Friday, June 18, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 23 (Issue #794)

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.

Nice horsey!
And she sure was, winning the Chantilly Stakes Tuesday with the same ease she won her previous five starts. See Melisandre below. (Jason Halstead photo)


Who wants to be a millionaire?

There’s more than $1 million in the 20-cent Jackpot pick-6 pool at Pimlico today. The meet ends next weekend which means a likely mandatory payout a week from this Sunday. But why not take down the whole pool today?

This is wind-up weekend at Santa Anita
Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet comes to an end on Sunday which means all pools including the Jackpot pick-6 must go that day. The end of Santa means the beginning of thoroughbred racing Thursday at Los Alamitos. So that Southern California track will race thoroughbreds in the afternoon and quarter horses at night (Friday through Sunday).

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who was first to earn a trip to the Horse Player World Series in Vegas?
  • Who ran a faster Chantilly Stakes: Escape Clause or Melisandre?
  • Who was named the 2020 Manitoba-bred of the Year (See SHOUT-OUTS)
  • Longshot of the week won Monmouth stakes without whip encouragement
  • Baffert seeks to overturn New York suspension
ONE VEGAS TRIP GONE; FOUR MORE TO WIN: Four more trips to Las Vegas are on the line in the next four Las Vegas Challenge handicapping tournaments, the next of which goes Monday, July 5. You can start earning a discount on the $50 entry fee by picking three winners on live race cards leading up to that tournament.
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.

Wayne King captures first seat on Las Vegas Express

Turns $42 in win-place-show wagers into $96.90

Active for decades on the racing scene, MTS retiree, Wayne King has now captured ASD’s first Las Vegas Challenge handicapping tournament of 2021, giving himself a chance to shoot for big money in the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas next March. His prize includes airfare and accomodations for two, entry into the Horse Player World Series and $500 U.S. spending money.

He turned $42 in $2 win-place-wagers on ASD’s Monday card into a bankroll of $96.90. It was a close finish. Only a few bucks separated the top three players which included Chris Trubyk with $93.90 and Roger Jones with $89.20. Both of them had previously earned trips to Vegas. This is King's first!

So what were King’s best plays? “Nothing special,” he said modestly. “I had three wins and three seconds.  I played #6 (Sue’s Easter Girl at odds of 2.90-1) in the 3rd. I thought she faced tougher last out and thought the favourite could be vulnerable at less than even money.

“I played Real Grace in the 4th (1.20-1 odds) as I just thought he was the best horse regardless of odds. In the last race, my play was Rocky Barbados (odds 13.80-1). He typically runs well early in the meet and from watching the replay of his debut I saw that he got squeezed twice early but still ran on well."

Seems very straight-forward and that’s all it took to top a field of 74 entrants. The next Vegas Challenge tournament is Monday, July 6.


Horse soared from last to first with no whipping

Colt hustles up the rail at Monmouth Park to beat favourite at 79-1

One might have thought a whip would have been necessary to encourage 79-1 Informative to sweep from last to first to beat the favourite, Ny Traffic, in Saturday’s $150,000 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. But that would have cost jockey Jose Ferrer a $500 fine and a five-day suspension.

So how did he handle the horse? Watch the replay here.

And that’s the way things are these days at the New Jersey track that is first to forbid whip use except for safety purposes.

*       *       *
Jockeys' Guild to drop insurance for no-whip jockeys
Monmouth CEO calls it a "cheap shot"

Starting July 1, the Jockeys Guild will stop providing supplemental insurance to jockeys riding at Monmouth Park because, says a letter to Guild members, the no-whip policy represents a “danger” to jockeys and horses. Guild president Terry Meyocks has advocated against the policy since its inception by the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Jockeys will still be covered under the state’s workers compensation program however.

Monmouth CEO Dennis Drazin called the Guild’s action “a cheap shot. The comments I have heard are that some of the jocks are upset with the Guild and don't feel that they are representing them well.”

No-whip races have been going off without incident at the track. (See Longshot of the Week above.)
EYE ON LIVE (cont'd)

Another Escape Clause?

Melisandre wins Chantilly Stakes a fifth of a second faster than Escape Clause did

Melisandre with Stanley Chadee Jr. aboard after easy victory in the Chantilly Stakes (Jason Halstead photo)
Shades of Escape Clause? While ASD’s greatest Manitoba-bred horse ever, Escape Clause, is mothering a foal in Japan, a filly with the same father, Going Commando, is putting away her rivals with equal ease.

The 3-year-old filly, Melisandre, aired in the 6-furlong Chantilly Stakes Tuesday in a time of 1:11.60. Escape Clause was a tick slower. She won it in 1:11.80.

Melisandre has won all six of her lifetime starts, four as a 2-year-old and two stakes races this year at 3. She’s become a veritable money machine for her owners, True North Thoroughbreds and Arnason Farms. Barry Arnason had bought her at the local CTHS yearling sale for $25,000 in 2019. It’s nice to see someone who’s been around horses forever, Lise Pruitt, doing the conditioning.

If Melisandre follows in Escape Clause’s hoofprints, she will now enter--and win--two more stakes races before entering the Manitoba Derby on the first Monday of August. Escape Clause ran second in that race. Can I dare say it? Is Melisandre Manitoba Derby material?

*       *       *

Hottest jockey: Jorge Carreno (6 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Jerry Gourneau (7 wins)
Biggest longshot: Rocky Barbados $29.60 (Race 7 Monday)
Stakes champions:
Melisandre (Chantilly), St. Louie Guy (Free Press)
Upcoming stakes:
Golden Boy (Monday)
Top analyst on ASD Live: Kirt -- 9 winners in 19 picks
Carryovers: $85,461 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $11,258 in the Jackpot Hi-5

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to all the 2020 CTHS award winners for Manitoba horse breeding:

-- Manitoba-bred Horse of the Year -- Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason / HIDDEN GRACE
-- 2-Year-Old Filly -- Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason / MELISANDRE
-- 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding -- Dr. Betty Hughes / CALL THE COPS
-- 3-Year-Old Filly -- Starfield Stable / DAZZLING GOLD
-- 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding -- Nearco Ltd. / MCKAGUE
-- Older Mare -- Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason / HIDDEN GRACE
-- Older Horse -- Dr. Ross A. McKague / MARSELAN
-- Broodmare Award -- Dr. Ross A. McKague / COLORINO
-- Stallion of the Year -- Cam Ziprick / GOING COMMANDO
-- Breeder of the Year -- Dr. Betty Hughes
WIN A TON IN '21: Have you tried this when new race meets begin?

“I’ll bet Emma-Jayne has been working this horse like crazy in the mornings and she’s ready to win,” I told my betting partner about race 6 on opening day Saturday at Woodbine.

Sure enough, that horse, Hidden Identity, a first-time starter, easily took the lead and destroyed the 12-horse maiden field by 11 lengths, paying $12 to win--a nice price.

So why did I have a strong hunch this would happen? Because I had looked up the 2020 results for the first two days at Woodbine (on Equibase) and discovered Emma-Jayne Wilson had won five of the 22 races. There was a strong likelihood she would be just as ready for this year’s meet and she was. She won two more races on the following day, too.

Just another way of getting a betting edge.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert wants a New York court to overturn his suspension by the New York Racing Association (NYRA). He says only the New York gaming commission has that right since that is the body that licenses him. NYRA suspended him from racing at NYRA tracks after the Baffert-trained Medina Spirit came up positive for a banned corticosteroid after the colt won the Kentucky Derby.

Meanwhile, legal wrangling in Kentucky has resulted in Baffert having a lab analyze the colt’s post-Derby urine sample. Baffert wants to show the urine does not contain the injectable form of corticosteroid and therefore the corticosteroid came from a cream applied to a skin rash--which Baffert maintains is not covered by Kentucky regulations. At stake, of course, is retaining Medina Spirit’s Derby victory.

At the end of the 1962 season the Downs conducted a review of the performances of all horses who competed in the summer race meet. As a result of this review, in November 1962 the competitive spirit of 54 thoroughbreds was questioned. This week the history blog takes a closer look at the thoroughbreds who were told they would not be granted stall space for the 1963 season. Click here to learn more about the evictees as we pay our respects to the horses that time forgot.
Canadian quarter horse racing goes every Wednesday at Ajax Downs at 12:30 p.m.
  • Today: Royal Ascot racing from England 8:30 a.m.
  • Tomorrow: Royal Ascot racing from England 8:30 a.m.
  • Sunday, June 20: Longest day of the year! Santa Anita meet ends with mandatory payouts of all pools.
  • Monday, June 21: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Golden Boy Stakes
  • Tuesday, June 22: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 23: Canadian quarter horse racing at Ajax Downs 12:30 p.m. Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, June 25: Thoroughbred meet begins at Los Alamitos 3 p.m.
  • Monday, June 28: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 29: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 30: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m. Canada Day Stakes
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, tune into MTS channels 179 & 180 or watch on YouTube at


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