Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 25 (Issue #643)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

THIS MORNING AT 8:50 AM CDT. Click here to watch.



Here's why CanFire Pyrotechnics will knock your socks off on Canada Day

Downs' location offers "bigger breadth" to display

Fair warning: With the addition of a new high-tech digital firing system, with new ideas picked up in China and with the ability to fire higher-calibre ordinance than they’re allowed to use at the Winnipeg Forks, get ready for a fireworks display at Assiniboia Downs on Canada Day “that will make you feel like your hair is being parted and you’re on a thrill ride strapped to your seat.”

Whoa! That’s the description from Peter Palmer, general manager of Manitoba’s CanFire Pyrotechnics, who left his 10-year job as a commercial pilot two decades ago to focus on something that he fell in love with at six.

Producing almost 150 fireworks shows a year—and having competed against China’s very top fireworks outfit—he said what makes his company different is that it doesn’t simply throw everything at the viewer in the final 30 seconds or so but builds a crescendo of effects in the last five minutes. You think it’s done but it’s not done. It just keeps getting more and more awesome. “Hundreds” of lines of script have gone into the choreography of the Downs show, he said.

The location—Assiniboia Downs—benefits viewers as well, he said, because he can use higher calibre ordinance up to eight-inches compared to The Forks where they are limited to five-inches because of the downtown location. That means displays reach as high as 700 feet compared to 400 feet at The Forks. “There’s bigger breadth to the show,” he said.

Which means you’d better wear extra-clingy socks to the track on Canada Day.

Of course, there’s lots of pre-fireworks fun, too:
  • Meet Goldeyes players
    Racing begins 7:15. It’s Canstar Night at the Races so there are free valuable coupons in this week’s Canstar group of community papers (which is added to today’s Free Press and available in flyer bundles delivered to households around Winnipeg)
  • Feature race: The $27,500 Canstar Canada Day Stakes for top fillies and mares led by 2017 Horse of the Year Escape Clause
  • The BIG REVEAL. Who is the winner in the Name the Yearling contest and what is the winning name?
  • Meet Winnipeg Goldeyes players; get into draw for free tickets!
  • The usual popular draws for free wagers and Fan of the Day.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Rare paint horse ready to race at ASD. How soon?
  • Will Charlie Smith's True Confession follow in Miss Missile's hoofprints?
  • Queen's Plate now will be run on Saturday
  • Is Escape Clause a Canada Day shoo-in?
  • Support grows for severely injured groom
NO ONE PREDICTS FIRST & WORST IN OHIO DERBY, CONSOLATION PRIZE AWARDED: Since no one predicted the winner, Core Beliefs ($7.60) and last-place finisher (O’Kratos, 20-1) in Saturday’s $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown, a draw from all entries produced a consolation prize winner of $25 in wagering vouchers for Kerry Webb.
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
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94.3 The Drive

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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. Please note that there is no poker on Friday, June 29 or Saturday, June 30. The Royal Flush progressive jackpot for Friday, July 6 is $9,005.


Rare paint horse ready to race

"Just waiting for paper work to be completed" trainer says

E E Legal being schooled in the paddock (Derek Corbel photo)
A rare (gorgeous) paint horse, a 4-year-old colt named E E Legal, has been working out at the Downs and “he’s ready” to race, says trainer Shelley Brown. The only hold-up, she says, is DNA paperwork involving his father, Ellusive Spell, the only paint horse to have ever raced at the Downs. That should be cleared up in a week or two, Brown says.

Ellusive Spell, trained in 2009 by Emile Corbel, raced twice in maiden special races and finished fourth and fifth, picking up $846 in purse money. Jean McEwen who has owned other horses but is particularly fascinated with paint horses bred E E Legal.

Paint thoroughbreds are a rarity. Brown told The Insider she thinks a paint had been racing at Gulfstream recently but there are no specific records available for paint thoroughbreds.

One thing about paint horses, though, is their popularity with the public. Out came the cameras back in 2009 when Ellusive Spell first paraded in the paddock. Will you make a trip to the paddock with yours when E E Legal makes his first start?

*       *       *

Will history repeat?

Charlie Smith wants True Confession to follow in Miss Missile's hoofprints

True Confession romps in Chantilly Stakes
Uh-oh. Texas lawyer Charlie Smith has a very live filly, True Confession, who masterfully disposed of the competition in Friday’s Chantilly Stakes, signalling she may be able to do what another Smith filly, the great Miss Missile, did 10 years ago.

Back in 2008, Miss Missile won the most important races for 3-year-old fillies—the Chantilly, the Jack Hardy and the Assiniboia Oaks. If everything goes according to Smith’s plan, True Confession has a date with the Jack Hardy on Friday, July 13, and the Manitoba Oaks on Friday, Aug. 3 (Derby weekend).

Smith has a way with fillies. His 2-year-old fillies won an unprecedented five Debutante Stakes in a row starting with Miss Missile in 2007. His 2009 Debutante winner, Ruby’s Big Band, in fact, is True Confession’s mom. (Dad is Broken Vow, winner of six graded stakes.)

*       *       *

Is Escape Clause a Canada Day shoo-in?

Filly faces familiar foes in Canstar's Canada Day Stakes

Maybe “on her very best day” Stevie Mac could beat 2017 Horse of the Year Escape Clause, Stevie Mac’s trainer, Shelley Brown told The Insider. She hopes that day is Canada Day Sunday in the $27,500 Canada Day Stakes.

Brown was especially pleased with Stevie Mac’s last race in which, despite a slow start, she fought off Tadaa who had headed her twice in one of the best duels of the meet. Tadaa is also in the race as is C J’s Flair who won the Canada Day Stakes last year.

Entries will be taken tomorrow. Racing begins Sunday night at 7:15.

*       *       *

HOTTIES OF THE WEEK (Wed, Fri, Sat):  
Hottest jockeys:
Renaldo Cumberbatch, Chavion Chow, Rohan Singh (3 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Jerry Gourneau (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Dublin Grace $60.60 (Wednesday race 4)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $860 (Wednesday race 7)
Stakes champion(s): True Confession (Chantilly), Zack Ridge Road (Golden Boy)

*       *       *

PICK-4 SEEMS TO BE EITHER FEAST OR FAMINE: Continuing the trend of the live race meet, it was either feast or famine for the pick-4s this past week. The pick-4 on Wednesday and Friday was won by a single $1 ticket ($8,726 on Wednesday, $5,855 on Friday). A $1 ticket paid just $39.75 on Saturday.


Woodbine changes days of Queen's Plate, Breeders' Stakes

Two legs of Canadian Triple Crown will now be held on Saturday

The Queen’s Plate, the longest running stakes race in North America, will now be held THIS SATURDAY rather than Sunday.

And the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Stakes, will also be run on Saturday, Aug. 18, rather than Sunday. Saturday is in keeping with the traditional date for almost all major races in North America. The exception is the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico.

The second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown is the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie. That race will be run on Tuesday, July 24.

Watch the draw for Queen’s Plate entries this morning at 8:50 a.m. here.

Trainer Ardell Sayler (right) gets congratulations from CEO Darren Dunn and a champagne and chocolates gift basket from simulcast and program director Sheri Glendinning
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to trainer Ardell Sayler who chalked up win #1,300 when Rohan Singh rode United We Stand ($4.50) to victory in Saturday’s first race. The South Dakotan’s first win as a trainer came on Sept. 30, 1987, at Lincoln Race Course in Nebraska on a horse named Saree’s Gem and the horses he has conditioned have earned $8.26 million. He has been winning at a rate of 17.5 per cent, earned the leading trainer title at the Downs 12 times and has a deserved reputation of being a particularly talented baby trainer.

His biggest years were 2013 ($568,000 in horse earnings) and 2014 ($587,000). Those were also the years of his best horse, Balooga Bull, who won the Manitoba Derby and three Gold Cups and was named Horse of the Year twice. He told The Insider the 1,300-win milestone has been a bit elusive but “do your work and it will fall into place.” Just in time for baby season that begins in July.


AID FOR SERIOUSLY INJURED GROOM GROWS: GoFundMe has raised $12,000 so far for groom Rebecca Fentum-Jones, 22, who suffered severe head injuries in a fall from a horse on Sunday, June 17. K5 Stable’s Leona Stahl is leading the call for support. See more details and help out by visiting the GoFundMe page here.

Joel Rosario
Gets $110,000 for a ride he didn't make
LAST MINUTE JOCKEY CHANGE COSTS OWNER $110,000: The California Horse Racing Board has ordered horse owner Charles Fipke to pay jockey Joel Rosario $110,000 for a ride the jockey didn’t make. That’s because Fipke had taken Rosario off his horse, Forever Unbridled, at entry time for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff Stakes at Del Mar last year, and substituted John Velasquez despite promising Rosario the mount weeks before the race. Velasquez received $110,000 for winning the race,10 per cent of the purse—which is what Rosario must be paid as well. Those are the rules of racing but Fipke had appealed, only to have the CHRB confirm the owner’s legal necessity.

An uneventful Saturday gave the “I won big” betting group a $16 return on their $20 investment in the pick-5 and pick-4 at Woodbine. Now, thanks to Woodbine for moving its Queen Plate to Saturday, the group will get to play the Plate along with the pick-5 on races 2 to 6. Also, take a look at the pick-4 with the Plate in it to see if that represents a good-value play. See you Saturday on the Clubhouse plaza at the usual 10:30 a.m. Big pools with lots of casual money could mean big profits!

A 27-year-old New York City woman who works in costuming for an NBC program, Caroline Wilson, received $150,000 from Belmont Park just for predicting Justify would win the Belmont Stakes. She got to make the pick by having her name drawn from entries to a contest celebrating the track’s 150th Belmont Stakes. Some 40,000 race fans submitted about 200,000 entries which were attached to fans buying tickets to Belmont Stakes Day. Wilson was lucky her pick was pretty much a gimme.
HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: Lived in luxury; most at home around barns
Who is the Winnipeg-born Hall of Famer whose address was once the CPR’s luxurious Royal Alexandra Hotel? This sports writer turned author was accustomed to riding in his father’s private railway car but was most at home on racing’s backstretch. Bob has the details here.
  • This Friday, June 29:  No live racing
  • Saturday, June 30: Queen’s Plate from Woodbine.  Live racing 7:15. R. J. Speers Stakes
  • Sunday, July 1, Canada Day: Live racing 7:15. Canstar Night at the Races: Big Reveal in “Name the Yearling” contest, $27,500 Canstar Canada Day Stakes, giant fireworks display
  • Wednesday, July 4: Independence Day in the U.S. with racing from major tracks. No live racing (because there was live racing on Sunday)
  • Friday, July 6: Live racing 7:15
  • Saturday, July 7: Live racing 7:15
NEXT INSIDER: Thursday (because there’s no live racing next Wednesday)
Happy July 4 (a week from today) to our southern neighbours! (Equestrian stylists photo)

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