Friday, July 23, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 28 (Issue #799)

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


Great news! Spectators now allowed on the main floor and outdoor tarmac

You’ll be able to watch live racing from the ASD main floor and outdoor tarmac area starting Monday. However, you must provide proof you have been fully immunized. Crowd limitations will be in place. Masks will be optional outdoors but will be required when going indoors to wager, purchase food or use washrooms. The third-floor and open-air grandstand are not open at this time.

The Terrace Dining Room and the large VLT lounge, which currently features 82 socially distanced VLT machines, are also open with capacity restrictions but do not require full immunization to access these areas. Reservations are required for the Terrace Dining Room.

Programs for live racing are available at program kiosks at the track and at off-track betting venues including Rookies (Central Hotel), Pembina Hotel, Green Brier and Canad Inns Windsor Park. You may play the races at those OTBs, too, except for Windsor Park. McPhillips Station Casino & Club Regent Casino are slated to open on July 28. The Quest Inn is currently still closed.


Manitoba Derby nominations revealed today

What horses have been nominated to race in the $100,000 Manitoba Derby presented by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries on holiday Monday, Aug. 2? Nominations for all stakes races are listed today under Horsemen Services on the Equibase website. See the nominees here. Note you may also click on the past performances of the nominees.

VIRTUAL MEDIA CONFERENCE: Watch an ASD news conference on the Manitoba Derby that includes the post position draw for the Derby next Thursday at 11 a.m. here.

*       *       *
Derby Day excitement will be enhanced by the chance for a player to become a millionaire playing the Jackpot Pick 5.


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Rules to help you win the Las Vegas Challenge Tournament on Monday
  • Why horse breeder Dr. Betty Hughes deserves a shout out
  • Win $250,000 playing live racing after Derby Day. How?
  • Are the tips in "Win A Ton in '21" paying off?
  • Uncanny luck: Bigg takes random photo of horse who goes on to be a “star”
NEXT LAS VEGAS TRIP WILL BE GIVEN AWAY ON MONDAY: The third Las Vegas trip for two to the Horse Player World Series will be given away this coming 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. The deadline to enter Monday’s tournament is Saturday at 1 p.m. 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.

GREEDY CORNER: Gulfstream has a Rainbow pick-6 carryover of about $350K and Louisiana’s jackpot pick-5 is at $225K. See all carryovers here.

At the right place at the right time
The Insider takes photo of random horse--who goes on to crush field in debut

It’s uncanny how luck has been on the side of The Insider through the years.

The latest example was yours truly heading to the backstretch in early March to take a random picture of a horse to mark the beginning of spring training. As I drove close to the Equi-Ciser facility, a horse and his groom were heading away from the facility and toward my car so I quickly jumped out to take a picture and gather particulars.

Five months later, this past Wednesday actually, that very horse, a 2-year-old gelding by the name of Diamond Digger, crushed a field of 2-year-olds in the second baby race of the season. Remarkable! The Insider just happened to be at the right place at the right time to snap a picture of that future “star.” It’s as if The Insider has some guiding angel making stuff like this happen.

And what a buy the gelding has turned out to be. Trained by Michael Nault, he was purchased last October at the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale in Kentucky for $2,000 U.S.

My, Miss Imperial certainly looked formidable winning Wednesday’s Escape Clause Stakes, the mare’s third straight stakes victory of the year and seventh stakes win since owner/trainer Murray Duncan claimed her for $25,000 U.S. at Oaklawn Park in April of 2020. What a treat to watch!

*       *       *

Will St. Louie Guy remain unbeaten at ASD?
Pointed to Manitoba Mile next Wednesday

St. Louie Guy is three-for-three at ASD since being sent up to Manitoba from Texas by horse owner Henry Witt, Jr. to challenge the best horses on the grounds. Will his ASD record remain untarnished Wednesday night as he faces the rejuvenated Plentiful--who closed stoutly on him in the R.J. Speers--and Real Grace, the Canadian Derby winner who was a close-up third to both of them in the Speers? Let’s see if all three of these are entered in Wednesday’s tilt.

*       *       *
Hottest jockey: Stanley Chadee, Jr. (8 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Tom Gardipy, Jr., Fred Rawson, Michael Nault, Murray Duncan, Jerry Gourneau (2 wins)
Biggest longshot: Captive Kitten $14.80 (Race 2 Tuesday)
Stakes champions:
Miss Imperial (Escape Clause)
Upcoming stakes: Manitoba Oaks (Monday), Manitoba Mile (Wednesday)
Carryovers: $269,614 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $61,765 in the Jackpot Hi-5

$1 million guarantee on Derby Day
Then $250,000 guarantee in race cards after Derby Day

CEO Darren Dunn offers $1 million on Derby Day, $250K afterward (Jason Halstead photo)
You already saw at the top of the column that a sole winner of the Jackpot Pick 5 on Manitoba Derby Day on holiday Monday, Aug. 2 will be worth $1 million to the winner.

But what happens if there is no singular winner? Since the pool will be a mandatory payout, all correct tickets will share in whatever the pool grows to. And it should grow beyond $1 million.

“We really wanted to make a big bang this year with the Derby,”
said CEO Darren Dunn. “And what better way to do that than with an unprecedented $1 million guarantee for a player with a single winning ticket. With the excitement from this, it is quite possible that the pool could even be more!“

And note that Big Bucks excitement will continue beyond Derby Day! The holder of a lone winning Jackpot Pick 5 will be guaranteed $250,000! That offer will continue every live race card until the end of the race meet on Sept. 15.

“We think that this is a great bonus for players, particularly for weekday racing,”
said Dunn. No kidding!

Rules to help you win Monday's Las Vegas Challenge tourney

You know that The Insider is a big believer in rules over opinions. The good thing about having rules is that you must play those horses whether you like them or not. And then they surprise you, often at good odds. So, without having seen Monday’s card, here are rules to observe for tournament play:

Will “rule” horses send you to Vegas?
1. In 7 or 7 1/2 furlong races, look for the horse with the highest speed number at 7 furlongs.

2. In maiden claimer races, add up two numbers for each horse: where the horse finished last time and where he was at the first call of his previous race. Horses with the lowest added-up numbers are usually the contenders.

3. Races for non-winners of two races lifetime often have chaotic results. Play a horse that is paying between $12 and $20.

4. Watch the ASD Live show before the races. Not for picks but for background comments by Kirt or Stretch on something that sets a horse apart in your mind, perhaps something you hadn’t known about or seen.

5. A horse with a giant pace number (15 or higher than other horses) is a logical gate to wire factor.

6. Play claimed horses.

7. If there are two or more horses with almost identical pace numbers, play a horse with the highest speed number to win the race.

8. Watch replays of races where the same horses are racing against each other again.

9. Don’t be afraid to play favourites. Odds are that two or three races will be won by the favourite--so go through the program picking the two or three races the favourite is likely to win.

10. Play horses that are cutting back to a sprint race after showing early speed in a route race.

You’re welcome! Enjoy your trip!

Dr. Betty Hughes has bred a good one
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to veterinarian and horse breeder Dr. Betty Hughes for unleashing a 2-year-old, Bankin On Betty by Vengeful Wildcat in the first baby race of 2021 that is still the buzz of the track because the Manitoba-bred filly beat four Kentucky-breds. Trained by Michael Nault and owned by True North Thoroughbreds, she did so handily “with something left.” And paid $12.70.

It’s hard not to become excited by this result. Often, horseplayers put a line through Manitoba-bred first-time starters when there are Kentucky-breds in a race. A shout-out, too, to the second-place finisher who’s also a Manitoba-bred--Bearly Regal, a gelding sired by Kentucky Bear by breeders Cam Ziprick and Charles Fouillard.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to jockey Stanley Chadee, Jr., who’s been riding up a storm which included four wins on Tuesday out of the seven races including:
  • Race 1: True Kate $5.10
  • Race 2: Captive Kitten $14.80
  • Race 4: Impressive Sense $3.70
  • Race 6: Barley Boy $5.20
WIN A TON IN '21: Are tips you've read here paying off?

If you pay attention to rules and other tips noted here, maybe you had these two horses Saturday:
  • Woodbine race 7: A 7-furlong specialist race in which the horse with the highest 7-furlong speed figure (92 - Silent Causeway) finished second at 20-1. The $2 exactor paid $371. See program page here.
  • Saratoga race 9: The Sanford Stakes for 2-year-olds had two stand-outs--which finished first (#1 Wit) at even money and second (#9 Headline Report at 7-2)--but what do you take underneath for superfectas? How about a horse noted in Pro Picks by Mike Beer -- Dance Code, at 29-1? Yup, and the superfecta paid a huge $485. (My $1 wheel was #1 with 2,5,9 with 2,5,9 with “all” at a cost of $48). Pro Picks are simply required reading. See program page here.

THIRSTY TIME: I can’t help it. When I read Mike Beer’s picks and comments in Pro Picks--now for Saratoga--I get thirsty for a cold one. It’s a good thing Kevin Bacon’s name doesn’t come up often.

ASD is offering you $250,000 if you have the only correct Jackpot Pick 5 ticket on a race card beyond Derby Day. That’s a lot of money for the non-profit Downs to have to dole out. So is management just crossing its fingers, hoping there isn’t a unique winning ticket? Nope. There’s insurance protection for that.

Pop quiz time... Do you know the name of the jockey who can boast of the following?  “I came from Winnipeg’s North End, 500 Magnus Avenue to be exact.  I won three leading rider titles and I won the Winnipeg Futurity three years in-a-row.”  Click here to reveal the icon from the early days of Assiniboia Downs.
Big Breeders’ Cup win-and-you’re-in race at Ascot in England tomorrow
  • Today: Nominations for the $100,000 Manitoba Derby presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries posted here.
  • Tomorrow: Big Breeders’ Cup win-and-you’re-in race from Ascot in England: the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes 8:30 a.m.; Grade 1 $500K Coaching Club Stakes at Saratoga
  • Monday, July 26: Fully immunized fans can return to main floor and outdoor tarmac at 50% capacity. Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Las Vegas Challenge tournament. Sign up by 1 p.m. Saturday, July 24. Manitoba Oaks Stakes
  • Tuesday, July 27: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 28: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. Manitoba Mile Stakes
  • Thursday, July 29: Watch the virutual Manitoba Derby press conference here at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, July 31: $600K Jim Dandy Stakes for top 3-year-olds at Saratoga
  • Sunday, Aug. 1: $500K Woodbine Oaks; Plate Trial at Woodbine
  • Monday, Aug. 2: Manitoba Derby presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries; guaranteed $1 million for a single-ticket winner of the Jackpot Pick 5; mandatory payout of the Jackpot Pick 5. If current jackpot is won before August 2, the single winning ticket guarantee will be $250,000 and will not be a mandatory payout. $50,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 3: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. $250K guarantee payout for single-ticket Jackpot Pick 5 winner. Debutante Stakes
  • Wednesday, Aug. 4: Race night at ASD 7:30 p.m. $250K for single-ticket Jackpot Pick 5; Graduation Stakes
  • Friday, Aug. 6: $50K Canadian Juvenile Stakes at Century Mile
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 main floor and tarmac are available to spectators who are fully immunized with capacity restrictions.


Don’t forget the virtual Manitoba Derby news conference Thursday 11 a.m.

© Copyright 1996-2021 All Rights Reserved. Assiniboia Downs.
3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Read our Blog  See us on Instagram  Watch us on Youtube