Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 24 (Issue #592)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

"Fireworks" start tonight (in Golden Boy) . . .

. . . and will continue to Tuesday (July 4 holiday in the U.S.)

TONIGHT: Is Paint My Ride Manitoba Derby material? The highly-regarded Manitoba-bred gelding takes on salty rivals from top breeding states tonight in the Manitoba Derby prep race, the Golden Boy Stakes.

FRIDAY: Extended July 4 long weekend begins with Churchill and Ruidoso Stakes and Woodbine begins its Queen's Plate festival weekend. Note the monthly VLT finale takes place after the ASD races that begin at 7:15 p.m.


  • Blanket for horse who wins 250th anniversary/Name the Filly race Saturday

    Very momentous night: Canstar Night at the Races, Canada's 150th birthday and the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada
  • Is Escape Clause the best 3-year-old filly in western Canada as her owners say she is? She’s entered in the Chantilly stakes, the prep race for the Manitoba Oaks (to be run on Derby Day)
  • Will Shelley Brown’s Stevie Mac prove she is the best older filly or mare on the grounds (in the $25,000 Canstar Canada Day Stakes)?
  • BIG REVEAL in Name the Filly contest. Blanket presentation to the winning horse in the 250th anniversary/Name the Filly race.
  • Spectacular fireworks display by CanFire Pyrotechnics
SUNDAY: Queen’s Plate Day. Huge Woodbine pools fattened by lots of “dumb” money. Can you capitalize? First post is 11 a.m.

MONDAY & TUESDAY: July 4 holiday weekend in the U.S. which means major tracks are racing. There will be mutuel sellers at the Downs and at all off-track betting locations except Quest on Monday.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Let's hear it for the Queen Mudder! She gets hat trick and anchors $6,500 pick-4.
  • Did I win $70,000 in the pick-6 at Santa Anita? Watch replay and see.
  • How many ASD pick-4s have paid more than $1,000?
  • What are the most deserving shout-outs of the week?
  • Why does former ASD jockey Paul Nolan need help?
  • Do you watch will-pays? Player gives good example why you should.

Ken Porter

"I challenge anyone to beat that"

PORTER TAKES BETTING SPREE TO A NEW LEVEL: You can’t assume anything in the 60-second betting spree contest. Just when it looked as if Ed Slemkoski’s $512 would easily win June’s highest amount, along came Canada Mint employee Ken Porter who watched a replay that convinced him to play win and exactor tickets in the fifth race Friday that earned him the gigantic sum of $727 for rattling off $152 in $2 wagers. If your name is drawn tonight or Friday night, will you play triactors and superfectas in an effort to beat him?
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? Jays - Bombers

AFTER LIVE RACING: Free VLT tournaments. 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. Plus Crazy Hour. Beer, shots and wine only $2.95 plus half-price appetizers (nachos, chicken fingers, chicken wings and gyoza.)

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker. Registration 10 p.m. Game starts at 10:30 p.m. New Royal Flush progressive jackpot is at $1,665! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

TELL YOUR FRIENDS -- FIRST ASD NIGHT MARKET COMING! Excitement surrounds ASD’s first Night Market to be held from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, a day with no live racing. Fun for everyone: food trucks, micro-breweries, beer garden, dozens of exhibitors, live music, artisans, etc. Can you resist after watching this short video? Go here for tickets ($5 each, five for $20).

She's the Queen Mudder

Kayla Pizarro wins three of four on a sloppy track; sets up $6,500 pick-4 payout

Kalya Pizarro
She's the Queen Mudder

Call her the Queen Mudder. Jockey Kayla Pizarro, last year’s leading Canadian apprentice jockey, has a knack for winning when the track comes up wet.

Take last Wednesday. She rode four horses on the sloppy track and won with three of them:
  • Race 1 Smitty’s Gunslinger $5.90
  • Race 4 B B Prince of Scat $7.10
  • Race 7 Witt’s Lizard $8.00
And on Saturday, on a wet/fast track, she “hugged the rail” (as race-caller Kirt Contois put it) with Sierra Delta while others duked it out in the 7 1/2f event. Then she rallied just at the right time to catch them all at juicy odds of 9-1. It couldn’t have been a more perfect ride you can watch here (June 24, race 7).

PIzarro (#1) mows 'em down with Sierra Delta at 9-1
(Jason Halstead photo)

How does she account for her success in the off-going? She’s not sure, she told The Insider, but said she DOES follow her retired jockey father’s advice to be a patient rider.

Electrician Larry Liebrecht seems to have been the only pick-4 player Saturday who caught on: He stepped outside group play and played his own ticket that included Kayla and won the entire $6,478 pool. I’ll bet he’s not the only one next time!
  • Larry Liebrecht
    A Kayla Pizarro believer

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to electrician Larry Liebrecht for pocketing Saturday’s pick-4 pool for a mere $16 ticket (1,5/1,6/2,4/1,8).  He had bought a share in a group ticket, he said, “but the more I looked at the program, the more I liked #1 Sierra Delta with jockey Kayla Pizarro, which we didn't have on our group ticket.  Kayla rode the horse really well last time, plus the jockey/trainer angle with Jerry Gourneau was 45%.  I figured it was worth a shot.” Nice!

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to jockey Kayla Pizarro, Sovereign Award winner last year as Canada’s leading apprentice, for bagging a hat trick on last Wednesday’s sloppy track. (See Queen Mudder elsewhere in today’s column.)

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to sous-chef Gerry Tummillo for introducing a dessert that everyone’s talking about: hot bourbon bacon brownie. “You should see how much bourbon he adds,” said an ASD staffer during a discussion of those who tried it and those who can’t wait to try it. Not since CERTIFIED Angus prime rib was introduced as a staple at buffets has there been such a buzz about a food item. Are diners going back for thirds and fourths?

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to all the entrants in the Canstar newspaper’s Name the Filly contest who submitted a whopping 848 names. There was obviously a lot of brain-racking going on; the carefully thought-out names showed it. The Big Reveal of the filly’s name and the winner will come Saturday night in the Winner’s Circle following a race by that name.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the Assiniboia Racing Club’s second win Saturday with the horse they had claimed at Turf Paradise, This Cat’s Awesome. It was a short field of four because of a scratch by a likely highly competitive rival but Cat still had to work hard because two others challenged him right out of the gate every step of the way. Nice going to trainer Jared Brown for keeping him razor-sharp. The Club, which had 39 members buying 41 shares at $500 each have now collected $14,800 in purse money for a horse they had claimed for $3,200 U.S. A couple more wins would make him a candidate for “claim of the year.”

  • Dilio Long
    Wins at 75

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Panamanian jockey Dilio Long who recently won a race AT THE AGE OF 75. Would it surprise anyone that we’re likely eventually going to see a jockey win a race at 90. After all, a 100-year-old, Fauja Singh, ran the whole marathon race in Toronto in 2011. Hey, ASD’s Jerry Pruitt, who celebrated his 66th birthday on June 10, is just a baby!



Manitoba Derby prep race tonight

Will Manitoba-bred Paint My Ride meet high expectations in Golden Boy?

Paint My Ride owners Barry Arnason, Don Schnell

In tonight’s Golden Boy Stakes—a prep race for the Manitoba Derby--we should get a full measure of the highly-regarded Manitoba-bred Paint My Ride who was last year’s champion 2-year-old. He faces a salty field of foes bred in Kentucky, California, Florida and Texas.

Oddsmaker Dustin Davis has assigned Paint My Ride a 6-1 morning line. The 8-5 morning line favourite is the Texas-bred, Witt’sdollarnight, who is owned by Henry Witt, Jr., whose Witt Six finished second in the Manitoba Derby two years ago and won the Gold Cup last year under the tutelage of Jerry Gourneau.

Murray Duncan’s Plentiful
is second choice at 5-2 but perhaps has the best recent record, having won two overnight stakes races since being claimed at Oaklawn Park. This compares with Witt’sdollarnight having won two allowance races for Texas-breds only and finishing third in an open allowance.

Shelley Brown’s Hard Knocks Rock
(4-1) and Lise Pruitt’s Hogan (15-1) completes the compact field. It’s the third leg of the pick-4 and should be a good one.

*       *        *

Pick-4 bonanza

Payouts average $2,724 for $1

No wonder pick-4 pools are growing (reaching $10,240 a week ago). Over the first 18 days of the ASD meet, fat payouts have been the rule, the latest of which was $6,478 that was won Saturday by electrician Larry Liebrecht (see Shout-outs of the Week).

Eleven of the 16 payouts—or 68.7 per cent—have exceeded $1,000. (The four biggest are in red below). The average payout for a $1 pick-4 has been $2,724. The $1 payoffs:

May 14: $1,633
May 19: $2,933
May 20: $1,571
May 22: $3,588
May 26: Carryover
May 27: $17,749
May 31: $1,005
June 2: $1,123
June 3: Carryover
June 7: $90
June 9: $3,444
June 10: $1,325
June 14: $70
June 17: $302
June 18: $344
June 21: $1,633
June 23: $202
June 24: $6,478

What will the pool grow to tonight? Will it be bigger than last Wednesday’s $10,240?

*       *        *

Tonight's best bets

Kirt, Rob and Marshall
I'm playing a $20 win parlay on their picks

Each selector has a different opinion; I'm playing a $20 win parlay

  • Kirt’s best (record: 3-2-1-0): Race 4 -- #5 Mystery Cat (9-5)
  • Rob’s best (record 3-2-1-0): Race 1 -- #3 War Hero (1-2)
  • Marshall ’s best (record 3-0-1-1): Race 2 -- #2 Dreamcastle (9-5). “Stalked a fast pace last out where the winner came back to win again moving up in class.”
Rob had the only winner last week: Hard Knocks Rock ($2.80) who is racing in tonight’s Golden Boy Stakes.

Hottest jockey(s): Kayla Pizarro (4 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Jerry Gourneau (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Sierra Delta $21.70 (race 7 Saturday)  
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $125 (race 7 Saturday)
Stakes champion(s): no stakes



If #6 wins this race, I collect $70,000 in the pick-6! (Did I?)

Why did this pick-6 at Santa Anita cry out to be played?

Tyler Baze
Rides my 11-1 key

From time to time, a pick-6 cries out to be played. That was the case at Santa Anita Saturday. Not so much because of the $80,000 carryover but because two races had solid rules (the 6 ½f down-the-hill turf sprint) and three legs looked keyable, meaning a $32 ticket could win it.

Sure enough, the first turf sprint was won by a 7-1 rule horse cutting back to a sprint after showing speed in turf routes. And the second turf sprint was won by a rule horse that won before on that distinctive course (an 84 per cent rule).

Bob Baffert’s Collected
romped like a 3-5 should (key) and two other legs ran according to form. What about #6, Record Highs, the key in the fourth leg, race 8? The odds were 11-1 but his pace numbers showed he had an excellent chance of wiring the field and a proven front-runner, Tyler Baze, was aboard. So did he win? Did I collect $70,000? Watch that race here.

*       *       *

WHY IT PAYS TO LOOK AT WILL-PAYS: Dave Boehmer, an aficionado of pick-4s and pick-5s, does something we all should be doing, looking at “will-pays” for the first leg of our pick tickets. As he was playing Gulfstream last week, he emailed The Insider with this great example:

“Was looking at Gulfstream pick 5 and was going to key #3 first leg. Thought I would check double payouts since favourite won previous race. When I was going over them I stopped at #6 and thought this double makes no sense. It was like $36 and the horse was 30/1. I put him in my pick 5 and he stalks front runners and draws off in the stretch. Nice to sniff those barn bets out!”


U.S. BETTOR WINS ASD SUPER HI-5: A U.S. bettor by the name of Zak Weber who bets on a Twin Spires account tweeted last week that he collected $5,583 U.S. betting ASD’s Super Hi 5 last Wednesday. His ticket of 20-cent combinations cost $240 and his wheel looked like this: 1,2,7,9/1,2,7,9/1,2,4,6,7,8,9/1,2,4,6,7,9/1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. The result was:1-7-4-6-2. The odds of the top five horses were: 3-1, 3-1, 24-1, 7-1 and 2-1.

Paul Nolan
Recovering from spinal injury

FORMER JOCKEY PAUL NOLAN INJURED; ON "GO FUND ME" PAGE: A former leading jockey at ASD, Paul Nolan, with a spinal issue resulting from a spill at Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma two months ago, is listed on a Go Fund Me page here in a bid to pay bills while recovering and hopefully returning to riding. His page has raised about half of its $20,000 objective. Nolan was leading jockey at Assiniboia Downs in 2012 and is mainly associated with two-time Horse of the Year Balooga Bull who won the Manitoba Derby and three Gold Cups with Nolan aboard from 2012 to 2014.

IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING: If you’re out and about in Winnipeg right now—walking, cycling, driving with the windows open—you may notice the air is sweetly scented. That’s the result of highly fragrant blooms on Japanese lilac trees. It’s a “sweet” time of the year!


HISTORY ON THE HOOF: From dud to Olympic medal

This week Bob tells the story of a Minnesota horseman’s exploits in the racing business from 1959 to 1983 and 1993 to 1996.  This soft-spoken, humble, straight-shooter of a guy sold a dud of a thoroughbred for $400 to Bill Teske who renamed the horse and made a jumper out of him.  The result?  The horses value rose to $80,000 and he became a silver medalist in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Read more here

Bubble kids take over
A charitable 5k Bubble Run took over ASD Sunday morning with 2,000 participants. What a creative way to tie-dye a T-shirt! (Manley Chan photo)

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