Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 25 (Issue #593)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Evelyn MacKenzie-Reid (centre, holding filly name) receives prizes from Canstar sales manager Barb Borden (left) and Shelley Morgan in the Winner's Circle Saturday

And the winning filly name is . . .

Modesty's Tribute

A horse-lover who had been leading a quiet life providing accounting and other services from her home has suddenly found herself thrust into the limelight as the winner of Canstar’s “Name the Filly” contest.

She is Evelyn MacKenzie-Reid and the winning filly name that three judges chose from 848 submissions is Modesty’s Tribute.

This name, the judges decided, nailed the contest’s intent to celebrate the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada. On July 1, 1767, a mare by the name of Modesty won the very first advertised horse race held on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. Modesty’s Tribute is bang-on in marking that event, judges decided.


Evelyn has won $250 in cash, a suite for 16 at a Goldeyes game and bragging rights forever. The three judges were Sherisse Ziprick from the filly’s breeding farm in Russell, Manitoba, Canstar rep Shelley Morgan and me.

And how excited was Evelyn when she found out she had won? “My daughter couldn’t understand a word I said when I left a voice message telling her!”

READ MORE HERE (My column this week in the Canstar papers)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • ASD fireworks does the impossible. What's that? See "Shout-outs of the Week"
  • Filly wins Queen's Plate! Is that a good omen for Escape Clause in the Manitoba Derby?
  • Murray Duncan wins both stakes on Canada Day; late co-owner would be proud
  • Cumberbatch fined for not riding his horse out, finishing third instead of second
  • Chadee holds off rivals to post impressive Canada Day victory
  • Have you signed up for Saturday's trip-to-Vegas tourney?
BETTING SPREE: TWO MONTHLY WINNERS SET, THREE TO GO: Okay, we know that Wayne Misko and Ken Porter have won their way into the $600 September finale in the 60-second betting spree contest. But there are three more finalists to come. Will your entry be drawn to participate in a spree and will you accumulate the highest winnings of the month? On July 1, Charlie Johnson won $96 so that’s the amount to beat at this point.

TEACHER/COACH WINS SEASON 60 MONTAGE: Congrats to Roger Bamburak, a phys-ed teacher and coach, for having his entry drawn on Canada Day to win track historian Bob Gates’ exciting Season 60 montage. Find a great place to hang it in your house, Roger, and, at some point, The Insider will test your knowledge of everything included on the montage. (It’s a joke—or is it?)
QX104 � Today's Country

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Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in July? 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 $2,010! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

SIGN UP BY FRIDAY FOR SATURDAY’S HORSEPLAYER CONTEST: The best deal in town is happening again Saturday: Entering the monthly horseplayer tournament for a mere $50 for a chance to earn a $4,000 trip to Vegas and to share in $1 million in prize money. Sign up by 9 p.m. Friday. It’s simple to play: Bet $2 win/place on a horse in each race; the player accumulating the biggest bankroll goes to Vegas.

The Night Market a week from this Sunday is an ASD first and ASD staff member Cory O’Grodnik who staged highly successful wedding expos is in charge of making it first rate fun. Hours are 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. (a non-live race day) and will include a beer garden, micro-breweries, live music, artisans, dozens of exhibitors and lots more. Admission is just $5 or five for $20. Get tickets at here.
SEASON 60 TRIVIA TEASER: Which of these jockeys won the Manitoba Derby three times? (a) Frank Licata (b) Ken Hendricks (c) Scott Stevens (d) Robin Platts See answer at bottom of column.
  • "Best we've ever seen," everyone says
    (HBPA president Blaine McLaren photo)

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to CanFire Pyrotechnics for putting on a fireworks display on Canada Day Saturday night that did the impossible—unifying horseplayers into one agreeable “the best I’ve ever seen” mass. “You can write that in The Insider,” said two-time Handicapper of the Year Ron Phelps who said he is a big fireworks aficionado and has never seen anything better than the display Saturday night at the Downs. “Everyone left happy,” said horse owner/printing executive Randy Premachuk. “The Downs has created momentum to make itself the destination for the best fireworks anywhere.” Will the Downs take up the torch, uh, the Roman candle? Stay tuned.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to owner/trainer Murray Duncan and his tiny stable of four, two of which won stakes races this past week (!!!). His Plentiful ($5.80) won the prep race for the Manitoba Derby, the Golden Boy, in a thrilling finish last Wednesday. And—shades of his Go Go Lolo—his C J’s Flair ($24.10) upset 3/5 Stevie Mac in the Canstar Canada Day Stakes Saturday night to become a serious contender in the countdown to the biggest prize for older females, the Manitoba Matron in September.

    Plentiful wins Golden Boy; co-owner Audrey Farol represents estate of her late father, Garylle B. Stewart

    Taking it all in with wonderment were Audrey Farol, the daughter of the late lawyer Garylle B. Stewart, and her husband, Brian Farol, who came up from Fargo, N.D. to represent her father’s estate which owns the horses with Duncan. The Farols warmed up to their new-found fame (and fortune?) with relish. And why not? Who wouldn’t want to be crossing the border where the question “Where are you heading?” would be answered by “To the Winner’s Circle, hopefully.”

  •  A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the scintillating performance of filly Escape Clause who put away a serious contender from Alberta in the Chantilly Stakes Saturday, then widened as she pleased to mark her as a candidate for the Manitoba Derby. Manitoba-breds have won that race at ASD only twice; never has a filly done it. Wouldn’t that be a major achievement in this, the Downs’ Season 60? “She has the talent,” said trainer Don Schnell. Jockey Adolfo Morales agrees on her talent. “It depends on the shippers,” he said of her chances to win the most noteworthy race of the year on the first Monday in August.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to jockey Adolfo Morales who, although he’s an American (with family in Arizona), will remember Canada Day as being extra special because of winning two stakes races and a resulting cheque for $3,100 (10 per cent of the winning horses’ purses). He won with Escape Clause ($2.40) in the $25,000 Chantilly and with C J’s Flair ($24.10) in the $25,000 Canstar Canada Day Stakes. Adolfo is ASD’s leading jockey with 22 wins from 60 starts, an incredible 36.6 per cent win rate. He won the Manitoba Derby aboard Smuggler’s Hold in 2009. Will he have a mount this year?

  • Chadee impresses in Canada Day ride

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to jockey Stanley Chadee, Jr. who, in his only mount on Canada Day night, made the most of it with an eyebrows-raising gate-to-wire victory aboard Expect Greatness ($13.30), holding the 4-year-old gelding together while being pressured every step of the way. And he did it (take note, handicapper John Whitehill) in the first race which is almost always won by a less-than-even-money horse. The even-money favourite, Tough Emblem, ridden by last year’s leading jockey, Christopher Husbands, finished third. The win improves Chadee’s record at ASD to four wins from 53 starts. Riding mainly at Marquis Downs since 2009, his best year was 2015 when he chalked up 35 wins in 163 starts. Watch his impressive Canada Day victory here. (July 1, race 1.)

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr., whose horses nailed the first pick-3 ($11.90) Wednesday night. His wins came with War Hero $2.20, Dreamcastle $3.70 and Pigtails $5.10.

  • NHL ran this full page ad on Canada Day

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the National Hockey League for creating a maple leaf with the logos of Canada’s professional hockey teams and running it in a full page ad in Saturday’s Globe and Mail with the headline “Happy 150th Birthday from the NHL.” A thoughtful touch!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Might be a filly year this year.” – ASD trainer Don Schnell, musing about the chances of his filly, Escape Clause, winning the Manitoba Derby after filly Holy Helena won the Queen’s Plate



Tonight's best bets

Kirt, Rob and Marshall

Marshall predicts Danelson will get a much-needed win in race 6

  • Kirt’s best (record: 4-2-2-0): Race 2 -- #5 Langara (9-5)
  • Rob’s best (record 4-3-1-0): Race 2 -- #5 Langara (9-5)
  • Marshall ’s best (record 4-1-1-1): Race6 -- #1 Red Jet Lightning (3-1)
Last week: Rob’s War Hero won ($2.20) as did Marshall’s Dreamcastle ($3.70), Kirt’s Mystery Cat finished second – which meant my $20 win parlay ended after two races ($40).

Highest-paying after four weeks:
Marshall ’s Dreamcastle ($3.70).

Hottest jockey(s): Kayla Pizarro & Tyrone Nelson (4 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Tom Gardipy Jr. (5 wins)
Biggest longshot: C J's Flair $24.10 (race 5 Saturday)  
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $375 (race 6 Saturday)
Stakes champion(s): Plentiful (Golden Boy), Escape Clause (Chantilly), C J's Flair (Canstar Canada Day Stakes)



Smoky Cinder went on to Santa Anita to be ridden by Gary Stevens
With thanks to Wayne King, vice-president of the HBPA

Who will win Friday's Smoky Cinder Stakes on the path to the Gold Cup

The 7f Smoky Cinder Overnight Stakes for older horses will be run this Friday, the final prep race for the $25,000 Manitoba Mile on the road to the Gold Cup. The Manitoba Mile was formerly known as the Wheat City Handicap, a race that Smoky Cinder dominated, winning it in 1998 and 1999 and finishing second in 2000 and third in 2001. 

Smoky debuted at ASD in 1996, breaking his maiden in his second career start and went on to amass $389,000 that included nine stakes wins including the 1997 Canadian Derby.  At ASD he won the Manitoba Derby Trial, the Winnipeg Free Press Handicap twice, the RJ Speers twice and the G Sydney Halter. 

Although he surprisingly never won the prestigious Gold Cup, he had three seconds and two thirds. His best year was 1999 when he won four stakes and travelled to Santa Anita to compete in a $250,000 race in which he finished a gallant third with the legendary Gary Stevens aboard.

*       *       *

MEDIA MELEE LOOKS FOR HAT TRICK : Will Media Melee make it three in a row this Friday when facing similar company he beat in his last two stakes races, the Major Enterprise and the Free Press? Will it be clear sailing to the Gold Cup in September?


JOCKEY FINED $200 FOR NOT RIDING OUT: Stewards at ASD have fined jockey Renaldo Cumberbatch $200 for “not riding out” his mount, Party Rags, in race 7 on June 9, costing his horse a position. He finished third when, in the view of the stewards, he should have finished second. What do you think? Go to replays here and click on race 7 on June 9. Would a player have won the Super Hi 5 if Cumberbatch’s horse had finished second at 4-1 instead of Little Elvis who caught Party Rags at the wire at 15-1?

Queen's Plate winner Holy Helena with owner Frank Stronach

GOOD CHANCE AT CANADIAN TRIPLE CROWN: This may be Canada’s best chance of seeing a Canadian Triple Crown winner since the installation of a synthetic track at Woodbine ten years ago. To win the Canadian Triple Crown, a horse must take to a synthetic track in the Queen’s Plate, then dirt in Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales (there’s the rub) then to turf in Woodbine’s Breeder’s Stakes. (The distances are all identical to the U.S. Triple Crown.) Since Queen’s Plate winner, Holy Helena, had already shown talent on dirt—finishing second on Aqueduct dirt and first at Belmont--before coming to Woodbine’s Tapeta and since grass is similar in many respects to synthetic, she just might be the first Canadian Triple Crown winner in these synthetic times. The last winner (pre-synthetic era) was Wando in 2003.

Escape Clause connections Barry Arnason, Don Schnell, Adolfo Morales after Chantilly win

WHAT'S IN A NAME? (SUCH AS ESCAPE CLAUSE): So how did one of the most talented horses on the grounds, 3-year-old filly Escape Clause, come by her curious name? After all, an escape clause is a way of getting out of a contract. According to Sherisse Ziprick at the filly’s breeding farm in Russell, Manitoba, the name came from the filly’s mom having an equally intriguing name, Danger Pay, which alluded to the fact that mom was a handful and the person who schooled her (former trainer Chad Torevell) deserved danger pay. “Just stayed with a similar theme (in naming Escape Clause), I guess,” Ziprick said.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I check "Will Pays" on my smartphone using HPIbet?

A. I’ve been asked this question several times over the past week from all sorts of different handicappers. The good news is that players are obviously using this HPIbet feature on a regular basis. The bad news, however, is that it’s only currently available while you’re accessing HPIbet from your laptop, desktop or tablet. Unfortunately, they have disabled this feature on smartphones, likely due to available screen space. For some reason, they deem “Intervals” as being more relevant than “Will Pays”. I don’t know too many bettors that would prefer to see betting intervals over “Will Pays” though.

Personally, I think it would be great to have the “Will Pays” functionality available when I access HPIbet from my smartphone. Let’s make it happen! My suggestion is to send HPIbet your feedback requesting that they add this feature to smartphones. I’ve just done this myself (view image here). To send them a message, just login to your account and click the FEEDBACK button along the top of the browser window. This will bring up a window that allows you to send a personalized message. You won’t receive an acknowledgement from HPIbet using this communication channel. If you’re looking for a response, use the CONTACT US section found in the SUPPORT section in the footer.

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: This family was here, there and everywhere

Who are they?  This couple journeyed from Big Sky Country to the Downs in 1959 and family members did a bit of everything even into the 1990s: One son worked on the gate and was a Parade Marshall.  Another was an outrider. The youngest was a runner in the jock’s room.  The daughter worked in the office for Harry Jeffrey and in the drugstore, too.  And if you can remember the drugstore, your age is showing! Bob makes sense of it all here.   

ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER: (a) Frank Licata won the Manitoba Derby three times, the other jockeys twice. Licata won with: Plenty Chilly in 1991, Northernprospector in 1996 and Wafare Warrior in 1999.

Hope I’ll be taking your picture Saturday afternoon
as winner of the horseplayer trip-to-Vegas tourney!

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