Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 28 (Issue #596)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


This win in 1980 was illegal . . .
. . . as were 20 other victories by this jockey.
Why? See "A jockey's big secret"
(Photo courtesy of Bob Gates' archives)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who's going to run in the Manitoba Derby? See nominations tomorrow.
  • Her racing success is as hot as the pink hoodie she wears in the Winner's Circle.
  • He calls his 150,000th race. Who?
  • Songbird giveth but Arrogate taketh away. "Ho-hum," says curbjumper
  • Popular fan dies.
  • Buffet offerings take taste to a new level.

ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT to get into the draw in the 60-second betting spree to become the July finalist! See the result board next to the betting spree booth for the amount you need to beat.

QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

Click to expand


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 $2,630! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

MEET GOLDEYES TONIGHT! Members of the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team will be holding a ball toss and signing autographs tonight at the Downs. There will be draws, too. Pick up a ballot at Guest Services to win Goldeyes mementos and merchandise.



What horses will run in the Manitoba Derby?

You can see the nominations tomorrow morning

What horses are nominated to run in the Manitoba Derby and its female equivalent, the Assiniboia Oaks, on Derby Day Aug. 7?

You’ll be able to find out tomorrow (Thursday) about 10 a.m. Nominations close at midnight tonight and, said Rob MacLennan who works in the Downs’ race office, those nominations will be posted online tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.


The $75,000 Manitoba Derby, presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, and the $25,000 Assiniboia Oaks are, of course, the featured races on Derby Day.

Win $100 for your hat creation

Other Derby news:

  • The Manitoba Derby news conference will be held at the Downs next Thursday. Note that The Insider will be emailed early Friday morning with updates on the Derby and Derby Day events.
  • There are three hat categories worth $100 each: (1) Most original (2) Most elegant (3) Best fascinator. There will be also be kids’ prizes.
  • Derby Day Sweepstakes: Get into the draw on Derby Day to be matched with horses in the Derby to win up to $500 if your horse wins.
  • Visit historian Bob’s special Derby Day display and enter to win a ready-to-hang Season 60 montage. A Derby Stars collector card will also be given away.
  • There will be the usual kids’ fun: Pony rides, petting farm, bouncy gym



Tonight's best bets

Morning line must be at least even money

  • Kirt's best (record: 7-4-2-1): Race 3 --  #5 J S Nightlinger (2-1)
  • Rob's best (record 7-4-1-1): Race 3 --  #5 J S Nightlinger (2-1)
  • Marshall's best (record 6-1-1-1): Race 6 -- #4 Smart Copy (3-1) “Should be able to stalk a duel this time and charge home late."

Last week: Kirt’s Outlandos won, producing a win price of $4.70. Rob’s and Marshall’s Aneto finished out of the money.

Highest-paying after seven weeks: Kirt’s Outlandos ($4.70).

*         *        *

Happiness is . . .

Winning your second stakes in four days -- in a cakewalk

Winning is fun! Escape Clause connections (from left) Barry Arnason, Don Schnell and jockey Adolfo Morales

So the 3-year-old super filly Escape Clause handled two stakes in four days with aplomb, winning the R.C. Anderson on Saturday and the Jack Hardy on Wednesday – which leaves her connections, Barry Arnason and Don Schnell with an interesting decision: should they run her in the $25,000 Assiniboia Oaks on Derby Day or go for the gusto and the glamour by attempting to beat the boys in the $75,000 Manitoba Derby?

Schnell told The Insider he is leaning toward the Oaks – but his and Arnason’s decision will be made when they see the nominations in the Derby. Wouldn’t it be special if, in Season 60, a Manitoba-bred filly could win the Derby? That’s never happened.

How daring will they be?

C J’s FLAIR JUST KEEPS WINNING: The Winnipeg Sun Stakes seemed to settle the older-fillies-and-mares argument. The way that Murray Duncan’s C J’s Flair took control of the race seemed to indicate that, without any ship-ins, she’ll keep rolling right through to the Manitoba Matron in September.

ANOTHER MEDIA MELEE ROMP IN MANITOBA MILE FRIDAY? Can anyone take down owner John Ganas' and trainer Steve Gaskin’s Media Melee Friday in the Manitoba Mile (formerly the Wheat City)? You’ll be handsomely rewarded if you think someone can.

*         *        *

Season 60 flashback: A jockey's big secret

Why did an ASD jockey almost have his 21 wins taken away from him?

Jack Kaenel
Too young

He was good. Very good. In 1980 a brash baby-faced jockey by the name of “Cowboy” Jack Kaenel hit racing at the Downs like a tornado, winning his third career start, the Autumn Handicap, on Sept. 19 and then winning 20 more that fall—including victories for track owners Jim and Hazel Wright--before taking off for big league racing at Aqueduct, Meadowlands and Pimlico where he was tied for leading rider.

Problem was, he shouldn’t have been allowed to ride. He was too young. He had falsified his license application at Assiniboia Downs showing he was 16 when, in fact, he was just 15.

When stewards in Maryland discovered his real age, they barred him from riding for three months—when he would turn 16—and there was talk of erasing all of his wins, including those at the Downs. But, if you check the Equibase website, all those illegal wins are posted there.

And Cowboy Jack wasn’t contrite for a moment. ''Some people told me it was too bad but I looked at it that it was great I got away with it as long as I did,” he was quoted as saying at the time.

And, to prove his worth, he became the youngest jockey ever to win a Triple Crown race when he won the Preakness Stakes with Aloma’s Ruler in 1982 as a 16-year-old, beating legendary Bill Shoemaker’s horse, which was the race favourite.

  • Lori Mann, Elton Dickey, Prayven Badrie

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to owner/trainer Elton Dickey and Lori Mann whose second home has been the Winner’s Circle. Dickey, who is the meet’s leading trainer, and Mann, have been as hot as the hot pink hoodie Lori Mann has been wearing in the Winner’s Circle. Over the past three live race days they won (together or apart) with:

    • Race 3 Wednesday -- Black Tie ($6.70). Owned and trained by Dickey. Ridden by Rohan Singh.
    • Race 1 Friday – Fandango Grin ($4.70). Owned by Dickey and Mann. Ridden by Kayla Pizarro.
    • Race 4 Friday – Menhal’s Lady ($5.10). Dickey/Mann owned. Singh up.
    • Race 5 Friday – Painted Honey ($5.40) Owned by Mann. Singh up.
    • Race 5 Saturday – Strawberry Gulch ($8.90). Owned by Dickey. Prayven Badrie up.

Watch out when they bring a horse in from Prairie Meadows!

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to owner/breeder Gerald Babchishin who won the very first start by the filly he bred, Sintalena. The 3-year-old surprised bettors and lit up the tote board with a $37 price when she won the last race Saturday. Shelley Brown did the training and Prayven Badrie pressed from the outside, putting away the prohibitive 1-2 favourite Ruled who finished second. Sintalena is a True Sense Manitoba-bred filly out of Linas Legacy. The other 3-year-old filly that Babchishin bred in Ontario, Zahara, has had two thirds in three starts.

  • Gerry Tummillo at the buffet

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to sous-chef Gerry Tummillo for creating entrees for last Wednesday’s race night buffet that were so overwhelmingly tasty that I had to grab my camera and take pictures. The two dishes were pork souvlaki in a lemon oregano sauce and barbeque chicken. They were so juicy and full of flavour that even a person who couldn’t eat another bite would just have to eat another bite. Tummillo told me he wants to make every entrée so over-the-top-delicious that diners who come especially for the certified Angus prime rib would be so smitten with the tastiness of other entrees that prime rib would simply become an afterthought – even though it’s the piece de resistance. Now if that isn’t a delicious thought, I don’t know what is. No wonder so many days are sold out.

  • Frank Salive

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the voice of harness racing in Ontario, Frank Salive, who called his 150,000th harness race at Kawartha Downs on Saturday. The velvet-voiced announcer has been calling races for 35 years throughout Ontario and did a short stint at Pompano Park in Florida. It was a nice touch for him to be calling the milestone race at Kawartha because it’s situated in Peterborough where Salive played goalie for the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League in his teens.

    ASD’s former race-caller and now CEO, Darren Dunn, said he has “always been a fan.I can’t say congratulations loud enough. I find him to be well-placed with his excitement but never over the top.  A true professional who has served his profession, and those of us who have served in it, incredibly well.”


Hottest jockey(s): Rohan Singh (4 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Elton Dickey (5 wins)
Biggest longshot: Sintalena $37 (race 7 Saturday)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,247 (race 6 Saturday)
Stakes champion(s): Escape Clause (Jack Hardy), C J's Flair (Winnipeg Sun)

The best finish out of Spearman's longshot picks last week was fourth place, useful only in a superfecta play. How will this former jockey agent's picks perform on tonight's card -- which he sees as pretty formful.

Looks like another “chalk festival” so worth trying some square-priced possibilities.

Race 1 -- #2 MADAME G Well spotted and prepared for optimum results; proficient turf record
#1 DUBLIN DIVA and #8 LUCKBE TANYA loom the dangers

Race 6 -- #7 RUCK Capable of an upset if he can find his 2016 Manitoba Derby 2nd to Inside Straight; comes up tagged for first time in a condition race; due to wake up

Longshot with a chance: Race 5 #2 HESASHREWDUDE

Thank you for reading. Good luck!


SONGBIRD GIVETH BUT ARROGATE TAKETH AWAY: An ASD “curbjumper” lost more than $5,000 betting show on Arrogate—who finished fourth in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar Saturday--and didn’t mind talking about it. “I won on Songbird last week but I lost on Arrogate,” sports bettor Shawn Gorrie told The Insider Saturday. He said he bet $2,838 Cdn and $2,000 U.S. on Arrogate. (The Insider has dubbed him a curbjumper because he doesn’t bet the huge money that bridgejumpers bet.) He’s a inveterate show player and takes the losses in stride but says that, overall, he’s ahead of the game. His plan is to bet $100,000 at the Downs this year, a lot of that on show bets, and is already at $79,000, he said. He bet $1,000 to show on Madd Edition in Saturday’s first race, he said.

The big money in the Arrogate race went, of course, to those who took a stand against Arrogate finishing in the money. Those show players collected prices of $22, $67.40 and $38.20. More than $1.3 million U.S. was bet to show on Arrogate.

Tom Hannesson (1932-2017) and wife, Beth

"REALLY SOLID GUY" PASSES: “He was smart and funny and knew everybody,” ASD racing veteran Al Ilott recalls of Tom Hannesson who died at 85 after a short battle with cancer, making the tables opposite the bar in the Clubhouse a little less colourful, especially since that area also lost Sam the Russian a couple years ago. He needed his hugs, said waitress Sara. “When I didn’t give him one right away, he would say: ‘I’m waiting!’”

Tom’s only child, Mark Hannesson, who teaches music composing at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, recalled in a telephone interview his fun days in the stables when his father owned horses in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s (Roman Regent being one of them). “I consider the Downs my daycare,” he said. Then his dad became a jockey’s agent and an insurance salesmen. In his youth, Tom had a keen interest in sports, playing baseball, hockey (up to attending the New York Rangers rookie camp) and football (being inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame for his Daniel McIntyre Collegiate winning years). His ashes will ultimately be interred at Brookside Cemetery with those of his wife, Beth, who is in a care home, their son said.

CASINO FOR WOODBINE? ONTARIO GOV'T TO PRIVATIZE GAMING: A full-fledged casino appears to be in the works for Woodbine as the Ontario government is in the midst of selling gaming rights at Woodbine, Ajax Downs and a casino at Port Perry to a private operator in a bid to increase gambling revenue, the Globe and Mail has reported. About 400 Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. employees—members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada--who work in Woodbine’s slots area are currently locked out and picketing the track after turning down a government offer dealing with part-time employees.


HISTORY ON THE HOOF: Enter Fud the Stud. Who?

This week Bob celebrates the 40th anniversary of the winner of the Manitoba Mile (formerly the Wheat City Stakes) from 1977.  The race winner was Stuart Polet’s Fud the Stud. Who? Bob explains here.

NEXT INSIDER: Next Friday, Aug. 4. That’s to give you the latest info on the Manitoba Derby following the news conference on Thursday when post positions for the Derby horses will be drawn. There will be no live racing the first two Wednesdays in August.

Pork souvlaki with lemon oregano sauce

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