Friday, July 9, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 26 (Issue #797)

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 is open for racing and dining
Home delivery of programs continues
  • Reserve a seat to watch live racing while dining
    Assiniboia Downs is open all day every day for dining and for simulcast racing and wagering in the Race Book. 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)


Get 3% cash back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Bet at least $40 on one or all of the ASD cards from Monday to Wednesday next week on your HPIbet account and you’ll get three per cent cash back (up to $100) deposited into your account. Note: You must opt in at Why not play a show parlay on all of those days -- in addition to your usual betting? You must opt-in.


Bullet briefs . . .

  • "Then he bit the groom about six times." Who?
  • Insider study shows crops to be irrelevant: horses go faster anyways
  • Tourney play: Who earned the second trip to Las Vegas?
  • How does race announcer call a race he can't see?
  • Belmont closes Sunday with mandatory payouts of all pools
ANOTHER VEGAS-TRIP TOURNEY THIS MONTH: Keep honing your tournament skills. There’s another Las Vegas Challenge tournament this month--just two weeks from Monday. Two trips have been given away with four more remaining: Three will be won by winners of live race tournaments and the final one will be won by the Handicapper of the Year.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in July? 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.

GREEDY CORNER: Belmont Park ends Sunday which means mandatory payouts of all pools. See all carryovers at all tracks here.

Mighty Heart after winning Dominion Day Stakes (Michael Burns photo)

“Then he bit the groom about six times”

Queen’s Plate winner, Canadian Horse of the Year and very popular horse at Woodbine, the one-eyed Mighty Heart, probably wasn’t popular with his groom the morning of his determined victory in the Dominion Day Stakes on July 1 Thursday.

Said his owner/breeder, Larry Cordes, in an interview in the Winner’s Circle after the race:

“Mighty Heart spent all morning snoring. Then he got up and bit the groom about six times. We knew he was anxious to run.”

Salesman is next to earn a Vegas trip

Brad Ostrove nailed the two longer-priced horses on Monday's card

Salesman Brad Ostrove will be the second ASD tournament winner aboard the Las Vegas Express next spring to participate in a tournament with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake. The former corporate director of sales at ASD earned the berth by building up his $42 bankroll to $93.80, thanks to nailing two of the three longest horses in Monday’s card. “I liked #2 Frankalee Fun in race 2 ($14.20, $7.90, $5.40) because I thought he would be on or very near the lead in a race lacking pace and I liked #5 Gooch Express in race 4 ($14.20, $7.60, $4.60) because I liked his last race and he had some prior form that I thought was better than anything else. Surprised he went off at 6-1.”

Tournament success apparently runs in the family: Brad’s son, Matt, won last October’s Player’s Choice tournament. 

Congrats also to runners-up Myron Fedoruk with a bankroll of $90 and to Rodney Zaretsky with a bankroll of $85.50. They were among 80 who participated. Note there is another tournament this month on the final Monday of the month.


EYE ON LIVE: Countdown to the Manitoba Derby

Derby Trial field set for Monday

So, with the Manitoba Derby 3 ½ weeks away, what horses might we expect to challenge for the $100,000 purse? Here’s the line-up for the Derby Trial that goes Monday. Also note that Monday’s card will feature the first race for 2-year-olds. So here’s the Derby Trial:

*       *       *
Plentiful gets surprising second in R.J. Speers
St. Louie Guy, trained by Jerry Gourneau, won the R.J. Speers as expected on Wednesday but it was Murray Duncan’s Plentiful, winner of the 2017 $75,000 Manitoba Derby, who raised eyebrows with a fast-closing second, setting a career-best 104 Equibase speed figure. Watch out! The 7-year-old gelding is back! (Jason Halstead photo)

*       *       *

Hottest jockey: Jorge Carreno, Stanley Chadee, Jr. (5 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Jerry Gourneau (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Tony the Tagger $22.70 (Race 6 Monday)
Stakes champions:
Melisandre (Hazel Wright Sire), Xtrema (Jack Hardy), Impressive Sense (Frank Arnason), St. Louie Guy (R.J. Speers)
Upcoming stakes: Derby Trial (Monday)
Top analyst on ASD Live: Kirt, Stretch tied with six winners each
$168,585 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $34,317 in the Jackpot Hi-5

*       *       *
AND NOW THERE ARE TWO: So, as you might have noticed, Marshall is no longer part of the ASD Live trio that handicaps ASD live races. Now there’s a duo: Kirt and Stretch. Says ASD: “Marshall has left the ASD Live program to pursue other opportunities.”

So how does Ruidoso announcer call a race he can’t see? (Race 4, Saturday)

Insider study seems to show crops are irrelevant
Speed figures increase without crop encouragement

Those who argue for continued use of a crop for horse encouragement might want to do what The Insider has done: Look at the performance of horses in Monmouth Park races where crop use for encouragement is banned.

You might expect that, without crop encouragement, the speed figures of horses might be declining. But the reverse is true. The Insider looked at the last three Monmouth race cards and the majority of races showed horses had posted THEIR HIGHEST EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURES despite the fact jockeys were not allowed to use crops for encouragement.

To tell you the truth, I was astounded. Also, when a horse posted a lower lifetime speed figure in a race, it didn’t matter because the horse won the race. In other words, other forms of encouragement--usually by shaking the reins--seemed to get horses to put out their maximum effort.

Take the 3-year-old colt, Algebraic. At Keeneland in April, under crop encouragement, he set a speed figure of 73 in finishing third. The following month at Monmouth, with his reins shaken a few times, he won with an E speed of 88 and then set two 91s.

It’s an eye-opener and something for even horseplayers to get used to. That’s not to say a few horses might seem to need extra encouragement -- but overall the Monmouth experience seems to show crops are irrelevant.


Tom Dodds has been retired from training thoroughbreds for almost a decade. Where does the time go? Doddsie spent the better part of 27 seasons racing at the Downs, chalking up stakes after stakes. Click here to read about the life and times of the man from Carlyle, Saskatchewan and his many accomplishments at Assiniboia Downs. 
The baby wars begin at ASD on Monday
  • This Sunday: Belmont’s spring/summer meet ends with mandatory payouts
  • Monday, July 12: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Baby races begin. Derby Trial.
  • Tuesday, July 13: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. R.C. Anderson Stakes
  • Wednesday, July 14: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 15: My favourite all-time track because of the ambience, Saratoga, begins its summer meet.
  • Friday, July 16: Where “the surf meets the turf,”--and where I slept on the beach at 19 after catching a small shark while deep-sea fishing off Mexican coast--Del Mar begins its summer meet.
  • Monday, July 19: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 20: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 21: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Escape Clause Stakes
RACE NIGHT AT THE DOWNS includes “ASD Live” show online at 6:45 p.m. with racing analysts Kirt 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.


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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

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