jockeys who had been suspended for two weeks before the beginning of the meet after testing positive for THC, Skye Chernetz and Brian Cheyne, returned to Woodbine where marijuana use is tested by a saliva test rather than urine sample, which is the preferred method of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission.

MHRC vice-chairman Brian Billeck said saliva tests can be defeated by use of a mouthwash. Anyone who fears testing positive in random sampling at the Downs may voluntarily be pre-tested as part of a program operated by the Winners Foundation, he noted, and then take steps to rid his or her body of the offending substance.

Bob Gates (right) presents Whittier Park collage to Al Ilott

'TWAS NICE OF AL: When Al Ilott’s name was drawn on the Downs’ birthday last Friday to win the beautiful painstakingly-prepared collage of Whittier Park racing from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, he did the magnanimous thing. He said: “Let’s put it on display for others to see before I take it home.” So it was set up on an easel in the Clubhouse where patrons pored over it for days. The collage was prepared by—who else?—Mr. Track Historian, Bob Gates. He created a second copy that will be hung in the Downs’ boardroom.

CELEBRATES HIS 65th ON DOWNS' 58th: It was the Downs’ 58th birthday last Friday but jockey Jerry Pruitt also celebrated a milestone, officially becoming a senior citizen, 65, the oldest jockey ever to ride at the Downs. But he entertains no thoughts of hanging up his tack. “I still like doing it,” he said. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be riding.” Well said especially since he won the Frank Arnason Sire Stakes recently for the second year in a row.

WINNINGEST JOCKEY HANGS UP TACK: Publicly they’re wishing him well but in their minds they must be saying “Now, I have a chance.” I’m talking about jockeys at Golden Gate Fields where racing has been dominated for years by jockey Russell Baze who has now announced his retirement after an incredible 12,842 career wins. He rode in 53,578 races—think about that number—and his horses earned almost $200 million. Baze, 57, was born in Vancouver, B.C., and stayed on the West Coast for most of his riding career.

OKAY, I ADMIT IT - I'M A BEARDIST: They weren’t just beards. They were eco-systems that birds could build their nests in. So now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are over, can we look forward to players bringing out their scissors and shavers? Regardless of their fame, I wouldn’t want to be sitting opposite one of those players eating soup.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I change my HPIbet password and or PIN #?

A. Anyone who has recently opened an HPIbet account should definitely change the PIN # from the default setting of 1234. To update your PIN #, just click on the profile picture in the top right of the HPIbet window and select VIEW PROFILE. Then click on the HPIBET MEMBER tab. This will provide you with your account number and your phone-in password. There are also two buttons that allow you to either change your PIN and/or change your current PASSWORD (view image here).

Simply click on either one of these buttons and follow the on-screen instructions to enter a new PIN or PASSWORD. The changes will take effect immediately so the next time you login, your new PIN or PASSWORD will be active.

Don’t forget to come visit the Horse Racing Info Centre on the main floor at ASD with any HPIbet questions or comments that you have. Glen and I are always available to help .

Got a question for Marshall? Email


What got horsemen back in the days of Whittier Park crowing about “the clocker?” It’s a story of legendary proportions and Bob has it here.

NEXT INSIDER: Thursday again because there will be no Wednesday racing. Wednesday racing will resume in July.

Remember to enter the back way starting tomorrow:
Saskatchewan Avenue

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