Wednesday, July 10 , 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 26 (Issue #696)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

WHO WILL ESCAPE CLAUSE FACE SATURDAY IN $750,000 RACE? Entries will be drawn today for the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares


Columns by track historian Bob Gates in each Insider are a well-read hit. Here’s your chance to turn your readership into prizes. On the Saturday afternoon following the end of live racing in September, a quiz will be handed out at the track with 18 multiple-choice questions, one from each of his 18 columns. The person who gets the most correct answers will win:
  • A framed picture or pictures of featured race(s) FROM THE YEAR THE CONTEST WINNER WAS BORN. (Bob has a huge photo archive.)
  • $50 in wagering vouchers
  • $50 gift certificate for ASD merchandise
  • Presentation by track historian Bob Gates and bragging rights forever
There will also be a draw for $50 in wagering vouchers from ALL entrants.

Can’t be at the Downs? The quiz will be posted online for a self-administering quiz. Answers will be posted in the following Insider for you to declare how many you got right with a SHOUT-OUT in this column for the top three.

Have you missed any of Bob’s first nine columns? Each week, HISTORY ON THE HOOF below will contain not only his current column but a previous column, too, so you’re all caught up when Bob writes his 18th and final column for the last week of live racing.

Reading and remembering fascinating facts from Bob’s columns will allow you to pepper your everyday conversations with racing trivia that will impress your friends. “Did you know that . . . ?” Etc.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • $50,000 at stake in tonight's Jackpot pick-5
  • Q & A: Where is Balooga Bull?
  • Did you know the Queen's Plate is NOT a Grade 1 race? Why?
  • Will Bigg's pick-4 ticket tonight produce a hat-trick of Wednesday wins?
  • Chicago Cubs gear proves lucky for Las Vegas Challenge tourney winner
NEARING HALF-WAY POINT IN CHASE THE ACE GAME: Your chance of picking the Ace of Diamonds to win the Chase the Ace jackpot pool of more than $10,000 or the $500 joker or $250 for the ace of clubs or spades is getting better by the day. Only half of the 54 cards will remain after Saturday’s game. Or will you win the jackpot tonight?
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 July? 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 tonight and 10 chances to win $40 in free VLT spins on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.

POKER FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker is now on summer break. Poker will resume on Friday, Sept. 13 with a royal flush progressive jackpot of $5,111.25.

GREEDY CORNER: $50K in ASD’s Jackpot pick-5. See carryovers at other tracks here.

Jackpot pick-5 pool to hit $50,000 tonight

Weekend will feature Manitoba Derby prep race and debut of babies

Hit tonight’s Jackpot pick-5 with the only correct 20-cent ticket and you’ll pocket more than $50,000. Other highlights tonight include a $10,000 guaranteed pick-4, a 10-horse field in the last race and an “I won bigger” workshop at 6 p.m. in the Boots N Saddles lounge on the main level (ASD and Woodbine pick-4 will be discussed).

With two longshots in last Saturday’s Jackpot pick-5, was the whole pool close to being won? Not really. There were four correct 20-cent tickets that paid $436 each. If the $2.20 horse, Hot Rodin, hadn’t won his leg, then the jackpot would likely have been won.

The spotlight this weekend will shine on the sophomores--the 3-year-olds. On Friday, it’s the Jack Hardy Stakes, the prep race for the Manitoba Oaks and Saturday will feature the prep race for the Manitoba Derby, the Harry Jeffrey. The R.C. Anderson for Manitoba-bred sophomore fillies also goes Saturday.

The baby wars begin, too, with 2-year-olds making their much-anticipated debut. Will another Escape Clause emerge?

*      *      *

MY $30 TICKET FOR TONIGHT’S $10,000 GUARANTEED PICK-4: My $24 pick-4 ticket on the live card two Wednesdays ago collected $89.30, making it two consecutive wins. Here’s today’s play:
Race 4: 4, 7.
Both have speed, hoping #4 can nip the favourite, #7, at the wire 
Race 5: 3, 4, 5
Race 6: 8.
Appears to be at the top of her form. Big-win two races ago, dropping down after too big a class jump.
Race 7: 3, 4, 8, 9, 10.
Includes logical plus longshot chance

+$150.05. (Bets on four Wednesdays of pick-4 plays: $10 + $18 + $24 + $24 = $76. Total collected: 0 + 0 + $136.85 + $89.20 = $226.05.)

*      *      *

Hottest jockeys: Chavion Chow
(4 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Juan Pablo Silva (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Tanqueray Ballet $34.50 (Saturday race 6) 
Stakes champion(s): None
Stakes this week:
Jack Hardy (Friday); R.C. Anderson, Harry Jeffrey (Saturday)

Pick-4: None. ($10K guarantee)
Jackpot Pick-5 (starts race 3): $48,775
Jackpot Hi 5 (last race): $1,581

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to fan education specialist Glen Sirkis who was nine for 11 in predicting three winners on ASD race cards leading into Saturday’s Las Vegas Challenge horseplayer tournament. He gets $100 in wagering vouchers as a result. (Discounts on the $50 tourney fee are based on those picks, too.) Honourable mentions go, too, (for predicting eight of 11) to Bonnie Simmonds, John Field and Glen’s partner at the Fan Education Centre, Marshall Posner. Great handicapping!

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to printing consultant Chris Trubyk who--wearing his “lucky” Chicago Cubs gear and heartened by good cards playing afternoon poker--won Saturday night’s Las Vegas Challenge horseplayer tournament that will send him to Las Vegas for a second time to compete for big money. Betting $2 win/place/show on the seven race cards, he finished just 40-cents ahead of Kevin Arnst with a bankroll of $93.60.

His most important play was 16-1 Tanqueray Ballet in a $5,000 maiden claimer. Said Trubyk: “#7 (the favourite) likes to drift out and this was just the second start for (Barry) Arnason (who has a reputation for owning talented horses).” True to his last couple races, the favourite, Witt’s Grand, didn’t dig in enough to get past Trubyk’s horse who won by a nose. Dave Blake, who already won a Vegas trip, came third in the tournament with a bankroll of $91.40.

Your next chance to join Dave and Chris in Las Vegas will come on the first Saturday of August. The most crestfallen player in Saturday’s tournament? The person who touted Trubyk’s longshot horse to others but didn’t play it himself. He allowed himself to be talked out of it, he said.

to trainer Jamie Hartmann from Saskatchewan who logged lifetime win #100 with the aptly named Honour Class ridden by Stanley Chadee, Jr. in Friday’s fourth race ($5.10). Having reached this tough milestone, it should be a cakewalk to #1,000, Jamie! Yeah, sure.

"Heaven's" gates open tomorrow

Bursting with historical charm, Saratoga begins season 156

Even writing the name of the track, Saratoga, brings a flood of good memories. If Santa Anita is “the great race place,” Saratoga is “the great escape place.” If it’s not at the top of your race track bucket list, it should be.

The 40-day meet opens tomorrow at noon CDT. A week has been added to the meet because racing is now five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday) instead of six.

Situated in the town of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York with a population of just 28,000 it’s essentially a country track with big-city amenities and horse talent. Eating strawberries and cream on the terrace while watching racing greats strut their stuff in morning workouts is pure heaven. You’re swept away to a simpler joyous time where nothing matters more than the past performance lines in a Daily Racing Form.

Maybe because of the ambience, it’s been a good track for me to play -- as I hope it will be for you, too. There will be lots of baby races to analyze along with the best horses on the continent.

On opening day last year, the track played fair: three horses wired the field and there were three deep closers. One ticket nailed the $2 pick-6 for $40,000, the early pick-5 paid $2,000 for $1 and the late pick-5 paid $22,000. Trainer Chad Brown won two of the 10 races.

Q: Where is Balooga Bull?

In someone’s garage. THAT’S A JOKE! The winner of the Manitoba Derby, two-time Horse of the Year and three-time winner of the Gold Cup, is in retirement in a Manitoba pasture. Nice to hear he’s in a province where he has so many fans. We’ll never know whether his late owner, Ardell Sayler, would have raced the 10-year-old again after several great workouts. Even his son, Aaron, had been toying with the idea during the dispersal of his father’s horses.

*      *      *

Q: Why the shortening in distance of the R. J. Speers Stakes to 7-furlongs after being run at a mile or more during the first 58 editions? (Track historian Bob Gates notes previous Speers were run at 1 1/16-mile 33 times, 1 3/8-mile 13 times, 1-mile five times, 1 1/8-mile four times and 1 ¼-mile three times.)

Says CEO Darren Dunn: “The Speers was repositioned (from mid-August to late June) when an overnight stakes race was removed from the schedule last year, condensing the stakes schedule. The 7-furlong distance bridges the gap between the 6-furlong stake race (Free Press) and later route races. Offers traditional sprinters one more reasonable opportunity to consider and it does not ask horses who prefer more distance to jump immediately from 6-furlongs to a mile.

“Though 7-furlongs is considered a sprint in the racing world, it really is not at ASD because it is a two-turn race.”

CATHOLIC BOY, RANK EARLY, LOSES TO PRESERVATIONIST IN SUBURBAN: So 4-year-old Catholic Boy, in his second start of 2019, was rank early in the 1 ¼-mile Suburban Stakes at Belmont Saturday, losing to second-choice Preservationist. Trainer Jonathan Thomas said Catholic Boy will continue to race on dirt, his next start being the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 31 where he is likely to face the horse who beat him Saturday.
Readers write . . .

Why the Queen's Plate isn't a Grade 1 stakes

“Dear Ivan: Some clarification for your readers on the $1 million Queen's Plate. Though Canada's oldest stakes race for thoroughbreds and believed to be the oldest annual race in North America, the Queen's Plate is not a Grade 1 race nor are most annual fields filled with many Grade 1 winners in their careers. The Canadian Triple Crown--of which the the Queen's Plate is the first leg--is a restricted series of races for Canadian-breds. Thus restricted, the Canadian Triple Crown races cannot be given graded status. That said, the $1 million purse still spends the same! As you mentioned, smart money finds the logical winners. The longshots give some casual fans a thrill of ‘what if?’ Best to you all!” -- W.G. Wind @EQUINEBOSS, Florida

Thanks for edifying readers, W.G.!

*       *       *

“Dear Ivan: The Winners Foundation and the volunteers at the biweekly backstretch barbeques would like to acknowledge the generosity of Dr. Chris Bell and Elders Equine Services for their donation of a new barbeque.” -- Brian Billeck, Winners Foundation secretary treasurer.

Sounds like a summer of sizzling good times!
(see top of Insider)

HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: "Sliced finger while filleting fish"

“In the 80s I had to book-off my mounts because I sliced my finger while filleting fish. In the 1970s I won a leading jockey title and I am one of seven riders to have 1,000+ career wins at the Downs.  Who am I?”  Any guesses before reading Bob’s column here?

Go here to read Bob’s first column of the live race season.
  • Today: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. “I won bigger” betting group workshop 6 p.m. Boots N Saddles, main level. $10,000 guaranteed pick-4
  • Tomorrow: Saratoga’s super-special meet begins at noon
  • This Friday: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Jack Hardy Stakes, prep race for the Manitoba Oaks (3-year-old fillies)
  • Saturday, July 13: If Escape Clause wins the Grade 2 $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park Saturday afternoon, Crazy Hour will ensue in the Clubhouse; live racing/ace chase 7:15. R.C. Anderson Stakes for Manitoba-bred 3-year-old fillies, Harry Jeffrey Stakes, prep race for the Manitoba Derby (3-year-olds)
  • Wednesday, July 17: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. “I won bigger” betting group workshop 6 p.m., $10,000 guaranteed pick-4
  • Friday, July 19: Live racing/ace chase 7:15
  • Saturday, July 20: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Manitoba Mile Stakes
  • Tuesday, July 23: Prince of Wale Stakes, second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Fort Erie
The Guns N Roses tribute band was one of eight "unreal" acts who rocked the Downs Sunday. (Manley Chan photo)

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