Thursday, September 27, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 38 (Issue #656)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Teeth bared, Whereshetoldmetogo lunges at Firenze Fire
(Tod Marks, photo)

Horse nipped at wire -- literally

Race Book erupts in animated discussion as horse bites horse

“If you can’t beat him, bite him” seemed to be the motive of Whereshetoldmetogo in the Gallant Bob Stakes, race 9 at Parx Saturday, as, with ears pinned firmly back, the 3-year-old colt lunged at leader Firenze Fire near the wire when he couldn’t pass him. “Savaged” is how the Equibase chart describes it.

Few times do you have such glaring proof that a horse could be just as interested in winning a race as the jockey. This kind of behaviour is familiar to trail riders where the lead horse will whip his head around and bites or threatens to bite any horse that tries to pass him—but you rarely see this kind of aggression on display on a race track.

It caused quite a stir in the Race Book and elicited a great line for today’s Insider from Rick Zaretsky, a substitute teacher and baseball umpire: “Horse nipped at wire.” (which I used above). Hey, Rick, want to be a guest columnist?

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Santa Anita meet begins tomorrow with $1 million guarantees
  • What tracks were "better bettor" tracks last month?
  • Will this longshot tip help you win Saturday's tournament? (Or cash big?)
  • Thursday certified Angus prime rib buffets kick off tonight -- 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • What does it cost to date Justify?
  • "Longshot" Buzzell continues to amaze and impress. What was his latest longshot?

John Whitehill
DQ gives him the win

CONTROVERSIAL DQ WINS WHITEHILL “3 FOR THE MONEY” CONTEST: A drifting 3-5 Monomoy Girl in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx Saturday gave John Whitehill the inaugural victory in the “3 for the money” contest. He had taken 4-1 Midnight Bisou who finished second but whose number was put up after the DQ that enraged many players.

Whitehill, the winner of two ASD tournaments over the past few months, picked up $75 in wagering vouchers and a chance at being invited to next spring’s live racing press conference and gourmet luncheon. The “3 for the money” feature track this Saturday is Belmont Park with $50 at stake. Look for entry ballots in the Race Book.
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? Bombers, NFL

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins tonight. 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 in the clubhouse on the second level. Registration from 8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. Maximum of 60 players. No late registration. Royal Flush progressive jackpot for tomorrow, Friday, is $14,280.

TODAY’S HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; 9 p.m. to closing)
  • Prime rib sliders 2/$7

    Prime Rib Sliders -- 2 for $7
  • Corndog Bites with chipotle ranch dip -- $5
  • Soft Tacos – chicken or beef -- 2 for $7
  • Classic Canadian Poutine -- $6
  • Chef Gerardo’s Pizza -- Margarita, Veggie, Pepperoni -- $10
  • Drinks: 5 oz. wine $4; house highballs and domestic beer $3.50, ASD Caesar $5.50
(Available every day except 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday)

(5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday)
  • Veal Parmesan and Penne Alfredo served with a garlic bread stick
  • BBQ Ribs, fries, baked beans.
  • Perogies, grilled onions, sour cream served with garlic sausage


Exciting opening weekend at Santa Anita

Introduces Rainbow 6 wager with million-dollar guarantees

Guaranteed to the lone holder of a 20-cent ticket

Santa Anita begins its fall meet tomorrow with huge exciting pool guarantees all weekend in its newly-introduced Rainbow 6 wager:
  • The lone holder of a 20-cent ticket on Friday will be guaranteed $250,000
  • The lone holder of a 20-cent ticket on Saturday will be guaranteed $1 million
  • The lone holder of a 20-cent ticket on Sunday will be guaranteed $1 million
Post times are (CDT): Friday 3 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m., Sunday 2:30.

Santa Anita will also be one of four tracks in a fast-paced $1 pick-5 every Friday called a Stronach 5 that will consist of consecutive races at Laurel, Gulfstream, Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita. All five races should be run within one hour. The whole pool is carried over to the following Friday when not won.


Were you a better bettor in August?

Manitoba players excelled at 20 tracks led by Retama and Los Al quarter horses

ASD wagering statistics for August show that Manitoba race players were better bettors at 20 tracks--12 thoroughbred and eight standardbred. Give yourself a pat on the back if you helped bring more money into the provincial economy, making you a good citizen.

Leading the way in positive wagering stats were Retama Park, Los Alamitos quarter horses, Albuquerque Downs, Running Aces (harness), Parx, Canterbury Park, Georgian Downs (harness) and Arlington Park. In positive territory were also Plainridge (H), Harrington (H), Fairmount Park, Meadowlands (H), Golden Gate Fields, Northfield (H), Fair Grounds, Del Mar, Northlands Park and Charlottetown (H).

And the most challenging tracks? Saratoga, Woodbine and Gulfstream. Are you playing to your strengths?

*        *       *

Tip to nailing longshots

Will this help you win Saturday's Player's Choice tournament?

One player’s discard is another player’s treasure. For example, while most players toss horses being raised in class for no apparent reason, other players are rubbing their hands in glee. They know there’s big money to be made.

Go here to see two races at Woodbine from last Wednesday that may get you thinking differently about class hikes. Look for the horse in each race who inexplicably have been doubled or quadrupled in their claiming prices (highlighted).

Did you find them? I’ll wait.

Okay, now here’s what happened:
Race 5:
#3 Mine Fast Philly (raised to $20,000 from $10,000) went to the lead at odds of 26-1 and almost won. The filly paid $20 to place and paid $162 in the exactor when a 3-1 won.
Race 7:
#5 Belle Danseuse (raised to $40,000 from $10,000) won and paid $59 to win.

What does that tell you?

*        *       *

"I'll bet you $100 she won't finish first or second"

"Big" group player rails against rule; feasts on humble pie

A voice from the back during a discussion at Saturday’s “I won big” betting workshop was emphatic: “I’ll bet you $100 the horse (under discussion) won’t finish first or second.”

Rejecting rules can leave a bad taste

In other words he was saying he had no faith in the group’s rule that handicapping a 7-furlong race requires finding horses that have posted the highest Equibase speed figures at that specialty distance. His OPINION was that the mare, Roxham, with a morning line of 10-1, was a bad choice in the 14-horse field even though it fit the rule.

Only one person, last year’s handicapper of the year, Alan Hampton, agreed she stood out. But the lack of faith by the group in general meant that SEVEN horses were taken in that leg of the group’s Woodbine pick-5 ticket.

So what happened? Yes, Roxham, the rule horse, won. And the “I’ll bet you $100” naysayer spent the rest of the afternoon stuffing himself with humble pie.

But what that experience pointed out is that the “Big” group still suffers from a lack of faith in rules, even though the group cashed $23,000 in tickets in January based on a turf rule. (Calculating closing fractions in turf races.)

In the end, it wasn’t Roxham that cost the group the pick-5 which paid $1,116 for 20-cents, it was overlooking a “rule” horse in the last leg. The winner was a horse that had cut back to a sprint race after showing early speed in a route race. So that made two rule horses in the pick-5 and the group didn’t cash. How bad is that?

What to do? Going forward, I will carry a list of rules that must be carefully perused to make sure none are ever missed again when tickets are constructed. That’s 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza, races 2 to 7 at Woodbine. Please, as Bon Jovi says: Let’s “keep the faith.”

Les Buzzell: "Too much fun"
Wins $50 bet on a 51-1 mare

A BIG SHOUT-OUT (AGAIN) to Leslie “Longshot” Buzzell, the owner of a railway-signal installation company, who continues to amaze and impress players in the Race Book with his big winning bets on horses ignored by most others. Players have become so accustomed to hearing his lone cheering and big scores that when his $50 bet Saturday on 51-1 Divine Queen—the longest shot in race 10 at Churchill Downs--won, some ribbed him with the comment: “Just $50? Why not more?”

“This is too much fun,”
he said of his horse-playing discovery that started with last year’s Breeders’ Cup when, in a span of two hours, he collected on $50 to $100 wagers on horses at odds of 28-1, 14-1, 17-1, 6-1 and 18-1 at Del Mar and Woodbine. The reason he liked the 51-1 horse at Churchill? “The track is sloppy and she seemed to be the third-best horse in the slop.” That’s how players are supposed to play overlays—with increased gusto. Ka-ching!

Trainer Don Schnell with record-setting Hey Bro at Century Downs (Daryl Carry photo)

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Hey Bro, the second ASD horse to set a track record at Century Downs in Alberta. The 6-year-old gelding crushed a field of five Saturday by almost 13 lengths in a 7 ½-furlong $17,500 claimer with Prayven Badrie aboard in a time of 1:28.90. Claimed at Oaklawn Park for $10,000 in March by Murray Duncan, the 5-year-old gelding won three races at ASD and finished second in two races, including the R. J. Speers Stakes, for Prime Time Stable before being taken to Century Downs under the tutelage of Don Schnell. He paid his backers $8.20. A big contingent of horses were shipped to Century after the ASD meet ended. Hot Rodin, a 5-year-old gelding who is the winningest horse in North America, was the other ASD horse that had set a track record: 6-furlongs in 1:09.85.


#3 drifts into #4 and is DQed

DÉJÀ VU: HORSE DRIFTS IN AT WOODBINE LIKE MEDIA MELEE DID IN GOLD CUP: It was similar to what happened in ASD’s Gold Cup when Media Melee drifted into Plentiful, evoking an objection from Plentiful’s rider—which was overruled. In the second race at Woodbine last Wednesday, the leader, #3 Dilly Dally Darby, drifted into a closing #4 Tomato Bisque, resulting in #3 being taken down. What do you think? Similar but different? Watch that race here.

Your mare’s brief fling with Triple Crown winner Justify will cost you $150,000, Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky, has announced. Will your mare “like” Justify? That will make the mating go more smoothly. Studies have shown there IS chemistry between horses based on the diversity of the proteins in their genes. Opposites attract.

CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES ON CENTURY MILE RACE TRACK: At right is a photo taken last week of Century Mile race track near the Edmonton international airport. There will be two picturesque “lakes” in the centre of the one-mile dirt track that is scheduled to open in the spring next year. Pictured is the race track in front of the complex that will include a large casino. It is the “sister” track of Century Downs near Calgary and the only one-mile track in western Canada.

After his Justify won the Triple Crown in the spring, trainer Bob Baffert suggested his Roadster could be the next one to do the same thing. The colt won his maiden but finished third in the Del Mar Futurity. Will we see him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in five weeks?
THE BEST OF BOB: Horseman is forever linked to the sport he loved:

Who was the quiet, simple man from Clarinda, Iowa whose ashes were harrowed into the sands of our stretch, right where horses have to find that little extra to get home first? Bob has this popular racetracker's story here.


  • Pasta station at tonight's buffet

    Tonight: Thursday night certified Angus prime rib buffets begin. New addition this season: Chef Gerardo’s famous Italian pizza. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Tomorrow: Santa Anita fall meet begins 3 p.m. with new wager, the Rainbow 6 with a guaranteed $250,000 to a lone ticket-holder. Also, Stronach 5 wager begins on four Stronach-owned tracks.
  • Saturday: Player’s Choice horseplayer tournament, fourth-last tourney of the year with $1,750 in prize money. Feature track: Belmont--$750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
  • Sunday: $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, Remington Park. First post 3 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 5: Keeneland’s boutique fall meet begins.
  • Saturday, Oct. 6: $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.

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