Thursday, August 1 , 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 29 (Issue #699)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Eight Derby entrants

Robertino Diodoro sends two to try to win his third Derby in four years

Well, here comes ASD’s biggest race of the year--the $75,000 Manitoba Derby--and Derby Belle Francine Fournier added an elegant touch to today’s press conference and luncheon in the Terrace Dining Room when she slid horse names into post positions for the big race. Here they are accompanied with morning line odds, highest lifetime Equibase speed figure, the trainer and jockey:
  1. Oil Money (5-2) -- E speed 95 -- trained by -- Robertino Diodoro, ridden by Orlando Mojica
  2. Flinch (40-1) -- 70 -- Juan Pablo Silva, Alex Cruz
  3. Rocknroll Rocket (10-1) -- 88 -- Robertino Diodoro. Antonio Whitehall
  4. Call It a Wrap (9-5) -- 78 -- Tim Rycroft, Wilmer Galviz
  5. Candy Con (15-1) -- 79 -- Tom Gardipy, Jr., Richard Mairs
  6. Eye Cloud (20-1) -- 88 -- Jerry Gourneau, Chavion Chow
  7. Moscow Minister (3-1) -- 90 -- Steven Gaskin, Chris Husbands
  8. Lifesbeengoodsofar (6-1) -- 86 -- Murray Duncan, Tyrone Nelson
Who will win? See analysis under EYE ON LIVE: THE INVASION

*       *       *

SUPER BONUS WEEK BEGINS TODAY -- TRIP TO WOODBINE ON THE LINE! Bet at least $1,000 over the next seven days and you not only get at least two per cent cash back, your name also goes into a draw for a trip for two to Woodbine’s Canadian International Stakes in October. Bet more and you’ll get a bigger rebate and more chances to win the trip! (See betting levels here.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • 10 reasons to do Derby Day
  • Will ASD horses repel U.S. and Alberta invaders in this weekend's four stakes?
  • Did you play Kirt's longshots on Saturday? (See SHOUT-OUTS OF THE WEEK)
  • What makes Bob Gates' Derby Day display so special?
  • Where will Escape Clauses' next race likely be?
$18,150 JACKPOT CARRYOVER IN TOMORROW’S CHASE THE ACE GAME: A $5 ticket could make your long weekend especially memorable. Only 21 cards left!

Starting this Sunday, enter your name with mutuel sellers at these OTB locations (Pembina, Windsor, Quest & Green Brier) to be drawn on Saturday to win 10,000 Player Rewards points. And, at Club Regent, McPhillips & Rookies, get 5x the usual Player Rewards points when you bet ASD races.

Don’t forget the end-of-season quiz on Bob Gates’ blogs to win betting vouchers, ASD merchandise, artifacts from your birth year and bragging rights forever.
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 August? 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: $350K and $200K carryovers in Gulfstream and Del Mar jackpot pick-6s respectively.

  1. To see if native Calgarian Robertino Diodoro, who wins races in North America at a 24 per cent clip, will win his third Manitoba Derby in four years
  2. To marvel at feather-footed pigeons, chickens with hairdos, geese with knobby beaks, tiny animals and more at the petting farm. (Plus bouncy castles, pony rides and face-painting for kids)
  3. To enter the draw to win a $100 win wager on a Derby horse. That would put you in the Winner’s Circle to watch the Derby with other contestants holding $100 win wagers on other Derby horses.
  4. To see Bob Gates’ display of jockey silks from four decades ago worn by riders representing John and June Sifton horses. And to see the cooler blanket worn by Royal Frolic when he became just the second Manitoba-bred to win the Manitoba Derby at the Downs
  5. To try to pocket a share of the $20,000 guaranteed pick-4 pool
  6. To receive a free historical collector card (first 1,000)
  7. To enter the $100 hat contest (most original, most elegant, best fascinator) -- or at least enjoy seeing the elaborate creations of contest entrants
  8. To get a big furry hug from Charley Horse or a high-five if you’re too bashful to hug
  9. To psyche out the ace of diamonds on the Chase the Ace board with the hopes of having your ticket drawn to have a chance at winning the mega jackpot.
  10. To revel in the once-a-year ambience that only Derby Day can produce

Will ASD horses repel U.S. & Alberta invaders?
Four stakes races worth $165,000 are on the line

Here come two heavyweight trainers, one from the U.S. (Robertino Diodoro) and one from Alberta (Tim Rycroft) to try to scoop the lion’s share of $165,000 in purse money that will be on the line in four stakes races this Derby long weekend: Can ASD horses mount a firewall to keep that from happening? Here’s where Diodoro and Rycroft are aiming their guns:
  • Tomorrow’s $30,000 Debutante for 2-year-old fillies: This is no slam-dunk for either of the invaders even though Rycroft’s Edge of Okotoks, who won at Century Mile, is given the edge at 8-5 and Diodoro’s Arizona Sun is at 3-1. Watch out for Murray Duncan’s Be Amazing (5-2) who has the highest Equibase speed figure in the field and shouldn’t the Gary Danelson-trained Happy Happy Happy improve off her first start? Hands up if you’d like to see ASD’s all-time leading trainer win this one.
  • Tomorrow’s $30,000 Manitoba Oaks for 3-year-old fillies: Manitoba-bred Hidden Grace should handle these and oddsmaker Dustin Davis thinks you’ll agree, assigning her odds of 6-5. She’s five-for-five lifetime all in stakes races and is being touted as the next Escape Clause. Her biggest challenger is likely to be Rycroft’s Somethingaboutme (2-1) who won a $50,000 stakes at Century Mile in Edmonton. Diodoro saddles Dress Shopping (6-1), a Canterbury horse who finished second in ASD’s Jack Hardy Stakes three weeks ago.
  • Saturday’s $30,000 Graduation Stakes for 2-year-olds: Rycroft must have high hopes for B.C.-bred Devils Command despite the gelding finishing seventh at Hastings Park in Vancouver after showing speed in his first lifetime start. Henry S. Witt, Jr. sent an interesting entrant from Lone Star Park in Texas but Manitoba-bred Ultimate Candy can be any kind after winning his first lifetime start with authority.
  • Holiday Monday’s $75,000 Manitoba Derby for 3-year-olds: Diodoro is looking for his third Derby win in four starts and has entered two horses to try to make it happen again but his Oil Money,who earned a vaunted 95 Equibase speed figure in the Golden Boy, is second-choice (5-2) to Rycroft’s Call It a Wrap (9-5), not based on speed figures (just a 78) but on his ability to stretch out to a mile in a $50K stakes at Century Mile where he finished second. Oil Money has only sprinted. Restaurateur John Ganas has an interesting $20,000 claimer from Churchill Downs and Keeneland, Moscow Minister, that oddsmaker Davis has given a respectable 3-1--and which former ASD jockey Chris Husbands has come from Toronto to ride.
When the dust has settled and the Manitoba Derby cake has been reduced to crumbs, who will be the happiest--besides racing fans who will have watched and wagered on four great races?

*      *      *

Hottest jockeys: Antonio Whitehall
(4 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Tom Gardipy, Jr. (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Not Too Shiny $34.30 (Saturday race 4) 
Stakes champion(s): Tadaa (Winnipeg Sun)
Stakes this week:
Manitoba Oaks, Debutante (tomorrow), Graduation (Saturday), Manitoba Derby (Monday)

Pick-4: None. ($20K guarantee on Derby Day)
Jackpot Pick-5 (starts race 3): $3,158
Jackpot Hi 5 (last race): no carryover

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to track announcer and track handicapper Kirt Contois who “gave” you two longshot winners on Saturday’s seven-race card including:
  • Race 2 -- Pure Resolution $19.20
  • Race 4 -- Not too Shiny $35.30
His picks, in fact, won five of the seven races. If you had bet $2 on each for a cost of $14, you would have collected $67.80. He selected three of six winners Friday, too, (one horse was scratched). If you had bet $20 on his pick-4 Friday, you would have pocketed $163.85.

Kirt’s selections, of course, are posted on TV screens before each race. How long does he spend handicapping the races? “I look at the races three or four times during the day--about two or three hours in total,” Kirt tells The Insider.

Manitoba's millionaire mare pointed to $200K race
Next likely start is the Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown in two weeks

Thirty mints a day, a bunch of carrots as a nightly snack and having her stall freshened with new straw four times a day is the queenly treatment Escape Clause is receiving at Delaware Park as trainer Don Schnell prepares Manitoba’s millionaire mare for her next likely race two weeks from this Saturday.

It’s the US$200,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes at 1 1/8-miles for older fillies and mares at Thistledown race track in Randall, Ohio, about 25 kilometres southeast of Cleveland. That would be the 12th different track Escape Clause has raced at in her 3 ½-year career.

“We’re 75 per cent that that’s the race she’ll run in,”
Schnell told The Insider Monday from Delaware Park.

In the meantime, he said he has “a good gallop girl” keeping Escape Clause sharp, jogging a mile to a mile-and-a-half for six days with one day off.

After the Thistledown race, Schnell said he’ll likely head to Kentucky to race her at Churchill Downs and/or Keeneland. “She’s doing extremely well,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

He’s also encouraged by the fact that Australian and Japanese buyers are showing interest in Escape Clause. She’ll be put on the Fasig-Tipton auction block in Lexington, Ky on Monday, Nov. 4. If Australians buy her and race her--rather than just using her as a broodmare--she’ll surely be front page news in that horse-loving country.

RACING THROUGH TIME Saturday night and Derby Day with Bob

Must-see exhibits
June and John Sifton's racing silks are part of special Derby weekend additions

Across the highway from Assiniboia Downs in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens are buried two owner/breeder titans from Downs’ racing history, John Sifton--who died 50 years ago--and his wife, June--who died three years ago--both of whom would no doubt be thrilled with track historian Bob Gates for putting their racing silks on display this Derby weekend in the Racing Through Time exhibit in the lobby.
  • Link John’s gold and brown silks to the two Gold Cups he won in the two years before his death at 43 of throat cancer (about a month before the moon landing.) “Almost unbelievable” is the way trainer Gary Danelson describes Pool to Market’s victory in the 1967 Gold Cup in which John’s horse disposed of three challengers, one by one. In 1968, Clique, a favourite of legendary trainer A. E. “Bert” Blake, brought John one more Gold Cup a year before his untimely passing.
  • Link June’s green shamrocks on a pink background with the 2-year-old filly, Liz’s Pride in 1978, the first Manitoba-bred to win Canada’s prestigious Sovereign Award. The filly was 8-for-8 and won the Winnipeg Futurity
Photos of jockeys wearing their silks in other races will accompany the display--along with the trophy that is awarded the 3-year-old Manitoba-bred colt or gelding who wins the John W. Sifton Stakes. Also included in the display will be the cooler blanket awarded Munnie Award, the winner of the J. W. Sifton Stakes in 1973.

OTHER COOLER BLANKETS will be displayed in a second exhibit case:
  • Royal Frolic’s 1993 Manitoba Derby cooler blanket. Includes a photo of Royal Frolic, the second-ever Manitoba-bred to win the Manitoba Derby at ASD.
  • 1970 Manitoba Centennial Derby participants cooler blanket. Includes a photo of the July 15, 1970 ASD program cover.
  • Tom Dodds’ 1990 cooler blanket which recognizes his record-breaking 78 wins in a single season. Includes a photo of Tom.
See all items above plus choice Manitoba Derby photos during racing Saturday night and Monday afternoon, Derby Day. Bob Gates will be present to answer your questions.

*      *      *

“RACING BUG BIT ME BETWEEN 8 AND 10:” It’s hard to imagine someone with more passion for racing history than Bob Gates and that statement--reflecting on how he felt when his parents took him to the track as a youngster--pretty much sums up why it’s so.

Once an investigator for Manitoba’s ombudsman office, Bob says he has accumulated “between 10,000 and 15,000” images--both physically and electronically--which includes every Manitoba Derby-- the best of which you will be able to see on Derby Day, with Bob in person offering commentary. Will you win the history quiz on Bob’s blogs at the end of the race season?

ANOTHER SAD PASSING: From historian Bob: “ Sad news. Vic Clare passed away on July 21. His wife, Marge, had passed on March 29. The Clares were long-time race trackers who operated a small stable and did everything together. Easily their favourite horse was a solid performer named Bolero Jet who raced until he was 11.  Bolero Jet scored the final win of his career on Sept. 1, 1981. The Clares had been married for more than 70 years.”
HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: 50-year retrospective on the Queen's Cup

Did you know that this year’s Derby will mark the 50th time the Queen’s Cup is being presented to the Manitoba Derby champion?  In this week’s trip down memory lane, Bob presents the Queen’s Cup Highlight Reel. See it here.

READ BOB AND WIN (see Fun & Games above).
REFRESHER COLUMN: Read his fourth column of the race season here.
  • Today: Super Bonus day 1 (see Fun & Games). Manitoba Derby press conference with post position draw for the Derby
  • Tomorrow: Super Bonus day 2. Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Manitoba Oaks & Debutante
  • This Saturday: Super Bonus day 3. Famed $1 million Hambletonian Trot at Meadowlands. First post 11 a.m. Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Graduation stakes
  • Sunday, Aug. 4: Super Bonus day 4.
  • Holiday Monday, Aug. 5: Super Bonus day 5. Manitoba Derby: hat contest, win $100 bet on Derby horses, family fun.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 6: Super Bonus day 6.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 7: Final Super Bonus day. No live racing.
  • Friday, Aug. 9: Live racing/ace chase 7:15.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Buck Domino Stakes
  • Sunday, Aug. 11: Manitoba Night Market 3 to 11 p.m. Admission $5

Happy Derby Day! Hit ‘em big and hit ‘em often!

© Copyright 1996-2019 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
Make Dinner Reservations
Book Your Event
Bet Online