Thursday, September 22, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 34 (Issue #554)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

BOO! HERE COMES THE HORSE WE LOVE TO HATE Most of you will join me in dissing a white horse named Quick Six who could have us seeing red Saturday afternoon. White horse? Seeing red? Hmm. Whom am I referring to? If you can’t figure it out, check the bottom of this column.

Songbird puts unbeaten record on the line at Parx

Faces Cathryn Sophia in $1 million Cotillion Saturday; Nyquist in PA Derby

Songbird vs Cathryn Sophia at Parx

So will Songbird’s appearance in Saturday’s $1 million Cotillion Stakes be another walk in the Parx giving her 11 wins from 11 starts? The champion as a 2-year-old who missed the Kentucky Oaks in May will be facing Cathryn Sophia (6 for 8), the horse who won that race for 3-year-old fillies.

It should be Songbird’s toughest test in a while and she’ll be racing against a horse whose home track is Parx. Will that make a difference?

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist will also be appearing in the $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby with Exaggerator (winner of the Preakness and Haskell) and Cupid (winner of the Rebel, West Virginia and Indiana Derby). So remember to download a Parx program Saturday.

MOTORIST ALERT FOR THIS SATURDAY: Do NOT use Race Track Road off Portage Avenue to come to the Downs Saturday morning. The road will be jammed with traffic headed to the MTS Iceplex for Winnipeg Jets fan appreciation day. So come in the back way, Saskatchewan Avenue, as you do when the Red River Ex is on. Of course, if you’re coming from the north, simply exit off the Perimeter in the usual way.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Little Brown Jug goes today; first post 10:00 a.m.
  • K5 Stables sells yearling for $150,000
  • Why were Mohawk players in pain last Saturday? Watch the race below
  • New 5-Alive parlay contest creates a buzz
  • Where are they now? (ASD jocks, horses, trainers)
  • "I won big" workshops "off to a good start"

NEW GAME CREATES A LIVELY BUZZ: Well, there’s nothing like a parlay to get the juices flowing and create a lively atmosphere—which is what is happening with the new 5-Alive “Double Your Winnings” Show Parlay Challenge Friday and Saturday night. The Race Book was abuzz as players competed to increase their $6 show parlay the most in five races and thusly have their winnings matched by the Downs (up to $100). The highest of the month also wins a Thursday night prime rib buffet for two.

In Friday’s contest Terry Pagee had increased his parlay at Mohawk in four legs to $90 only to have his fifth horse go off-stride just as he was rallying down the stretch. Just bad luck there. Meanwhile a few others built up their parlay but cashed in before the final leg. One player regretted doing so because his next two plays came in and he would have won the contest with $70. Robert Dubois ended up as the debut winner with $48 at Remington. The Downs will match that.

And on Saturday, Rodney Zaretsky did the seemingly impossible. He increased his $6 to a staggering $7.35. What? See how he did that by looking at his cashed tickets here.

So how much will you increase YOUR parlays Friday and Saturday? Will your name make the Honour Roll? (See bulletin board in the Race Book.)

QX104 – Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

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.

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Spaghetti and meatballs next Sunday

Next Friday: Ukrainian Platter – Perogies with sour cream, cabbage rolls and kolbassa -- $10.
Next Saturday: 8 oz sirloin steak with onions and button mushrooms with your choice of mashed potatoes or fries -- $22
Next Sunday: Large plate of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic toast -- $10.

Reserve at 204-885-3330.

Did you know . . . Northlands Park has the lowest win/place/show takeout in North America at 14.5 per cent? Woodbine’s win takeout is 14.95 per cent (but place and show are 16.95 per cent)


Players in pain at Mohawk

"She needs a chainsaw to get off the rail," announcer says

If you had money on Caprice Hill in a trotting stakes race at Mohawk Saturday night – as many did because her odds were 1/9 – you might have resorted to screaming at the screen while pulling out your hair. You certainly would have needed a beach-sized crying towel afterward. Especially if you were among the bridgejumpers who placed heaps of money to place on the sure-thing filly because there was no show wagering.

Without Caprice Hill among the top two, here were the prices:

 Royal Charm
 Dewdle All Day

If I tell you Caprice Hill finished last in the 10 horse field, you’ll immediately conclude she went off stride. Wrong. WRONG! So what happened?

WATCH THAT RACE HERE. (Caprice Hill is #4.)
And pity those who had money on her.


Where are they now?

ASD horses, trainers, jockeys fan out across the continent

Before trainers left the Downs, ASD paddock host Rob MacLennan canvassed them to find out where they were heading:

Shelley Brown
Training at Northlands

Cole Bennett - 5 horses to Woodbine
Jared Brown
– 15 to Turf Paradise
Eurico Martens
- 8 to Turf Paradise after Northlands
Rick Wise
- 6 to Turf Paradise
Linda Kropius
– 2 to Lethbridge
Maria Stanford
- 6 to Lethbridge
Marvin Buffalo
- 5 to Turf Paradise
Shelley Brown
– 5 to Northlands
Don Schnell
- 16 to Turf Paradise
Penny Hulme
– 3 to Indiana
Dennis Dorchester
- 4 to Lethbridge
Tom Gardipy
– 4 to Northlands

At Northlands, Shelley Brown had a start with Renaldo Cumberbatch in the saddle (Hard Knocks Rock) and Cumberbatch had four other mounts as well.


Manitoba Derby winning trainer Rob Atras (for Robertino Diodoro) has a record of 3-1-1-0. Obviously, watch any horse that hits that Oklahoma track with Diodoro as trainer.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I sincerely hope that Woodbine will get the rights to host another Breeders’ Cup before Martians land in Toronto.” Steve Davidowitz in his new book, Cashing Big on Racing’s Biggest Days


Just four tourneys left

Gregoire and Mymko are tied for HOTY

With four handicapping contests left in 2016, Maurice Gregoire, a previous Handicapper of the Year, is tied with entrepreneur Barry Mymko for this year’s title. Each has 225 points. Close on their heels is Bob Pistawka with 218 points and John Urbanski with 213.

The winner earns a trip to the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas in March. Players’ standings are computed by taking their best seven scores out of the 12 tournaments held during the year. Leader board.

All-important, then, are the next four tournaments, the dates of which are:
• Saturday, Oct. 1
• Saturday, Oct.29
• Saturday, Nov. 26
• Saturday, Dec. 17

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The "x" factor

Are you giving enough weight to the fact horses aren't machines?

If you watched pre-game NFL football coverage on CBS-TV some years ago, you would have seen the teams being analyzed according to factors such as offense, defense, special teams, etc. And there was another element: the “x” factor.

The “x” factor? This took into account an unidentified element or elements that couldn’t be quantified.

Which is a very obvious factor in racing. Because horses aren’t machines, this element, I suggest, should be firmly acknowledged for two reasons:

  1. You’ll stop whining so loudly when your horses don’t perform the way you think they should according to their past performances.
  2. It should lead to greater flexibility in your wagering which will increase the possibility of your landing bigger scores. The “x” factor is particularly strong in lower level claiming races because those horses generally are inconsistent performers. Their speed figures are all over the map.

So how can you capitalize on this? By using “all” in sequence wagers and in triactor and superfecta wheels. I’m primarily a superfecta player and my favourite wheels look like this
     3 horses with the same 3 horses with key with ALL.
     3 horses with the same 3 horses with ALL with key.
     3 horses with ALL with the same 3 horses with key.

That last wheel especially sets up for a big score because it allows for an impossible bombs-away type to find its way into your super “sandwich.” Essentially you are acknowledging the existence of the “x” factor—to a greater or less degree--as part of your handicapping regimen and are opening your mind to capitalizing on it.

How do you like your stakes?

Eight--that's right, eight--grade 1 stakes are featured Saturday, Oct. 1

Very rare on the racing calendar are eight grade 1 stakes races in one day. But that’s the class in store for you a week from this Saturday – which also happens to be a Player’s Choice tournament day. These are the eight grade 1 stakes:

Horse/rider topiary at Santa Anita

• $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
• $400,000 Beldame
• $350,000 Vosburgh


• $300,000 Chandellier for 2-year-olds
• $300,000 Frontrunner for 2-year-olds
• $300,000 Zenyatta
• $300,000 Awesome Again
• $300,000 Rodeo Drive

Enter the “Elite 8” contest to win a $100 bankroll for the Breeders’ Cup!


Golden Stripe mothered this $150,000 yearling

K5 STABLES SELLS YEARLING FOR $150,000: The late Phil Kives would have been proud. His champion Manitoba-bred mare Golden Stripe produced a daughter who was sold Saturday by his K5 Stables for $150,000 at a yearling sale at Keeneland—and that filly is on her way to race in Ireland. Before his death, Kives bred Golden Stripe to Scat Daddy in Kentucky, a very prolific stud (69 stakes winners) until his death in December at 11 years old. His stud fee in 2014 (when Golden Stripe was bred to him) was $30,000 but it was to have been raised to $100,000 this year.

Scat Daddy had won the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth before a tendon injury ended his racing career and turned him into a highly desirable stallion. Among her 10 victories from 32 starts (earning $287,000), Golden Stripe,10, won the Distaff Stakes at the Downs four times and the Canada Day Stakes twice before becoming a brood mare. Leona Stahl is managing the K5 Stables’ horses.

"GOOD START" TO "I WON BIG" WORKSHOPS: “It was a good start ,” horse owners Anne and David Champion said about the “I won big” sessions that resumed last Saturday morning. It was. Put into a good mood by a heap of crispy bacon, group members got a 50 per cent return on their Woodbine plays (pick-5 and early pick-4) and would have gotten a lot more if a longshot first-time starter had won. As the main part of its winnings, the group collected $700 for $2.60 in pick-5 tickets. We’re back at it this Saturday and every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the north plaza of the Clubhouse and you’re always invited. The plays are on races 2 to 7 at Woodbine. REMEMBER TO AVOID RACE TRACK ROAD SATURDAY.

MILITARY-STYLE OPERATION LEADS TO BETTING COUP IN ENGLAND: The next time you see Queen Elizabeth, mention the name “Barney Curley” and see whether she smiles or frowns. As a huge fan of racing and horse ownership, she would know—as all Britons would know—that Curley perpetrated “the sure thing: the greatest coup in horse racing history” which is the title of a book I just finished reading—and I would urge all to read. As one of England’s biggest bettors, he hatched a plan with military precision that had U.K. bookmakers shelling out $3.9 million pounds (about $7 million Cdn) for wagers on a four-horse play. To avoid being detected, Curley sent dozens of foot soldiers scurrying to hundreds of betting shops across England to make small wagers. He engineered two smaller coups as well. Great reading!

ASD transformed

WEDDING SHOW DRAMATICALLY TRANSFORMS DOWNS: Walking through the lobby last Saturday and Sunday, weren’t you impressed by the remarkable transformation of the Downs by the Big Day wedding trade show? Sheer curtaining can produce wonders. It even appeared there were giant white columns in the foyer with a red carpet between them leading to exhibitors’ displays. It shows what decorators can do. Good on bartender/entrepeneur Cory O’Grodnik for making it happen. It was his second wedding show and appeared to have been a success.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I use the Queued Bets section of HPIbet?
HPIbet recently brought back the Queued Bets feature because of its popularity in the previous Horseplayer Interactive software. Queued bets are bets that are ready to be submitted but have not yet been sent. By using the “Queued Bets” section, you can upload all of your bets beforehand and then place them race by race. To queue a bet, you simply build a bet like you normally would. When you are ready to queue the bet, you simply hit “Queue This Bet” and its Queued (view image here).

To access your queued bets, simply click on the purple “Queued” button at the bottom of the bet panel. This will take you to a screen that shows all of your queued bets. You then have the option to send all of your queued bets, check off and place some of the queued bets and send or clear some or all of the bets. If the race goes off before you send a queued bet, your bet cannot be made.

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

Opening days from the past. And the Downs reveals the new historical display "Racing Through Time" with memorabilia dating back almost a century. Read that reprise of Bob’s 2013 blog here.

NO INSIDER NEXT THURSDAY: The Insider is taking a break next week but will return the following Thursday. Remember the next Player’s Choice tournament is a week from this Saturday which also features eight grade 1 stakes.

When Quick Six gallops, the Stampeders have scored a touchdown against the Blue Bombers. Boo!

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