Friday, June 25, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 24 (Issue #795)

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


ASD opens tomorrow for racing and dining
Home delivery of programs continues
  • Starting tomorrow at 9 a.m. Assiniboia Downs will be open all day every day for dining and for simulcast racing and wagering in the Race Book on the second level of the facility. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snacks and your favourite beverage.
  • Dine and watch live racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Remember, reservations are a must - call 204-885-3330. View the race night menu at The grandstand and tarmac will remain closed to spectators due to provincial COVID restrictions.
  • VLTs remain closed under provincial COVID restrictions
  • Home delivery of programs continues. Programs and DRF are available at ASD, through our program delivery service and via curbside pickup.
  • The following OTB locations are open: Rookies (Central Hotel)


Will last year's stats help you win at Los Alamitos opener this aft?

The Los Alamitos thoroughbred meet begins this afternoon. Will stats from last year’s first three days of racing help you win today or this weekend? No trainer was a standout in the first 26 races last season but, on the jockey side, Juan Hermandez scored four wins and Ramon Guce had three. So, for starters, you may wish to pay closer attention to the horses they’re riding.

Pimlico keeps your millionaire dream alive

You once again have a shot at becoming a millionaire this afternoon. There’s a $1.23 million carryover on the jackpot Pick-6 going into today’s Pimlico card in Baltimore, Maryland. That’s in U.S. money. So if you win it as a Canadian, you’ll almost be a multi-millionaire. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What will YOUR 20-cent ticket win?

Mandatory pick-6 payout tomorrow at Gulfstream

Today’s Gulfstream card features a Rainbow 6 carryover of $432K and, if not won, there will be a mandatory payout of the 20-cent wager tomorrow afternoon when the pool is likely to reach $3.5 million or more.


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Pruitt & Anderson are the new powerhouse trainers. Did someone say MB Derby?
  • Will you kick yourself for not having watched this ASD replay?
  • Confused over the significance of stakes races? This download will set you straight
  • When should you bet a mile horse to win a sprint race? See Win a Ton in '21
  • Horses names DO influence betting
NEXT VEGAS CHALLENGE TOURNEY IS JUST 10 DAYS AWAY: Monday, July 5 is the day in which a $50 (or less) entry fee can fly you and a guest to Las Vegas to play for a top prize of about $300,000 in the Horse Player World Series. Isn’t this the best deal in town? You can reduce the entry fee, of course, by picking at least three winners on live race cards leading to that tournament. There were 74 participants in the first Vegas Challenge tourney. See rules 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.
Wendy Anderson with Golden Boy winner City Champ (Charlotte Johnston photo)

Powerhouse gals

Manitoba Derby is the elephant in the stables for Pruitt and Anderson

Lise Pruitt with the unbeaten Melisandre (Ciera Pruitt photo)
Shhh! You can think it but don’t say it because you don’t want to attract the attention of the jinx gods. Say what? That the Manitoba Derby is within the grasp of two newly-powerful trainers, Lise Pruitt and Wendy Anderson.

Lise Pruitt? Wendy Anderson? Race track regulars may be doing a double-take. Training in the shadows for years, the pair now is basking in the limelight. Second and third in the trainer standings, their barns are packed with talent. Pruitt is training 21 horses, Anderson has 22.

“It’s crazy. This is my best year ever,”
says Pruitt who is winning at a whopping 38 per cent clip. “I’m scary pleased,” says Anderson whose win rate is 29 per cent.
  • Anderson’s potential Derby star is City Champ, a 3-year-old gelding she brought from Northern California with nine others. Champ is unbeaten in three races at the Downs including the Derby prep stakes, the Golden Boy, this past Monday. The nagging question is: can he handle a longer distance? “I think he can. We’ll see when we enter him in the Derby Trial,” she says.

  • Pruitt’s possible Derby threat is Melisandre, the 3-year-old filly who’s been winning for fun and seems to be following in the hoofprints of Manitoba’s greatest-ever horse, Escape Clause. Melisandre is six-for-six including the Chantilly Stakes last week. But Pruitt also has Escape Clause’s full sister, Reasonable Cause, getting better each race including a gritty maiden win in which she dueled her rival into submission. “I can hardly wait until she stretches out,” says Pruitt.
So how did the two trainers get to this monumental moment? Pruitt can thank major horse owner Barry Arnason. After she looked after his horses through the winter he gave the okay for her continuing to train them.

And as for Anderson, who spent years racing claimers, it’s having the ability to train full time now that she has retired from her 43-year job as family counsellor at a Saskatoon health district. Her passion for horses is through the roof. “I’m running this as a business and I intend to make money at it,” she declares. Hence, the big buy of horses in California. She owns 10 of 22 horses outright, has a partner for nine others and is training the other three for clients.

‘I just want to relax and enjoy myself doing this,”
she says. “I have really good clients.”

She actually dabbled in horses in the 1970s when she was married to trainer Carl Anderson but later, while working in Saskatoon, did so only part-time although quite successfully, with a win rate each year as high as 31 per cent. Until this year, she had just one stakes victory, the Distaff with Dawn Edition, back in 2002.

As for Pruitt, she’s been training since 2002 while husband Jerry Pruitt worked as a jockey, retiring several years ago. Coming into this season, her win rate was 12 per cent from 1,025 starts.

She has a great way of unwinding from the pressures of training. “I’m a goalie in hockey,” she says, “in a beer league.”

And what are her thoughts about actually having an entry in the Manitoba Derby? “It’s hard not to think about. I’m just taking one race at a time.”

*       *       *

Hottest jockey: Jorge Carreno (6 wins)
Hottest trainer: Wendy Anderson
(5 wins)
Biggest longshot: Henrisincontrol $46.90 (Race 5 Monday)
Stakes champions: City Champ
 (Golden Boy)
Upcoming stakes: Canada Day (Wednesday)
Top analyst on ASD Live: Marshall -- 11 winners in 21 picks
$108,362 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $18,277 in the Jackpot Hi-5

*       *       *
Did you catch ASD's longshot of the week -- $46.90?
You might have if you had watched the replay of the horse's previous race

Replay shows Sheldon Chickeness pulling up Henrisincontrol after losing a stirrup
With Monday’s $5,000 maiden claiming race at ASD (race 5) having two vulnerable favourites--one horse that liked to quit when he was on the lead (#6 My Last Twenty) and another who seemed satisfied with second or third (#4 No More Secrets)--you had to give other horses a long look.

That could have led you to watch the replay on #3 Henrisincontrol who had a terrible running line in his first start this year. He finished seventh by 34 lengths. That race was at the higher maiden special weight class level so watching the replay was especially important. And what did it show? Jockey Sheldon Chickeness pulling up the horse after appearing to lose his right stirrup which was hidden from view. (Which was confirmed when I talked to co-owner/breeder Larry Falloon.)

So you would have had to put a line through that race and added #3 to your tickets--which would have netted you $46.90 to win, a $1 superfecta that paid $3,534 (with the favourites second and third) and nice payoffs in the pick-4 and pick-5. Falloon said his horse’s problematic previous race resulted in a bet which netted him $2,200.

Congrats, Larry to you and co-breeder Denis Huberdeau and co-owner trainer Steve Gaskin on Henri’s maiden win!

Watch that race on Youtube -- June 8, 2021, race 6
EYE ON LIVE: Path of Champions (print for future reference)

Follow the colour-coded stakes races to the top

The Golden Boy Stakes (which ran on Monday) is written in red. What other stakes races are red? They show you the path to the ultimate red race, the Manitoba Derby. Follow any horse from any stakes race on the path to greatness in the same way, by following the colours. (There will be a surprise test.)
WIN A TON IN '21: When should you bet a mile specialist to win a sprint race?

When you see a horse with just mile races--and no sprint races--in his past performances, should you still bet him to win a 6-furlong sprint race?

That’s when the route-speed-cutting-back-to-a-sprint rule kicks in. Gooch Express in race 1 Monday at ASD fit the rule. He had shown a pace number of 125 in his mile races and several pace numbers in the hundreds.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he won rather easily but what was surprising was his handsome price: $13.20.

I’ve mentioned before that a handicapping specialist in a panel discussion in the U.S. told the audience that his #1 favourite handicapping angle in racing is route speed cutting back to a sprint. He would likely have bet hundreds on Gooch Express. I would immediately have thrown out the horse if his past performances showed Gooch only as a closer with no early pace.

Horses with something denoting “fast” in their names get bet more than they should, a trio of Swiss researchers discovered after correlating 400,000 races in 10 years of racing to the odds on those horses. That means you’ll collect less than you should when you bet a horse sounding like it’s speedy. Hmm. Now we know.

The Kentucky Racing Commission has decided not to ban crop use as the New Jersey Racing Commission did but the regulatory body will restrict crop use to a total of six overhand strikes during a race and a jockey must wait for a horse’s response after two strikes. The crop cannot be brought over the helmet. Underhanded and backhanded strikes won’t count and neither will showing a horse the crop as long as both hands are on the reins.

“TRUMP” EXCISED FROM HORSE NAME: A 5-year-old gelding previously named Royal Trump will be racing at Los Alamitos tomorrow afternoon under his new name, Peaceful Transfer, after the horse’s co-owner, Steven McCanne, petitioned The Jockey Club to change the name because of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. McCanne had claimed the horse at Del Mar in November. “Names and words matter,” McCanne stated in his email to The Jockey Club which accepted his reason for wanting the name changed.

Karen Louise Chysyk may not be a name that is easily recognizable but she left her mark at the Downs. She won a Powder Puff Derby and conditioned 33 winners in 1980, which was more winners than any other female trainer in the history of Assiniboia Downs at the time. Some of her runners were A Lot of Ability, Mr. Mar J Mar and Susans Turn to name but a few. Click here to reveal the life and time of this Saskatoon lass who made the Downs her home for most of the 1970s and the early '80s. 
  • Today: 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
  • Thursday, July 1: Happy Birthday, Canada! Woodbine starts at 12:20 p.m.
  • Monday, July 5: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Hazel Wright Sire Stakes
  • Tuesday, July 6: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Jack Hardy Stakes
  • Wednesday, July 7: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. R.J. Speers 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 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 You can dine and watch live racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Remember, reservations are a must - call 204-885-3330. View the race night menu at The grandstand and tarmac will remain closed to spectators due to provincial COVID restrictions.

Happy Canada Day!

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