Thursday, September 12, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 35 (Issue #705)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


When 3-5 fav Palomba, a 3-year-old filly, couldn’t get by Lucky Lycra in a race at Maisons-Laffitte Racecourse in Paris, she chomped at jockey Francois-Xavier Bertras’ elbow. He was uninjured. (Photo from @Equidia tweet) See video here.

  • Manitoba millionaire mare Escape Clause will race in the $200,000 Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs, a race she needs to do well in to preserve her value in a Nov. 4 auction. It will be Crazy Hour in the Clubhouse if she wins.
  • Motivational treat at Saturday’s betting workshop
    Take a 5-minute quiz and win! Answer the multiple-choice questions on historian Bob’s blogs to win artifacts from your birth year, $50 in betting vouchers, $50 in ASD merchandise and bragging rights forever. I think you’ll find it fun, too. Just show up on the Clubhouse plaza at 1 p.m. Refresh your memory by perusing Bob’s blogs here.
  • “I won bigger” betting group begins a new season at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza WITH A MOTIVATIONAL BACON TREAT. Discussion will centre on Woodbine’s pick-5 and Escape Clause’s race at Churchill with a possible pick-4 play including her race. Everyone is welcome to attend.
  • The $1 million Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile takes centre stage at Woodbine. It’s a one-mile race on the turf.
  • Final Manitoba Night Market and Festival of the year featuring the highly popular Paw Patrol along with food trucks, exhibitors galore, beer garden, entertainment and kids’ activities. Admission $5.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • That's a wrap: CEO Darren Dunn sums up the live season
  • Cringing in Alberta: First it was Escape Clause; now horsemen must face Hidden Grace
  • Why should you write race-winning cheques to yourself? (Andreescu has a good reason)
  • When should you bet a horse to finish second?
  • New feature: NFL picks by TravyFootball
OTB GOODIES: All through September, enter your name with mutuel sellers at these OTB locations (Pembina, Windsor, Quest & Green Brier) to be drawn on Saturday to win $25 in betting vouchers and 5,000 Player Rewards points (value $25).

See you at 1 p.m. for that (see Saturday Sizzlers above)
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? Bombers, NFL

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8 PM: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge Friday and Saturday. 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.

“Assiniboia Downs regrets having to announce that it is discontinuing poker. Therefore, poker will not restart this Friday as originally planned.  We are currently working with the LGCA to determine how to disburse the current Jackpot and will advise in short order. Assiniboia Downs would like to thank Kerran and Rosie (All In Poker) for their outstanding support over the last 10 years and for hosting these tournaments. It was greatly and sincerely appreciated and we know it was definitely challenging at times!  We would also like to thank all of the players who participated in the poker games throughout the years.” – Assiniboia Downs 

GREEDY CORNER: More than $1.2 at stake in Gulfstream’s Rainbow pick-6. See other carryovers here.
THAT'S A WRAP: CEO Darren Dunn sums up the live season

“From the surprising and untimely passing of 12-time leading trainer Ardell Sayler to Oil Money wiring the Manitoba Derby field to the emergence of star filly Hidden Grace and even the eye-popping Chase the Ace payout that topped $50,000 in our first year with that promotion, this season was rich with stories. And to the many people who joined us from within and outside the province, I can't say thanks enough."

WAGERING: Per-race wagering increased by almost five per cent over last year

*       *       *

Hottest jockey: Richard Mairs
(51 wins)
Hottest trainer:
Tom Gardipy, Jr. (48 wins)
Biggest longshot: Sheer Prince $122.70 (Fri Aug. 2)
Major stakes champions: Oil Money (Manitoba Derby), Deep Explorer (Gold Cup), Hidden Grace (Manitoba Oaks and Manitoba Matron), Cash Or Card (Winnipeg Futurity)


Super mare faces filly who beat her at Thistledown
Escape Clause will clash with eight others in Churchill stakes race Saturday afternoon

Tyler Baze “beaming” after workout
Manitoba’s millionaire mare, Escape Clause, will clash again on Saturday with Mylady Curlin, a 4-year-old filly who beat her in the $200,000 Lady Jacqueline stakes at Thistledown four weeks ago. The pair are among nine entrants in the 1 1/16-mile $200,000 Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs. It’s the 8th race on the card with a post time of 3:41 CDT.

Escape Clause is ready for a big effort, says her trainer Don Schnell. Jockey Tyler Baze was “beaming” following a 4-furlong workout last weekend and a blood test shows her blood count is “almost perfect,” Schnell told The Insider from a Keeneland training facility in Kentucky where she is being boarded until her sale at the Fasig-Tipton “night of the stars” auction on Monday, Nov. 4, after Breeders’ Cup weekend.

It’s crucial that Manitoba’s 5-year-old super mare perform well to retain her value at auction. Her owners—which include Schnell, Barry Arnason and True North partners--having already rejected $600,000 U.S. for her, are hoping for a bid of close to $1 million.

Escape Clause finished third to Mylady Curlin in the 1 1/8-mile race at Thistledown in Ohio but a blood test after the race showed she was suffering from a virus. Her blood count was “terrible,” Schnell said a vet told him. Another top contender in Saturday’s race is likely to be another 4-year-old filly, Go Google Yourself, who won a $125,000 stakes race at Ellis Park.

It will be Crazy Hour in the ASD Clubhouse if Escape Clause wins.


Watch out, Alberta!
Here comes Hidden Grace to do what Escape Clause did there in the past two years

Hidden Grace’s trainer, Michael Nault, and jockey, Renaldo Cumberbatch, with trophy after winning Manitoba Matron
Just when Alberta horsemen are getting over the invasion by Manitoba’s Escape Clause who scooped $130,000 in purse money in four stakes races the last two years, there’s a new Manitoba boogie girl who will be trying to do the same: the unbeaten Hidden Grace who has won eight races in eight starts, all stakes races.

Escape Clause won the $50,000 CTHS Sales stakes (for 3-year-old and 4-year-old fillies foaled in Canada) the last two years at Century Downs. That’s the race Hidden Grace’s trainer, Michael Nault, says he is eyeing now, too. It is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 26 at Century Downs.

Escape Clause romped to easy victories over Alberta and B.C. horses in that race in 2017 at the age of 3 and then last year at 4.

Hidden Grace’s powerful performance in the $30,000 Manitoba Matron Stakes Friday night was the talk of the track and the highlight of the final weekend of live racing. She stalked the swift-footed 3-5 favourite, Tadaa, then took over and drew away paying $5.50 to win. Here’s how her speed compares to Escape Clause:

ESCAPE CLAUSE -- Manitoba Matron (2017): Equibase speed fig: 93
HIDDEN GRACE -- Manitoba Matron (last Friday): E speed: 89

“She’s freaky good,”
said jockey Renaldo Cumberbatch . “She knows when to go slow and when to go fast. I just hang on.”

Besides Hidden Grace, Alberta horsemen will be contending with another unbeaten horse from Manitoba: the 2-year-old winner of the Winnipeg Futurity, Cash Or Card. His trainer, Shelley Brown, says she will have a total of 15 horses racing in Alberta.


Q: Should I bet a horse to run second?

Yes, if a horse has a history of seconds. That can prove to be very profitable, as demonstrated Sunday in race 2 at Woodbine. #3 Mc Culley was favoured to win the $7,000 claiming race for non-winners of two races lifetime. But his record shows he’d rather be second. His record was 31-1-9-3. Using that as a guide, betting a 20-cent superfecta wheel taking him for second with the other seven horses in the race would have won you $1,604. Seconditis CAN be rewarding. See the program page here.
(Result was 4-3-7-2.)

Bonnie Simmonds earns Vegas trip for the second time in three years
CEO Darren Dunn holds up six fingers to denote 6th trainer title for Tom Gardipy, Jr. (right). Richard Mairs, left, won jockey title for the first time.
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to retired bank employee Bonnie Simmonds who, for the second time in three years, has earned a trip to the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas to try to improve on her seventh place finish and more than $10,000 in prize money she won in her previous trip in 2017. Simmonds, competing against 65 other entrants, edged ahead of her competitors by playing a 21-1 horse in race 5, Real Heart, who finished second (giving her $19 and $6.40 in place/show money) and playing the winner in the last leg (#8 Courageous who paid $13.40, $6.10 and $5.90 across the board).

Her bankroll, playing $2 win/place/show on the seven ASD races on Saturday, hit $83.80. Tied for second with $71.80 were retired math prof Jim Roberts and former ASD race secretary Ray Miller and Janet Gray, employee of a perogy-making company, was third with $61.50. Bonnie’s partner John Whitehill, one of the top handicappers at the Downs with a knack for ferreting out longshots, will be at Bonnie’s side next March at the Orleans Hotel Casino, accompanied by the other two trip winners during the monthly tournaments during live racing: Dave Blake and Chris Trubyk.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Jamaican Richard Mairs for winning the top-jock title for the first time (51 wins) and to trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr., for winning the trainer title for a sixth time (48 wins). The final jockey results were: Mairs 51, Antonio Whitehall 47 and Alex Crux 39. The final trainer standings were: Gardipy 48, Juan Pablo Silva 41 and Jerry Gourneau 39.

Shout-outs, too, to those with the highest win percent ages: Cruz logged 21 per cent wins and trainer Gary Danelson registered 29 per cent wins.

The two winningest horses were Hidden Grace (6 for 6) and Hot Rodin (5 for 8).

to Cam Ziprick and Barry Arnason who received the Thoroughbred Owners and breeders Association (TOBA) award on Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky, as Canadian Breeder of the Year for breeding millionaire mare Escape Clause at Ziprick’s farm in Russell. Of course, they along with Charles Fouillard also bred Hidden Grace who some are saying may be even better than Escape Clause. Missing from the photo: Going Commando and Danger Pay, Escape Clause’s father and mother. The pair at least deserve a handful of fenugreek, the herb that’s a horse’s flavour favourite.

MIDNIGHT BISOU TO BE SOLD IN SAME AUCTION AS ESCAPE CLAUSE: Midnight Bisou, the mare who beat Manitoba’s super horse Escape Clause by a nose in the $700,000 Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas in April will be auctioned off in the same sale as Escape Clause: the Fasig-Tipton sale on Monday, Nov. 4 in Lexington, Ky. which follows Breeders’ Cup weekend. If Bisou sells for $5 million to $10 million, as expected, will Escape Clause fetch $1 million? That’s what Clause’s owners are hoping for.

WRITE A MOCK CHEQUE FROM ASD TO YOURSELF, then do what it takes to try to win that sum of money playing the races. Sound silly? Not when you realize that that’s how Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu motivated herself to win the US Open tournament. Each year, she said, she would write a mock US Open cheque to herself with the amount of money the winner of the US Open got. That helped inspire her to turn her dream into reality. She says she meditated and visualized, too. Hey, it worked!
SAVVY NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 2
  • Packers over Vikings (Sunday noon)
  • Ravens over Cardinals (Sunday noon)
  • Eagles over Falcons (Sunday, 7:20 p.m.)

And my upset of the week, Jets over Browns (Monday, 7:15 p.m.)

THE BEST OF BOB: Besides racing horses, she helped run the track

This week we begin an encore presentation of “The Best of Bob." Did you know that Hazel Wright bred and raced horses for more than 40 years while still finding time to operate a racetrack for almost 20 years with husband, Jim and son, Bob? Historian Bob has her story here. (From May, 2012)
Paw Patrol to be featured at Saturday’s Manitoba Night Market
  • HUGE Saturday, Sept. 14: First “I won bigger” betting group workshop of the season at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza kicked off with a crispy, crunchy bacon treat as participants consider the Woodbine pick-5 and Escape Clause’s Locust Grove stakes race at Churchill. $1 million Woodbine Mile. Multiple-choice quiz on Bob Gates’ blogs at 1 p.m. for prizes and bragging rights. Third and final Manitoba Night Market of the season from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. featuring Paw Patrol
  • Wednesday, Sept. 17: Historic harness meet at Delaware Fair in Ohio featuring the Jugette for top female standardbreds. First post 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 18: Historic harness meet continues today with the Little Brown Jug. First post 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: $1 million Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby and $1 million Cotillion at Parx, $300K Charles Town Oaks at Charles Town
  • Sunday, Sept. 22: $100K Jack Diamond Futurity at Hastings
  • Thursday, Sept. 26: Thursday night certified Angus prime rib buffets begin. Just $27.95. Call Samantha at 204-885-3330 to reserve for that Thursday or any other Thursday.

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