Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 31 (Issue #550)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Yearlings sell for $800 to $13,000 each; seller rejects $25,000

“What are these strange humans doing?” the yearling in the photo at right might be thinking, as Zachery Halliday, 15, behind him makes some creative moves to encourage him to move forward with Laura McIvor toward a pavilion on the Red River Ex site where he’ll be sold for $800, the lowest price paid for a horse at Sunday’s annual CTHS yearling sale.

But, who knows? Maybe Mr Bargainbasement will prove to be worth much more than that in next summer’s races for 2-year-olds. (Hey, buyer Kent Scramstad, what do you think of that name for your unnamed gelding? It’s the requisite 18 characters and says it all.)

The sales topper at $13,000 was a gelding by the name of Why So Blue although bidding went as high as $25,000 for a filly, Spiteofsuccess, before she was pulled from the sale because she didn’t reach the seller’s reserve price.

The sale grossed $76,100 compared to $104,050 last year but sales figures are misleading because 12 of the 27 yearlings offered were not sold because of reserve prices. They represented $78,000 in buy-backs. Sellers must put their yearlings through the sales ring—sold or unsold—to be eligible to enter next year’s $30,000 CTHS Sale Stakes.

For complete sales results, go here.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Longest race of the year so far (1 1/4 mile) goes tonight
  • Just nine days of live racing left; final Wicked Wednesday tonight
  • Ouch! You'll feel this player's pain by watching this replay
  • The Arnason/Schnell duo wins three of the four Manitoba-bred stakes
  • Harrah's Philly a top "better bettor" track
  • Fowl is fair: Assiniboia Racing Club finally gets a bit of good news
  • Historian Bob recounts "the year of the scandal"

Larry Liebrecht
Ready to "cash big"

LIEBRECHT WINS $10 PARLAY CONTEST:   Congrats to electrician Larry Liebrecht who turned his $10 place parlay on three contest races Saturday into $140 (playing the Del Mar Oaks, Pacific Classic and Canadian Derby). He won the compelling new DRF book, Cashing Big on Racing’s Biggest Days, and $100 in betting vouchers. The Downs has ordered extra copies of the book which soon will be available to buy.

FINAL NINE DAYS TO WIN MEXICAN TRIP OR DAILY/MONTHLY PRIZES: It’s crunch time for you to win the $5 place parlay Place in the Sun contest for daily and monthly prizes and even the trip to Mexico. Nail two longshots and a semi-longshot in a row and you can still win the trip! The past three winners:
August 17 – Yolanda Buchberger - $65.10
August 19 – Drake Derby - $78.85
August 20 – Cathy Mudry - $10.85

QX104 – Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
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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.

WHAT ARE THE TOURNAMENT STANDINGS? August tournament . Handicapper of the Year.

The highlights:

  • Tonight is the final Wicked Wednesday with a $9.95 rib deal, $5.50 Caesar drinks, Spin the Wheel for up to $50 between every race, double the $20 in free VLT spins after the races (20 draws instead of 10) and THE LONGEST RACE OF THE YEAR SO FAR (1 ¼ mile)
  • Buff debuts Friday (2-year-old colt named for you know who) on a card filled with full fields (7, 7, 9, 8, 10, 9 and 9 horses in the seven races).
  • Labour Day long weekend (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) features a Sunday night race card perfect for a family to enjoy the buffet together (book quickly before it fills up!) Phone 204-885-3330.
  • Holiday Monday is the last matinee card of the season with parade to post at 1:15 p.m. and includes family fun (pony rides, petting farm, giant inflatables)
  • HUGE STAKES ACTION in the Downs’ final three days (Sept. 9 – 11) includes the Gold Cup, Manitoba Matron, Winnipeg Futurity and Buffalo Stakes for Manitoba-bred 2-year-olds.
  • Final three days will feature FAN APPRECIATION PERKS!
  • Enter the Sept. 10 horseplayer tournament ; it’s your final chance to earn a trip to Las Vegas
  • Final chance to win a trip to Mexico in the Place in the Sun contest. Who will go?

You'll feel his pain

Player's horse is up by 7 lengths and he's counting his money. Then . . .

Dale Keast is counting his money at this point

At 7/1, Dale Keast’s horse, Fallen Leaf, in race 11 at Gulfstream Saturday--a turf dash for 2-year-old fillies--was giving him a nice payoff. With the filly up by about seven lengths in mid-stretch and no one challenging her, “I was counting my money,” Dale said. “I stood to make about $400.”

“Fallen Leaf is sharp in victory,” track announcer Pete Aiello says as the filly is almost home and cooled out.

Then it happens. What? You have to watch the video and see for yourself. Would you call it the worst beat of the week—or the month—or even the year?

CLICK HERE to watch the one-minute video.

Can Antonio catch Christopher?

Jockey race heats up with Whitehall bagging five wins Friday night

 Chris Husbands Antonio Whitehall

A week ago it appeared Christopher Husbands was comfortably in the lead to capture his second riding title. He had nine wins more than Antonio Whitehall.

But then Whitehall went on a tear, winning five races on Friday which gave him nine wins over the past three race days compared to four for Husbands. Uh-oh. Now the gap is just four wins. It’s shaping up to be an exciting race to the finish. Who’s your money on?

On the trainer side, Tom Gardipy, Jr., has 31 wins but Don Schnell is lapping at his heels with 28. And not far off are Shelley Brown with 24 and Jerry Gourneau with 23. Lots can happen in nine days!




Jerry Gourneau congratulates Christopher Husbands for riding Witt Six to victory in R.J. Speers

ELECTRIC COWGIRL CRUISES IN ONE MORE LADY: With Antonio Whitehall aboard, Jerry Gourneau’s Electric Cowgirl cruises to victory in the One More Lady ($5.70), setting herself up perhaps as the horse to beat in penultimate race for older females, the Manitoba Matron, in September. Girl Boss, winner of three in row and second choice at 2/1, fails to fire and finishes last in the seven-horse field.

GOURNEAU DOUBLES UP WITH WITT SIX IN R.J. SPEERS: Jerry Gourneau is back in the Winner’s Circle for his second stakes victory of the night, this time with Witt Six in the historic R. J. Speers ($7.70). The sentimental money is on trainer Gary Danelson winning it with his $75,000 Churchill purchase, Power Driven. He finishes fifth as the less-than-even-money favourite. Next for Witt Six: the Gold Cup?


Dynamic Duo
Barry Arnason (left) and Don Schnell win three of four MB-bred stakes

PHIL KIVES FIRST OF THREE STAKES FOR ARNASON/SCHNELL: If Wednesday belonged to Jerry Gourneau and the Texan he trains for, Henry Witt, Jr., the weekend of stakes races for Manitoba-breds was a Barry Arnason/Don Schnell affair, with Arnason doing the owning and Schnell doing the training and some owning. Langara cruised gate to wire in the first Phil Kives Stakes (formerly the Agassiz) as the best Manitoba-bred 3-year-old ($6.60) with the hottest jockey of the week aboard, Antonio Whitehall. Biggest surprise: No bridgejumpers in the show pool for the four-horse field.

ARNASON/SCHNELL TAKE BABY RACE WITH LONGSHOT: Arnason/Schnell take their second stakes with longest-shot , Paint My Ride, in the Osiris Stakes ($19.20) for 2-year-old fillies. It’s another never-in-doubt gate-to-wire victory. The 3/5 choice, Ardell Sayler’s Ruled, finishes last in the six-horse field.

Honouring Phil's legacy: Leona Stahl, Ellie Kives, Daniel Kives, trainer Shelley Brown and jockey Antonio Whitehall


DISTAFF GOES TO PHIL'S FAMILY: Fittingly, the Distaff Stakes for older Manitoba-bred fillies and mares was taken by Supreme Rush ($3) owned by the estate of Phil Kives represented by his wife, Ellie, son, Daniel, and stable manager, Leona Stahl. Phil’s mares had dominated stakes at the Downs for decades and the winner of the Distaff winner was no exception. Bridgejumpers DID get involved in this four-horse field, betting almost $80,000 to show on Supreme Rush. Most of that wagering came from New York.

Escape Clause wins Sale Stakes

SALE STAKES GIVES ARNASON/SCHNELL WIN #3: Escape Clause ($6.50) with Adolfo Morales aboard, gave Barry Arnason and Don Schnell their third trip to the Winner’s Circle in two days in the annual CTHS Sale Stakes, just for 2-year-olds who went through the sales ring at last year’s yearling sale. “Buy Manitoba-breds,” Arnason exhorted in his post-race interview. He’s living proof that the route has worked for him; let’s see whether some new faces show up in the Winner’s Circle at next year’s biggest weekend of Manitoba-bred stakes.

Hottest jock:
Antonio Whitehall (9 wins)
Hottest trainer: Jerry Gourneau, Shelley Brown (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Paint My Ride $19.20 (4th Fri)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $593 (7th Sat)

STRETCH DRIVE OF THE WEEK: Watch video here. (Aug. 20 Race 1)

You were hot at harness

ASD harness players put up nice numbers as better bettors in July

Usually harness racing takes a back seat to thoroughbred players in the better bettor department at the Downs. Not in July. ASD harness players proved themselves to be good handicappers, posting nice gains at such tracks as Harrah’s Philly and Meadowlands.

On the thoroughbred side, although ASD players were slightly to the good at Santa Anita last month, it was “B” tracks they were best at: Albuquerque, Ellis, Tampa, Parx and Presque Isle. At Canadian tracks, you made positive gains at Hastings and Fort Erie.

In all, ASD players were better bettors—and, hence, better citizens because they brought money into the province—at 21 tracks.


OUTSIDE POSTS HURT ATRAS HORSES IN CANADIAN DERBY: Northland’s betting favourite Ready Intaglio had a perfect stalking trip along the rail in the 1 3/8 mile Canadian Derby at the Edmonton track Saturday, leaving two horses that ASD fans cared about, Inside Straight (winner of the Manitoba Derby) from post 12 and Solve (fourth in the Derby) from post 11, chasing from the outside to finish fourth and second respectively. Better post positions might have had the pair—trained by Rob Atras for Robertino Diodoro--finishing one-two. Both ran huge races. Atras now heads to Remington Park to race Diodoro horses there.

Carl Anderson
Back in business

CARL ANDERSON BACK IN BUSINESS: Just like the mob, once you’re been involved in horse racing, it’s tough to leave. Long time trainer Carl Anderson had tried to do that this past race season, saying he was retired as a trainer after the death of his brother but the yearling sale drew him back into the business he loves. He acted as agent to buy two horses: Blondilikestodance, a Bear’s Kid/Wicked Romance filly bred by Cam Ziprick, for $8,500. And Controlled Burn, a Wilburn/For Gillian gelding, also bred by Ziprick, for $6,600. Nice to see the renewed vigor!

SIR DUDLEY BOUNCES BACK: You can never be certain which synthetic horses will take to the dirt and which won't.  So when Queen's Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges (who won on Tapeta) raced on Fort Erie dirt, it wasn't surprising that he finished sixth at 4/1.  But what WAS surprising is that players abandoned him when he returned to a turf surface (which is similar to synthetic) in the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine Sunday.  He finished second at 8/1 to a bombs-away Camp Creek (26/1) and the exactor paid $526. Big bucks can be had with a bit of intuitive thinking.

John Field

HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? Thirty-nine people who bought $500 shares to become horse owners in the Assiniboia Racing Club had to be very, very happy last Wednesday. Their 3-year-old filly, Spanish Fowl, didn’t win but closed to finish a very game second at 11/1 to front-running Another River Sound, the race favourite in the nightcap. Fowl proved she doesn’t need the lead to win—which is a huge asset.

I gotta believe uber-caring ARC coordinator John Field had a better night’s sleep after that race than he had had for months. The first horse the Club had purchased had to be retired before getting to race and their remaining funds picked up this bargain-basement buy from Woodbine and she had offered little initial hope, finishing 5th and 7th in her first two ASD tries. Note she returns after a short rest to race again tonight!

BEN'S CAT'S STREAK ENDS: Seven years in a row, Ben’s Cat won the $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes for Maryland-bred horses, but, at 10, he couldn’t run down a 43-1 speedball, John Jones, in the race last Saturday at Laurel, finishing third. His ability to sustain his talent for seven years, nonetheless, should have him in the record books somewhere. Hunch players might have combined John Jones with Just Jack in the exactor and picked up $482.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I watch race replays since the latest HPI upgrade?
HPIbet recently made some key changes to how you access the race replays. For starters, they’ve removed the video icon on the Race Entries page that was next to each horse’s name. To access the race replays for any horse, you now have to click on the actual horse’s name. This will open a new window with all of the info from the previous horse pop-up window as well as all of the info from the previous race replays screen. They’ve basically consolidated all of this together into a single page (view image here).

Simply click on either of the video icons to watch a race replay. The icon with the arrow pointing upwards will open the race replay in a new window, which is always the best method of watching a replay because it won’t interfere with any other video windows that you already have open (view image here).

They’ve also added the ability to simply navigate to the next/previous horse in the race by clicking on the top blue buttons (view image here).

Got a question for Marshall? Email

It happened here

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The year of the scandal

This week Bob tells the story of the great doping scandal of 1935.  Who was the first trainer to be “ruled off” for using a stimulant and who was the horse whose record would forever be called into question?  Bob puts the case of “villain or victim” to you the jury here

NEXT INSIDER: Thursday. (Next week’s races are Saturday and Sunday night, parade to post 7:15 p.m., and Labour Day Monday afternoon, parade to post 1:15 p.m. There is no racing on Wednesday or Friday.)

Will you win the Jackpot Hi 5 on the 1 1/4 mile race?
(Carryover $7,251)

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