Thursday, August 9, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 31 (Issue #649)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Did you play it?

The Insider's recommended $30 Derby Day pick-4 ticket pays $441

I hope you were among Insider readers on Derby Day Monday who collected $441.80 by playing The Insider’s $30 pick-4 ticket recommended in the special Insider emailed to you Sunday.

The recommended $1 wheel was 6 with 3,4,8 with 5,7,10 with 1,3,4,5,6 for $45 but #5 was scratched in the third leg, which reduced the ticket cost to $30.

The winning horses in the four legs, starting in race 4, were: #6 Defondo $5.10, #4 Real Heart $16.40, #7 Awesome Brave $6.60 and #4 Sky Promise (Derby winner) $7.20.

The pool grew to $64,000 as a result of a $9,600 carryover from Saturday.


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Why was Manitoba Derby so tough to figure out, yet so easy?
  • Vegas beckons again on Saturday. Will you heed the call and enter the tournament?
  • Is another Manitoba filly about to follow in Escape Clause's hoofprints?
  • Does rare paint horse have talent? See what leading jockey Antonio Whitehall says
  • Singh's jockey license rescinded
  • What famous Manitoba filly won the Winnipeg Futurity 40 years ago this week?
HOTY WINS DERBY COLLAGE: Congrats to last year’s Handicapper of the Year Alan Hampton whose entry was drawn Monday to win the wall collage of Manitoba Derbies lovingly put together by track historian Bob Gates. Hampton should really appreciate it.
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 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. Top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker in the trackview gallery on the third level. Registration from 7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Game starts at 8:00 p.m. No late registration. The Royal Flush progressive jackpot for Friday, August 10 is $11,435.


So tough, yet so easy

Diodoro's main jockey mows 'em down

Cutting the traditional Derby winner's cake are (from left) owners Clayton Wiest, Tim Rollingson, Norman Tremblay, jockey Rico Walcott, Derby Belle Francine Fournier, owner Rick Wiest and trainer Robertino Diodoro


After the fact, the winner of the 70th Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Derby seems so obvious. Trainer Robertino Diodoro puts his favourite jockey Rico Walcott on Sky Promise—one of three horses Diodoro sent—and his main man mows down the competition to win the Derby going away. Duh!

Derby winner Sky Promise kicks well clear of the field after trailing early

So why was handicapping this Derby so tough for veteran handicappers, some who needed even six of the eight horses in the field to feel comfortable with their pick-4 ticket? The fact is, even Diodoro was unsure which of his three horses would perform best—and he was trying to figure out who to send to the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in Edmonton two weeks from this Saturday.

He told The Insider that people were coming to him asking which of his three horses would win: “C’mon, you can tell me,” they pleaded. In truth, he didn’t know, he told them.

Team Diodoro even considered changing the strategy in the Derby for Sky Promise because the horse’s preferred style is to come from the clouds--and previous races on the Derby card were won by horses on the lead. “But, in the end, we decided to go with our original strategy,” he said. Good call. Walcott pulled Sky Promise to the back of the pack in the 1 1/8-mile race and circled the field heading into the final turn to catch another Diodoro horse, United Patriot, and pulled away to win by 7 ½ lengths ($7.20).

So will we see just Sky Promise in the Canadian Derby (looks very powerful) or will Diodoro also send United Patriot to keep the pace honest? We’ll see.

Watch the Derby here.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT, of course, to trainer Robertino Diodoro for sending three horses to compete in the Manitoba Derby and for his supportive comments about the Downs. “I can’t say enough good things about Assiniboia Downs,” he told The Insider. “Other tracks should take note.”

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the Downs for originating the delicious $10 RazDerby lemonade drink with Absolut raspberry vodka served on Derby Day in a handsome 70th Manitoba Derby glass that patrons got to keep. It was so popular, someone had to be sent to the liquor store to buy more vodka even before the first race had been run.

to On-Track Media, the company that produces TV coverage of ASD races, for going to the tedious process of editing video from numerous jockeys answering questions in a series called Q & EH (where did we hear that before, Jets fans). On Derby Day, On-Track ran an encore edition of one of the most hilarious Q & EHs: “How do you spell Assiniboia Downs?” Watch jockeys attempt their answers here.


Do we have another Manitoba filly star?

Hidden Grace shows her heels to Kentucky and Florida babies in the Debutante

Paddock host Rob MacLennan interviews Cam Ziprick in the Winner's Circle as Sherisse looks on

Manitoba’s major horse breeders, Cam and Sherisse Ziprick, who perform their magic near the town of Russell close to the Saskatchewan border, chose just the right weekend to make the 3 ½ hour drive to the Downs.

Amazing Grace
, a 2-year-old filly bred by Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard and Barry Arnason, won her debut race Friday, the Debutante Stakes, with relative ease, putting away three Kentucky-breds including one who had won impressively at Canterbury plus a Florida-bred and one horse bred in Texas and two others in Manitoba. Amazing Grace won by five lengths and paid $11.50.

Aware of the amount of work breeders put into the game, it was nice to see the Ziprick's jubilation in the Winner’s Circle. The horse was named in recognition of Grace, a “second mother” to Sherisse’s friend, Sherisse told The Insider. The filly was the result of a mating of the prolific stallion Going Commando and High Pioneer.

Can it be whispered? Is Hidden Grace ready to walk in the hoofprints of another Ziprick-bred Going Commando filly, Escape Clause, last year’s Horse of the Year? It’s way too early to tell, of course, but here’s a good omen: Forty years ago this week (Aug. 7, 1978) Liz’s Pride won the Winnipeg Futurity as the greatest Manitoba-bred filly before Escape Clause.

*       *       *

CHALK UP ANOTHER FILLY WIN FOR CHARLIE: Texas lawyer Charlie Smith and his partner, Terry Propps, the most successful filly stakes winners at the Downs in recent years, added another trophy to their mantle with the 1 3/4-length victory by True Confession in the $30,000 Manitoba Oaks on Friday ($2.70). Next big race for the filly? Possibly the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks at Remington Park in Oklahoma on Sunday, Sept. 30, Charlie said.

*       *       *

Trainer Shelley Brown with jockey Antonio Whitehall and trophy presenter Jacques DesAutels who rode at the Downs for 18 years

BROWN TURNS BACK TWO SCHNELL ENTRANTS IN BABY STAKES: Take that, Don! Not that Shelley Brown actually said that to Don Schnell but she had to feel pretty good when the Florida-bred 2-year-old she owns and trains, Mr. Dazzle, bested two Schnell-trained entrants in the Graduation Stakes Saturday. Brown has been having to settle for second to Schnell when the filly he owns in concert with Barry Arnason and True North--Escape Clause--keeps beating her Stevie Mac. Schnell could say, however, that his best horse, Say It’s Not So, was scratched from the race. Will we see them tussle in the Winnipeg Futurity?


Today's secret word is "gamely"

Circle "gamely" when you see it in a trouble line

It comes as no secret to veteran handicappers that “game” horses can overcome class limitations. So, as an exercise to prove it to yourself, circle the word “gamely” in trouble lines (the words at the end of past performance lines) at your favourite tracks this weekend and draw conclusions after you’ve circled a bunch of them.

*       *       *

“BIGG” GROUP LAMENTS KEY HORSE’S REFUSAL TO GO AROUND LEADING HORSE: As hard as he tried, jockey Eurico Da Silva just couldn’t persuade his horse, Sandy Bay (7-5), to go around the leading horse, Captain Thunder (7-2), in the third race at Woodbine Saturday, thus preventing the “I won big” betting group from scoring the pick-5 that paid $7,418 for 20-cents with Captain Thunder in it. Once again the group was right there but was rebuffed. A retry will happen this Saturday, Woodbine races 2 to 6 and Saratoga races 1 to 5 unless the races are off the turf because that results in many scratches. Hear the sizzling bacon? Eating it is better.

*       *       *

IT’S TOURNEY TIME AGAIN THIS SATURDAY, a chance to challenge yourself to earn a $4,500 trip to Las Vegas for you and a guest that includes entry into a tournament that normally costs $1,500 U.S. to play. Enter Saturday’s tourney for $50 preferably by tomorrow night but also up to 7 p.m. Saturday at the horseshoe in the tourney area on the main level.

Bet $2 win/place/show on a horse in each race. If your bankroll grows the most, you earn a welcome respite from winter by heading to Las Vegas on the Downs’ dime.


HOTTIES OF THE WEEK (Fri, Sat, Mon):  
Hottest jockeys: Prayven Badrie
(5 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Tom Gardipy Jr. (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Cool N Ready Red $58.20 (Friday race 2)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,628 (Wednesday race 7)
Stakes champion(s): Sky Promise (Manitoba Derby), True Confession (Manitoba Oaks), Mr. Dazzle (Graduation) and Hidden Grace (Debutante)


COMMISSION RESCINDS SINGH’S LICENSE, NOW RIDES AT LA DOWNS: An investigation by the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission into the Winnipeg Sun Stakes as reported in last week’s Insider has resulted in the commission rescinding the ASD license of jockey Rohan Singh, saying he must reapply if he wishes to ride at ASD in the future. Singh is now riding at Louisiana Downs. The commission made no comment on the stakes race itself.

Derby Day bettors, including those wagering at off-track venues, bet $558,409 or about $80,000 a race compared to $73,600 a race last year.

Despite finishing sixth out of seven horses in a maiden allowance race Saturday, ASD’s rare paint horse, E E Legal, won the respect of leading jockey Antonio Whitehall who said he sees talent in the 4-year-old colt. E E Legal likely belongs in a claiming race but his owner/breeder, Jean McEwen, told The Insider she’s not about to enter him where someone can claim him, especially since she could sell him for about $15,000 U.S. in Arizona anytime she pleases.

Behind "two fences and a moat" Elvis still connects with fans at Unreal concert

POSITIVE FEEDBACK ON “UNREAL” FESTIVAL: Despite coolish night temperatures, a lot of positive comments flowed from the tribute band festival at the Downs Sunday afternoon and evening, concluding in a fireworks display that also won favourable reviews. Funniest comment of the night came from “Elvis” (Corny Rempel) who noted the real Elvis liked to get close to his fans in concerts but “the two fences and a moat” between ASD’s stage and the audience prevented that.

The next feature event at the Downs will be the Manitoba Night Market and Festival this Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. with food trucks right on the race track, artisans, beer garden, micro-breweries, entertainment and kids’ fun for just $5.

Readers write . . .

"Solid hit, buddy!"

“Dear Ivan: Great selections (in the Derby Day pick-4). We were all gathered to watch and enjoy the Manitoba Derby day card. I mentioned to two handicappers: ‘Better take Ivan's selections to heart, he uses great ‘rules’ and has good handicapping instincts.’ Solid hit, buddy. Excellent work.”W. G. Wind, Warm Wind Thoroughbred Farms, Florida

HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: Talk about a thankless job!

Who made this statement?  “All in one day, I had seven horsemen tell me the track was too slow, too fast, too cuppy, too loose, too hard, too wet and too dry.”   Hint: He also delivered a touching eulogy at old Bobby Franklin’s funeral service. Find out here.

Ivan Bigg photo of Monsoon Rain, who died two years ago, and owner Larry Carter mounted in a cube at Carter's Alberta ranch (Larry Carter photo)

  • Tomorrow (Friday): Live racing 7:15.
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Second-last Las Vegas Challenge tournament. Live racing 7:15. Monsoon Rain overnight stakes recognizing a fan fav from a decade ago
  • Sunday, Aug.12: THE BIG ONE  Manitoba Night Market & Festival. 3 – 11 p.m. Admission $5. Food trucks, artisans, beer gardens, microbreweries, entertainment, kids’ fun
  • Wednesday, Aug. 15: Live racing 7:15. Electric Fever overnight stakes
  • Friday, Aug. 17: Live racing 7:15. Phil Kives overnight stakes
  • Saturday, Aug. 18: Live racing 7:15. CTHS Sale Stakes, Distaff Stakes. Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine, third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown
  • Sunday, Aug. 19: Annual CTHS yearling sale on the Red River Ex grounds behind the ASD grandstand at 2 p.m.
NEXT INSIDER: Wednesday as racing resumes a Wed-Fri-Sat schedule through August

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