Thursday, September 14, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 35 (Issue #603)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Winnipeg Futurity winner Dandy Deen with jockey Christopher Husbands and trainer Linda Kropius

Giant killer

Trainer Linda Kropius (who?) takes down Gold Cup & Winnipeg Futurity

Galitzianer holds off Plentiful in Gold Cup

Four years ago, she recorded one win in 42 starts. This past weekend, she took down two of the most highly rated horses at the Downs to win the Gold Cup and the Winnipeg Futurity.

Who? Trainer Linda Kropius. Who?

Until this past weekend, the native Albertan had won only two small stakes in 2006 and 2010 at minor Alberta tracks. Now she can lay claim to being a giant killer—twice over:

  • On Saturday, her Galitzianer at 9-1 with Christopher Husbands aboard took on Manitoba Derby winner Plentiful—from the red hot barn of Murray Duncan--and outdueled him to the wire to capture the Gold Cup.
  • And on Sunday her 2-year-old filly, Dandy Deen, also at 9-1 and also with rider Christopher Husbands, blasted past 3-5 Cheertothenewyear—trained by top baby conditioner and 12-time leading trainer Ardell Sayler—to dominate the Winnipeg Futurity.

Dandy Deen blasts past Cheertothenewyear in Winnipeg Futurity

And she had just a five-horse stable.

So who is Linda Kropius? For eight years, starting in 2001, she had modest success training at the unrecognized tracks of Lethbridge and Grande Prairie in Alberta where she lives. Venturing to Turf Paradise in Arizona and Northlands Park in Edmonton produced a bigger challenge: she won one race of 42 in 2013 (the result of endless horse sickness issues, she told The Insider), won five races of 54 in 2014 and five of 50 in 2015.

Coming to the Downs last year turned her fortunes around. Galitzianer, whom she claimed at Turf Paradise in February last year, won four races in 2016 and, this year, she won a whopping 38 per cent of her 21 starts.

“The Downs has been so good to me,”
she said. No kidding. Horses for courses – and trainers, too?

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"Just a shell of a horse"

Kropius said Gold Cup winner was "so skinny" when she claimed him for $3,000

Linda Kropius after ponying Galitzianer in Gold Cup

More than hard-nosed reasoning prompted trainer Linda Kropius to claim Galitzianer—winner of the Gold Cup--for $3,000 U.S. from a race at Turf Paradise in February last year.

The now 8-year-old gelding “was so skinny, just a shell of a horse,” she told The Insider. ”I felt so bad. I thought I’d drop the claim.”

What she was looking for, she said, was a horse with turf breeding (Langfuhr) so she could race in turf route races at Turf Paradise. That’s what attracted her initially to Galitzianer, she said, but then her pity for him sealed the deal.

He did show her she was right about the turf part; he came second in a turf race at Turf Paradise a week after the claim.

Then was all her kind treatment after that (including dental work—“his teeth were so bad,” she said) that resulted in victory after victory on the dirt, too—including the Gold Cup? That $3,000 U.S. she put out for him has so far resulted in more than $57,000 in earnings.

He’s happy, she’s happy and so are the pick-4 winners Saturday that included him in their pick-4 tickets and collected $1,643 for a $2 ticket.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Mandatory payout Saturday of Woodbine Jackpot Hi 5; carryover $1.425 million
  • Bacon launches "I won big" workshop Saturday to pursue Woodbine jackpot
  • Paralyzed former jockey Alyssa Selman is back in the saddle
  • Did Escape Clause clinch Horse of the Year by winning Manitoba Matron?
  • Meadowlands hatches exciting new "survivor" wager
  • Who won the 60-second betting spree finale?

Ready, set, bet! The five 60-second betting spree finalists compete for $600 bonus

MISKO WINS $600 BONUS IN 60-SECOND BETTING SPREE: Last year’s Handicapper of the Year, Wayne Misko, added to his legendary status by winning the championship round of the 60-second betting spree Sunday by increasing his $116 to $259.20. His selected horse, #10, Swiss Confederate, won race 6. He had win money, quinellas and exactors on that horse. Winnings by the other four: Ken Porter $150.40, Shannon Bain $54.20, Alan Hampton $47.80, Tod Boss $10.20.

You said you have enjoyed playing the 5-Alive game Friday and Saturday nights (picking three show horses, a place horse and the winner in five races) so the game will return – with a twist! If you succeed in picking all five—and your winnings are more than others—your winnings will be twice the money you bet on your selections. Example: If you bet $5 on each of your five picks for a total of $25, you will win $50—in addition, of course, to whatever you collected on your winning wagers. There will also be a consolation prize for the best three or four when no-one gets all five.
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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

FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS : Free VLT tournaments starting at 8 p.m. 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.

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: $10 buy-in poker. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. New Royal Flush progressive jackpot is at $1,015! Entry fee to play the jackpot is an additional $5. Click here for new features!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “He’s Mr. Pleasant. But run out of carrots and his ears are back!” – Assiniboia Racing Club coordinator John Field talking about the Club’s horse, This Cat’s Awesome. (See photos under Shout-Outs of the Week)


Help yourself -- Saturday 10:30 a.m.


Bacon kick-off -- and you're invited

"I won big" workshops begin Saturday to play $3 million Jackpot Hi 5

What better way to kick off Saturday morning “I won big” workshops than with a bacon treat to put participants in the right frame of mind to predict the top five finishers in Woodbine’s Jackpot Hi 5 wager on the last race? The pool, now at $1.425 million should grow to $3 million.

You’re invited, of course, and, remember, the Downs generously kicks in $5 to boost your $20 contributions to group tickets. The workshop begins at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Crispy, crunchy bacon will be served along with coffee and pastries.

Woodbine races will be under discussion: Races 2 to 7 (comprising the pick-5 and pick-4) plus the last race, the featured Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes race that will be the Jackpot Hi 5 race.

*       *       *

Hampton breaks through

Accountant wins final Vegas trip

Tournament winner Alan Hampton and third place finisher Kathy Phelps

He’s been on the fringes of other handicapping contests throughout the year (and was a finalist in the 60-second betting spree) and he’ll tell you The Insider predicted his ultimate victory – and, sure enough, accountant Al Hampton broke through in the nick of time, winning the final tournament that will send him to Las Vegas in March to compete with three other ASD winners in the $1 million Horse Player World Series.

Picking the winners of the last two races on Saturday’s card put him over the top. Gold Cup winner Galitzianer added $21.20 and $7.40 to his bankroll and Bluegrass Soul added $7.30 and $3.90.

Note that the next tournament—on simulcast races—is just two weeks away, on Saturday, Sept. 30, with $1,750 in prize money and points toward Handicapper of the Year at stake.

See full tournament results here. See Handicapper of the Year leader board here.

  • THE BIGGEST SHOUT-OUT, of course, goes to trainer Linda Kropius who, like the Energizer Bunny, has just kept going and going regardless of lean years but who finally hit it big by winning the Gold Cup and the Winnipeg Futurity. That she didn’t call it quits when she had only one win for 42 starts in 2013 is a credit to her character and determination and an example for all.

  • This Cat's Awesome: His disposition while enjoying carrots and mints (left) and after they've run out (right). (John Field photos)

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the Jared Brown barn—Dodie Chmilowsky, Sue Crane and Dave Brockhill--for having taken the time during the race season to explain to members of the Assiniboia Racing Club how they tend to the Club’s horse, This Cat’s Awesome, for workouts and racing. It is to their credit that almost all 34 Club members want to continue with horse ownership next season – and many more want to join the Club. Some members are even striking out on their own.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Rohan Singh for having something to prove—and proved it—by capturing his fourth riding title since his last one in 2005. “If this doesn’t say something, I don’t know what will,” he told The Insider. Amen.

  • CEO Darren Dunn presents trophies to top jock Rohan Singh and top trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr.

    AND A BIG SHOUT-OUT to trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr. and his crew for winning his fifth training title after realizing he was trailing two other trainers in the waning days. “They know how to pick it up,” he said of his crew. And how! He is a powerful reminder that a trainer is only as good as those who help him.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to jockey Christopher Husbands for ending Season 60 with a major statement: five wins on the nine-race card. Momentum for next year? That catapulted him up to second place in the season-ending standings, four behind title holder Rohan Singh and four more than Adolfo Morales.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to jockey Adolfo Morales. He won’t get his picture mounted on the jockey wall of fame but he certainly has bragging rights for the highest win percentage (27 per cent) and riding horses that earned more money than any other jockey, $447,651, about $25,000 more than leading jockey (in wins), Rohan Singh.

  • Team Escape Clause: Barry Arnason, Adolfo Morales, Don Schnell
    Horse of the Year?

    A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the connections of Escape Clause for continuing to have the 3-year-old filly razor-sharp to win the Manitoba Matron and likely punch their card to have her voted Horse of the Year. A misstep might have opened the way for others to have contested the title. A likely rival, Manitoba Derby winner Plentiful, appears to have taken himself out of serious contention by finishing second in the Gold Cup.
Hottest jockey(s): Christopher Husbands (8 wins)
Hottest trainer(s): Tom Gardipy Jr.  (5 wins)
Biggest longshot: B B Prince of Scat $27.40 (race 5 Sunday)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,456 (race 9 Sunday)
Stakes champion(s): Paint My Ride (J. W. Sifton), Escape Clause (Manitoba Matron), Galitzianer (Gold Cup), Why So Blue (Buffalo) and Dandy Deen (Winnipeg Futurity)



Get ready for exciting new wager at Meadowlands

Players(s) who survive the furthest into a 10-race bet win the pool

The Meadowlands has hatched a brand new exciting wager that will be launched on the first day of its harness season that begins Saturday, Nov. 4!

Bettors place a minimum 20-cent win-wager on the first 10 races. Players are eliminated when their horses lose. The last person or persons alive share the guaranteed $10,000 minimum pool. In other words, if your ticket survives until race 7 and no one is alive to race 8, you win the pool or share the pool with other survivors!

It’s called the “Pick-10 Survivor Wager.”

*        *        *

IN SIGHT: Trotting stakes will be featured at Mohawk Saturday night and the Jugette and Little Brown Jug—the third leg of the Triple Crown for Pacers--will be run next Wednesday and Thursday at the Delaware Fair in Ohio. First post each day 10 a.m. C’mon out for breakfast and watch them at one of the most tradition-laden series of harness racing competitions on the continent!


Alyssa Selman
"Good to be back in the saddle"

BETTING INCREASES BY MORE THAN 14 PER CENT: Wagering at the Downs during the 50-day Season 60 meet that ended Sunday increased by 14.42 per cent – to $11 million. Read season-ending news release here.

WOODBINE HPI PLAYERS WIN ASD JACKPOT: Bets made on HPI accounts at Woodbine took down the Jackpot Hi 5 at the Downs Sunday. Two 20-cent tickets paid $34,130 each.

SELMAN BACK IN THE SADDLE: Former jockey Alyssa Selman, paralyzed from the waist down when she fell from her horse in the stretch at the Downs two years ago, is back in the saddle again, thanks to a custom saddle made by an 80-year-old man in Arkansas. Read the touching CBC story of her return here. UPDATE: Just under $120,000 was raised from various sources to help Alyssa.

PLAYER GOES GARBAGE-DIVING AFTER TOSSING TICKET: When #10, Swiss Confederate, won the first leg of the pick-4 on Sunday, a player at the Downs angrily tossed his ticket in the garbage. After leaving the track, however, and talking with a partner in his ticket, he realized he had committed a no-no because the pick-4 paid on three of four. So—you got it—he returned to the track to rummage through garbage and was glad it was still there. The ticket was worth $736.

BREAKS BOTTLE TO RETRIEVE TICKET PIECES: The above story reminded transit driver  Roger Jones of an incident some years ago at the Westward Ho teletheatre bar in Grand Forks when his trio’s $40 show parlay ticket that appeared to be a loser—because their horse finished fourth—“was ripped into a hundred pieces and stuffed into an empty beer bottle.” Oops!  Jones recalls the consternation when a jockey launched an objection, which was upheld, and their horse was elevated to third. What to do?  “Go out to a corner of the parking lot and smash the beer bottle,”  Jones says. They managed to put the pieces together so the mutuel ticket seller was able to read the identifying number and pay out the winnings. Whatever it takes!



Did you know ... that colourful CBC sports commentator Michael Magee was the nephew of wealthy industrialist and racing icon E. P. Taylor? Read more here.



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