Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 26 (Issue #594)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Lorne Spearman
Intense, witty jockey agent returns

Jockey Irwin Driedger and Spearman
Before leaving for Woodbine in 1983

He's back! And with picks tonight at Woodbine!

Jockey agent for Sandy Hawley and others returns to his roots after 34 years

He’s back in Winnipeg! The jockey’s agent who helped Irwin Driedger become ASD’s leading jockey from 1979 to 1983--then left for big league racing at Woodbine and represented Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley, Chantal Sutherland and others—has returned to his Winnipeg roots. For good, he says. He missed family.

His name is Lorne Spearman and he’s a baby specialist so I invited him to write a piece below that included his choice of a first-time starter in the last race tonight at Woodbine.

Many people are passionate about racing but Lorne takes passion and intensity to a new level along with a wit that is remindful of hockey broadcaster Ron McLean. (His humour shows in his email address which is “forlorne@”) Welcome back, Lorne! Look out, Winnipeg! See Lorne’s Woodbine picks below.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Will Duncan's Plentiful make it four in a row en route to the Manitoba Derby?
  • It's track invasion time Sunday afternoon -- by 18 food trucks!
  • Hail Marys fail to catch the Tom Brady of horseplayer tournament players
  • Fake News at a race track? Say it ain't so!
  • Rohan Singh sets off a musical chairs of jockeys and their agents

AT HALFWAY POINT, WHAT’S THE HIGHEST SPREE AMOUNT? With tonight being the halfway point of the Downs’ 50-day season, the highest betting spree winnings have been Ken Porter with $727.80. This month, the biggest total has been Chuck Whalen with $173.40. Will you get drawn so you can exceed that amount and get into the September finale to win a bonus $600 as best spree player of the season?

QX104 � Today's Country

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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? 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 $2,300! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

Kyu Grill food truck will be one of 18

FOOD TRUCKS INVADE ASD TRACK SUNDAY! Eighteen food trucks will replace horses on the Assiniboia Downs track Sunday as the track launches its very first Manitoba Night Market and Festival from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Which foods from what countries will you sample? Will you kick back at the beer garden? Will you agree that little Brown Jug’s specialty brew deserves a five out of five rating as it has online? Scores of exhibitors, buskers, live music and kids’ fun will add to the festival atmosphere. Admission is $5. Tell your friends and read more here.

SEASON 60 TRIVIA TEASER: Put this who’s who of ASD jockeys into chronological order based on their winning their first title. (a) Rohan Singh (b) Brian Bochinski (c) Tommy Stadnyk (d) Todd Kabel (e) Christopher Husbands (f) Ken Hendricks (g) Dick Armstrong (h) Alan Cuthbertson (h) Bobby Stewart (i) Tim Gardiner (j) Irwin Driedger Answers at bottom of column. (No peeking!)



The Tom Brady of racing does it again

Wayne Misko beats Kathy Phelps by $1.10 and Dave Blake (inset) by $1.60

Wayne Misko survives Hail Marys to win go-to-Vegas tournament by $1.10

The Tom Brady of horse racing handicapping tournaments, Wayne Misko, withstood Hail Mary bets in Saturday’s horseplayer tournament to eke out another win by a mere $1.10 that will send him to the Horse Player World Series again in Las Vegas next March.

Last year he won two trips to that tourney, as Handicapper of the Year and a winner of one of the four tournaments during live racing. He received a cash buy-out for one of the trips.

He was off to a fast start Saturday, nailing horses in the first two races that won him $25.30 and $19.40 but it was a second-place finish by Lady Bull in race 5 that gave him the edge. It paid $11.30 to place. He worried that Gavar’s gate-to-wire victory in the last race worth $32.40 to players would knock him out of first place—but not quite.

The retired postie’s bankroll was $61.40, $1.10 more than realtor Kathy Phelps and $1.60 more than that of Kenora restaurant owner David Blake who had won a trip to Las Vegas last year.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the top three players in Saturday’s horseplayer tournament for an exciting razor-thin finish--with a minuscule $1.60 separating the trio, Wayne Misko ($61.40), Kathy Phelps ($60.30) and David Blake ($59.80).

  • Tyrone Nelson rides Media Melee to third consecutive win

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT TO THE SEEMINGLY UNBEATABLE team of connections to Media Melee: trainer Steven Gaskin, jockey Tyrone Nelson and owner John Ganas. The 4-year-old gelding is a model of consistency and he just keeps sailing through the races for the best horses on the grounds, including the Smoky Cinder Stakes last Friday ($3.70) in a seemingly inexorable drive toward the Gold Cup in September. In four stakes at the Downs this season, he has chalked up three wins and one second.

  •  A BIG SHOUT-OUT TO PRAYVEN BADRIE -- AGAIN for doing what he did two weeks ago that had merited a shout-out. Riding longshot (14-1) #6 Me First in race 6 Wednesday--with the highest pace number of 93—he outbroke another speedball, #7, Bright Note at 9-5, with Renaldo Cumberbatch aboard and outdueled him, then drew away near the wire. Badrie is simply a bear when he can get the lead, even by a head. It’s a race worth watching here. July 5, race 6. He did it again on Tiz a Cyclone ($6.60) Saturday.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT TO DAVID BLAKE AND CRISTEN PARKS who drive regularly all the way from Kenora as horse-owners and tournament players and now can proudly boast that in their four starts as partners with trainer Ardell Sayler, have won two races and finished second and third in the other two with earnings of $10,212. Their latest win came Friday in race 5 with Jaya Ho ($10.20). And, on Saturday, Dave just missed winning the horseplayer tournament finishing third by a mere $1.60 behind winner Wayne Misko. Dave had won one of the tournaments last year and, in Las Vegas, picked up $1,500 in prize money.
YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Fake News. It had to happen, of course, politics insinuating itself into our escapist horse playing world. It’s the name of a 2-year-old colt bred and owned by Californian Keith Brackpool. Fake News debuted on July 4 at Santa Anita at odds of 22-1 and finished ninth of 10. And that’s NOT fake news!



Tonight's best bets

Kirt, Rob and Marshall

New! Selectors MUST now pick horses with morning line at least even money

  • Kirt’s best (record: 5-3-2-0): Race 2 -- #1 Felino (2-1)
  • Rob’s best (record 5-4-1-0): Race 3 -- #4 Star Vixen (2-1)
  • Marshall ’s best (record 5-1-1-1): Race 4 -- #6 Dal's Pal (2-1). "He has an affinity for winning races and should be loose on the lead."
Last week: Langara won for Kirt and Rob, paying a mere $2.30. Marshall has shied away from less-than-even morning line favourites but so far has not connected. How will the selectors do now that horses must have a morning line of at least even money?

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

Hottest jockey(s): Kayla Pizarro & Tyrone Nelson (3 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Elton Dickey (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Me First $30.90 (race 6 Wednesday)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $209 (race 7 Saturday)
Stakes champion(s): Media Melee (Smoky Cinder Stakes)



Is Duncan en route to a fairy tale finish?

Will his US$15,000 claim, Plentiful, make it four stakes wins in a row?

Murray Duncan
Will his Plentiful remain unbeaten?

Murray Duncan’s got the knack – and who isn’t envious? The wily veteran trainer showed in the past he can claim a horse at Oaklawn Park to take on a stakes-winning spree at the Downs.

He’s doing it again with 3-year-old, Plentiful, who has won three stakes in a row since Duncan claimed him for US$15,000 at Oaklawn Park in April. Only the Harry Jeffrey Stakes remains this Saturday before Plentiful gets a chance in the biggest dance of all, the Manitoba Derby on the first Monday in August.

So how far into the stratosphere will this Harlan’s Holiday gelding take his trainer? The horse has already earned $38,100 for Duncan and the estate of his late partner, Garylle B. Stewart. That’s what he earned for winning the Northern Spike, the Merry’s Jay and the Golden Boy.

Will he remain unbeaten this Saturday? Arguing the point will certainly be Jerry Gourneau’s Witt’sdollarnight who stumbled at the start in the Golden Boy and just lost by a neck. And can Paint My Ride carry his speed longer in the Harry Jeffrey than he did in the Golden Boy in which he finished third?

Should be a good one. Obviously not a race to miss.

Here’s Da Silva lining for your wallet tonight

It’s no secret that Woodbine’s perennial leading rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva has access to choice “live” mounts.  With great power comes great responsibility and I predict he will win three tonight. If adventurous, maybe a parlay will find Da Silva lining for your wallet. 

Race #1 (5:45 p.m.): #7 YOU’RE MINE (5/2)
-- Solid first start – trainer dominates on the turf

Race #6 (8:10 p.m.) #7 KITTEN CANDY (6-1)
-- Drop in value attracts Da Silva
-- Bob Tiller has been winning for decades

Race #8  (9:08 p.m.) #2 ELLA’S SPARKLE (3-1)
-- First timer from Ralph Biamonte stable is from a dam who was a decent allowance performer
-- Trainer is consistently good at preparing and spotting horses to win

Thank you for reading.  Best of luck.


DANELSON NOW NEEDS ONLY FIVE: After two wins this past weekend, all-time leading ASD trainer Gary Danelson got on-track again for reaching his objective of 1,200 lifetime wins during this season, preferably by his 80th birthday on Aug. 25. He needs five more.

ROHAN SINGH SPARKS JOCKEY/AGENT MUSICAL CHAIRS: Jockey agents usually operate under the radar, quietly booking the best mounts they can for their jockey clients. But ASD was abuzz on the weekend with news of a big jockey/agent shake-up precipitated by Rohan Singh, who is fourth in the standings. He left racing writer George Williams and moved to Tim Gardiner who had been a three-time leading jockey at ASD.

That prompted leading rider Adolfo Morales and Richard Mairs to leave Gardiner, Track announcer Kirt Contois took over Morales’ book and Shane Ball now represents Mairs. Dario Dalrymple, meanwhile, went from Contois to Williams. Jockey Kayla Pizarro left Shane Ball and went to Mark "Lucky" Drabing. When the dust had settled, this became the new agent/jockey picture. (Agents are allowed to represent three jockeys. They receive 25 per cent of the earnings of their jockey clients.)

  • Agent Tim Gardiner represents Rohan Singh
  • Agent Kirt Contois represents Antonio Whitehall, Chavion Chow and Adolfo Morales
  • Agent George Williams represents Prayven Badrie and Dario Dalrymple
  • Elmer January
    "10 or 20 years more"

    Agent Mark “Lucky” Drabing represents Renaldo Cumberbatch, Sheldon Chickeness and Kayla Pizarro
  • Agent Shane Ball represents Christopher Husbands, Richard Mairs and Tyrone Nelson.
  • Representing themselves are jockeys Jerry Pruitt, Valentino McBean, Stanley Chadee and Cory Jordan

SADDLES A WINNER IN EACH OF SEVEN DECADES: At 91, he looks fabulous and continues to do fabulous things. He’s Los Alamitos quarter horse trainer Elmer January who has saddled a winner in seven different decades of his life, the first being in 1954. He has been quoted as saying he continues to love training and will continue to do so “for another 10-20 years.” Now that’s optimism!


HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The 37-cent horse that made waves

Bob is laid up this week and has suggested re-running one of the more popular tales from the past.  What will 37 cents buy you? How about a prize 2-year-old horse? Sound too good to be true?  Bob has the details here.

ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER: The jockeys in order of their winning their first riding title at ASD: (c) Tommy Stadnyk 1959 (g) Dick Armstrong 1962 (h) Bobby Stewart 1968 (f) Ken Hendricks 1974 (j) Irwin Driedger 1979 (d) Todd Kabel 1986 (b) Brian Bochinski 1988 (i) Tim Gardiner 1991 (a) Rohan Singh 2000 (h) Alan Cuthbertson 2006 (e) Christopher Husbands 2014. Get ‘em all right? Uh-oh, historian Bob has competition!

Most popular dessert ever!

Have you tried a hot bourbon bacon brownie yet at a race night buffet?

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