Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 30 (Issue #549)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Time to wave the flag (or be quietly patriotic)

Manitoba-breds take centre stage this weekend--on track and in sales ring

Waving is optional; quiet reflection works, too

Move aside prairie crocus, fly away great grey owl, dim your light Golden Boy—because the spotlight this weekend belongs to horses bred in Manitoba--both on the race track and in the sales ring

  • Who’s the best Manitoba-bred on the grounds? Find out Friday night in the Phil Kives Stakes (formerly the Agassiz)
  • Who’s the best Manitoba-bred female on the grounds? Find out Saturday in the Distaff Stakes.
  • When will horses from last year’s yearling sale go head to head? In Saturday’s CTHS Sale Stakes.
  • When will the new crop of yearlings be auctioned off? This Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on the Red River Ex grounds behind the grandstand. (You’re invited.)

*      *       *


  • ASD babies compete Friday in a sprint sizzler, the Osiris Stakes (along with the Phil Kives Stakes for Manitoba-breds above)
  • The $150,000 Canadian Derby, likely featuring the winner of the Manitoba Derby, Inside Straight, goes Saturday afternoon at Northlands Park
  • Be one of three people to win the hot new DRF book, Cashing Big on Racing’s Biggest Day. Play a $10 place parlay on three races: the Canadian Derby, the $1 million Pacific Classic from Del Mar (featuring California Chrome) and the Del Mar Oaks.
  • Will he do it for an incredible seventh time? At 10, the young-at-heart gelding, Ben’s Cat, will attempt to win the Mister Diz Stakes for Maryland-breds for the seventh year in a row at Laurel Saturday (5 ½ f on the turf)
  • The third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Breeders Stakes, goes Sunday on the turf at Woodbine.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • "I did it in dad's memory," Bonnie says tearfully after tourney win
  • ASD awash in stakes: Two tonight, two Friday, two Saturday. Wow!
  • Win DRF book "Cashing Big on Racing's Biggest Days" Saturday
  • Will Danelson do tonight what he did 50 years ago? See Bob's blog
  • Will one of Rob's picks be Sunday's yearling sales topper?
  • Placing judges fined $500 for error that cost Belmont $51,000

WIN HOT NEW DRF BOOK IN $10 PARLAY SATURDAY:   The hot new DRF book, Cashing Big on Racing’s Biggest Days, is yours Saturday afternoon if you’re among the TOP THREE highest in a $10 place parlay on these three races: The Canadian Derby (which is likely to include Manitoba Derby winner Inside Straight), the Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the Del Mar Oaks. If you’re the very best parlayer you also will receive $100 in betting vouchers. Look for entry forms. (It works the same way as the $5 Place in the Sun parlay. And note you aren’t limited to one parlay. You can start two or three or more parlays on different horses. Just turn in your highest.)

Written by top racing writer Steve Davidowitz, the 240-page hardcover book “provides players with a quality game plan for attacking the best wagering opportunities the sport has to offer--from isolating key contenders to constructing crafty superfecta or pick 4 tickets. No stone has been left unturned.” Contains interviews, too, with Andrew Beyer, Steven Crist, Jonathon Kinchen, and other top handicappers. Obviously, highly readable stuff—and well worth winning this Saturday!

DON’T FORGET DAILY AND MONTHLY PRIZES! Remember, folks, there are still daily and monthly prizes in the Place in the Sun contest to win a trip to Mexico. Winning $20 in betting vouchers and three months of the Sun is a pretty good deal for the daily prize, considering the fact that parlays under $20 have been winning lately! The latest:

August 10 – Elaine McLeod - $13.80
August 12 – Bill Siwak - $15.95
August 13 – R. Cnockaert - $19.00

QX104 – Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

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 know live race dates? Click here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jays-Bombers

Next live race days:
Tonight, Friday, Saturday parade to post 7:15 p.m.

After every live race card: Crazy Hour and free VLT tournaments. Beer, wine, shots $2.95 and half-price appetizers.

One More Lady wins Victoria Day Stakes in 1989
(Photo courtesy of track historian Bob Gates)

TWO STAKES TONIGHT (WICKED WEDNESDAY): There are two stakes on tap for tonight’s excellent card: The storied R.J. Speers for the best older horses on the grounds and the One More Lady stakes for older fillies and mares. Can anyone stop Girl Boss in her seemingly inexorable drive to the Manitoba Matron in September?

That race, the last of eight created by the HBPA to salute past champion horses, remembers a mare who won an astonishing 14 of 26 starts at ASD in the 1980s including eight stakes races. Owned by Chita Bledsoe and trained by Alexander (Sandy) McPherson and Wayne Elias, she won the Astral Moon three times, the Victoria Day twice and the Chantilly, Canada Day and Winnipeg Sun. She earned $130,000.

John Whitehill congratulates Bonnie Simmonds, his partner, on winning Saturday's handicapping tournament



Emotional victory

Bonnie fights back tears after winning tourney on birthday of late father

It isn’t often that tears follow a handicapping tournament but they did on Saturday as Bonnie Simmonds became the first woman since 2009 to earn the trip to Vegas on a day that would have been the 99th birthday of her father, Jim.

“When the tournament schedule came out for the year,” the retired bank employee said, “I told John (her partner) that this was the day I wanted to win a tournament in memory of my father – and I did.” She had to put away 58 players.

Female wins are rare. The last time was Esther Schmeider in 2009.

TOP THREE: Winner Bonnie Simmonds (right), Alan Hampton (extreme left), John Field

And Bonnie earned it very impressively. She picked the winners of the first six races on the seven-race card to accumulate a bankroll of $55.40. Placing second was retired Crown Attorney and HBPA director John Field with $46.80 and accountant Alan Hampton was third with $44.80. The final tournament on live racing is Sept. 10. The four winners and the Handicapper of the Year will all be heading to the Horse Player World Series at the Orleans Hotel/Casino in March.

Bonnie said her strategy is primarily to look at jockeys, jockey/trainer combinations and study the body language of horses. She likes to see a horse nipping at the neck of the ponying horse during the post parade. That shows the horse is ready to put forth a peak performance, she said.

Having won the trip himself two years ago, Bonnie’s partner, John Whitehill, should have tips for her on how to approach her first Vegas tourney. There’s likely to be about 700 entrants.

Here’s how Bonnie won it (with $2 win/place on her picks):
Race 1: Bellamy’s Song (Shavon Belle) $8.60, $3.00
Race 2: Spanky’s Bourbon (Renaldo Cumberbatch) $9.30, $4.10
Race 3: Jon Q (Christopher Husbands) $3.80, $2.80
Race 4: It’s About Jazz (Kayla Pizarro) $3.00, $2.50
Race 5: Primarily Wise (Christopher Husbands) $7.50, $3.10
Race 6: Deal’ Em (Christopher Husbands) $4.30, $3.20

See tomorrow's stars at Sunday's yearling sale

Will we ever see another Fancy As? (Earned $670,000)

You're invited!

You never know. One of the colts or fillies that will come under the auctioneer’s hammer at Sunday’s CTHS yearling sale could turn out to be another Fancy As, the Manitoba-bred colt who was purchased for $3,200 at the 1999 yearling sale and went on to earn $670,000.

That’s why the sale is an exciting mystery. You’re not only buying a horse, you’re buying a dream. Will the filly or colt win next year’s Graduation Stakes—maybe even the Winnipeg Futurity? Will it even get to the races? You lay down your money; you take your chances.

One thing you CAN say: owning a baby horse will be an eventful experience, more eventful than perhaps raising a child. Potential buyers examine the impressive bloodlines detailed in the sales catalogue, scrutinize the conformation of the youngster – then guess and bid.

It’s always fun, though, and you’re invited to attend. The first of about 30 “hips” will be led onto the sales ring at 2:30 p.m., whinnies will echo through the rafters and the hammer will come down on someone’s fingers-crossed future.

Drop in. Drive behind the ASD grandstand and walk onto the Red River Ex grounds. Make it a family outing. There’s no charge and food and beverages are available.

*      *       *

Bid on the gray?

Rob's "hips" to watch: #3, 6, 15, 18

ASD paddock host Rob MacLennan predicts the above hips are the ones which will likely generate the most bidding excitement out of the 30 available.

  • #3 Trading Game is a gelding by True Sense. Bred by Ziprick Thoroughbreds.
  • #6 Command the Hype is a gelding by the popular sire Going Commando. Bred by Kelly Halliday.
  • #15 Who So Blue is a gelding from Going Commando, too. Bred by Ziprick.
  • #18 Boombox Betty is a filly by Going Commando, also a Ziprick-bred.

Will Rob’s predictions bear out at the sale? Will one of those be the sales topper? C’mon out and see.


Hottest jock:
Christopher Husbands (6 wins)
Hottest trainer: Tom Gardipy Jr. (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Luxiana Coin $20.10 (1st Wed)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $328 (5th Sat)

STRETCH DRIVE OF THE WEEK: Watch video here. (Aug. 10 Race 1)


Team Danelsingh gets natural hat trick

GETTING BETTER WITH AGE: What does Gary Danelson eat for breakfast? Obviously, “the breakfast of champions” because, despite being the track’s all-time leading trainer, having been around the track almost forever, he’s taken his game to another level this year, posting a 36 percent win rate, nine points higher than his closest rival, Don Schnell. He scored a natural hat trick in the first three races Saturday with three-time leading jockey Rohan Singh carrying out the mission. Let’s just say they are both “power driven” which is your hunch play for a horse by that name in tonight’s R. J. Speers.

BUFF FLIP DISAPPOINTS FANS: Predictably, a legion of bettors had “hunch” money on 2-year-old Buff in his debut race at the Downs last Wednesday. But the colt named for a certain favourite hockey player never got to race because he flipped in the gate, necessitating a scratch. So we’ll have to wait to see if he makes it into this weekend’s cards.

FINED FOR GOOF: Two New York placing judges have been fined $500 each by the New York State Gaming Commission for getting the fourth place finisher wrong in a July 1 race at Belmont. The error resulted in the track paying out more than $51,000 for the superfecta. A dead heat for second seemed to confuse the judges and they posted the wrong horse for fourth. When the stewards saw the error and the correct finish was posted, the track continued paying out for BOTH tickets—the correct one and incorrect one. For extra assurance during the current Saratoga meet, NYRA has added a THIRD placing judge.

DAYS NUMBERED FOR ARLINGTON? Rumours were rife on radio and elsewhere on the eve of the Arlington Million last Saturday that that would be the Chicago track’s final Million. Wagering has been in freefall since the Churchill-operated track installed Polytrack in 2007, declining by 60 per cent. When ASD’s biggest Arlington supporter, Charles Tax, came to the Race Book in a suit and tie on Million Day, there was speculation that he was not only honouring the track’s biggest day but also paying his respects. Probably a bit of both. Time will tell.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. Is there any way to sort the available betting tracks by MTP?
Yes, there are several ways to sort the available tracks that are currently open for wagering. The first option is to sort the tracks alphabetically. In order to do this, simply open the TRACKS menu and click on the word TRACKS with the up and down arrows next to it (view image here). This will sort all of the Open For Betting tracks as well as the Available Later and Completed tracks in alphabetical order, making it easy to locate the track of your choice.

You also have the option to list the tracks according to their Minutes to Post. Just click on the word MTP in the TRACKS menu and this will sort all of the current Available for Betting tracks from top to bottom, based on their current minutes to post. These features will allow you to focus on the upcoming races.

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: Bob's "timely" blog

How “time” flies! That’s a picture of a clock next to Bob’s photo—awarded to trainer Gary Danelson for winning the R. J. Speers exactly 50 years ago. He'd like nothing better than to celebrate that anniversary by winning tonight’s Speer’s with Power Driven who finished third in the Manitoba Derby. What prominent ASD horse won the race in 1966 and why should you care? Bob tells you here. Enjoy!

NEXT INSIDER: Wednesday.

Good luck in winning a "Cashing Big" book Saturday!
It looks like a good one!

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