Thursday, October 8, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 40 (Issue #759)

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


With my brain pleading for a break from the pressure of thinking about The Insider almost 24/7 I’m taking a two-week break starting with the next issue. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be receiving The Insider. I’m pre-writing two Insiders in which I’ll include columns I wrote for the weekly Canstar Community News.

Next week, there’s a Q & A with ASD CEO Darren Dunn I think you’ll find interesting and the following issue will tally up all the firsts ASD has chalked up in this most unusual year. In the meantime, hit ‘em big and hit ‘em often!
SUPER BONUSES CONTINUE: Each Tuesday in October, earn an extra 5 per cent cash back on all your wagers and earn 3 per cent more during the Breeders’ Crown harness racing championship days, Friday and Saturday Oct. 30-31. Find out more here.

  • NEW HOURS: Note ASD will now be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily for racing, dining and VLT play. That’s because the provincial government requires licensed establishments to close by 11 p.m. under new COVID-19 protocols.
  • CLOSED TUESDAY: Note ASD will be CLOSED THIS TUESDAY, OCT. 13 for power upgrading. This will include OTBs. You still can wager on your HPI account, however, with a super bonus in place (see above.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • What did surgeons have to do to hold trampled jockey's hip together?
  • Preakness poser: What happened to Thousand Words?
  • Can anyone catch Roger Jones for HOTY title?
  • How to earn yourself a cash gift for Halloween
  • Roast turkey is ready to please your palate tomorrow thru Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON HALLOWEEN? Playing in the Player’s Choice handicapping tournament to give yourself a shot at collecting a share in prize money of $1,750, right? Yup, that’s the date of the next tourney and, remember, regardless of your horse preference--thoroughbreds, standardbreds or quarter horses--you can enter and make any 10 plays on the day until 10 p.m. Why not practise by picking 10 “contest” horses on any day and see what your bankroll would be betting $2 across the board on each horse?
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. - 11 p.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 Monday, 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.

Shannon Beauregard takes toughness to a new level

Jockey breaks hip in half in mishap at Century Mile

Shannon Beauregard in an Edmonton hospital
In 20 years as a jockey, Shannon Beauregard has spent four of them recovering from injuries, her mother, Ronda Matson, told The Insider from her Quebec home. But what happened to her daughter when she was trampled after her horse went down at the wire at Century Mile in Edmonton on Saturday, Sept. 19 takes your breath away.

According to her mother, the 40-year-old’s hip broke right through and, because her bones are too small for the insertion of screws, she has a bar outside her lower abdomen supporting “a halo around the broken stuff.” In addition, she has a broken pelvis, tail bone and collar bone. Controlling the pain hasn’t been easy.

And yet, says mom, her daughter has “a one-track mind. She wants to get back to racing.”

As a child growing up in a small acreage area south of Montreal, Shannon watched the movie, Black Beauty, over and over again, mom recounts, and, when she was old enough to ride, she not only became a talented equestrian rider--with 500 ribbons and 40 trophies to prove it--she fearlessly took on such other challenges as barrel racing, calf-roping and schooling 2-year-olds.

Initially rebuffed as a jockey, said mom, she was given her first opportunity to ride by trainer Tom Gardipy Jr. when she was 18 and, since then, she’s been in her heyday, riding at western Canadian tracks--but especially at Assiniboia Downs which she really loves, says mom.

And, as fate would have it, as Shannon looked forward to her 900th win this past summer “with such anticipation she could taste it,” she reached that milestone, fittingly, on a Gardipy horse, Sweet Design, on Sept. 8 in Assiniboia Downs’ race 3.

Through the years, her 115-pound frame bounced back from broken vertebrae, two broken ankles, two broken knees, an ACL replacement and numerous broken fingers and toes, said mom. With her pet chihuahua at her side even in plane travel (the dog was “nothing but bones” when rescued in New Mexico) Shannon has soldiered on, now to face what most would consider a career-ending recuperation.

But never discount the determination of a woman who feels she was born to ride.


Will anyone catch Roger Jones?
Winnipeg transit driver continues to lead Handicapper of the Year standings

HOTY leader Roger Jones
With another Player’s Choice handicapping tournament in the books, Winnipeg transit driver Roger Jones remains the player to beat for the title of Handicapper of the Year. Though he finished 11th in last Saturday’s tournament, his 33 points gave him a comfortable lead of 219 points, 35 ahead of runner-up Trevor Tilston-Jones.

Players have three more tournaments to make their moves, the next one coming on the last day of October, Halloween. Besides copious bragging rights, the HOTY wins a trip for two to the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas in the spring or $2,500 cash. See the leader board here.

CONGRATS! WINNER PLAYS BOTH THOROUGHBREDS AND STANDARDBREDS: Winning the Saturday tournament with a bankroll of $124.50 was railway conductor Matt Ostrove who played both thoroughbred and standardbred races. He receives $1,000 cash. His biggest plays?
  • Matt Ostrove
    Woodbine thoroughbreds race 4: “I liked #2, My Sugar Pie (in a maiden claimer) because I thought she’d close at a good price in a wide-open race.” He was right. She paid $19.80, $8.70 and $4.60.
  • Woodbine standardbreds race 2: “I liked #4, Goldinthebadlands (in a $25K claiming handicap) after the horse won easily in two claiming races and was moving up in class. I thought he might repeat.” Which he did, paying $14.80, $7.20 and $4.50.
Runners-up were retired Canada Post employee David Smook (bankroll $119.20) who won $400 and retired city of Winnipeg employee Jeff Rozmus (bankroll $118) who won $200. Jeff is a former Handicapper of the Year. Susan Lisoway received $100 for fourth (bankroll $112.30) and  Darcy Backman was awarded $50 for fifth (bankroll $111.50). See full results for the 46 entrants here.

"I had no horse"

Thousand Words strangely fades after showing early pace

Filly Swiss Skydiver edges Authentic (AP photo)
You’ll have to admit--the clunker race run by Thousand Words in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday was just plain weird. After going to the lead, he simply faded easily and quickly for no apparent reason. “I had no horse,” jockey Florent Geroux was quoted as saying.

The only explanation I can see is that the horse appears to be fairly headstrong. According to a description of a workout leading to the Preakness he refused to gallop out. So I’m wondering whether he simply decided not to run fast in the Preakness Stakes -- which, of course, was not a nice thing to do after his owners paid $1 million for him as a yearling.

So, I’m asked: “Are you still on Thousand Words’ bandwagon?” And the answer is: “I have to see one more race.” In the meantime, cheers to ASD handicapper Marshall Posner who correctly predicted Authentic would lose the Preakness after the colt’s big Kentucky Derby win. He was edged at the wire in a very exciting finish by filly Swiss Skydiver.

Larry Liebrecht
His horse wins at 53-1 at Century Mile
A BIG SHOUT-OUT to ASD trainer Steven Gaskin and Hardball Stable who shipped $5,000 ASD claimer Be My Macho Man to Century Mile in Edmonton and won a $12,500 claimer last Friday as the longest shot in the race at very juicy odds of 53-1. The 3-year-old gelding put away eight rivals. As a partner in Hardball Stable, did Larry Liebrecht bet his horse? “Only $5 win/place,” he told The Insider.

But, with a win price of $108.30 and a place price of $47.60, that still netted him $389.75. Electrician Liebrecht, you may remember, won the July Las Vegas Challenge tournament on live racing. He helps construct Saturday’s “I won bigger” group tickets.
YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Shutupn’kissme. The filly is a 2-year-old West Virginia-bred whose mother is Kiss Me on Command which pretty much echoes her daughter’s name. Shutupn’kissme won her first lifetime start and finished second in a stakes race with the race-caller taking no liberties with her name.
POCKET PLENTY IN '20: Did a filly bias cost you a Preakness win?

Did you bet the filly, Swiss Skydiver, to beat the colt, Authentic, in the Preakness Stakes? They both had the IDENTICAL Equibase speed figure in their previous race--109--when Authentic won the Kentucky Derby and Swiss Skydiver finished second in the Kentucky Oaks.

Did you give the nod to Authentic just because Swiss Skydiver is a filly? We now know that was a mistake. Should we in North America do what Australians do with regularity--mixing males with females and treating them more or less equally? We know that it was an Australian MARE, Makybe Diva, who accomplished one of the greatest feats of any horse in this century: Winning three Melbourne Cups in a row in giant fields.

WHITEHALL HITS 110 WINS: Riding at ASD and Century Mile, Antonio Whitehall continues to be the leading winner in Canada at 110 races but closing in from Woodbine are Justin Stein and Rafael Hernandez with 93 apiece.

Saturday’s “I won bigger” group made a hopeful start to winning the pick-5 at Woodbine last Saturday with a 7-1 and an 11-1 winner but ultimately couldn’t bring home the bacon. The pick-5 paid $8,834 for 20-cents, illustrating how tricky the sequence was. It was no go in the pick-6 at Pimlico, either, where a 20-cent ticket paid $28,428. Online group play continues this Saturday at Woodbine as players start dreaming about Breeders’ Cup bounty four weeks away.
TOP 3 NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 5

Ravens over Bengals (Sunday noon): Coming off a loss to the Chiefs, the Ravens bounced back with a win over Washington. Lamar Jackson looked much more like his usual self, including a 57 yard touchdown run. Bengals QB Joe Burrow notched his first win last week, he is also taking A LOT of hits, it’s not going to be any easier this week; I legitimately fear for his safety.

Cowboys over Giants
(Sunday afternoon): Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, enjoys watching a Cowboys game. You either love them or you hate them. Dak Prescott is on pace to throw for an unprecedented 6,700 yards this season (which would smash the current record of 5,477 held by Peyton Manning). You would think with numbers like that they would be 4-0, instead they are 1-3. (They easily could be 0-4 if it weren’t for an act of God against the Falcons). The defense is letting this team down, giving up 146 points in four games. Lucky for them, the Giants are coming to town.

Patriots over Broncos
(Sunday afternoon): I’m not sure who will be starting at QB for the Patriots this week. Brian Hoyer started against the Chiefs in week four but was benched due to poor performance. Jarrett Stidham came in for relief duty. I don’t think it will matter who is playing because the Broncos aren’t very good. The Pats will have to go another week without starting QB Cam Newton who is currently in self isolation due to COVID-19.

The Titans and Steelers game did not take place due to the COVID outbreak among the Titans players and personnel . . . 49ers QB Nick Mullens had his worst performance as a professional, overthrowing wide-open receivers and turning the ball over at the worst possible times . . .  The Raiders plan of trying to dink and dunk the ball was not an effective way to match point for point with the Buffalo Bills. Bills QB Josh Allen continued his MVP type performance throwing the ball wherever he wanted to.
THE BEST OF BOB by Bob Gates: What Manitoba Derbies were especially memorable?

If you had to select five special Manitoba Derby runs, which ones would make your list? Bob looks back on five such memorable Manitoba Derbies here. (First published in July 2018)
  • This Saturday: Online “I won bigger” group play. Major stakes at Belmont
  • Saturday, Oct. 17: “I won bigger” group play online
  • Saturday, Oct. 24: “I won bigger” group play online; the Breeders’ Stakes from Woodbine (turf), the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown
  • Friday, Oct. 30: Breeders Crown harness racing championships from Hoosier Park in Indiana at 5:30 p.m. 3% bonus on all eligible wagering on Hoosier Park Oct. 30.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31: Player’s Choice handicapping tournament, Breeders Crown from Hoosier Park continues at 5:30 p.m. 3% bonus on all eligible wagering on Hoosier Park Oct. 31; “I won bigger” group play online
  • Monday, Nov. 2: Melbourne Cup from Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia
  • Friday, Nov. 6: Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. Breeders' Cup bonus weekend. Earn 3% bonus on all wagering over $1,000 Nov. 6 through 8.
  • Saturday, Nov. 7: Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. Breeders' Cup bonus weekend. Earn 3% bonus on all wagering over $1,000 Nov. 6 through 8.
  • Sunday, Nov 8: Breeders' Cup bonus weekend. Earn 3% bonus on all wagering over $1,000 Nov. 6 through 8.

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe!

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