Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 31 (Issue #701)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


$26,452 which will grow beyond $27,000

which should grow to $30,000
($10,000 is guaranteed)
Download program pages here.

See my $36 ticket below.


Hail, Caesar!

ASD's Cory wins competition for "best Caesar in town;" will compete at nationals

It’s official! ASD bartender Cory O’Grodnik makes “the best Caesar in town.” He beat 13 other Winnipeg mixologists last Thursday in a competition sponsored by Mott’s Clamato. His win also marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Caesar in Calgary.

His win was based primarily on taste but the garnishes which were included in his entry (shown at right) were based, he told the judges, on the Downs’ buffet specialties: bottom level -- salad bar, middle level -- certified Angus prime rib and top level -- the bourbon bacon brownie.

Cory wins a trophy, $250 in cash and Mott’s is flying him to Toronto to compete in the national finals Sunday, Nov. 24 where $5,000 in prize money is on the line. Judges for the contest, which was held last Thursday at Canad Inns Polo Park, were Rena Jae from the 92 Citi morning show, Jasmin Laine from 92 Citi afternoons and Drew Sylvain who won the competition in 2017 and was the runner-up last year--all of whom obviously have very good taste.

Let Cory prove it to you!


Super mare to race Saturday in $200,000 stakes
It's Crazy Hour in the Clubhouse if she wins Lady Jacqueline Stakes

Manitoba’s super millionaire mare Escape Clause will face eight other female horses 3-years-old and up Saturday afternoon in the $200,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown race track in Ohio. She breaks from post #1 in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Her toughest competitor is likely to be Mylady Curlin, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly who won her last four races including a Grace 3 stakes at Pimlico with an Equibase speed figure of 104. In her last race, Escape Clause also posted 104 in finishing second to perhaps the best horse in North America right now, Elate, in the Grade 2 $700,000 Delaware Handicap.

If Escape Clause wins, it will be Crazy Hour in the Clubhouse with beer, wine and shots $2.95 and half-price appetizers. A win would also put her less than US$50,000 away from her connections’ goal of earning $1 million U.S. before she is sold in November.

*       *       *
BEER NAMED AFTER ESCAPE CLAUSE: How about that! Because Century Downs in Alberta thought so highly of Escape Clause when she went there last year and decimated their fields, they created a light sipping beer called a “radler” which they named after her.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Do you trust Mr. Matlock in race 6 tonight after he placed 2nd five times in a row?
  • For the second time, Chase the Ace selector picks card next to jackpot ace
  • What yearling was the sales topper at Sunday's sale?
  • What tracks were ASD players better at in July?
  • The world's richest race will now be the Saudi Cup on Feb. 29
GETTING SOOOO CLOSE TO PICKING THE ACE OF DIAMONDS: For the second time, a Chase the Ace player picked the card right next to the jackpot ace of diamonds card. Which seems to indicate the jackpot of more than $27,000 is close to being won. Will your $5 ticket win it tonight? Just 15 cards left plus the ace of clubs that’s worth $250. (All other cards are worth $100.)

Starting this Saturday, 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

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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 tonight and 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins on Friday and Saturday. 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: $600K in Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 and $200K in Woodbine’s jackpot hi-5.

Will lightning strike for a third time?
Going Commando filly tops sale at $25,000

Not surprisingly, perhaps, a Going Commando filly out of High Pioneer topped Sunday’s annual CTHS yearling sale on the Red River Ex grounds at $25,000. Construction company owner Barry Arnason, who has a stake in the high-flying Escape Clause and Hidden Grace--both sired by Going Commando--is listed as the buyer.

Obviously, he is looking for lightning to strike a third time. The youngster’s mother ran third in the Remington Park Oaks and first in a Lone Star stakes.

Twenty-six of the 40 yearlings offered were sold for a total of $117,550. This is better than last year when 10 of 27 were sold for $88,500. The other yearlings were buy-backs by the seller. The yearlings had to be run through the sale to make them eligible to race in next year’s $35,000 CTHS Sales Stakes.

Four yearlings sold for the minimum $800. Will one or more of their buyers turn out to be geniuses?

Of particular note, too, was the sale of the filly in Canstar’s “name the filly” contest, Foxy Bon Bon. The Ontario-bred sold for $6,250 which breeder Larry Falloon said he was happy with. Her buyer is Don Bell who races at Woodbine so expect to see her there, especially since she also has grass breeding.



HERE’S MY $36 TICKET FOR TONIGHT’S $6,511 CARRYOVER PICK-4:  In my last pick-4 in The Insider three Wednesdays ago, a scratch resulted in the ticket costing $16 instead of $24 which, because it didn’t win, brought down my winning record to $96.05. With only two Wednesdays of live racing remaining--tonight and next Wednesday--let’s try for back-to-back wins. Here’s today’s $36 ticket:

Race 4: 6. (big move last time; needs to be timed better)
Race 5: 3, 4, 8. (#4 seems best at specialist 7f distance)
Race 6: 1, 4, 7, 8. (hard to trust #8 Mr. Matlock who has five seconds in a row) 
Race 7: 2, 3, 8. (#3 is a class dropper and the other two seem to be very game)

NOTE: An “I won bigger” group discussion and play of the pick-4 will take place at 6 p.m. tonight in the Boots N Saddles lounge on the main level. Everyone is welcome. Pool is guaranteed at $10,000 and should grow to $30,000.

*       *       *
Hottest jockeys: Richard Mairs
(4 wins)
Hottest trainers:
Gary Danelson (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Margaret's Song $55.40 (Friday, race 7) 
Stakes champion(s): Plentiful (Buck Domino)
Stakes this week:
Saratoga Sis, celebrating the two-time winner of the Gold Cup, Phil Kives for the best horses on the grounds, Distaff for the best Manitoba-bred older fillies and Mares

Pick-4: $6,511
Jackpot Pick-5 (starts race 3): no carryover
Jackpot Hi 5 (last race): no carryover

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Kenora’s best race handicapper, David Blake, who won the Las Vegas Challenge horseplayer tournament for the second time on Saturday with thoughtful plays and a bit of luck. Since he is already going to Vegas, he picks up $2,500 in prize money instead.

He told The Insider he played Michael Mundo ($8.30) in race 1 after determining the jockey switch to Dillon Khelawan was a reasoned one; he played Mizzenhower ($18.30) “at the last second” in race 5 “in case the favourite Bynumson didn’t fire on the class drop” and, knowing that he needed a longshot in the last leg, played Courageous ($34.70) even though the horse was a maiden because, among other things, leading jockey Richard Mairs was aboard and Courageous came second previously to the second choice in this race, Flinch.

His bankroll was $113.50. Runners-up were Steve Holborn with $105.60 and Keith MacLennan with $96.

Los Alamitos was the top "better bettor" track in July
Someone pocketed a nice Stronach pick-5 payoff as well

According to ASD betting statistics, Manitoba horseplayers were better bettors at 20 tracks in July, the best being Los Alamitos (quarter horses), Prairie Meadows, Retama Park, Yonkers (harness), Indiana Downs and Finger Lakes.

It appears someone scooped a nice payoff in the Stronach pick-5 as well. Congrats if it was you! Players also seem to have a handle on the two Alberta tracks--Century Mile in Edmonton and Century Downs (harness) near Calgary. Both June and July showed positive play at those tracks.

And, speaking of June, the main better bettor track was Penn National followed by five harness tracks: Saratoga, Scioto, Hoosier, Buffalo and Ocean Downs.

The most challenging tracks? Belterra and Belmont in July and Prairie Meadows, Mountaineer and The Meadows (harness) in June.

Playing to your strengths has other tracks sending cheques to the Downs to cover your wagers--instead of the other way around--which, of course, boosts the economy, making you a good citizen.

31 DAYS until Escape Clause’s sister goes on the block at the September Keeneland Sale (Saturday, Sept. 14). Hip #1124. See the catalogue listing here. She will be one of 4,644 yearlings offered for sale from Sept. 9 to 22. What will she fetch? Watch for contest details in next week’s Insider.

80 DAYS until Escape Clause goes on the block at Fasig-Tipton’s “night of the stars” sale in Lexington, KY. (Monday, Nov. 4)

SAUDI CUP WILL BE RICHEST RACE IN THE WORLD: Saudi Arabia will hold the richest race in the world at $20 million on its dirt track, 1 1/8-miles, next Feb. 29. Consider that race the middle leg of the Platinum Triple Crown that starts with the Pegagus at Gulfstream in January and ends with the Dubai World Cup at the end of March. The horse who wins all three legs will get to roll around to his heart’s content in all that money.

MANITOBA DERBY RIDER EARNS “JOCKEY OF THE WEEK” TITLE: Winning the $75,000 Manitoba Derby aboard Oil Money ($3) on holiday Monday at the Downs will likely be remembered by jockey Orlando Mojica as the race that launched a streak of four stakes races in a week and earned him the Jockeys’ Guild “Jockey of the Week” title. His three other stakes wins came Saturday at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. He won the $100,000 Minnesota Derby with Mister Banjoman ($4.80), the $50,000 Princess Elaine Stakes with Honey's Sox Appeal ($7.00) and the $50,000 Blairs' Cove Stakes with Hot Shot Kid ($3.00). But did he get to cut a Derby cake like he did at the Downs?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The other thing I like (about the Saudi track where the world’s richest race at $20 million will be held in February) is that the kickback is so much less than on other dirt tracks. I don't know why, but the sand seems finer and doesn't stick. You only need a couple of pairs of goggles, where on other tracks you need four or five.” -- top European jockey Frankie Dettori
HISTORY ON THE HOOF with Bob: The weird, wacky and wonderful

From the annals of Winnipeg turf lore, historian Bob has assembled weird, wacky and wondrous oddities from the Downs and Polo Park he thinks will get you guffawing and sharing with others. Read them here.

READ BOB AND WIN (see Fun & Games above).
REFRESHER COLUMN: Read his sixth column of the race season here.
  • Tonight: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. “I won bigger” group betting workshop (on pick-4s at Woodbine and ASD) at 6 p.m. in Boots N Saddles lounge main level (all welcome). Saratoga Sis Stakes for older fillies and mares
  • This Friday: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Phil Kives Stakes for Manitoba-bred older horses
  • This Saturday: Escape Clause in the $200,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown race track. Third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Stakes, on the turf at Woodbine; live racing/ace chase 7:15. Distaff Stakes for Manitoba-bred older fillies and mares.
  • This Sunday: $250K Canadian Derby at Century Mile in Edmonton
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. Final Wednesday “I won bigger” group betting workshop 6 p.m. in Boots N Saddles lounge main level (all welcome). Osiris Stakes sprint for 2-year-olds
  • Friday, Aug. 23: Live racing/ace chase 7:15
  • Saturday, Aug. 24: Live racing/ace chase 7:15. $30K CTHS Sale Stakes for horses who went through last year’s yearling auction

Go Escape Clause!
And good luck in tonight's pick-4!

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