Thursday, September 7, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 34 (Issue #602)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

"Plentiful will win Gold Cup:" Tyrone Nelson

Shades of the 2011 "guarantee" as Season 60 ends with five stakes races

Tyrone Nelson wins Manitoba Derby on Plentiful
(Winnipeg Free Press photo)

As Season 60 comes to a smashing climax this weekend with fan appreciation, family fun events, five stakes, the $600 60-second betting spree finale and the final trip-to-Vegas horseplayer tournament, jockey Tyrone Nelson has told The Insider he feels confident that Manitoba Derby winner Plentiful will win the biggest race of all—the Gold Cup on Saturday night.

He said the 3-year-old, who will be facing older horses such as 4-year-old multiple-stakes-winning Media Melee, is training exceptionally well and is even better than he was when he won the Derby in early August. Tyrone knows his main competitor, Media Melee, well, having ridden him to victory in three stakes races earlier this year.

The last time The Insider got as strong an opinion about a horse winning a stakes race on the final weekend of live racing was in 2011 when trainer Emile Corbel “guaranteed” Jon’s Golden Run would win the Buffalo Stakes for Manitoba-bred 2-year-olds, and Jon ran down his rivals in an exciting late stretch rally by jockey Rohan Singh to win the one-mile race. Will Tyrone make it #2?

A Plentiful win would cap off an exceptional season for owner/trainer Murray Duncan whose one-for-39 record last year has rebounded to a whopping 11 for 33, many of them stakes races.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Los Alamitos begins today at 4 p.m., Belmont tomorrow 12:20 p.m.
  • Woodbine's Jackpot Hi 5 now at $1.3 million; mandatory payout next week (Saturday)
  • Eight reasons to love ASD's final three race days
  • Fans still buzzing about horseshoe entangled in Gun Runner's tail
  • While others jumped, this ASD player cashed big
  • What tracks were ASD players better bettors at in August?

Shannon Bain is August winner

SHOW TIME! FIVE SPREE FINALISTS COMPETE FOR $600 SUNDAY: Will you be the fifth finalist to join the four others in the 60-second betting spree Sunday? You have tomorrow and Saturday to get drawn to play. The four finalists so far are Wayne Misko, Ken Porter, Al Hampton and Shannon Bain. Shannon, a retired federal government employee, was the August player who accumulated the most -- $215.10. In Sunday’s championship round, the finalists get to keep their winnings from another minute of wagers and $600 if their winnings are the most.
QX104 � Today's Country

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Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in September? 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 $865! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features! Please note that effective Friday, Sept. 15 poker registration changes to 8 p.m. and the game starting at 8:30 p.m.



Eight reasons to love this weekend

Final live cards tomorrow and Saturday at 7:15; Sunday 1:15

Down to the wire: Trainers Tom Gardipy Jr., Don Schnell and Elton Dickey

  1. JOCKEY/TRAINER DRAMA: Up by nine wins, Rohan Singh seems to have a stranglehold on the jockey title for the fourth time but, in the trainer category, Don Schnell and Tom Gardipy, Jr. are tied and Elton Dickey is only one behind. Who will emerge victorious?

  2. BIG MONEY AT STAKE IN THE JACKPOT HI 5: Already at $43,074, the pool in the Jackpot Hi 5 is expected to grow to more than $100,000 on Sunday afternoon if it’s not won tomorrow or Saturday night.

  3. GAME SHOW FUN: Motor-mouth betting will be order of the day Sunday afternoon as the five finalists in the 60-second betting spree attempt to outcall and outplay each other to win the $600 bonus. Watch the action on TVs at the track.

  4. LAST CHANCE FOR VEGAS: Winning the horseplayer tournament Saturday night will put you and a guest on a plane to Las Vegas to compete in a $1 million tournament. The $50 entry fee gets you a berth in the Saturday tournament. Sign up by tomorrow at 9 p.m.

  5. FAN APPRECIATION PERKS AND FAMILY FUN: Get 5X Player Rewards on your ASD bets, discounts on programs and food and 25-50 per cent off selected gift shop merchandise all three days. Kids’ fun goes Sunday – pony rides, petting farm, bouncy castles. Salute the final day of live racing with two-hour Crazy Hour after the races Sunday.

  6. LOVE LONG RACES? SATURDAY IS FOR YOU! The three stakes races are all 1 1/8 miles—the Gold Cup (to determine best horse), the Manitoba Matron (best female horse) and the J. W. Sifton (best Manitoba-bred 3-year-old).

  7. IT’S YOUR LAST CHANCE TO WATCH CELEBRITY FILLY ESCAPE CLAUSE: Escape Clause, of course, was only the second Manitoba-bred filly to finish second in the Manitoba Derby and she’s taking on a wide-open field of fillies and mares in the Manitoba Matron. Will she cap off a stellar 3-year-old season with a win and bring her earnings up to $115,000?

  8. WHO DOESN’T LOVE BABIES? The best 2-year-olds go Sunday: the Winnipeg Futurity sprint (open to all 2-year-olds) and the one-mile Buffalo where Manitoba-bred babies try stretching out for the first time.

Tangled tail of disbelief

Fans still talking about horseshoe enmeshed in Gun Runner's tail

Note the horseshoe in Gun Runner's tail

Gun Runner made easy work of the $750,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday but it was his winning the $1.2 million Whitney last month that still had tongues wagging. Not because of the colt’s easy win but because of what was entangled in his tail as he crossed the finish line: a horseshoe that had been thrown from Cautious Giant, a horse he was closely following in the first half of the Whitney before taking over.

Long-time horseplayers are always prepared to be struck by some new element in the racing game—but a horseshoe in a tail? That’s the stuff of fiction – until it actually happened.

You could run the same race a million times and it wouldn’t happen again. Or might it?




One last chance to earn a trip to Vegas

Sign up for horseplayer tournament tonight by 9 p.m.

$50 could put you and a guest on a plane to Las Vegas with spending money and a berth in a $1 million horseplayer tournament.

That’s the entry fee to play in tomorrow’s tournament where you bet $2 win/place on each race and will earn the trip if your concluding bankroll is the highest.

Sign up by 9 p.m. Worried about clashing with veterans? Don’t be. A number of years ago a female employee with the City of Winnipeg who couldn’t even read a race program won a trip. Favourite jockeys, trainers and odds on the horses could do it for you.

*        *        *

SPENDS $4 TO WIN $1,200: One of the week’s top plays was the ASD bettor who played a $1 pick-3 costing $4 at Saratoga Friday on races 8 to 10 and collected $1,231: 4 horses X 1 X 1 = $4. The winners of the three races were Malibu Stacy $41.20, Voodoo Song $14.40 and Lady Ivanka $12.40. He’s obviously a better bettor. (See THE WEEK THAT WAS)

Tomorrow night's best bets at ASD

Last chance for Kirt, Rob, Marshall to go out in a blaze of glory(and rescue me)

  • Kirt, Rob, Marshall: Will their picks rescue me?

    Kirt’s best (record 4-1-3-0): Race 7 -- #3 Yes She’s a Cat (3-2)
  • Rob’s best (record 4-2-1-0): Race 4 -- #2 Rio Grey (7-2)
  • Marshall ’s best (record 4-1-2-0): Race 5 -- #6 Awesome Again (2-1)

LAST WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: Kirt’s and Marshall’s picks finished second and Rob’s pick finished out of the money. But Rob still has the best win record going into the final round. Will Kirt and Marshall tie him; will Rob make it three? The drama intensifies tomorrow night.

So I’ve now lost $60 on a win parlay and two place parlays. I was up to $66 after two place plays last Wednesday but the third pick missed. Will their picks tomorrow rescue me from a losing record? (Playing a final $20 place parlay.)

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the player at ASD who bet $200 to show on 11-1 Badboy Billy Brat in the last race at Mountaineer Sunday and collected $2,170 when the bridgejumper horse, Siteenparksidelane at 1-5, left last after being unruly in the gate and was never involved in the seven-horse field. That’s the way to play a bridgejumper race—boldly. A $2 show wager on all horses in the race except the favourite—for a total cost of $12—resulted in $100 in winnings.
  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to better bettors at the Downs who showed success playing 25 tracks in August, one of which was tricky Saratoga (thoroughbred). Ten harness tracks were among them, showing that there are excellent harness players among Downs handicappers. The better bettors’ most successful thoroughbred tracks were Monmouth, Saratoga, Hastings, Fairmount, Prairie Meadows, Evangeline and Canterbury. Harness tracks were Hoosier, Yonkers and Meadowlands. Tracks that players found most challenging were Penn National, Arlington and Ellis Park.
Hottest jockey(s): Rohan Singh (5 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Tom Gardipy Jr.  (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Sumerian Bell $41.40 (race 5 Wednesday)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $881 (race 5 Wednesday)
Stakes champion(s):

Have you checked out the Path of the Champions board on the main level or in the Clubhouse yet? The chart is now into the final column. What horses will rise to the top in the five stakes races this weekend?


MANDATORY PAYOUT AT WOODBINE; "I WON BIG" BEGINS: Woodbine’s Jackpot Hi 5 on the last race is now at more than $1.3 million and is scheduled for mandatory payout a week from this Saturday, Ricoh Mile Day, providing it isn’t won tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday. So the first “I won big” workshop will be held on that day, Saturday, Sept. 16. Initially, the workshops weren’t to begin until Sept. 23 but who can look a gift horse in the mouth? Obviously, the group will play Woodbine—pick-5, pick-4 and the Jackpot Hi 5 which is likely to reach $3 million.

SECOND NIGHT MARKET A GRAND SLAM: If Assiniboia Downs’ first night market in mid-July hit it out of the park, the second one this past Sunday was a grand slam with not only increased attendance (more than 9,000) but with vendors and patrons asking immediately afterward: “When’s the next one?” Fireworks was a nice added touch as, once again, spectators gushed “best I’ve ever seen.” I admit to being one of those smitten; I knew what to expect yet was overwhelmed. Those CanFire Pyrotechnics people are amazing. Expect to see regular night markets during next year’s race meet.

DEL MAR TIP FOR BREEDERS' CUP PLAY: This is the first year for Del Mar staging the Breeders’ Cup (Nov. 3 and 4) so note that, at the just-concluded meet, horses that worked out at Del Mar had a decided winning edge over horses that trained elsewhere.

Jessica Buckley

SHE MUCKED STALLS AS A KID, NOW PRESIDENT OF WOODBINE: Jessica Buckley , 48, who mucked stalls, baled hay and worked with yearlings at her father’s farm in St. Thomas, Ont. as a kid became the president of Woodbine and Mohawk Park this week. She will oversee the $10 million facelift of Mohawk Park as a year-round harness facility next year (no more Woodbine harness) and the development of Woodbine into a full-fledged casino. Her late father, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer Bob Anderson, built 140-acre Anderson Farms into an internationally respected breeding operation that included the likes of Alydeed, winner of the 1992 Queen’s Plate. Jessica’s brother, David, now runs it.

NEVER ANOTHER HARVEY: Manitoba Jockey Club president Harvey Warner, who had to listen to all those nasty reports about a hurricane with his name, should be pleased to learn that since Hurricane Harvey was so bad (and therefore infamous), its name will be removed from the six-year rotation of names for hurricanes. It’s something similar to Secretariat not being available ever again as a horse name. Feel better, Harvey? Having your name and Secretariat’s discussed in the same breath?


Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Marshall helps players at Fan Education Centre

Q. How can I reduce the amount of time I spend handicapping every race but still ensure that I'm being thorough?

A. I often discuss this topic with other handicappers and they tell me how they spent 45 minutes handicapping each of the first four races but then didn’t have enough time to finish the rest of the card. My suggestion is to become more efficient with your handicapping. Usually, there are several “pretenders” that can be tossed from every race, leaving adequate time to focus on the “contenders”. Here are a couple of filters to consider when finding the toss-outs:
  1. Look for horses that are off-form and have shown nothing in their previous three starts especially when they aren’t making any changes for today’s race including: jockey, trainer, class level, race conditions, medication or equipment.
  2. Look for a negative class drop with a horse showing no recent activity for 21+ days.
  3. Look for trainer and jockey combinations, with a decent sample size, that are winless.
  4. Look for a career maiden with 20 or more starts or a horse that has been wallowing in the bottom n2l or n3l condition start after start.

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: A little Magic, a lot of Bull

In today’s blog—the final of one for Season 60-- Bob examines a classic Gold Cup race. “It had everything,” he says. “A little Magic and a lot of Bull.” Read it here.

SINGH MOVES UP A NOTCH: Bob notes that Rohan Singh’s 45 wins at this meet has moved him up to fifth place in overall leading jockeys at the Downs. The top six now: Ken Hendricks – 1666; 2. Tim Gardiner – 1458; 3. Tom Adkins – 1318; 4. Frank Licata – 1292; 5. Rohan Singh – 1280; 6. Jacques DesAutels – 1247. Only Singh in this group, of course, is still riding.

SEASON 60 SOUVENIR: Enlarge and print.
Who are your favs?

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