Wednesday, July 6 , 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 24 (Issue #543)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Welcome to the first Wicked Wednesday!

So welcome to the first Wicked Wednesday night of racing! Wicked Wednesdays continue through July and August (except for the Wednesdays before and after the Festival of Racing at the end of July).

What’s wicked?

  • Wickedly delicious fall-off-the bone BBQ ribs special features Chef Michael’s tangy secret-recipe sauce – $9.95. Includes fries or mashed potatoes and cole slaw. (Begins 6 p.m.)
  • Wickedly wonderful spin-the-wheel draws after EVERY race (except for the last). Win $10 to $50 in wagering vouchers. Fill out the entry form in your race program.
  • Wickedly great price of $5.50 for Caesar beverage
  • Wicked bonus of a free tip sheet with every program purchase
  • Wickedly wild DOUBLING of the number of draws (20) after the races for entrants to win $20—or more--in VLT spins (same entry may be drawn again and again). And, of course, the biggest winner gets to return for the monthly finale.

And, as usual, Crazy Hour continues after the races with beer, wine and shots at $2.95 and half-price appetizers. First race post parade at 7:15 p.m.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Almost $180,000 carryover in tonight's Jackpot Hi 5. Will it go?
  • Sign up for Saturday horseplayer tourney, Sunday barn tour
  • Saturday's Harry Jeffrey is a must-see: wildly competitive
  • Racing club's first race: "I'm disappointed but not unhappy."
  • Belmont players get paid for phantom superfectas
  • This Blue Bomber is a winner. (Sigh!)
  • Did you know your HPIbet account has news? See Marshall's tip

Yours for the biggest parlay

JULY OFF TO A SLOW START FOR PARLAY: The biggest parlay turned in on July 1 or 2 for the Place in the Sun contest was $16.50 by Bill Siwak. Which shows you don’t need a biggie to win the daily prize of $20 in wagering vouchers and three months of the Winnipeg Sun. What will your parlay increase to tonight? If you’re eyeing the 5-star resort vacation in Mexico in January, courtesy of Charleswood Travel and WestJet Vacations, you have $166 to beat.
QX104 – Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive


Want the highlights for the next 10 days? Go here.
Want to know what tracks are racing in July? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers at all tracks? See them here.
Want to know live race dates? Click here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jays - Bombers

Next live race days:
Tonight, Friday & Saturday - parade to post 7:15 p.m.

After every live race card: Crazy Hour and free VLT tournaments. Beer, wine, shots $2.95 and half-price appetizers.

The Mounties are coming! The Mounties are coming!

Precision riding at its best

You loved them in 2012 and—lucky you—they’re making a return visit to the Downs at the end of July during Festival of Racing weekend: the RCMP Musical Ride. It truly is an awesome performance. They’ll be appearing between races during evening cards on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31.

Similar to their last appearance at the Downs, seats on the third-floor grandstand are being pre-sold for $10 (rush seating) and a prime box of four for $50. Spread the word and act quickly as tickets are obviously limited. Tickets are available at Guest Services and from the general office.

EARN TRIP TO VEGAS THIS SATURDAY: A $50 entry fee will give you a chance to earn a trip for two to Las Vegas and entry into a tournament there where the winner pockets about $300,000. Sign up tonight or by 9 p.m. Friday. A highlight of Saturday’s card will be the highly contentious must-see Harry Jeffrey Stakes prep race for the Manitoba Derby. Who will take your $2 win/place wager?

NEXT BARN TOUR IS THIS SUNDAY: You know the drill. Pass it on. For $10, barn tour participants visit restricted areas of the track this Sunday (press box, judge’s stand, announcer’s booth, jock’s quarters) and visit horses and talk to a trainer. All topped off with a hearty lunch in the backstretch diner. Purchase your tickets at Guest Services in advance - limited quantities available.


Must-see clash of the mighty

Derby prep race features Atras return, Danelson's $75,000 claim

What a field shaping up for this Saturday’s Harry Jeffrey Stakes, the final prep race for 3-year-olds on the way to the Manitoba Derby on Aug. 1. Highlights:

  • Rob Atras
    Highest speed fig

    Assistant trainer Rob Atras, a former top percentage trainer at the Downs, returns from Oaklawn/Woodbine to his roots for a week with a sharp 3-year-old Super Saver colt, Inside Straight, he trains for his boss, Robertino Diodoro. It’s likely Rob would like nothing better than to win the Manitoba Derby at the track at which he cut his teeth. But it’s in Diodoro’s hands, he said. “We will see how he runs. Manitoba Derby or possibly Canadian Derby (at Northlands). He (Diodoro) has a couple nice 3-year-olds he is trying to sort out.”

    Inside Straight has the best Equibase speed number (94) of all horses nominated for the Harry Jeffrey. He broke his maiden at Saratoga last summer and has two wins in four starts this year. Rob also has a Diodoro horse on tonight’s card: Remind the Master in the last race.

  • Gary Danelson
    $75,000 claimer

    Trainer Gary Danelson, with more wins than any trainer in Downs history, is hoping his Power Driven, a $75,000 winning claimer at Churchill Downs, will take the Harry Jeffrey step to capturing the biggest prize of all on Derby Day.

  • Nick’s Inn owner John Ganas is banking on his Media Melee, trained by Jared Brown, to simply do what he’s been doing all season—win. He took the two previous Derby preps--the Golden Boy and the Manitoba Dancer, wildly outperforming the $16,000 he was claimed for in California. Can he now stand his ground against pricier invaders?

  • His blood may be cactus green but don’t underestimate Don Schnell’s and Barry Arnason’s Arizona-bred Heber, last year’s Winnipeg Futurity winner who showed improving form by finishing second to Media Melee in the Golden Boy. Or Jerry Gourneau’s Lift Me Up, fourth in the Golden Boy.

Here are the top five highest Equibase speed figures and trainer:

  1. Inside Straight (Diodoro/Atras) – 94
  2. Media Melee (Brown) – 93
  3. Power Driven (Danelson) – 91
  4. Heber (Schnell) – 91
  5. Lift Me Up (Gourneau) – 90

Rounding out the nominated horses are Shelley Brown’s Primary Factor (80), Clay Brinson’s Trill Point from Canterbury (79), Murray Duncan’s Britt’s Vow (72), Shelley Brown’s Hard Nut to Crack (72) and Scott Creighton’s English Town (68). Entries for the race will be drawn this morning.


(14 stakes gone, 21 remain. See list here)



Girl Boss
Runs down Woodlandsway

NOT EASY TO RUN DOWN SPEED BUT GIRL BOSS DID: Girl Boss . She’s Ardell Sayler’s new Balooga Bull except she’s female. But she’s partnered with Tyrone Nelson to dominate older fillies and mares just like Balooga did the boys. Her victory on Canada Day was all the more impressive because it’s not easy to run down loose speed, Woodlandsway, during afternoon racing—but she did (paying $4.60). Unless some super classy invader comes to town, she appears ready to continue a triumphant march all the way to the Matron in September. Next stop on that journey: The Winnipeg Sun Stakes two weeks from this Saturday.


INNER SPIRIT STAKES: WHAT OLDER HORSE WILL EMERGE? No horse is showing himself ready to assume the mantle of best older horse on the grounds in the journey to the Gold Cup. Will this Friday’s Inner Spirit Stakes do anything to clarify the picture? It's a 7f race, a specialist distance, and the horses with the best speed at that distance (last year) were C.C. Ride (10/1 morning line) with 102 and Zdeno (5/2) with 100.

According to the HBPA which created this special series of stakes races, this stakes honours the remarkable career of Inner Spirit who was owned by the Wedge family and trained by Les Wedge. Racing 31 times in 1978 and 1979 (29 at ASD), he finished among the top three 26 times!  His key wins: the Norway House, Autumn Handicaps and the Wheat City (now known as the Manitoba Mile to be run July 30). He logged a notable second in the Gold Cup.


Hottest jock:
Antonio Whitehall (4 wins)
Hottest trainer: Don Schnell (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Good Shot $25.30 (6th Sat)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $306 (4th Sat)

RACE OF THE WEEK: Click here for video.


"DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT UNHAPPY" is what Assiniboia Racing Club member Louise Townsend said Saturday after the club’s filly, Spanish Fowl, making her first start for the group, finished 5th in a $5,000 maiden claimer. The 3-year-old filly, purchased from an owner at Woodbine, was hooked early by another speedster in the race, EZ in Arizona, who ran away from the field going gate to wire ($6.20). If Spanish Fowl gets in with horses with less early pace, watch out. The fifth place finish was worth $225. Thirty-nine ARC members bought shares for $500 to become horse owners. CTV filmed a feature on the club which the station broadcast various times throughout the weekend and afterward.

Charley (centre) tops the field

CONGRATS TO CHARLEY HORSE: For the first time in recent memory, ASD’s own Charley Horse won the Great Mascot Race on Canada Day, digging in resolutely to hold off Subway who was making a late move inside. Those timed workouts in the morning helped! Good luck in Rio, Charley!

JACKPOT ALMOST $180,000: THERE WERE FOUR TICKETS SATURDAY: There’s almost $180,000 at stake heading into tonight’s Jackpot Hi 5 on the Downs’ last race. Last Saturday, four tickets predicted the the top five finishers in the correct order and each ticket was worth $2,292 in consolation money.

Sir Dudley Digges (#5), if you please (Toronto Star photo)

QUEEN'S PLATE ESPECIALLY EXCITING FOR YOURS TRULY: Players who came out for bear on Queen’s Plate Day Sunday had to settle for chipmunk in the early going: it seems every favourite or near-favourite was winning. The early pick-4 paid $26 for 20-cents. But I had a feeling the Plate would change things so, during an announcement I made about July 4 activities 10 minutes before the Plate, I told the Race Book faithful to watch out for #5, Sir Dudley Digges at 15/1, a horse I had keyed on a pick-5 ticket.

Rarely do I tout a horse but it jumped off the page for me because his first race on Tapeta—in which he was beaten by other entries in the Plate—seemed like a perfect set-up for a big effort in the Plate. Ticket sellers told me there was a line-up of players betting my choice. And, thankfully, he did what I thought he could do. Thank you, Sir Dudley for giving me a three-for-three longshot tout record this year.

THIS BLUE BOMBER IS A WINNER: When you get tired of cheering for the hapless Blue Bomber football team, you may switch your support to a Blue Bomber who actually wins. It is the name of Robertino Diodoro’s 5-year-old gelding who has two wins for five starts this year at Turf Paradise, raced recently at Canterbury and is now at Woodbine under the tutelage of Rob Atras.

CONGRATS TO VEGAS WINNER: Congrats to Race Book regular Mike who picked up $60,000 ( U.S.) finishing fourth in a Las Vegas tournament. Except it wasn’t for horses, it was in the World Series of Poker. He paid an entry fee of $1,000 to enter a division for senior players (50 and up). There were almost 4,500 participants, he said.

OOPS! PLAYERS GET PAID FOR PHANTOM SUPERS: What happened? That’s what the New York Racing Association is trying to determine after the wrong official placings were posted for superfecta tickets for Belmont’s eighth race on July 1. They paid out on 1-4-5-3 and 1-5-4-3 (there was a dead-heat for second) even though the actual result was 1-4-5-2 and 1-5-4-2. They continued to pay out for all combinations even after discovering their error ($114 to $138 per $2 ticket), effectively doubling their cost of the payouts (the super pool was $68,000). Wasn’t it a New York track that paid out incorrectly some years ago when a saddlecloth number was mis-read on a sloppy track?

Bob Gates presents Ardell Sayler with Polo Park montage for winning Canada Day stakes

WINS $10,000 PICK-5 AT MOHAWK: For an outlay of $192 ticket, a bettor at ASD Saturday won the pick-5 at Mohawk that paid $10,024 for 20-cents. The prices of the horses were: $18, $36.50, $13, $3.40 and $5.

BREATHE EASY, BOB. POLO PARK MONTAGE HAS A GOOD HOME: The Polo Park race track montage that track historian Bob Gates so lovingly created is hanging in the front home entrance of the Canada Day winner who is equally smitten by the piece. “The track means a lot to me,” said draw winner Chenoa Deegan. “I’ve been going for 35 years and anything historic, I love. I was so hoping to win it and excited that I did.” She said her husband was approached by someone who wanted to buy it from her but, of course, he declined. Bob also presented Ardell Sayler with a replica for winning the Canada Day stakes and a third one hangs in the Downs board room.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. Can I access any industry news from the HPIbet system?
Yes, HPIbet has recently integrated news headlines into their website. Just go to the HPIbet home page ( and scroll down to the INDUSTRY NEWS section (view image here). There are currently 4 feeds integrated into this section including: the HPIbet Twitter feed, today’s carryovers, Blood-Horse Articles and Paulick Report articles. Just click on one of the headlines to open a new browser window with the link to that news headline. It’s a quick way to scan the current news headlines and see if anything catches your eye.

Hopefully, they’ll make this the dashboard screen when you first login to HPIbet at some point as opposed to having to go to their home page to view it.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


Forty years ago a certain dapper personality came into the lives of many who were just learning the racing ropes at the Downs. Who was he? Learn the “colourful” details here.

NEXT INSIDER: Wednesday - Wicked Wednesday #2

Will he show up for tonight's rib special?

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