Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 27 (Issue #697)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Celebrate World Emoji Day (July 17) by adding an emoji or two or three to your email from this page of emojis. World Emoji Day was designated so by Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge in 2014. Emoj away!

B.C. WOMAN WINS $56,700

(Ticket wheel: 3,5/1-5/1,2 /1/ 3,4)

Betting on her HPI account, a British Columbia woman became the inaugural winner of ASD’s new 20-cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager on Friday by taking down the $56,698 pool with a mere $8 ticket. The player’s wheel is shown above: 2 horses x 5 horses x 2 x 1 x 2 = 40, divided by 5 since it’s a 20-cent bet.

The five races were won by:
Race 3: #5 Sheena ($47)
Race 4: #3 Ultimate Candy ($13.70)
Race 5: #1 Chill Out ($4.30)
Race 6: #1 Ultra Fame ($17.40)
Race 7: #3 Three Padres ($8.60)

The pot had been building for 25 days and plans were afoot to have a mandatory payout on Manitoba Derby Day when, on the 26th day Friday, I said “uh-oh” to ASD CEO Darren Dunn in the Winner’s Circle after Sheena won the Jack Hardy Stakes at odds of 22-1. And, sure enough, the longshot helped set up the pool payout and the mandatory payout day was shelved. Now will the pool grow until the end of the race season? Or?

Want to review the winning pick-5 horses? Download program here.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • What's next for Escape Clause after winning US$150,000 last weekend?
  • What horse owner was happy, happy, happy this past weekend? Why?
  • Just past the halfway point, Cruz cruises and Gardipy and Silva scrap
  • My $16 pick-4 for tonight's $10,000 guaranteed pick-4
  • Will One Bad Boy do the unlikely: win second leg of Canadian Triple Crown?
CHASE THE ACE POOL NOW AT $12,365: Get into the draw tonight--with a $5 ticket--to try to pick the ace of diamonds from among 27 cards. Or pick the ace of clubs to win $250 or the remaining joker to win $500.

If you’re at Rookies Sports Bar or either of the casinos during live racing, you will receive 5x the usual Player Rewards points. Continues to the end of the live season. Also note that a draw for $50 in wagering vouchers will take place Saturdays at these OTB locations: Pembina Hotel, Quest Inn, Canad Inns Windsor Park and Green Brier. Enter each time you’re at your favourite OTB.

Remembering what you read in Bob’s “On the Hoof” columns below could win you (1) framed racing photo(s) from your birth year (2) $50 in wagering vouchers (3) $50 in ASD gift merchandise and (4) presentation by Bob and bragging rights forever. The quiz--which will be held at the Downs on the Saturday following the end of live racing--will start with his blog on May 8, 2019. Download those blogs at
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: $200K in pick-6 at Sacramento. See carryovers at other tracks here.

What's next for the great Escape?

After finishing second in $750,000 race, Woodbine and Arlington are options

Not too shabby. For finishing second in the Grade 2 $750,000 Delaware Handicap on Saturday, Manitoba’s mighty mare, Escape Clause, picked up US$150,000. That gives the 5-year-old a total of US$836,500 in earnings. (Elate at odds of 1-5 was the convincing winner. Escape Clause was third choice in the nine-horse field at 5-1.)

So where to now? One of her partners, Barry Arnason, told The Insider she will likely now be pointed to turf races at Woodbine in Toronto or Arlington Park in Chicago. Those tracks are almost the same distance from Wilmington, Del., a trip that would take just over 14 hours.

Continued racing at other tracks could eliminate a guest appearance at Assiniboia Downs, he said. He noted she has the wherewithal to “pick off” races wherever she goes which could push her earnings well over US$1 million before she is sold late in the year. Woodbine has been actively seeking her presence there, he said. She undoubtedly would be a star attraction, given the fact she won Canada’s Sovereign award as Older Female of the Year.
Watch Escape Clause’s race here.

A happiness hat trick?

Barry Arnason's weekend was, well, happy, happy, happy

It’s fitting that Barry Arnason’s 2-year-old filly named Happy Happy Happy (co-owned by Gary Danelson and Bonnie McCrory) raced last weekend (and finished second) because Arnason’s weekend was, well, happy, happy, happy.
  • Happy reason #1: His 3-year-old filly Sheena was the 22-1 winner of the $30,000 Jack Hardy Stakes on Friday night (co-owned by Don Schnell)
  • Happy reason #2: His Manitoba super-mare Escape Clause finished second in a US$750,000 handicap at Delaware Park Saturday afternoon, earning him, trainer Don Schnell and True North US$150,000.
  • Happy reason #3: His filly phenom Hidden Grace aired Saturday night in the $30,000 R.C. Anderson Stakes for Manitoba-bred 3-year-olds (co-owned by Cam Ziprick and Charles Fouillard)
It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving horse owner and breeder. The construction company owner has been a mainstay of Manitoba racing for decades, brought into the sport by his father, Frank, who died in 1987 (hence, the Frank Arnason Sire Stakes).

The best thing is, Escape Clause and Hidden Grace have the potential of taking happiness to yet another level. And, oh yeah, with a likely Happy Happy Happy victory thrown in the next time that filly races.

*      *      *

Cruz control
Halfway through season, Cruz cruises, while Silva and Gardipy scrap

He came, he saw, he conquered. Jockey Alex Cruz, that is. With a little more than half of the race season in the history books, the 25-year-old Puerto Rican has chalked up 32 wins, nine more than second-place Richard Mairs. Cruz is winning at a 30 per cent clip, Mairs at 19 per cent.

In fact, Cruz’s win total is just nine wins shy of last year’s final total wins (41) by co-leading jockeys Antonio Whitehall and Prayven Badrie. Cruz seems primed to fly well past 50.

In contrast, the trainer war is a drag ‘em out affair between Tom Gardipy, Jr. and Juan Pablo Silva. Coming into today’s races, Silva has 30 wins, Gardipy has 29. Silva’s win rate is 26 per cent, Gardipy’s is 22 per cent.

While not in the mix to become the leading trainer based on number of wins, other trainers can boast of high win percentages:
  • Steve Keplin, Jr. -- six wins in 15 starts for a 40 per cent win rate
  • Elton Dickey -- 11 wins in 38 starts for a 29 per cent win rate
  • Gary Danelson -- 10 wins in 38 starts for a 26 per cent win rate
  • Murray Duncan -- five wins in 19 starts for a 26 per cent win rate
Twenty-three days of live racing remain. Who will lead a late surge?

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to a jockey, owner/trainer and breeder who generally fly under the radar:
  • To jockey Dillon Khelawan whose second win in North America was the Jack Hardy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Friday. He won with bombs-away Sheena ($47). His first-ever win on this continent, back on July 6, was also a longshot--Tanqueray Ballet ($34.50). He had been a leading apprentice rider at Santa Rosa Park in Trinidad.
  • To owner/trainer Donna Johnston who broke through for her first win of the season with Ginger Besnap in Friday’s first race ($13.90). The 4-year-old filly whom she bred is her only horse except for a 2-year-old who is not yet registered. It's nice when a hobbyist has at least one Winner's Circle picture in a race meet to recognize all the effort that goes into this game.
  • To breeder “Candyman” Kling--Guy Kling--whose Ultimate Candy (by Rascal Cat out of Yankee Candy)--won ASD’s first baby race of the season on Friday ($13.70), beating three Kentucky-breds who were the top three favourites. Manitoba Jockey Club president Harvey Warner is part of the happy ownership group.
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Oakbank native, Rob Atras, who became the first Manitoban to train and win a race in the big, BIG leagues of Saratoga. He did it on opening day Thursday with a 5-year-old stallion, Big Muddy ($7.40) who was claimed out of the race for $12,500.
EYE ON LIVE (cont'd)

MY $16 TICKET FOR TONIGHT’S $10,000 GUARANTEED PICK-4: Last week’s $30 ticket hit the $31.50 horse in the last leg but missed the $30.50 horse in the second leg, which reduced my overall winnings to $120.05. Tonight’s pick-4 is very tricky and should pay big. My suggested $16 ticket has a combination of favourites and longshots:

Race 4:
4, 7. (#4 has dynamic duo Silva/Cruz; #7 is rule horse: big win two races ago) 
Race 5: 5, 6. (#5 easier condition than last; #6 may improve again off the claim)
Race 6: 3, 7. (#3 at 15-1 drops and pops gate to wire; #7 drops, too) 
Race 7: 2, 4. (Both are dropping into bottom-level claimer)

RECORD: +$120.05

*      *      *

Hottest jockeys: Alex Cruz, Paul Francis, Richard Mairs
(3 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Tom Gardipy, Jr. (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Sheena $47 (Friday race 3) 
Stakes champion(s): Sheena (Jack Hardy), Hidden Grace (R.C. Anderson), Senor Friday (Harry Jeffrey)
Stakes this week:
Manitoba Mile (Sat)

Pick-4: None. ($10K guarantee)
Jackpot Pick-5 (starts race 3): $754
Jackpot Hi 5 (last race): $1,051

WILL THE THIRD TIME BE THE CHARM? Let the record show that printing consultant ChrisTrubyk won THREE horseplayer tournaments through the years that had Las Vegas as a prize, even though he took a buy-out on an early trip and didn’t go. Trubyk made that point to The Insider while also expressing optimism that the third trip he earned two weeks ago should have him doing well in Vegas in March because of the “third time is the charm” belief. Certainly, we’ll all be rooting for Team ASD!

The connections of filly phenom Hidden Grace might have toyed with running the 3-year-old in both the Jack Hardy Stakes on Friday and then in the R.C. Anderson for Manitoba-breds on Saturday (that’s the race they entered and easily won) but that wouldn’t have been possible under a Manitoba Horse Racing Commission regulation that states: “No horse shall be permitted to start on consecutive days.” Not like the old, old days, eh?

, the winner of the Queen’s Plate, will try to translate synthetic track form at Woodbine into dirt form at Fort Erie to win next Tuesday’s $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Only one horse since Woodbine installed a synthetic track in 2006 has been able to do that, and that was Wonder Gadot in a six-horse field last year at odds of 2-5. So One Bad Boy will be a decided play-against horse especially at likely low odds. Ontario Lotteries and Gaming is offering $500,000 to a horse that can win the Canadian Triple which also includes the Breeders’ Stakes on turf at Woodbine in August.
HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: Polo Park flashback

Did you know that in the early days of Polo Park the richest race ever run in the west was the Western Canada Handicap?  Only one horse won this race three times.  Who was this champion?  Hint: He was a Max Freed horse who raced at the Downs until he was 13. Only the sharpest of trivia buffs will be able to shed some light on this early history of the turf. Click here for the answer.

READ BOB AND WIN ( see Fun & Games above).
REFRESHER COLUMN: Read his second column of the race season here.
  • Tonight: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. “I won bigger” betting group workshop 6 p.m. on pick-4 at ASD and Woodbine in main level Boots N Saddles lounge. (Nothing was won last week); $10,000 guaranteed pick-4
  • This Friday, July 19: Live racing/ace chase 7:15
  • This 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
  • Wednesday, July 24 Live racing/ace chase 7:15. “I won bigger” betting group workshop 6 p.m., $10,000 guaranteed pick-4, Winnipeg Sun Stakes
  • Friday, July 26: Live racing/ace chase 7:15
  • Saturday, July 27: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Ladies Night: drink specials, prize draws

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