Friday, August 13, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 21 (Issue #802)

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

  • Masks are optional throughout the facility. However, proof of full immunization is required to watch races on the outside tarmac (QR code -- on your phone or printed -- or provincial vax card).
  • ASD is now open its full regular hours 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. with VLTs in play all of those hours
  • CRAZY HOUR returns after each live race card Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Beer, wine, shots $2.95 and half-price appetizers.
  • Dining opportunities are fully open from breakfasts to late night. Fridays 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. are $24.95 steak nights, Saturdays are $24.95 prime rib nights in the same hours.


Next Sunday, Aug. 22, is a

the annual CTHS Manitoba yearling sale on the Red River Ex grounds behind the grandstand features siblings of ASD stakes-winners. Partner up and get ready to bid! Starts at 2:30 p.m.
biggest race in Canada at Woodbine goes to post after the yearling sale. Huge betting pools!
1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the ASD grounds with food trucks, exhibitors and local artisans galore, live bands, beer garden, lots more ($5 parking, $7 admission)


Bullet briefs . . .

  • On the move: ASD's greatest race horse and her foal are sold. To whom?
  • McKague's "refuse to lose" effort is a highlight of ASD race meet. Agree?
  • Add life to your life! Why you should consider buying a Manitoba yearling
  • Can giant-killer Atras make it happen again in rematch with filly he beat?
  • Another trip to Vegas on the line Monday: sign up by 1 p.m. tomorrow
EARN A TRIP TO LAS VEGAS ON MONDAY! Sign up by 1 p.m. tomorrow for the Las Vegas Challenge handicapping tournament that could send you and a guest to Las Vegas next spring to participate in a tourney that could win you up to $300,000 and more. Bet $2 win-place-show on Monday’s live card and, if your bankroll is bigger than about 75 other contestants, you’re on your way to Vegas, baby! See rules here.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in August? 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: $1.2 million in Del Mar’s Jackpot Pick 6 and Louisiana’s jackpot pick-5 is in the $300,000 range. Mandatory pick-5 payout at Prairie Meadows on Monday, August 16. Current carryover is $308,607. See all carryovers here.

Can you say "gutsy"?
McKague's duel with Delvecchio was the talk of the Twittersphere

I stopped breathing. And maybe you did, too. No wonder the stretch duel between Manitoba-bred McKague (4-1) and Saskatchewan-bred Delvecchio (even money) was the talk of the Twittersphere. Did you see it?

To watch the race, click here. Below the graphic for the ASD Live show is some text describing the show and, at the end, are the words SHOW MORE. Click on that, then click on Race 2.

Note that that’s the way to watch replays of races. Google ASD Live and the date of the race. Then click on SHOW MORE below the ASD Live graphic.

*       *       *
"That's a good thing"
Value of the claims from ASD races is up

In the first 33 days of live racing, there were 102 horses claimed from races, averaging three a day which is exactly the same as last year. But the value of the claims is up. The total after 33 days was $418,000. Last year, the total at the end of the meet was $496,500.

“You want to see a lot of claims,”
ASD race secretary Dustin Davis told The Insider.“It’s good for the game; it shows racing is good.” The highest claim was Mr. Dazzle for $15,000 claimed by Marvin Buffalo.

*       *       *
Hottest jockey: Jorge Carreno, Rafael Zenteno, Jr. (4 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Jared Brown (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Divine Ride $14.50 (Race 7 Tuesday)
Stakes champions:
Miss Imperial (Polynesian Kitty)
Upcoming stakes: Far Flung (Monday), Phil Kives (Tuesday), CTHS Sales Stakes (Wednesday) Carryovers: $50,992 in the Jackpot pick-5;  $105,775 in the Jackpot Hi-5
Guarantees: $250,000 Jackpot pick-5 single winner;  $25,000 Pick 4

Escape Clause and her foal fetch $946,000 at auction in Japan

Manitoba's celebrated mare and her foal fetch $946K

Japanese businessman buys Escape Clause and colt at auction

Japanese businessman Tetsuhide Kunimoto buys Escape Clause and foal
Manitoba’s greatest horse, Escape Clause, and her foal have changed hands in Japan. A Japanese businessman bought the Manitoba-bred 8-year-old mare and her colt at a Japanese auction from Northern Farm which bred Escape Clause after buying her from her Manitoba owners at a Kentucky auction for $300,000.

Escape Clause gave birth to a colt in January. The sire is Duramente, winner of the Japanese Derby.

Will we see her foal racing as a 2-year-old next year? How many other foals will Escape Clause bear--and who will be her sires? Escape Clause made a big splash at major U.S. tracks, earning more than $1 million that included a second-place finish in a Grade 1 stakes in Arkansas.

"Isn’t her story something?” emailed Sherisse Ziprick from her breeding farm in Russell, Man. “She has rewritten the history books for us and for Manitoba breeding/racing. We still can’t believe the success she has had. I know we never would have imagined a million dollar baby.”

Why should you consider buying a Manitoba-bred yearling next Sunday?

Spice up your life here next Sunday
What’s new and exciting in your life? If you (with perhaps partners) buy a yearling next Sunday at the annual CTHS Manitoba yearling sale, the last thing you’ll be saying about your life is: “Same old, same old.”

Suddenly you’ll have trainer choice, horse-schooling and visits to a stable on your agenda. But, more than that, you’ll be filled with expectation. Will your horse be the next Escape Clause or Melisandre or Hidden Grace or . . .

One thing should be pretty clear to you: Manitoba-bred horses are no longer horses to take lightly. When Dr. Betty Hughes’ Bankin On Betty crushed Kentucky-breds in her inaugural race, you had to do a double-take. And the siblings of some of these news-makers will be on the auction block at the Aug. 22 sale.

Worried about the pocketbook? Jill Withers, general manager for CTHS Manitoba, offered these seven lucrative advantages a Manitoba-bred horse has:
  1. - Manitoba-bred horses were the top leading money earners at the ASD in the past four years
  2. - There are eight stakes races for Manitoba-bred horses
  3. - There are purse supplements for Manitoba-bred horses
  4. - There are restricted races for Manitoba-bred horses
  5. - There are breeder/stallion awards for Manitoba-breds. (Note: There is no age restrictions in the Manitoba-bred incentive program)
  6. - Eligible for Canadian sales stakes series
  7. - New for 2022! A one-time bonus of $2,000 to any Manitoba-bred 2-year-old who wins its first race regardless of class and conditions
So? You can size up the cute yearlings a week from tomorrow. They’ll be in the stables on the Red River Ex grounds behind the grandstand. That’s where the sale will be held the following day at 2:30 p.m. Will you say “hello” to a potential new family member?

Can "giant killer" Atras make it happen again next Saturday?

Rob Atras with Maracuja after beating Malathaat in Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks Stakes
A rematch appears likely between Malathaat and the longshot filly who ended Malathaat’s unbeaten record, Maracuja, who is trained by Oakbank, Man. native Rob Atras. The fillies are nominated to the storied $600,000 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course a week from tomorrow.

Former ASD paddock host Rob MacLennan, who now works in the race office at NYRA (New York Racing Association) tracks, tells The Insider that entries for the big race will be drawn on Wednesday.

Maracuja’s victory in the $600,000 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks was a career milestone for Atras who started his training at ASD in 2009. His horse’s victory in that race earned her a berth in a Breeders’ Cup race in November. Malathaat was five-for-five, including the Kentucky Oaks, before Maracuja ran her down at odds of 14-1 and set a career-high Equibase speed figure of 107, eight higher than her previous high.

Fourteen horses are nominated to the Alabama including a second horse, Zaajel, from Todd Pletcher’s barn. That would give him two horses in the race since he also trains Malathaat.

Steven Asmussen is all-time leading trainer
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to trainer Steven Asmussen who became this continent’s all-time leading trainer when the 4-year-old colt Shanghai’s Dream captured the sixth race Friday at Ellis Park in Kentucky to give the 55-year-old 9,446 victories. The Hall of Fame trainer actually started out as a jockey, riding in New Mexico and Mexico from 1982-84 before outgrowing that career. Highlights of his life have included two Breeders’ Cup Classics, the Dubai World Cup and three Triple Crown races. His Gun Runner won almost $16 million, Curlin more than $10 million and Midnight Bisou almost $7 million. What hasn’t he won? The Kentucky Derby.
WIN A TON IN '21: When should you bet the "mystery" horse?

“Mystery” longshot Test Drive nails favourite Head for Business at Del Mar Sunday
A class-dropping speed horse seemed to be much the best in the last race Sunday at Del Mar--#5 Head for Business. But he was beaten by a seemingly chaotic $31 horse, #4 Test Drive, and the 20-cent pick-6 paid $3,300 instead of just over $400 for the obvious dropping speed horse.

Essentially, the horse who won was a “mystery” horse. The horse only had one lifetime start--in which he finished a game fourth--and you can never tell how much a horse might improve in his second start. So how’s this for a “rule” for such circumstances? Since you already know that the standout horse is better than horses with proven records, you only add “mystery” horses to your tickets. Sure, the ticket would be more costly but you’d win if the obvious horse falters. See program page here.

Who remembers a horse called Best of Two? How about Beausejour Boy? Or Par Excellance? They were all owned by Big Boy Stables -- except for Par Excellance -- she was owned in partnership with Knightsbridge Stables. Can anyone come up with the big personality who was the Master of Big Boy Stables? Click here to see the answers to these questions and memories from 1976 to 1980.
That’s yours if your Jackpot Pick 5 is the only correct one
  • Monday, Aug. 16: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m. with Las Vegas Challenge handicapping tournament (sign up by Saturday at 1 p.m.). Far Flung Stakes.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m. Phil Kives Stakes
  • Wednesday, Aug. 18: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m. CTHS Sales Stakes
  • Saturday, Aug. 21: $1 million Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar, $600K Alabama Stakes at Saratoga which should see a rematch between Malathaat and Rob Atras’ Maracuja.
  • Sunday, Aug. 22: Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale on the Red River Ex grounds behind the ASD grandstand, Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, Manitoba Night Market on the ASD grounds
  • Monday, Aug. 23: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m. Distaff Stakes, Osiris Stakes
  • Tuesday, Aug. 24: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25: Race night at the Downs 7:30 p.m.
RACE NIGHT AT THE DOWNS includes $250,000 guarantee: Race night at 7:30 p.m. includes a $250,000 guarantee to the first person who nails the Jackpot Pick 5 with the only correct ticket. To be ready for the races, watch the “ASD Live” handicapping show online at 6:45 p.m. with racing analysts Kirt and Stretch. (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 Masks are now optional to watch races from the Clubhouse, main floor or outdoor tarmac but you must prove full immunity to watch races on the main level.

Make Monday’s Vegas Challenge tourney your Olympic Gold moment!

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