Thursday, September 15, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 33 (Issue #553)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

TSN's Paul Edmonds pats Trooper John but tweets about Dink

Show stealers

Let's hear it for Dink, Buff and Fowl

Sure, Witt Six stamped himself as the likely 2016 Horse of the Year by winning the Gold Cup last Saturday but it was blue collar horses--Dink, Buff and Fowl--who were the real show-stealers in the final three days of live racing.

, of course, came into his second lifetime race Friday with a ready-made fan base because of his name. And the 2-year-old didn’t disappoint. He did his Winnipeg Jet namesake proud by rallying to put away a competitive field of maidens and rewarding his backers with a juicy $30.

Dink of the Year
—which TSN’s Paul Edmonds tweeted is the “best horse name ever” (and bet him)—also got it done for his legion of bemused supporters last Friday, paying a handsome $11.70. His backers could thank jockey Christopher Husbands for giving the horse the ride of his life to eke out a nose victory over Something Bourbon. You would think Husbands was riding the Manitoba Derby winner and not Dink of the Year.

Owners celebrate Spanish Fowl's win

And Spanish Fowl’s win on Saturday provided a Hollywood ending for the 39 members of the Assiniboia Racing Club whose horse ownership in the spring started disastrously when most of their $20,000 investment was consumed by a horse that had to be retired because of an injury. Enter bargain basement Spanish Fowl, a purchase for a few thousand dollars from Woodbine. After finishing a dismal 5th and 7th in her first two starts for the Club—besides being a handful to load into the starting gate--something clicked in the 3-year-old filly’s brain and, last Saturday, she walked professionally into the starting gate and blew away her rivals by nine lengths.

So I’m thinking 2016 should go down as the Year of the Dink, Witt, Buff and Fowl. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think, historian Bob?

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Live racing wagering was up by a stunning 44 per cent
  • New "Double Your Winnings" contest begins tomorrow
  • "I won big" workshops begin Saturday morning with bacon treat
  • Husbands goes on a tear in final three days. Watch out, Woodbine!
  • Haveaniceweekend. Notthatitmatters. What?
  • HPIbet has been updated. Marshall explains the new benefits.

ASD promotions director Sheri Glendinning awards Al Ilott a Mexican vacation and $500 cash

ILOTT IS OFF TO A “PLACE IN THE SUN: It should come as no surprise that aircraft fueling manager Al Ilott won the Place in the Sun parlay contest by increasing his $5 to an amazing $567.60 in three races. So he’s off to a 5-star hotel on the ocean in Mexico in January courtesy of Charleswood Travel and WestJet Vacations and has already received $500 in spending money from the Downs and will be getting the Winnipeg Sun delivered free for some time. He said his guest will be one of two sisters he’s been helping through the years: 10-year-old Cassandra. She’s excited, he said, by the prospect of “swimming with the sharks, uh, dolphins.”

You’ve told me you like the contest but with a slight change: Monthly winners should play for the grand prize in a playoff at the end of the live race season, you’ve suggested. That way, players aren’t intimidated by someone having achieved a parlay that seems out of reach. Going forward, I’m sure that will be taken under advisement.

Al will be taking Cassandra to "swim with the dolphins"

“PLACE IN THE SUN” HONOURABLE MENTION: Congratulations to everyone who won the daily Place in the Sun prizes and especially Bill Siwak who won it eight times and to Philip Baker who produced the second-highest parlay of $195 (scored last Saturday) and to Dennis Lloyd who had the third-highest of $166. See the full Winners’ List here.

How’s this for a new contest Friday and Saturday nights? You play a $6 show parlay on five races and the Downs matches your winnings (up to $100) if your parlay is the highest. Asking around, I found quite a bit of enthusiasm for this concept. The player with the highest parlay of the month also receives a Thursday prime rib buffet for two. Play tomorrow night (thoroughbreds) and Saturday night (harness). Have fun!

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 September? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jays-Bombers-NFL

EVERY FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Free VLT tournaments starting 8 p.m. Get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in wagering vouchers. Top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT: 5-Alive "Double Your Winnings" contest from 7 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. and $10 buy-in poker. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m.

*      *       *

A treat, then the work begins

BACON TREAT KICKS OFF “I WON BIG” WORKSHOPS SATURDAY: Look at races 2 to 7 at Woodbine this Saturday (Group A, race 2; group B, race 3, etc.) for the resumption of the “I won big” workshops on the north plaza in the Clubhouse starting at 10:30 a.m. (We’ll play the pick-5 and early pick-4.) Everyone welcome, of course. And, yes, extra crispy bacon will be served to get the sessions off to a tasty start (with coffee and pastries).

WANT THE NEW DRF BOOK? ONLY TWO COPIES LEFT: This Saturday, I’ll have the remaining two copies of the new DRF book, Cashing Big on Racing’s Biggest Days, available to sell. They’re available at cost -- $45 – which is what the Downs paid which included U.S. exchange, shipping and duty.

BE READY FOR THE JUG: Some of the world’s best harness horses will be competing next Wednesday and Thursday in the storied Little Brown Jug races at Delaware Park, Ohio. The Little Brown Jug goes next Thursday (post time 10:30 a.m.) and the female Jugette goes Wednesday (first post 11 a.m.). The Jug’s 70th anniversary is being celebrated.

Reserve at 204-885-3330.

Know someone who’s getting married or is thinking about getting married? The Big Day wedding show at the Downs this weekend is the place to be. ASD bartender Cory O'Grodnik is the organizer as he was of the spring wedding show that was such a hit. Go to the website here.

INTERESTED IN HORSE OWNERSHIP?   The Assiniboia Racing Club (see story on Spanish Fowl) is organizing for the 2017 season. To get info, contact Joanie at the HBPA office at

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Well, I finally made it to the Winner’s Circle – even though it’s taken me until 80 to get there.”Edward Peter William, one of 39 partners in the Assiniboia Racing Club whose Spanish Fowl gave the Club its first win.


Dave Blake (right) is going to Vegas; John Field was runner-up

Congrats, Dave Blake

Kenora player is fourth to earn a trip to Las Vegas

Dave Blake who comes all the way from Kenora to play the races and be a horse owner was the fourth winner of a trip to Las Vegas to play in the Horse Player World Series in March. In a field of 61 players Saturday night, he increased his bankroll to $43.30. Second was John Field, a perennial runner-up, with $41.70. And third was electrician Larry Liebrecht with $38.00.

One more trip will be given away and that will be to the Handicapper of the Year at the end of the year. That will be the player who has earned the most points in seven of the 12 tournaments held during the year. The next tournament (on simulcast races) will be Saturday, Oct. 1. Tournament results. Handicapper of the Year leader board.

RACE CALL OF THE WEEK: Haveaniceweekend, Notthatitmatters finish one-two in Laurel’s first race Sunday. You don’t have to hear the call to appreciate how it sounded as they came down the stretch.

Hottest jock:
Christopher Husbands (10 wins)
Hottest trainer: Don Schnell (4 wins)
Biggest longshot: Mighty Bear $40.40 (8th Sun)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,845 (8th Sun)

STRETCH DRIVE OF THE WEEK: Watch video here. (Sept. 9 Race 5)


WAGERING UP A STUNNING 44 PER CENT: Following the conclusion of the 50-day live race meet, CEO Darren Dunn said “you could not draw up the season any better.” And no wonder: Per-race wagering was a stunning 44 per cent higher than last year. See media release here.

Witt Six connections Jerry Gourneau (left) and Henry Witt Jr.

WITT SIX IS TOP HORSE; CAN'T USE NELLIE IS TOP FEMALE: It’s official. Trainer Jerry Gourneau and Texas horse owner Henry Witt Jr. have the best horse on the grounds in Witt Six who captured the Gold Cup in impressive fashion, running down a determined pace-setting Sumerian Bell. Now, said Witt, he’ll be taking Witt Six and other horses to Retama Park in Texas for further racing and/or resting. Of all places he races, though, he said he loves Assiniboia Downs the best.

On the female side, Shelley Brown’s Can’t Use Nellie won the Manitoba Matron in a race that Shelley said she knew the mare had in her and paid $14.10. Of the two baby stakes, Northlands’ Park invader Trooper John won the Winnipeg Futurity ($5.40) by a nose and Paint My Ride ($3.40) romped in the Buffalo for Manitoba breds. Owners Don Schnell and Barry Arnason plan to winter him at Turf Paradise then get an early start to his 3-year-old career with training in February. The pair also won the J.W. Sifton Stakes (best Manitoba-bred 3-year-old) with Langara ($2.30).

Siftons with family trophy: Patti, Victor, Ryan (grandson) and Raymond. Inset: sculpture by Raymond's wife, Sue Carlton

SIFTONS STILL INVOLVED WITH HORSES BUT NOT RACING: Returning to the Downs Saturday to present the J. W. Sifton trophy to the Downs’ top Manitoba-bred 3-year-old (Langara), the sons, daughter and grandson of John and June Sifton, revealed that although they may not be carrying on their late parents’ tradition of racing, Patti Sifton-Munro is an equestrian rider in Ontario who is on the cusp of being an equestrian judge, and Sue Carlton Sifton, the wife of Raymond Sifton in San Diego, is a horse sculptor praised for “capturing the soul and spirit” of horses in her sculptures which have included American Pharoah, Cigar, Smarty Jones and Ruffian.

HUSBANDS ON A MISSION; EASILY CAPTURES TITLE: Christopher Husbands rode like a man possessed on the final three days of live racing, winning 10 of the 21 races. His season total was 83 wins, 15 more than Antonio Whitehall. Husbands also was top percentage rider at 27 per cent compared to Whitehall’s 26 per cent. Probably Husbands’ most impressive win came aboard Dink of the Year whom he held together in a fierce duel to win by a nose. The guy is good, really good. Watch out, Woodbine jockey colony! (That’s where he’s heading.)

Tom Gardipy's proud team (see names in story)

GARDIPY WINS 4th TRAINER TITLE; CREDITS STAFF: Showcasing his staff in the Winner’s Circle Sunday, the ever affable Tom Gardipy, Jr., accepted a trophy for his fourth trainer title. In the picture at right, that’s groom Curtis Gamble, Tom and wife Cheryl, groom Josh Jewell, groom Tyson Mallett and groom, gallop and pony girl Corinne Andrew. Missing is groom Balvin Biggs. The pony horse is Banjo. “I look forward to coming back with an even bigger stable next year,” Tom said. Watch for him in the meantime at Northlands Park.

TOM'S BROTHER WINS TRAINER TITLE AT MARQUIS DOWNS: Tom Gardipy, Jr.’s brother, Ray, captured the trainer title at Marquis Downs this year with 27 wins from 86 starts (31 per cent), nine more than his closest rival, Jamie Hartmann. Ray also raises cattle.

Kaitie Mann on Lone Star Harley

DINK'S OWNER'S DAUGHTER NAMED JUNIOR ATHLETE OF YEAR: Horse owner Lori Mann (Dink of the Year) is a proud mama and can you blame her? Her daughter, Kaitie, 16, skilled at dressage, has been named the Manitoba Horse Council’s Junior Athlete of the Year. Kaitie and her horse, Lone Star Harley, competed at the Western Canadian Breeders Championships in Saskatoon and won two top six placings, one top five placing and a top-three placing. Kaitie’s new goal, says mom, is training one of Let Er Rip Racing Stable’s ex-race horses to be her next dressage horse.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. What are the advantages of the new HPIbet Betting panel layout?
HPIbet has been beta testing several new features and is constantly adding new functionality to the HPIbet system. Its most recent round of changes revolves around updating the Betting Panel. Based on the feedback they’ve been receiving, they wanted to streamline the look and feel to make it more smartphone friendly as well higher contrast displays to make it easier to read.

The primary change is that they have moved from a three-button per line configuration to a four- button per line setup. This provides the bettor with more options without having to scroll as much on a smartphone (view image here). They also made the ticket summary area higher contrast so you can quickly see at a glance what your current ticket build is and easily identify the runners, amount and your current balance. Another subtle change is the overall color layout; it’s a little darker which makes it easier to see in low light conditions and reduces eye strain over time (view image here).

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

An encore presentation of "The Best of Bob" begins today: River Park -- The great grandfather of Assiniboia Downs. You’ve likely heard of Whittier Park and Polo Park but what do you know of the track that operated in the early 1920s not far from the famous Bridge Drive Inn (BDI) on Jubilee? Find out here.


A Hollywood ending for Spanish Fowl's 39 partners


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