Friday, July 16, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 27 (Issue #798)

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


VLTs re-open tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. - 82 on tap!
  • 82 VLTS open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
    82 VLTs will be open starting this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • 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.
  • FREE home delivery of programs ends Sunday (July 18.)
  • OTB locations: Rookies (Central Hotel) open, Pembina Hotel open, Green Brier open, Canad Inns Windsor Park open for deposits and program & DRF kiosk purchases only, Quest Inn closed. The status of McPhillips Station Casino & Club Regent Casino is not known at time of this publication.


Idyllic Del Mar begins today

You gotta love Del Mar, the idyllic playground of the stars near San Diego, which begins its annual summer meet at 4 p.m. central. Did you know horses starting from posts 8 to 10 in mile races very rarely win? See other tips below. Note that Del Mar now has a 20-cent jackpot pick-6 just like most other tracks.

$200K-plus in today's Gulfstream pick-6

The 20-cent Rainbow pick-6 at Gulfstream today should grow to $250,000. See all carryover pools here.


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Cash in! Here's how to win at Del Mar and Saratoga
  • Welcome back to ASD, jockeys! Who?
  • Who won the first race for the babies?
  • $1 million Haskell Stakes first big stakes race where jockeys can't use crop
  • Only 10 days to next tourney for trip to Vegas
NEXT VEGAS TRIP GIVEAWAY IN 10 DAYS: The third Las Vegas trip for two to the Horse Player World Series will be given away a week from Monday in the next Las Vegas Challenge tournament which you may enter for $50--or less if you’ve been trying to pick three winners in live race cards leading up to the tournament. See rules here.
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.

with daily specials. Fridays feature a Top Sirloin Steak dinner for $24.95 and Saturdays it’s Certified Angus Prime Rib dinner also for $24.95. Dinners are served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Welcome back, jockeys!
Whitehall and Zenteno can now freely commute between Century Mile and ASD

ASD’s 2020 leading rider Antonio Whitehall is back riding at ASD as is Rafael Zenteno Jr. Both have been riding at Century Mile in Edmonton but COVID-19 restrictions kept them from commuting to ASD until now. Now the pair can ride at ASD from Monday to Wednesday and at Century Mile on Friday and Sunday.

Zenteno is third in the jockey standings at Century (83-16-15-13) with a win rate of 19 per cent; Whitehall is fourth (79-16-8-13) with a win rate of 20 per cent. Rico Walcott leads jockeys there with 20 wins from 88 starts.

Zenteno wasted no time in winning his first ASD ride of 2021, doing so in race 1 Monday with Halfinthewrapper, a Devon Gittens trainee ($4). Whitehall cracked into the win column in race 7 with Bitethebulletbro, a Steven Gaskin trainee ($5). Both jockeys won in gate-to-wire fashion.

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Bankin On Betty wins first baby race (Jason Halstead photo)
Betty's Bankin On Betty strikes first
Dr. Betty Hughes' filly debuts like a pro, beating four Kentucky-breds

Long time horse breeder Dr. Betty Hughes had to be proud the way the 2-year-old she bred, Bankin On Betty, rallied professionally to win the first baby race of the 2021 ASD race season. The Manitoba-bred daughter of Vengeful Warrior not only won the 4 ½-furlong dash, she did so by beating four Kentucky-breds. Some achievement!

Trained by Michael Nault, ridden by leading jockey Jorge Carreno and owned by True North Thoroughbreds, the filly won by two lengths, had “something left” according to the Equibase results chart and paid $12.70.

*       *       *
Hottest jockey: Jorge Carreno (5 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Jared Brown (5 wins)
Biggest longshot: Freezing Jimmy $22.70 (Race 3 Wednesday)
Stakes champions:
Flash of Glory (Derby Trial)
Upcoming stakes: Escape Clause (Wednesday)
$218,250 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $47,597 in the Jackpot Hi-5

*       *       *
PATH OF CHAMPIONS: Easier download

Breaks new ground
First major stakes where jockeys can't use crop for horse encouragement

Mandaloun finished second in Kentucky Derby to Medina Spirit (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
The $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday is breaking new ground. It is the first major stakes race anywhere at any time that will be run without jockeys’ use of the crop to encourage their mounts.

The New Jersey Racing Commission implemented the first-ever crop ban on Monmouth’s spring/summer meet that began May 28. The Insider has shown that the policy has not resulted in the decline of horses’ speed figures; in fact, the reverse has been true. (See last week’s Insider.)

The Haskell brings together horses familiar to fans because they raced in one or more of the Triple Crown races:
  • Hot Rod Charlie -- Louisiana Derby winner finished second in the Belmont Stakes and third in the Kentucky Derby
  • Mandaloun -- Second in the Kentucky Derby
  • Rombauer -- Preakness winner finished third in the Belmont Stakes

Ways to win at Del Mar and Saratoga

(research by Noel Michaels of US Racing)
  • Fewer horses win gate to wire at Del Mar than at Santa (20 per cent compared to 30 per cent at Santa Anita)
  • In two-turn mile races, stay away from horses with tactical (pressing) speed; races are won by leaders or closers, but not in-betweeners
  • In one-mile races, winner will likely be posts one to seven; only two of 36 horses won from posts 8-10 last year
  • Turf closers do better at Del Mar than at Santa; pressers and stalkers are best
  • Speed horses do well in sprint races
  • Watch out for outside post positions in turf sprints
  • Outside post positions in turf route races are a disadvantage
  • Two-turn horses in route races at Saratoga (1 1/8 mile and up) have an edge over one-turn horses (1 1/16) from Belmont
  • Route grass races are generally won by off-the-pace types; early speed is not an advantage

HOT PEPPER CASE: WOODBINE TRAINERS WANT $200K IN PURSES RETURNED: The strange case of more than 50 horses at tracks across Canada last year mysteriously testing positive for a banned substance in hot peppers is not going away. Nine Woodbine trainers who were found to be without blame are seeking to have $200,000 in purse money restored. Three horses at ASD had tested positive and had their purse money forfeited.

JUDGE QUASHES BAFFERT’S NYRA SUSPENSION: A judge has lifted the suspension of trainer Bob Baffert at New York Racing Association tracks, giving Baffert the opportunity to race horses at the current Saratoga meet. NYRA had suspended Baffert after Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance following the colt’s Kentucky Derby win. The judge said NYRA shouldn’t have suspended Baffert without having a hearing in which Baffert could defend himself again NYRA’s accusations.

It seems as though 'characters’ have inhabited racetracks since the beginning of time. This week’s history blog takes a swing at a character from the Downs circa 1970s – 1990s. This cigar-chomping, call-it-as-it-is, big man was one-of-a-kind. Walter Brian Hutcheon was taken from us 20 years ago and once again we ask, where does the time go?  Click here to read about the man they called "Hutch.” 
Bask long-distance in the ambience of Del Mar
  • Today: Where “the surf meets the turf,” idyllic playground of movie stars, Del Mar, begins its summer meet.
  • Saturday: 82 VLTs open 9 a.m. to midnight. $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth featuring top 3-year-olds where, for the first time ever in a stakes race, jockeys cannot encourage their horses with their riding crop
  • 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
  • Monday, July 26: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Las Vegas Challenge tournament. Sign up by 1 p.m. Saturday, July 24.
  • Tuesday, July 27: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Manitoba Oaks Stakes
  • Wednesday, July 28: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Manitoba Mile 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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