Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 27 (Issue #595)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Kayla Pizarro
The look of a winner

Doesn't her face say it all?

Kayla Pizarro wins her first stakes race; doesn't remember the final eighth

It was a smile that could melt the most jaded horsemen and horseplayers: Kayla Pizarro, last year's leading apprentice rider in Canada, in the Winner's Circle Saturday after riding Witt'sdollarnight ($6.30) to her very first stakes victory in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes, the final prep race for the Manitoba Derby.

The last eighth of the race, in fact, was a blur, she told paddock host Rob MacLennan. “I don't remember it,” she said. “I just rode the hair off my horse waiting for the finish line.”

In fact, it was a brilliant ride. She pressed the early leader, Paint My Ride, put him away, then dug in tenaciously to hold off Plentiful who was ready to close on the early duelers.

No wonder Kayla, second in the jockey standings, is giving veteran Adolfo Morales a run for the title of leading jockey. He has 27 wins; she has 22.

Witt'sdollarnight's win sets him up as the local horse to beat in the Manitoba Derby. All eyes turn now to ship-ins. Will Robertino Diodoro send a 3-year-old to defend his title won last year with Inside Straight?


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Summer feast begins: Del Mar today at 4 p.m.; Saratoga Friday at noon
  • It's Ladies Stakes Night! Jack Hardy (fillies) and Winnipeg Sun (older)
  • Downs stages highly successful Night Market; will do it again Sept. 3
  • Escape Clause, Tadaa return to race after only four days; hey; that used to be routine!
  • Better Bettors bust Belmont
  • Bridgejumpers bet $2 million on? See The Week That Was

SPREE PLAYERS POST BIG NUMBERS: Are 60-second betting spree winners practising before they go on-camera? Seems so. They're consistently chalking up some nice wins. The newest amount to beat this month to get into the September finale is $248.80 which was hit by Allan Hampton on July 12.

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? 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 $2,510! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

GOT A SPECIAL EVENT COMING UP? REMEMBER RACE PRESENTATIONS! A night at the track, a race named for a special person or event and a race presentation – what could be more memorable? You have a diminishing number of days to make that happen so if you have a special event – a birthday, retirement, anniversary, business milestone – coming up soon call Dale at 204-885-3330 ext. 277 to make it happen.

REMEMBER, TODAY IS RIB-LICIOUS WEDNESDAY which means delicious fall-off-the-bone BBQ rib dinner just $10.

SEASON 60 TRIVIA TEASER: What happened at the Downs in 1969 that was revolutionary? (a) Female riders were permitted for the first time (b) Three quinellas were permitted on a race card (c) Night racing began (d) Maximum jockey weight increased from 112 to 115 pounds. See answer at bottom of column.



Escape Clause, Tadaa return after just four days

Relax, horses used to routinely enter stakes races a few days apart

Escape Clause returns tonight . . .
. . . after winning on Saturday

Players have expressed shock that today's stakes race, the Jack Hardy Stakes, contains two horses, Escape Clause and Tadaa, who raced in the R.C. Anderson Stakes on Saturday.

My response? Relax, horses used to race in stakes races only days apart routinely. In the 1930s, in fact, Whittier Park opened its meets on Saturday with the Fort Garry Handicap and, on Wednesday, ran the Speers Handicap for the same calibre of horses. That was the schedule.

Sure, that's highly unlikely today. But it IS being done. The R.C. Anderson was for Manitoba-bred 3-year-old fillies and tonight's Jack Hardy is open to ALL 3-year-old fillies.

The thing was, Escape Clause and Tadaa raced in just a two-horse event on Saturday and perhaps weren't under the usual pressure. Also, Escape Clause, who won the race, wasn't given as much Lasix as she might have been given, said trainer Don Schnell, so she would regain her normal weight more quickly after the race and be ready for Lasix four hours before tonight's race.

Did you know Lasix is an organic substance? See The Week That Was.

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Tonight's best bets

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

  • Kirt, Rob and Marshall

    Kirt's best (record: 6-3-2-1): Race 5 --  #1 Outlandos (2-1)
  • Rob's best (record 6-4-1-1): Race 3 --  #2 Aneto (2-1)
  • Marshall 's best (record 5-1-1-1): Race 3 -- #2 Aneto (2-1) “After chasing the classy Langara around the track last out, he should enjoy a loose lead.”

Last week: On a sloppy track, Kirt and Rob—who made their selections two days before they knew the track condition—had their selections finish third. Marshall 's horse was scratched. So it was a day of selections to quickly forget. The track should be fast today.

Highest-paying after six weeks: Marshall 's Dreamcastle ($3.70).



Belmont busters

ASD players shine at tracks in the U.S. northeast

ASD players were singing the praises of Belmont Park last month as that track had to send ASD a sizable cheque to cover your winnings. But that wasn't the only track in the U.S. northeast that was padding your pockets: You were better bettors at Monmonth, Charles Town, Mountaineer and Delaware.

Move a bit west and it was Hawthorne harness that was feeding big cash into local pockets. A bit of a quirk was Tampa Bay. Its two-day meet in June left some players with sizable profitable memories. Churchill Downs was good, too.

Tracks that players found most challenging were Woodbine, Mohawk and Gulfstream.

Playing to your strengths, of course, draws money from other places into the Manitoba economy which makes you a good citizen!

  • Night Market packs 'em in

    A HUGE SHOUT-OUT to ASD special event coordinator Cory O'Grodnik, the originator and guiding force behind one of the biggest special events ever held at the Downs: the Manitoba Night Market and Festival that packed ‘em in Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Almost immediately the word has gone out there will be another on Sunday, Sept. 3. Food trucks lining the track, food vendors and artisans galore, live entertainment, beer garden and kids' fun produced a glorious afternoon and evening that added to the ASD's reputation as a go-to entertainment centre. Obviously the Downs struck a very positive chord with this one following, as it did, a fireworks display on Canada Day that everyone said was “the best I've seen anywhere!”


  • Ellie's the Boss -- literally (Click for full shot)
    (Gerry Hart photo)

    A HUGE SHOUT-OUT to money-machine Ellie's the Boss, the 7-year-old mare trained by Jared Brown, who has won four races in a row—the latest last Wednesday--under the capable handling of Adolfo Morales since being brought in from Turf Paradise where her best finishes were three thirds. Are her owners— Table B Stable, Lucky 8 Stable and Jared Brown—running out of space to hang all those Winner's Circle photos? Nice problem to have! She's earned $21,720 from four wins and one second since arriving back at the Downs. All together now: So who's the boss?

  •  A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Kayla Pizarro for winning a third of the races over the past three race days and her first stakes race of her riding career with Witt'sdollarnight in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes last Saturday. And shout-outs to her connections, trainer Jerry Gourneau, with which she has a huge winning percentage, and owner Henry Witt Jr., who may be on the cusp of doing what he almost did two years ago—winning the Manitoba Derby.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the Manitoba-bred filly, Gold N Sochi, who showed her heels to boys bred in Kentucky, California and New York in Wednesday's $11,000 allowance race. How often do you see that? How about “almost never.” The 4-year-old filly had been knocking on the door in stakes races for female horses. Trained by Heather Wallerstedt, ridden by Chavion Chow, owned by Monica Prokipchuk —and, of course, named for the Olympic triumph of Winnipeg 's Jennifer Jones curling team—she paid $2.70 as the overwhelming favourite. That brought her earnings to $33,679.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Mitch Janzen who heads the ONTrack Media crew that produces the Downs' television coverage of racing and who provides us with a constantly changing eclectic mix of musical riffs at the two-minute warning. Very enjoyable catchy contemporary stuff, Mitch!
YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Releasethe Glacken. This 3-year-old Ontario-bred is an imaginative play on Glacken—part of his champion father's name ( Smoke Glacken )—which sounds like Kraken which was the octopus-like sea monster in the original 1981 cult movie, Clash of the Titans, in which the phrase “Release the Kraken” came to be famous. Releasethe Glacken finished third Friday at Woodbine.



Are you a good detective?

Can you spot the clue on why Dr. Cotton Jen won at 30-1 at Gulfstream?

Dr. Cotton Jen who lost her first four lifetime races by a combined 102 lengths (yes, 102) won the first race at Gulfstream last Friday at odds of 30-1 and paid $62, $21.40 and $12 across the board. Fan Education specialist Marshall Posner would have had this horse (see today's column). Would you?

What was the giveaway? See program page here. Does anything jump off the page about Dr. Cotton Jen, #3? See bottom of column for the dead giveaway on why this $62 horse was very live.

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Seven down, five to go

Three more chances for you to earn a trip to the Horse Player World Series

With seven horseplayer tournaments in the books and five more to come, the top three players for the title of Handicapper of the Year are: (1) George Moehring (2) Wayne Misko (last year's HOTY) and (3) Ken Stewin. The top player, of course, wins a trip to the $1 million Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas in March. Seven of a player's best scores are computed to determine the HOTY.


But there are still two Las Vegas trips to be won during tournaments on live racing in August and September. The next one is Saturday, Aug. 12.

During the last tournament on Saturday, July 8 seven players had played the longest shot of the night, Gavar at 9-1, and shared $50. They were: David Blake, Kathleen Buckoski, Paul Gray, Maurice Gregoire, Gord Little, Brian McKellar and Kathy Phelps. With that play, Kathy missed catching tournament winner Wayne Misko by $1.10.


Hottest jockey(s): Kayla Pizarro (6 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Shelley Brown, Elton Dickey, Gary Danelson, Don Schnell (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Larry's Quest $13.70 (race 3 Friday)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $232 (race 3 Friday)
Stakes champion(s): Escape Clause (R.C. Anderson), Witt'sdollarnight (Harry Jeffrey)

Woodbine jockey agent Lorne Spearman, who counted among his favourite riders Robert Landry, Corey Fraser and Richard Dos Ramos, has returned home after 34 years and hopes to give Insider readers an insight into races at his former track. He had a $12 winner last week.

Tonight's Woodbine card is very non-descript so it may be a good time to attempt some longshot possibilities.

- Moves to the turf with a decent turf pedigree and a troubled start last out
- Conditions are tailored for her
- Trainer Mike Doyle and jockey David Moran are an effective turf combo

Race 5  #2 CHILL
- Drops significantly in an attempt to score
- Previous turf win in a race with many out for a lawn party
- Reade Baker Stable due to heat up
- Rider Tony Maragh provides a solid ride and under the radar mutuel (I hope)
- Beware if #11 Canadian Class draws in

These selections are for Turf only.  If carded on synthetic, use synthetic money. Thank you for reading.  Best of luck.


Wins by just a length

BRIDGEJUMPERS CLIMB THE HIGHEST BRIDGE YET: Almost $2 million was bet to show on Songbird in the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park Saturday making it the most show money bet on a horse in memory. The bridgejumper(s) collected $100,000 (five per cent) on their “investment.” Did they make their bets with suitcases full of cash? Songbird paid $2.10 across the board after winning the race by just a length.

DID YOU KNOW LASIX IS "ORGANIC?" Yes, Lasix (furosemide) is an organic acid that quickly is eliminated from a horse's body after being administered about four hours before a race. It works better in short races than long races. A 1999 study of 22,500 horses showed Lasix improved a horse's performance in a 6f race by three to five-and-a-half lengths. All horses bleed into their trachea—some only a tiny amount, some a lot—and Lasix diminishes water around the lungs to keep blood pressure and hence, bleeding, down. That adds to the safety of horses and their riders.

Equestricon at idyllic Saratoga

NEW WORD ADDED TO RACING WORLD -- EQUESTRICON: Frank Stronach unleashed a $30 million Pegasus statue and a $12 million race. For its part, New York has done something more modest: it has coined a new word, Equestricon, which it has assigned to “the first of its kind” racing convention in Saratoga Springs from Aug. 13-15. Events include:

  • Hall of Fame tour by former NY announcer Tom Durkin
  • Handicapping workshop
  • Tour of famous Fasig-Tipton sales grounds
  • Jockey Club round table
  • Fashion showcase
  • Barn tour at Saratoga with trainer Gary Contessa
  • VIP party

Innovation is good for the industry and Saratoga is showing you can shake things up a bit without spending $30 million.


Marshall helps players at Fan Education Centre

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How much attention should I pay to workouts?

A. This is a great question that I've been asked about repeatedly over the years. Workouts are an important indicator about how well a horse is doing in-between races or after a long layoff. Keep in mind, not all workouts are created equal. Some trainers like to work their horses fast while others prefer just a maintenance work to keep the horse in top condition leading up to a race. Get to know your trainers and their workout preferences!

Should show a workout within 21 days

One thing you should definitely pay attention to when you're handicapping is to make sure there is either a timed workout or a race every 21 days to ensure recency on the horse's form. At most of the larger tracks, all of the top trainers work their horses on a weekly basis. At some of the smaller tracks, like ASD, the top trainers will work their horses in-between races to ensure fitness and sharpness.

If a top trainer is not working their horse or running them at least every 21 days, it's usually a red flag, especially if they drop their horse one or two class levels from their previous race.

It's also worth paying attention to a workout that is out of the norm from previous workouts, especially when there is an equipment change or trainer change to consider. A strong workout can signify that the trainer has either figured something out with the horse or that the horse has overcome an illness and is ready to run a big race.

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The quest for a "forever home"

Bob says this week's piece on a quest by thoroughbreds to find their “forever home” was produced through a cold-capsule induced delirium.” Find out whether that's good news or bad news here.

ANSWER TO "HANDICAPPING CLUE:" The key is the bullet workout that suddenly appears after previous slow workouts (1/34) and note she had a quick workout following that one —11/68. This suggested she was a great candidate for a performance turn-around for whatever reason.

ANSWER TO TRIVIA TREASER: (b) The Canadian Criminal Code was changed to allow for more exotic wagers so one quinella per race card was increased to three: on races 4, 6 and 8.

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

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