Thursday, September 30 , 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 32 (Issue #809)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

and, remember, if you don’t receive The Insider in the usual way,
you can always find it--and past columns--at

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Gulfstream launches its new synthetic track today

It’s Tapeta time at Gulfstream! The Florida track is launching its brand new synthetic Tapeta track with all guns blazing: Half of today’s eight races are being run on the new track which is situated between the dirt track and the turf track. It’s one mile and 70 yards long.

Two route races and two sprint races of 5 ½-furlongs are scheduled for the all-weather surface. What will players do? Will they be tentative? Probably not because many of the horses entered in these races have run on turf which is similar to synthetic. There are also first-time starters who have never raced on any surface.

Should be interesting. It’s like a new race track opening. The synthetic races are the odd-numbered races: 1, 3, 5 and 7. First race post time is 11:50 p.m. CT. The carryover in the 20-cent Rainbow pick-6 on the last six races is $220,000.


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Longshot of the week had "surge capacity." Surge capacity?
  • What makes Santa Anita races so playable?
  • Here's how we can honour the memory of big Breeders' Cup winner
  • Belichick or Brady? TravyFootball returns by popular demand to weigh in
  • Will you earn the right on Saturday to join this year's handicapping elite?
FREE $5,000 SHOWVIVOR CONTEST BEGINS AT SANTA ANITA TOMORROW: Making one online play at Santa Anita each race day could win you a share in $5,000 U.S. prize money during the one-month meet that starts tomorrow. See rules here.

There’s $1,750 in prize money, bragging rights and points toward Handicapper of the Year at stake this Saturday in the fourth-last handicapping tournament of the year. Bet $2 win/place/show on 10 horses at any North American thoroughbred or harness track(s) that have an “off time” prior to 10 p.m. $25 entry fee and $60 bankroll due by 5 p.m. tomorrow. See tourney rules and entry form here.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are racing in October? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.

Do you have your new HPIbet account card that replaces the previous HPI card and the ASD Player Rewards card? Assiniboia Downs has joined the HPI rewards and bonus program and the new program began Monday, Feb. 1. See details here. If you haven't received your new card in the mail call 204-885-3330 (ext. 225) to check on the status.

Served from 4 8 p.m. - Friday, Oct. 8 to Monday, Oct. 11
DO THANKSGIVING AT THE DOWNS! All Thanksgiving weekend from Friday to Monday, Oct. 8 to 11, enjoy roast turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, veggies, stuffing and cranberry sauce for $14.95 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. each of those days. Add pumpkin pie or apple pie for $4.95. Reservations not required.

GREEDY CORNER: The biggest pool today is at Gulfstream; its Rainbow pick-6 carryover sits at $220,000; at Churchill Downs the Jackpot pick-6 carryover is $60,000 and note there will be a mandatory payout on Sunday, the final day of the meet. A correct 20-cent wager nails the jackpot or gets a share. See list of carryovers here.

Will your mug be added to this elite group Saturday?

*       *       *
Friendly family rivalry: Three Stewins are among top five HOTY contenders

Have you looked at the Handicapper of the Year standings here? Two retired Stewin brothers (Stan and Ken) and Stan’s son, Mackenzie (groundskeeper at a golf course), are third, fourth and fifth on the HOTY leader board with 202, 199 and 197 points respectively.

Ken seems to have the best opportunity to make a move on the leader by improving on the eight points he received in the April tournament. Each point above eight moves him one point closer to the 239 of HOTY leader Alan Twerdochlib who presently sits at 239.

With four tournaments remaining, even players well off the early leaders have a shot of soaring to the top. Should be an exciting final four tourneys! The final tournament days after Saturday are these Saturdays: Oct. 30, Nov. 27 and Dec. 18. The HOTY and a guest will join the five Las Vegas Challenge winners in a trip to the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas in March (see winners above).

at Parx Saturday
$1 superfecta: $14,080

BIGG COINS A NEW EXPRESSION: “SURGE CAPACITY” Five-furlong races on the turf are outright strange. The winner is usually going to be a horse with sudden “surge capacity.” That’s why these races are so difficult to handicap as was the Turf Monster Stakes on Parx’s biggest day of the year Saturday.

Hollywood Talent
won the $300K sprint at jaw-dropping odds of 108-1. The results chart said the 10-year-old gelding “surged through the final stages.” In other words, he kicked into overdrive. How do you handicap that? Sure, he finished in the money 10 out of 14 starts at the distance (14-2-3-5) but that was in lower class “starter” races; he was facing a Grade 1 horse who was four-for-four at the distance. But, lacking surge capacity, that favourite and the co-favourite finished sixth and seventh. Predicting the horse who will demonstrate “surge capacity” is your dilemma.


What makes Santa Anita races so playable?

  • After an absence of more than a year, Santa’s signature hillside race returns
    Consistency in performances. Classy horses retain their form.
  • Riders are a cut above; they’re a treat to watch sitting chilly in their saddles
  • Few interlopers join the West Coast horse colony
  • Absence of rain (at least for this month’s meet) means the track remains consistent
  • Recently-claimed horses often win or perform very well after the claim
  • Turf route races go pretty much the way the figures say they will (compute the time from 6f to the end of the race; expect 24 seconds for a mile race, 30 seconds for 1 1/16-mile and 36 seconds for 1 1/8-mile)
  • Fun signature race returns: 6 ½ furlongs down-the-hill turf course. Opportunity for a big score since the average payoff in one study was $20.60. Look for horses who have done well on that course.

Let's honour Candyman's memory by winning big!

The late Jack Tapper won $70K by betting jockey favs in pick-5
When the Breeders’ Cup was first held at Del Mar four years ago, long time ASD horseplayer Jack “Candyman” Tapper won about $70,000 in a pick-5 and pick-4. To honour his memory (he died two years ago), let’s see if we can do something similar when BC races return to Del Mar five weeks from tomorrow.

Tapper, who once operated a candy-making business, was as much a jockey player as a horse player. So when his rider favourite, Mike Smith, won on 17-1 Caledonia Road in the Juvenile Fillies followed by Joel Rosario on 30-1 Stormy Liberal in the Turf Sprint, he and others were whooping it up in carrels in the north side of the Race Book. He had spent just $19 and change on his 60-cent pick-5 ticket.

Will you be the one celebrating this time around when your favourite jockeys win on bombs-away horses?

What more could be said about the first BC races at Del Mar?
  • There was only one gate-to-wire winner and that was Gun Runner in the Classic. Otherwise, horses were flying from all over including the clouds.
  • As might be expected, European horses won half the grass races (the Turf at 14-1, Juvenile Turf at 9-2 and Fillies and Mares Turf at 11-1). Horses from Keeneland, Belmont and Woodbine accounted for the other three.
  • Superfecta payoffs with a $1 minimum were HUGE, the biggest being $176,000 when Bar of Gold won the Fillies and Mares Sprint at 66-1. Taking a shot at superfectas could result in a very, very good day. Will the “I won bigger” betting group luck into a monster? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  • Proven rules for picking top Breeders’ Cup contenders
  • The clocker is your friend
  • What ASD player is flying a bunch of other ASD players to Del Mar by private jet?
WIN A TON IN '21: How to win by picking losers

Every book on betting horses is something along the lines of “How to pick winners.” But these days that’s often not where the big money is. In fact, picking losers can be even more important--money-wise--than picking winners.

What I’m talking about is picking horses to complete a triactor or superfecta with horses by using horses that seldom are game enough to win a race yet finish third or fourth consistently. I call this “bottom up handicapping” and am amazed how well that fits into exotic wagering.

You figure out the three or so horses who may finish first or second and wheel them with horses that consistently make late moves. In races for horses that have never won two races--where a truly chaotic horse can win--you may wheel “all” horses in the top two positions and maybe even the fourth position with a horse that loves to finish third.

Good luck picking losers!
Back by popular demand!

TOP 3 NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 4

Rams over Cardinals (Sunday afternoon): A battle of two undefeated teams. The off-season addition of QB Matt Stafford by the Rams has worked wonders for the offense through the first two weeks as they are able to throw downfield more often. The biggest benefactor has been WR Cooper Kupp who already has 367 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He had only three touchdowns ALL of last year. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has been an early MVP candidate using both his arm and his legs accounting for 10 total touchdowns on the year so far. I don’t know if they will be trying any more 68-yard field goals again after what happened against the Jaguars last week.

Chargers over Raiders
(Monday night): One of the more surprising 3-0 teams, the Raiders look to ride the momentum of their last-second OT win over the Dolphins. The Chargers on the other hand, are riding some momentum of their own having beaten the so-far underachieving 1-2 Kansas City Chiefs. Second year QB Justin Herbert is one of the best up-and-coming stars in the league (his deep ball is one of the prettiest things to watch) and so far hasn’t shown any sophomore slumps that some second-year players tend to suffer. 

Bill Belichick vs Tom Brady
Bucs over Pats (Sunday night): Oh boy . . . I don’t know what to say about this game that won’t be said a thousand times over between now and kickoff on Sunday night. We all know the main storyline here: Tom Brady’s first game back in New England since his divorce from Bill Belichick and the organization two years ago. Just to add another layer to this soap opera, Brady has a chance to break the all-time passing yards record (currently held by Drew Brees). It’s only going to take 68 yards to break the record and I’m sure the game will be stopped the moment it happens so he can be congratulated for this monumental achievement. I also don’t expect the game to be close as the Bucs really have the superior team. 

PICK-5 AT HASTINGS SOARS TO $2.6 MILLION: With a carryover of $550,000, Hastings race track in Vancouver saw the mandatory payout pool of its 20-cent Jackpot pick-5 Monday grow to $2.6 million. The tricky sequence paid $3,918 for each 20-cent ticket. Individual winning horses paid $8.60, $9.10, $6.60, $15.70 and $18.70. The Jackpot pick-6 was also won with the holder of a single 20-cent ticket collecting $11,959.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit set to race Saturday at Santa Anita (Coady photography)
MORE ASD JOCKEYS, TRAINERS TRY THEIR LUCK AT CENTURY MILE: ASD jockeys Antonio Whitehall, Stanley Chadee, Jr., Neville Stephenson and Shamaree Muir are now all riding at Century Mile. Trainers Shelley Brown, Jared Brown and Steven Gaskin have also entered horses at the Edmonton track. Shelley won race 7 Saturday with Orange Theory (7-2) when the first-place finisher, Run Lola Run (3-5) was set down to second for drifting into Orange Theory in the stretch. 

KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER TO RACE AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY: The Bob Baffert trainee, Medina Spirit, is entered in Saturday’s $300K Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. Baffert passed up racing in last Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby because his post position (#9) was outside two other speedballs, Hot Rod Charlie (4-5) and Midnight Bourbon (7-2). Those two horses finished one-two in the Derby with a $2 exactor paying $10.80.

The “I won bigger” betting group missed out on a minor pick-up at Woodbine last Saturday but is looking forward to this Saturday because Santa Anita--our strength--will be back in play. So, when you come out to the Clubhouse plaza this Saturday at 10:30 a.m., bring your views on the both the early pick-5 at Woodbine and the pick-5 in the first five races at Santa. The pick-5 at Woodbine costs 20-cents per combination, at Santa it’s 60-cents. Will you gain insights that will help you in the Player’s Choice tournament? (Remember, ASD is no longer involved at all in group play.)

With Churchill Downs Inc. not applying for racing dates for its Arlington Park race track next year, the Illinois Racing Board has awarded six months of racing dates to the other Chicago-area track, Hawthorne. Thoroughbreds will now race from April through June and Sept. 23 to the end of the year. Harness racing will take place in the other months.

Churchill is selling the Arlington property with the proviso that racing should not take place there. Churchill has a majority interest in a casino 15 kilometres from Arlington. The other Illinois track, Fanduel Sportsbook and Horse Racing--formerly Fairmount Park--will race for 61 days. Fanduel is located in Collingsville, 500 kilometres south of Chicago.
Third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown goes Sunday on Woodbine turf
  • Tomorrow: Santa Anita meet opens; 6 1/2f down-the-hill turf races return
  • This Saturday: Player’s Choice handicapping tournament until 10 p.m. at ASD with $1,750 in prize money; $500K Champagne Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont; seven stakes races at Century Mile including races for 2- and 3-year-olds; two Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita
  • Sunday, Oct. 3: Third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Stakes on Woodbine turf
  • Friday, Oct. 8: Three-week Keeneland meet opens with Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes. Thanksgiving dinner special at ASD from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. $14.95.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9: $750K Grade 1 Turf Mile at Keeneland, full card of West Virginia stakes at Charles Town. Thanksgiving dinner at ASD $14.95.
  • Sunday, Oct. 10: Thanksgiving dinner at ASD $14.95.
  • Monday, Oct. 11: Happy Thanksgiving in Canada! Thanksgiving dinner at ASD $14.95.

Good luck in joining ASD’s handicapping elite!
Sign up for Saturday’s Player’s Choice tourney by 5 p.m. tomorrow.

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