Friday, August 14, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 32 (Issue #751)

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


Sign up for Monday’s Las Vegas Challenge tournament to earn a trip to the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas in March or collect $2,500 in lieu of the trip. Call 204-885-3330 ext. 225. Entry fee is $50 except for those who earned a discount by predicting three winners on live race cards since the last tournament.

Bet $2 win- place-show on your favourite horse in each race on the ASD card and you’re a winner if your bankroll is the biggest. You also accumulate points to be named Handicapper of the Year which is also worth a Vegas trip or a $2,500 cash prize.


TOMORROW: Also note that tomorrow is a big day at Woodbine with the Plate Trial for the Queen’s Plate and the $500K Woodbine Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Plus three graded stakes races on the turf including the Dance Smartly that will be part of the early pick-5 that the “I won bigger” betting group will be discussing and playing at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow on the Clubhouse plaza.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • A jockey school for aboriginal youth? That's what MB Derby winners are planning
  • Why it was okay to play a "caveman" ticket on ASD's mandatory payout pick-5
  • Only 14 per cent of usual crowd will be able to attend the Kentucky Derby
  • Overlay of the week: Easiest superfecta of the ASD meet pays huge
  • Online bidding will be available at yearling sale a week from Sunday
HAMPTON WINS $200 DERBY BANKROLL IN TIE-BREAKER: In a tie-breaking squeaker, 2018 Handicapper of the Year Alan Hampton edged retired math prof Jim Roberts to win a $200 bankroll to play the Kentucky Derby. While both contestants picked Tiz the Law to win Saratoga’s Travers Stakes, Hampton predicted Max Player would finish third--which he did--while Roberts predicted a second-place finish. Good luck on Derby Day Saturday, Sept. 5, Alan!
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.

60 VLTs OPEN DAILY: From 9 a.m. - 2 a.m.

HOW TO WATCH LIVE RACING: While the grandstand and tarmac are still closed to spectators, you can watch and wager on live racing from the Terrace Dining Room, Club West Lounge and Racebook. Reservations are required for the Terrace Dining Room. Call 204-885-3330. See menu here.


  • Green Brier: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Rookies Sports Bar in the Central Hotel: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day.
  • Pembina Hotel: open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Canad Inns Windsor Park: open daily at 9 a.m.
  • McPhillips Station Casino: open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
  • Club Regent Casino: open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
  • Quest Inn: closed at this time
  • HARD COPIES OF ALL PROGRAMS FOR ALL TRACKS: Equibase race programs ($2), DRF race programs ($2) and DRF Pro Picks (50-cents) are available at program kiosks in the ASD lobby and at the above OTBs.
  • ASD LIVE PROGRAMS: Can be purchased from the program kiosks and at the VLT cage at ASD.
  • EMAILED PROGRAMS: ASD program director Sheri will email programs without charge to Manitobans who email their request to her at Specify the track and DRF or Equibase program.
HOW TO OPEN AN HPI ACCOUNT FOR BETTING ONLINE: Go to or phone 204-885-3330 ext. 225 for assistance.

Hidden Grace avoids Ericka's Lass Stakes . . .

. . . to crush rivals in an allowance race for Manitoba-breds

The Insider’s prediction last week of a Ericka’s Lass Stakes barnburner on Wednesday quickly fell apart when Hidden Grace entered an allowance race for Manitoba-breds instead (and easily won) and trainer Jerry Gourneau didn’t enter Escape Clause Stakes winner Labhay in the race and scratched his Texas claim Cypress Point from the race. That left only Murray Duncan’s Miss Imperial to dominate the remaining field of five as a 1-9 favourite should.

That’s the danger of relying on a list of nominated horses to determine who will actually run in a race.

*       *      *   

Hottest jockey: Shannon Beauregard (5 wins)
Hottest trainer: Jerry Gourneau, Tom Gardipy Jr. (3 wins)
Biggest longshot: Hoochiecoochie Sam $48.80 (Race 7 Monday)
Stakes champions: Miss Imperial (Ericka’s Lass)
Upcoming stakes:
Uene (Tuesday)
Carryovers: $10,792
in the Jackpot pick-5; $4,738 in the Super Hi-5
TRAINER PROFILE: Wade Eno, Manitoba Derby winner

A crushed ankle while bull-riding as a teenager . . .

. . . led Eno into racing. Now he's planning a jockey school for indigenous youth

A crushed ankle when he was bull-riding at 19--and being befriended by the trainer of 1954 Canadian Derby winner Treherne--led Alberta native Wade Eno into a life of training and breeding horses and winning the Manitoba Derby.

And now the 54-year-old is working with indigenous leaders and Andy Stronach, co-owner of Derby winner Mongolian Wind, to set up a jockey school for indigenous youth. In fact, he told The Insider, he and Stronach are trying to sell the idea of a reality TV show based on the jockey school.

Wade Eno in the paddock with Shez Wicked Fast, co-bred by Andy Stronach, before Tuesday’s fourth race (Jason Halstead photo)
So that’s why he and Stronach were accompanied into the Winner’s Circle, after winning the Manitoba Derby, by three indigenous leaders -- Chief Calvin Straightnose from Saskatchewan and Brad Baptiste and Jim Bull from Alberta. “We had a meeting the next day to talk about the jockey school,” he said.

Eno’s training and his Derby win is just the tip of an iceberg of what appears to be a very busy business life. On the racing side, besides the 22 horses he has in training at the Downs, he said he has 22 broodmares spread out in Alberta, B.C. and Kentucky.

He said his connection with Stronach, the son of the famous Canadian Stronach family that owns seven race tracks including Gulfstream and Santa Anita, came five years ago at a breeding stock event in Alberta.

They both became enamored with Assiniboia Downs (“We like the people and the atmosphere”) so we can expect Meadow Brook Farms horses (his stable name) to become a staple in Manitoba. In fact, Stronach brought Mongolian Wind to the Downs on behalf of himself and Mongolian business partners (hence, Mongolian Stable) to win the Manitoba Derby.

Mission accomplished. Now let’s see if they get the indigenous jockey school off the ground. It would likely be set up in Osoyoos, B.C. where the weather is milder, Eno said.

Online bidding now possible

CTHS yearling sale, Manitoba division, goes Sunday, Aug. 23 with 29 hips

If you really want to keep a distance at the annual CTHS yearling sale, Manitoba division, a week from this Sunday, you can watch and bid on the yearlings online. See details here.

The sale of 29 yearlings will take place on the Red River Exhibition site behind the ASD grandstand. It begins at 2:30 p.m. and anyone may attend. The yearling sales catalogue is available free at Guest Services in the lobby or for download on the CTHS website here.

ASD dining room to open 9:30 a.m. on Derby Day

Derby glasses and merchandise will be available for sale

Will be sold on Derby Day
Celebrate Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, Sept. 5 by reserving a table in the Terrace Dining Room. The dining room opens at 9:30 a.m. To reserve a table, call 885-3330. The regular menu will be in effect.

Also, a limited amount of Kentucky Derby merchandise will be available in the Clubhouse. Will the unique Derby glass be a prized memento because of the change in dates from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September?

Under a 65-page listing of health and safety protocols, Churchill Downs is limiting its guests on Derby Day to 14 per cent of its usual crowd. The infield will be closed and those with reservations will be required to wear masks, complete a health questionnaire and pass a temperature check before being admitted onto the grounds.

*       *      *
Tiz the Law airs in Travers Stakes . . .
. . . and is the even-money horse in the final Future Wager pool to win the Derby

Tiz the Law hasn’t lost a step, easily winning Travers Stakes (Skip Dickstein photo)
With Belmont-stakes winner Tiz the Law airing in last Saturday’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga, I’ll need some help to bring my 65-1 future-wager horse, Thousand Words, into contention to win the Kentucky Derby three weeks from tomorrow.

Tiz the Law was bet down to even money in the final Kentucky Derby Future Pool. My Thousand Words dropped from odds of 65-1 in the previous Future Wager pool to 25-1 in this one. So I’ll have a few more people cheering with me when 20 horses load into the Churchill Downs starting gate. I’ll be pulling for posts six to eight for Thousand Words and an outside gate for Tiz the Law.

Note the final Kentucky Derby prep race for horses to gain more points to qualify to enter the Derby goes tomorrow at Monmouth Park, the $150K Pegasus Stakes. It’s a minor prep race with 20-8-4-2 in points available to the top four finishers.


Betting group plays "caveman" ticket on jackpot pick-5

Why it was okay . . . even though players lost a few dollars

Pick-5 pool grew to almost $2.4 million
“Please, please, please,” the winner of handicapping tournaments emailed me, pleading for the “I won bigger” betting group to play a “caveman” ticket on Tuesday’s mandatory payout of ASD’s Jackpot pick-5.

Quite a few group participants like “caveman” tickets in which every possible horse is put on the same ticket--which, of course, is not something recommended by the pros. But I didn’t mind Tuesday’s caveman ticket--which cost $1,120 for 5,600 20-cent combinations--because the final three legs had “chaos” possibilities because they were races for non-winners of two races. Logical horses often don’t win that condition and, in fact, no favourites won. The win prices were $14.50, $8.90 and $33.20.

The end result was that the caveman ticket was successful, paying just over $1,000, but the group got a return of $15.66 for each $20 share because they needed a “chaos” horse in the second leg in which they took “all” and the $3.90 favourite won. It was worth a stab, anyway. And, as mentioned, there’s quite a bit of group love for caveman-type tickets.

*       *      *
Players tell me AFTERWARD they loved horse that would have won group $50,000

You’ve got to hate it when you find out afterward that a horse that cost the “I won bigger” group $50,000 was loved by a couple players who hadn’t brought that horse to the attention of those making up group tickets.

Going into the last leg of Gulfstream’s mandatory payout pick-6 on Sunday, the group ticket had a single horse keyed which would have won them $34,000. It fell short but if the horse liked by the two players had been added to the ticket, the group would have been sharing more than $50,000. Why was their horse a must-use? See POCKET PLENTY IN ’20 below. It’s all so easy afterward, isn’t it?

All of which should serve as a reminder that if YOU love a horse that should be included on group tickets, please advise.

Our next chance to get it right is tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza, discussing Woodbine’s early pick-5. Even emailing program director Sheri at will put your views into the hands of ticket-constructors.
POCKET PLENTY IN '20: A $50,000 lesson

Sunday’s “I won bigger” betting group missed out on collecting more than $50,000 in Gulfstream’s Rainbow pick-6 because of a horse who, in his previous race, HAD CLOSED GROUND AFTER SLOW EARLY FRACTIONS in a turf race . If the early pace of Sunday’s race would be quicker, then this horse could win -- which he did. Call it a $50,000 oversight which was brought up by two handicappers after the race. Sigh. But it will certainly not be missed again. Will this lesson at least help you nail more winners in turf races?

ASD OVERLAY OF THE WEEK: Did you cash the superfecta in the Ericka’s Lass Stakes on Wednesday? Did it feel like stealing? What did you spend? $2? $4? For a $1 superfecta that paid $49.20 and couldn’t have been more logical? In the five-horse field, prohibitive 1-9 favourite #3 Miss Imperial won, obvious #2 More Mo for Me and #4 Kickalittlebooty finished second and third, leaving two longshot horses for the fourth position. Yes, 3-2-4-6 actually paid $49.20 for $1 and that’s why it was the overlay of the week.

Ouch! Travers suffers second achilles rupture
EVEN THE REFEREE HEARD HIS ACHILLES SNAP: “I tried to sidestep the rusher and pushed off my right foot,” said ASD ticket seller Travers Cummings in describing his quarterbacking a touch football team Tuesday. I felt (and heard) a loud POP! It was loud enough that the ref behind me even heard it.” That’s why Travers--in a cast and using crutches-- deserves our sympathy when we’re buying or cashing tickets in the Clubhouse as he heals from his second achilles rupture in 12 years, the first one to the other foot while playing basketball.

ASD jockey Shawn Samuel will probably remember Warren’s Van Gogh, a Maria Stanford trainee, because the horse on Tuesday finally ended his 71-race winless streak at ASD. Coming into the race he was 71-0-11-4. Yet riding last year primarily at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, he had 15 wins from 90 starts. This win should be a confidence booster.
HISTORY ON THE HOOF by Bob Gates: She outlived her husband and kids

This week Bob tells the touching story of a racing family whose matriarch outlived her husband and three kids and, after all that heartache, just passed away last year. Follow the story of your typical racetrack family that was well-known on the backside for 50 years here.
  • Tomorrow : “I won bigger” workshop 10:30 a.m.; final Kentucky Derby prep race, the Pegasus at Monmouth. Woodbine features the Plate Trial and Woodbine Oaks Stakes.
  • Monday, Aug. 17: Live racing 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 18: Live racing 7:30 p.m. Uene Overnight Stakes
  • Wednesday, Aug. 19: Live racing 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 22: “I won bigger” workshop 10:30 a.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 23: CTHS yearling sale online and on the Red River Ex grounds behind the grandstand at 2:30 p.m.

Good luck in Monday’s handicapping tournament!

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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
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