Thursday, October 1, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 39 (Issue #758)

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

SUPER BONUSES CONTINUE: Note that Manitoba players will be awarded an extra 3 per cent cash back on bets made from tomorrow through Sunday, Preakness Stakes weekend and will earn an extra 5 per cent on Tuesdays in October. See details on all super bonuses here.


Authentic is 9-5 morning line favourite
Set to face his stable mate, Thousand Words, at 6-1

In this topsy-turvy COVID world, the third and final U.S. Triple Crown race, the Preakness, goes this Saturday at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, MD with the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Authentic, being installed the 9-5 morning line favourite.

One of 10 horses he will face--if no more bad luck besets the horse--will be his stable mate, Thousand Words, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby after flipping in the saddling area. Thousand Words is tied for third choice in the morning line. Both horses are trained by Bob Baffert.

It’s no secret that my future wagers were all over Thousand Words to win the Derby so we should finally get to find out just how talented he is. Also take note that ASD’s Player’s Choice handicapping tournament takes place on Preakness Day. Sign up by 5 p.m. tomorrow. You may play harness cards as well.

The line-up:

Manitoba players may request past performances by emailing Sheri at

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Racing gods DO have a heart: Shelley Brown's Real Grace wins Canadian Derby
  • One-eyed Mighty Heart now is one win away from Canadian Triple Crown
  • Keeneland meet begins tomorrow on the way to the Breeders' Cup
  • They named a horse what?
  • Handicapping: Is this you? (Of course not)

TAKE NOTE: DEADLINE IS 5 PM TOMORROW TO ENTER TOURNEY: The next Players’ Choice tournament goes this Saturday online until 10 p.m. You must sign up by 5 p.m. tomorrow; $1,750 prize money at stake. Entry fee $25. All styles of racing may be played: thoroughbreds, standardbreds and quarter horses. Entry form. Rules.

Click to enlarge.
DO THE DOWNS for racing, gaming and dining

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.

60 VLTs OPEN DAILY: From 9 a.m. - 2 a.m.


OFF-TRACK WAGERING: See location of OTBs and hours here

  • HARD COPIES OF ALL PROGRAMS FOR ALL TRACKS: Equibase race programs ($2), DRF race programs ($2) and DRF Pro Picks (50-cents) are available at program kiosks in the ASD lobby and at the above OTBs.
  • EMAILED PROGRAMS: ASD program director Sheri will email programs without charge to Manitobans who email their request to her at Specify the track and DRF or Equibase program.

HOW TO OPEN AN HPI ACCOUNT FOR BETTING ONLINE: Go to or phone 204-885-3330 ext. 225 for assistance.

DELICIOUS DINING: While the Terrace Dining Room feature from Thursday to Saturday has been put on hold, food and beverage director Manley Chan has added these specials in the Club West dining area:

  • Thanksgiving weekend special $14.95
    TURKEY DINNER: $14.95. Friday, Oct. 9 to Sunday, Oct. 12: Roast turkey with mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, cranberry sauce and veggies. Pumpkin Pie $5.95.
  • WHERE’S THE BEEF? Every Friday is now steak night and every Saturday is certified Angus prime rib night: $22.95 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • HALF-PRICE WINGS all day Sundays
  • HAPPY HOUR DAILY 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to closing. Beer and spirits $3.75, Caesar, house wine, pint of Longshot Lager $4.75. Finger food specials: Sweet potato fries $5, chicken fingers and cheese nachos $7, all pizzas $9.95.

"I did it for Shelley"

Real Grace's primary owner doubted colt could get the distance

Real Grace wires the Canadian Derby at 18-1
Take a colt whose Winnipeg co-owner says won’t get the distance, add an apprentice jockey who has never won a stakes race, and what do you get? The 18-1 winner of the $100,000 Canadian Derby Sunday night at Century Mile in Edmonton--Real Grace.

The 3-year-old gelding won the Canadian Derby the way Authentic won the Kentucky Derby, gate to wire. Both horses were not supposed to get the 1 ¼-mile distance--but did. And Real Grace’s rider was apprentice jockey, Mauricio Malvaez who had never won a stakes race and who had only nine wins from 117 starts.

“The race is too long for him,”
the horse’s primary owner, Jean McEwen, told The Insider several days before the Sunday race. So why was the horse entered? “I did it for Shelley,” she said. Trainer Shelley Brown, fighting Stage 4 cancer, is divesting herself of most of her horses.

Which is why one racing fan described it as “a tear-jerker win.” Ironically, it was Shelley’s pinnacle victory in 11 years of training. The racing gods DO have a heart.

*       *      *   

HOW DID MANITOBA’S REAL GRACE BECOME EDMONTON’S “HOMETOWN BOY?” Manitoba race fans were startled to hear Manitoba’s Real Grace referred to as Edmonton’s “hometown boy” by Century Mile track announcer Shannon “Sugar” Doyle during the running of the Canadian Derby--which he won. What?

Here’s how Doyle explained his description “I knew that many on the backstretch were cheering for this horse and for Shelley, especially when local favourite Maskwecis had been scratched. Real Grace then, in my mind anyway, while he’d only been here a few weeks, became the ‘hometown boy’,” Hmm.

Yes, there are two horses named “Grace,” both of whom are headline-makers. Real Grace is the 3-year-old gelding who won the Canadian Derby and Hidden Grace is the 4-year-old Manitoba-bred multiple stakes-winning filly who finished third Sunday at Century Mile in the $75,000 Northlands Distaff Handicap at odds of 4-1.
Is this you?
(Of course not.)

ASD handicappers  Marshall and  Stretch of the ASD Live show were invited to compose a list of horseplayer shortcomings. It’s meant for others, of course. Not you.
  • Bet the same amount every race
  • Bet in a very similar way every race, sticking with the same method used for 20 years
  • Won on a certain bet 20 years ago so therefore the system works and it’s not necessary to learn to become better
  • Don’t take advantage of new software
  • Avoid doing research or watching replays
  • Bet caveman tickets because it is the lazy way out. See "caveman" below.
  • Don’t double-check tickets and make mistakes such as betting the wrong number, the wrong race, etc.  
A  “caveman” ticket-means you are assigning the same weight (chances of winning) to each horse in each race within the sequence. As a horseplayer you should recognize that some horses have a better chance of winning a race than others.  

Saturday workshops cancelled: online play only

Code orange on the COVID scale requires four weeks of crowd limitations

Note there will be no “I won bigger” betting group workshops at the track for the next four Saturdays at least. That’s because the province has upgraded the COVID caution level from yellow to orange--which limits groups to 10.

HOWEVER, ONLINE PLAY WILL CONTINUE and Sheri will continue to process your $20 shares in weekly play that, this Saturday, will focus on the pick-6 at Pimilico and the pick-5 at Woodbine.

Participants will receive programs from Sheri as usual and are invited to offer suggestions on horses that aren’t among the favourites in the races.

Despite a longshot winning the first leg, Woodbine’s pick-5 last Saturday paid $300 for 20-cents because mainly favourites won the other four legs. That resulted in each $20 share picking up $4.50. In the pick-6 play at Gulfstream, a horse singled in one race failed to reach the pacesetter.

Let’s now take advantage of fat pools with lots of “dumb” money on Saturday’s Preakness card!
PRINCE OF WALES STAKES, second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown

Mighty Heart remains mighty on dirt

One-eyed colt needs to win the Breeders Stakes on turf to win the Triple Crown

Mighty Heart wins second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown (Michael Burns photo)
Mighty Heart did on Tuesday at Fort Erie what few winners of the Queen’s Plate have done. He won the Prince of Wales Stakes on a dirt surface ($3.70) after winning the Queen’s Plate on a synthetic track.

That puts the 3-year-old colt in the position of being the first horse to win the Canadian Triple Crown since Wando in 2003.

He won the Prince of Wales relatively easily, with jockey Daisuke Fukumoto stalking the early leaders then saying “go” through the turn to win by 21/2 lengths. The final jewel in the Triple Crown is on Woodbine turf, the Breeders’ Stakes, Saturday, Oct. 24.
YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Colin Oscopy. The Twitter-verse was alive with sly comments about this 4-year-old who debuted last week in New Zealand. Some called for a probe into how the name got through.
POCKET PLENTY IN '20: Another longshot supplemented horse does well

If you paid attention to the tip in this space in last week’s Insider--which talked about horses supplemented into stakes races--you saw that a 16-1 supplemented horse subsequently was a neck away from winning race 3, the Ontario Fashion Stakes, at Woodbine on Saturday. The week before that, a 41-1 supplemented horse won.

Note that during the live race season two horses were supplemented into stakes races and they finished second. All of which shows that tracking supplemented horses is a must.

Here, again, is what to look for: In the race condition text atop stakes races, look for the number of horses, if any, who were supplemented with a fee to race in that stakes. To find out who the supplemented horse(s) is, click on the OVERNIGHTS for that particular track. A big “S” will be printed beside the supplemented horse.

OOPS! JOCKEY “MISJUDGES” FINISH LINE: Had there been fans in the Golden Gate Fields grandstand for race 8 on Sept. 20, jockey Alejandro Gomez (69-11-12-5) might have been lustily booed as he forgot his race was 1 ½ miles and pulled up his horse, Shot of a Lifetime, after thinking he had won the race after crossing the wire the first time. The results chart said he “misjudged” the finish line but fans holding tickets on the 3-1 second choice were likely using more colourful language.
TOP 3 NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 4

Steelers over Titans (Re-scheduled to Monday or Tuesday?):The Titans have had a rough few days. Four players and five personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 and they aren’t allowed back in their facilities until Saturday, Which means no practices all week. Look for the Steelers to stay undefeated here.

49ers over Eagles (Sunday night): The 49ers continue to be decimated by injuries (they played with only 40 per cent of their salary cap last week) but luckily the schedule has been favourable to them so far. The 0-3 Eagles come to town with multiple injuries of their own. Tthe 49ers defense should be enough to get them the win.

Bills over Raiders (Sunday afternoon): The Bills needed to convert on third down twice, fourth down once, and had an offensive pass interference work in their favour to get the win last week versus the Rams. Bills QB Josh Allen is turning into a must-watch player (not always for good reasons) with his ability to run with the ball. A couple of pass interceptions by the Bills’ defense will be the difference in this one.

Russell Wilson continued his MVP season tossing five TD passes against the Cowboys. It would have been six had it not been for DK Metcalf deciding that he wanted to celebrate before actually getting into the end zone . . . The Chiefs seems to be Lamar Jackson’s kryptonite. He’s 0-3 against them. The Ravens need to figure out a better passing game when they are playing from behind . . . Even though they blew a large lead, the Buffalo Bills stayed undefeated, scoring a last minute touchdown on the final drive of the game against the Rams.

Travers’ team won football championship last Saturday. See photo here.
THE BEST OF BOB by Bob Gates: He liked hats and a good cigar

Do you remember jockey Rupert Parker? Bob couldn’t possibly write about all the jockeys, but he has Rupert's story here. Parker typifies the kind of rider who worked hard to earn a living in a sport where he and his colleagues put their life on the line, every time they saddle up. Read his story here. (First published in May 2017.)
Racing begins tomorrow at Keeneland leading to the Breeders’ Cup in five weeks (David Coyle/Team Coyle photo)
  • Tomorrow: Racing begins in Keeneland leading to the Breeders’ Cup in five weeks
  • This Saturday: Final leg of the U.S. Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, from Pimlico. “I won bigger” group play online. Player’s Choice horseplayer tournament online with new rules; Florida races move to Gulfstream West, the former Calder Racecourse
  • Saturday, Oct. 10: Online “I won bigger” group play. Major stakes at Belmont
  • Saturday, Oct. 17: Online “I won bigger” group play
  • Saturday, Oct. 24: Online “I won bigger” group play
  • Friday, Oct. 30: Breeders Crown harness racing from Hoosier Park
  • Saturday, Oct. 31 : Player’s Choice handicapping tournament, Breeders Crown harness racing from Hoosier Park
  • Monday, Nov. 2: Melbourne Cup
  • Friday, Nov. 6: Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland
  • Saturday, Nov. 7: Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland

Good luck in Saturday’s tournament!

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