Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 31 (Issue #599)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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



Manitoba filly Liz's Pride finishes second in 1979 Derby

Insider got it wrong

Escape Clause wasn't the first Manitoba-bred filly to finish second in Derby

The Insider has made a big deal about Escape Clause being the first Manitoba-bred filly to finish second in the Manitoba Derby. Wrong! Insider reader Stewart Hayek has pointed out another filly was the first: Liz’s Pride back in 1979. (“How soon they forget!”)

Liz’s Pride was an exceptionally precocious 2-year-old, winning eight for eight at the Downs, then winning her first 3-year-old race, the R. C. Anderson, but—like Escape Clause—had to settle for second in the Manitoba Derby. Liz was collared in the late stages by a B.C.-bred ungelded horse, Easter’s Memory.

See Jockey’s agent remembers below.

THIS WAS WRONG, TOO: Owner/trainer Murray Duncan’s stats WERE EVEN BETTER than The Insider indicated. Here’s what last week’s Insider SHOULD have said.

Last year at this time: 16-0-2-4
This year: 23 -11-3-1 (The Insider had wrongly indicated he had 30 starts instead of 23.)

That represents an incredible 48 per cent win rate. From zero per cent wins to 48 per cent wins year over year. Take ANOTHER bow, Murray!

A couple other things were corrected in the online version of The Insider, too: Garylle Stewart was a lawyer in Fargo, not Grand Forks, and Kenny Do the Math is trained but not owned by Murray. The owners are Daryl Carry, Royce Finley and Brian Smith.

So, on the cusp of INSIDER #600 (can you believe it?), that clears up a few hiccups thanks to a couple sharp readers. Appreciate it! The online version was corrected immediately.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Danelson's new goal: "1,300 wins before I hit 90." What?
  • Danelson was "secret weapon" in player's tournament win
  • Come for the yearling sale Sunday, stay for the Triple Crown finale
  • Kirt's recommended $21 pick-4 ticket on TV pays $1,441
  • In a slump? Marshall has suggestions on what to do

HOW TO BE READY TO BE DRAWN FOR THE BETTING SPREE: Will you be ready to maximize your winnings if you’re drawn for the 60-second betting spree tonight (or any night)? A few tips: Really wrap your head around race 5, That will be your betting race. Learn from Ken Porter who made $727 from $152 in wagers. He made most of his money betting the same exactors multiple times. If you’re drawn, write down your wagers. You don’t have time to think—only to be a motor mouth. Even if you’re NOT drawn, you’ll see how well you WOULD HAVE made out – and adjust your betting accordingly for next time.

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? Jays - Bombers

AFTER LIVE RACING: Free VLT tournaments. 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. Plus Crazy Hour. Beer, shots and wine only $2.95 plus half-price appetizers (nachos, chicken fingers, chicken wings and gyoza.)

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker. Registration 10 p.m. Game starts at 10:30 p.m. New Royal Flush progressive jackpot is at $130! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

Organizers hope to make second night market even better than the first

NIGHT MARKET #2 SET FOR SUNDAY, SEPT. 3: What do you do when an event has been overwhelmingly successful? You hold another one. And that’s what the Downs is doing with a second night market on the Labour Day weekend – Sunday, Sept. 3 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Twenty food trucks, exhibitors galore, live entertainment, beer garden, micro-breweries, kids’ fun and much more. You loved the first one; will you love this one even more? ASD organizer Cory O’Grodnik promises to make it so. Admission just $5.



Escape Clause to race in Distaff Saturday?

50-50 chance; we'll find out this morning

Escape Clause
Will "Iron Lady" enter Distaff?

We’ll find out this morning when entries are taken for Saturday’s $25,000 Distaff Stakes whether Escape Clause will be one of the entrants. Trainer Don Schnell said it was 50-50 that she would be in it.

He said she was understandably “tired” after her huge effort finishing second in the Manitoba Derby nine days ago but “she’s been coming around to her usual self the last few days,” he told The Insider. Which, reading between the lines, seems to mean she’ll take on other females at the track in the Distaff.

In fact, Schnell said consideration was given to entering her into a $75,000 stakes race at Northlands Park this Saturday instead but the 14 hours of travel the filly would have to endure so close to her Manitoba Derby effort pretty much eliminated that thought.


  • Owner John Ganas is giving Media Melee another shot in a route race, the 1 1/16 mile R. J. Speers Friday, even though he faltered going a distance last time and finished sixth. Before that, he had won three stakes in a row at sprint distances.
  • The $25,000 Phil Kives Stakes for Manitoba-bred colts and geldings goes Friday with Langara looking for his third win in a row.
  • Two-year-olds purchased at last year’s CTHS yearling sale will be knocking heads in the CTHS Sales Stakes Saturday. Although entries will not be officially known until today, it appears the sales topper at $13,000, Why So Blue, will prove his worth.



Danelson was his "secret weapon"

Wins tournament only because he knew Danelson needed win #1,200

Chris Lucyshyn stands proudly next to his name at the top

Danelson's Mystery Cat wins at 10-1

Saturday’s horseplayer tournament winner should have been in the Winner’s Circle with Gary Danelson when Danelson scored win #1,200 with 10-1 Mystery Cat in the last race.

“That was the only reason I took the horse,”
Chris Lucyshyn, a former provincial Natural Resources officer, told The Insider. “The only reason?” The Insider asked. “Yes, the only reason.”

So, if Danelson was the happiest guy that night, Lucyshyn was the second most happy. “I’ve played in the tournament 20 times and never won,” Lucyshyn said. Well, now he’s won it and he’ll be heading to Las Vegas with three other winners to try to grab a share of $1 million in a tournament in March. Danelson’s horse added $30.60 to his bankroll.

Envious? You have one more chance to be boarding the flight to Vegas. Win the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 9. Go to Guest Services each live race day for an entry form to try and pick three winners on the night. Each time you do, you get a discount off the $50 Sept. 9 entry fee.

See August tournament winners here.
See leader board for Horseplayer of the Year here.



How much will Modesty's Tribute sell for?

"Name the filly" filly goes on the auction block Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Modesty's Tribute
You can buy her Sunday (Sherisse Ziprick photo)

The filly many of you submitted a name for—Modesty’s Tribute—goes on the auction block this Sunday at the annual CTHS (Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society) sale of Manitoba-bred yearlings.

How much do you think the filly will fetch? Will you or your partnership bid on her? Will she live up to her name representing the win 250 years ago of a mare by the name of Modesty on the Plains of Abraham, the first organized horse race in what would become Canada? Horses given prominent names have had a habit of excelling. Take Gold N Sochi who is racing in the $25,000 Distaff this Saturday.

The sale goes at 2:30 p.m. on the Red River Ex grounds just behind the ASD grandstand and you’re welcome to attend.

What will be the sales topper? Last year it was $13,000—Why So Blue—who rewarded his owners a win right off the bat on July 29 and looks like a good one. His share of the purse was $7,200.

*         *        *

Third leg of Canadian Triple Crown

Breeders' Stakes goes Sunday after yearling sale

It’s another big stakes afternoon at Woodbine Sunday with the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes. It’s an exciting 1 ½ mile turf race after the CTHS yearling sale.

The first leg of the Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate, was won by Holy Helena and the second leg, the Prince of Wales, by Cool Catomine who will be trying to double up with a win in the Breeders’ though he hasn’t run on the turf. There hasn’t been a Canadian Triple Crown winner since Wando in 2003.

Should you be looking at the favourites or longshots in the Breeders’ Stakes? Over the past five years, there was one less-than-even-money favourite and, last year, a bomb’s away longshot. Are 20-cent superfectas the way to go? Here were the payoffs:

  • 2016 – Camp Creek $55.30. Superfecta ($1) paid $13,497
  • 2015 – Danish Dynaformer $4.80. Superfecta ($1) paid $323
  • 2014 – Ami’s Holiday $6.70. Superfecta ($1) paid $3,868
  • 2013 – Up with the Birds $3.60. Superfecta ($1) paid $45
  • 2012 – Irish Mission $11.80. Superfecta ($1) paid $4,741

Tonight's best bets

I'm playing a $20 win parlay on their picks. No pressure.

Kirt, Rob, Marshall

  • Kirt’s best (post-Derby record 1-1-0-0): Race 7 -- #1 Supreme Thunder (3-1)
  • Rob’s best (post-Derby record 1-1-0-0): Race 3 -- #4 Deadly Black Eagle (8-5)
  • Marshall’s best (post-Derby record 1-1-0-0): Race 2 -- #5 Paint My Ride (2-1) “Gets serious class relief”

LAST FRIDAY’S RESULTS: All won, with Kirt’s Simply Fablus being the highest ($5.80). Rob and Marshall both picked Dixieland Lake that paid $2.60.

$75.40. I’m playing a $20 win parlay on their choices tonight and for the balance of the meet.

*        *        *

WOODBINE WATCH by Lorne Spearman: Who does this former Woodbine jockey agent (for the likes of Sandy Hawley) like tonight? First post is 5:45 p.m. “RACE ONE: #1 ETHANATOR -- will greatly benefit from first start and drop to the friendly confines of claiming company. Turf pedigree and still viable if it rains on his parade. Trainer Biamonte and jock Maragh are an effective and reliable combo.”

  • CEO Darren Dunn (right) congratulates Gary Danelson as Gary's partner, Bonnie McCrory, and Ed Pawluk (whose Smoky Cinder was trained by Gary) watch.

    THE BIGGEST SHOUT-OUT goes to owner/trainer Gary Danelson. In Saturday's last race, when he least expected it, his horse, Mystery Cat at 10-1, ran a huge race on the outside under the capable handling of jockey Adolfo Morales to give the Montana gentleman 1,200 career wins. His first win was at the age of 22 on Aug. 29, 1959, when Paul Anka’s Lonely Boy and Elvis Presley’s A Big Hunk o’ Love were playing on the radio.

    Gary wanted to reach the 1,200 milestone before his 80th birthday on Aug. 25 and he did it with two weeks to spare! So what was going through his mind when it happened? “That I’m glad it’s a horse I own,” he said. But also he mused: “If I win 10 races a year for 10 years, I’ll reach 1,300.” Just in time for his 90th birthday. Why not?
  • Kirt Contois' $21 ticket pays $1441

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to track announcer Kirt Contois for essentially giving you the key to the pick-4 Friday, #7 Simply Fablus in the last race, that paid $1,441 for a $1 ticket. That was his best bet of the night (see last Friday’s Insider) and, if you listened to him in his pre-racing show with Rob MacLennan, you would have seen that his suggested pick-4 ticket was 1,3,4 with 4 with ALL with 7. So for spending $21, you would have collected $1,441. (My winning ticket cost $48 but I did key #7 which I considered my best bet of the night, too, because it had a jump off the page 106 pace number.)

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to trainer Shelley Brown and owner Barry Anderson for scooping $12,000 U.S. in purse money at Canterbury with their 3-year-old Hard Knocks Rock whom they placed in a 5f TURF race, the first turf race of the gelding’s life. Astute move. Usually purse money goes in the opposite direction. That gives Hard Knocks a record of 8-3-0-1. He paid $9.80. Shelley didn’t have the same luck with the 4-year-old filly, Stevie Mac, who finished out of the money in a stakes event at the Minnesota track.

Hottest jockey(s): Antonio Whitehall, Christopher Husbands (2 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Shelley Brown, Steven Gaskin, Deb Hanson (2 wins)
Biggest longshot: Midst of Chaos $33.50 (race 4 Friday)  
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $97 (race 2 Friday)
Stakes champion(s): None


Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Marshall helps players at Fan Education Centre

Q. How do I bust out of my handicapping slump?

A. If you’re an avid horseplayer then you’ve undoubtedly experienced a slump in picking winners and cashing tickets. It happens to all of us. The key is to bust out of the slump as quickly as possible and return to your winning ways. Here are some ideas to help:
  • Take a break –it’s good to take a break from routines on a regular basis to re-charge your batteries. Taking a break if you’re in a slump can help freshen your perspective and rejuvenate your interest level when you return, ensuring you’re as sharp as ever.
  • Go back to basics – Handicapping a race can be challenging and it’s easy to take shortcuts. Make sure to go through all of your handicapping steps and watch replays to get back on track. Also, make a point of focusing on races that play to your strengths to help re-build your wagering confidence.
  • Reduce your bets – It’s often a good idea to reduce your bet sizes when you’re in a slump. This will result in fewer losses. When you turn the corner, you can always increase them.

Got a question for Marshall? Email


Spearman remembers

"Best second ever," jockey's agent recalls of Manitoba-bred Liz's Pride

Lorne Spearman (right) represented Irwin Driedger on Liz's Pride in Manitoba Derby

“What I remember most was wondering whether Liz’s Pride should be entered into the 1979 Manitoba Derby because she ran an uncharacteristically dull race in an overnight stakes that was to be an easy prep for the Derby. Trainer John Cizik and then race manager Harry Kube monitored her closely, decided she was in good order and entered her.

“There seemed to be no real standout and, good for us, no real speed. Our team thought Liz could relax and take her speed a long way on the home track. To our knowledge, the eventual winner, Easter’s Memory, was not entering. This was pre-internet/facebook times and stables played their hands close to the vest especially when shipping to stakes races.

“Raceday: Liz’s Pride broke well, set soft fractions on her own and turned into the stretch with maybe a three length lead. She ran on gallantly but Easter Memories managed to reel her in. She made everyone proud and to this day that race ranks as the best second I have experienced in racing—so far!”

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: Rider had more wins but never a title. Who is he?

This jockey never won a riding title yet at one time had more career wins at the Downs than any other rider. Who is he? Think about it before clicking on the link to Bob’s blog here.

Bidding or watching? How much will Modesty's Tribute fetch?
Enjoy Sunday's yearling sale followed by the Breeders' Stakes

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