Thursday, October 10, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 39 (Issue #709)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

SECRETARIAT “GOOSEBUMPS” FLASHBACK: This Saturday’s $800K Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine, 1 1/2-miles on turf, reminds us of the goosebump-producing International in 1973 when Secretariat ran in his farewell race before being retired to stud. Watch Hall of Fame announcer Daryl Wells, Sr. call that momentous race on a wet, chilly, overcast afternoon in Toronto here.


HIP 114

Fasig-Tipton November sales catalogue released

Manitoba's super mare among 201 horses in Tuesday, Nov. 5 auction

The Manitoba mare who was variously described as the “darling of Del Mar” and “the Assiniboia assassin” in her U.S. exploits over the past year will simply be “Hip 114” when she goes on the auction block three weeks from Tuesday as one of 201 horses (111 of which are potential brood mares) at the Fasig-Tipton “night of the stars” auction in Lexington.

Expected to be the sales topper--at a predicted price of $10 million--is Hip 151, Midnight Bisou, the filly who beat Escape Clause by a nose in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April. Bisou is rated the #2 horse in North America in a poll of industry experts and is a serious contender for Horse of the Year.

But 5-year-old Escape Clause is unlikely to see a bid that even reaches $1 million because of her modest Manitoba breeding. But her owners--Barry Arnason, Don Schnell and True North partners--are unlikely to accept anything too low--reportedly nothing less than $500K.

If bidding doesn’t reach an acceptable level, are we likely to see her continue racing for the same connections next year? After all, she earned $500K U.S. this year and she’s only five.

At last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, 140 horses fetched $89.5 million, an average of $639K per horse. Fifty-three were not sold.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Glad to be alive, biker says "I almost knew I was going to win the tournament."
  • Unbeaten filly Hidden Grace was entered in Saturday race. So what happened?
  • Churchill buys Turfway Park: What are their plans?
  • Baby races kick off both the Breeders Crown and the Breeders' Cup
  • Rescue plan floated to save Preakness Stakes at Pimlico
“3 FOR THE MONEY” GAME CONTINUES WITH INCREASED JACKPOT: Predict winners of three Woodbine races Saturday afternoon including the $800K Canadian International to win $75 in wagering vouchers (since no one correctly predicted last week’s Century Downs races). Look for complimentary program pages at the track. Prize pool increases by $25 each time it’s not won (up to $150).

All through October, enter your name with mutuel sellers at these OTB locations (Pembina, Windsor, Quest & Green Brier) to be drawn on Saturday to win $25 in betting vouchers and 5,000 Player Rewards points.
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 October? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Bombers, NFL, Jets

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8 PM: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge Friday and Saturday. Get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins. Top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.


GREEDY CORNER: See all jackpot carryovers here.

"It's weird"
Glad to be alive after highway crash, biker "knew" he was going to win tourney

Two years after wiping out on a highway after crashing his motorcycle into a dog that had been chasing a deer, Mel Peddle--still experiencing some clavicle pain--was only semi-excited to be collecting $1,000 as winner of Saturday’s Players’ Choice handicapping tournament.

“It’s weird. I was excited but I wasn’t,”
he told The Insider. “I almost knew I was going to win.”

That’s because things have had a way of working out for him in life. “If it hadn’t been raining on Saturday, I would have been out riding (on his Harley) instead,” he said.

There was the time, too, written about in The Insider, when, on his 65th birthday, with only 35-cents remaining in his HPI account, he bet a straight 20-cent superfecta at Gulfstream that won and returned $685. How impossible a feat was that?

But what Mel, 69, is most thankful for is his “last minute” decision to don his motorcycle helmet and leather jacket after stopping at a beer store in Morden with his niece and her husband at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2017. He had previously been riding with no helmet (“because it gives me a headache”) or jacket. “I don’t know what made me put them on.”

As he sped along a dark Highway 23 at about 100 km/h, he said, “it appeared a dog was chasing another dog coming toward me. I pulled close to the shoulder and started to slow down. It wasn’t a dog, it was a dog chasing a deer. The deer brushed by me and, as I turned around, I T-boned the dog. The next thing I knew my niece’s husband was looking down at me on the highway.”

Which resulted in months of healing from road rash and cracked ribs, arm, ankle and scapula--and retiring from his book binding job. And a bit more involvement with horse racing including tournament play and owning a horse with a few partners (Ebadan).

His biggest tournament catch on Saturday was $23.20, $7.90 and $6.20 across the board on Ima Beast at Woodbine, a first-time starter with a recent quick workout. Mel says he has a soft spot for Woodbine because his parents took him to the now-defunct Greenwood and Woodbine when he was a kid in the 1950s and his biggest win ever came at Greenwood in the mid-1980s when a “hot tip” from a friend of a friend had him betting $50-$50 and other wagers on a harness horse there. The horse won by a nose and he collected $3,200.

But, Mel said, “I could have choked the guy when he told me he had bet just $6--$2 win/place/show--on the horse that he said couldn’t lose.”

  1. Mel Peddle -- $119.10 -- $1,000 prize money
  2. Ralph Gelardi -- $102.10 -- $400
  3. Janet Gray -- $97.60 -- $200 (she also picked the highest-priced horse--see below)
  4. Roger Bamburak -- $97.10 -- $100
  5. Ron Phelps -- $94.80 -- $50
And congrats to Janet Gray for picking the highest-priced horse in the tournament, Adventist ($103) in the $200K Greenwood Stakes at Parx. Analyzing the horse’s bloodlines led to the pick although that horse didn’t win her the contest because prices are capped at $42, $22 and $12 across the board.

Next Player’s Choice tournament is Saturday, Oct. 26
BREEDERS CROWN COUNTDOWN: Woodbine Mohawk Park, Oct. 25 & 26

"It all comes down to the Breeders Crown"
12 harness races worth $6M to be run over two days

The best of the best in harness racing will be featured in 12 races worth $6M U.S. from Woodbine Mohawk Park in two weeks, the first time in 11 years that Mohawk is hosting this prestigious event:

  • Friday, Oct. 25: Similar to the Breeders’ Cup thoroughbred races a week later, the four Breeders Crown races will feature the babies, the 2-year-olds, in trot and pace races. First post 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 26: Eight races for 3-year-old pacers and trotters and open company. First post 6 p.m.

Note that elimination races will take place next Friday and Saturday. Post time 6:10 p.m.

BREEDERS' CUP COUNTDOWN: Santa Anita, Nov. 1 & 2

Baby races go on Friday . . .

. . . and all other BC races go Saturday

All 2-year-old races will be held Friday -- Day 1 of the Breeders’ Cup
If you like 2-year-old racing, you’re going to love Breeders’ Cup Friday, Nov. 1. All five of the baby races will be run that day in this order starting at about mid-afternoon:
  • Juvenile Turf Sprint
  • Juvenile Fillies Turf
  • Juvenile Fillies
  • Juvenile Turf
  • Juvenile (prep race for the Kentucky Derby)
Older horses race in nine events on Saturday, Nov. 2 in this order:
  • Filly & Mare Sprint
  • Turf Sprint
  • Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile
  • Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf
  • Sprint
  • TVG Mile
  • Longines Distaff
  • Longines Turf
  • Longines Classic

*       *       *

ROSARIO TO REPLACE SMITH ON CLASSIC FAVOURITE: The plot thickens. (Or does it?) Trainer Bob Baffert is giving Joel Rosario a chance to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard favoured McKinzie after McKinzie’s forever-rider Mike Smith was removed after riding the 4-year-old Street Sense colt to a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita two weeks ago.  Rosario leaves Yoshida to ride Baffert’s horse.  Rosario won last year’s BC Juvenile with Baffert's Game Winner. Who will Smith ride to compete against the horse he was taken off? Hmm

*       *       *

WATCH FOR BREEDERS’ CUP PRE-ENTRIES TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY: The Daily Racing Form available Thursday, Oct. 24 will list the lifetime performances of all horses pre-entered in the 14 Breeders’ Cup races above.

*       *       *

RESERVE FOR BREEDERS’ CUP BRUNCH: Saturday, Nov. 2 in the Terrace Dining Room with lots of TVs -- $19.95. (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Call Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.

LAST LEG OF PICK-6 KILLS GROUP TICKETS -- AGAIN: Just about--again. Saturday’s “I won bigger” betting group got to the last leg of Belmont’s Empire pick-6 but missed the 16-1 first-time starter, Don Juan Kitten. The 2-year-old colt had the second-best Tomlinson turf rating for the one-mile turf race but the group ticket couldn’t go that deeply. A 20-cent ticket paid $6,855. So it’s back to the drawing board this Saturday at Woodbine only because it’s a big Canadian International Stakes day with mega-pools. Group should look beyond the pick-5 in races 2 to 6 and consider both pick-4s as well. 10:30 a.m. Clubhouse plaza.

A last-minute entry of Manitoba’s unbeaten filly, Hidden Grace, into a newly-written allowance race at Century Downs on Saturday turned into a vet scratch, according to her trainer, Mike Nault, because of a minor lung infection. “She coughed four times so we had her scoped and scratched her,” Nault said. But she has since fully recovered and “trained like a monster” on Tuesday morning before snow swept into the Calgary area again. The eight-for-eight 3-year-old is being pointed to her original objective: the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes for 3-and 4-year-old fillies on Saturday, Oct. 26, a stakes race that Escape Clause won two years in a row.

Woodbine now features a 20-cent jackpot pick-6 similar to the Rainbow pick-6 at Gulfstream and at other tracks. The bet, called the Jackpot Power 6, is on the last six races. The whole pool is paid out when there is a single correct ticket; otherwise, half the amount bet is paid out in consolation money and the other half gets added to the Power pool.

PLAN TO RESCUE PREAKNESS STAKES AT PIMLICO REVEALED: The continued running of the historic Preakness Stakes--the second leg of the Triple Crown--at Pimlico race course in Baltimore, Maryland, could depend on whether state legislators agree to a new plan to save the track--and make improvements to Laurel Park as well--by extending an arrangement under which state casinos have been funding racing.

The Stronach Group which owns both tracks says it will donate land around Pimlico to Baltimore in a plan that calls for the rebuilding of the clubhouse, having the track rotated 30 degrees and turning the complex into a multi-purpose facility. Horse stabling and training would be concentrated at a revamped Laurel Park 37 minutes south of Pimlico. Bonds to pay for the $374 million in renovations would be paid back with casino-generated funds over a period of 30 years if lawmakers agree.

Turfway Park in northern Kentucky will become known officially as New Turfway Park with the $46 million purchase of the northern Kentucky track by Churchill Downs which plans to construct a brand new grandstand and add a dirt track inside the existing one-mile Polytrack. New construction will begin after the 2019-2020 winter/spring meets end. Its “holiday” meet runs from Dec. 4 to Dec. 31.

Said Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery in a news release: “Our team is poised to restore Turfway to its former glory, anchored by northern Kentucky’s first historical racing machine facility. The result will be a first-class racing product fueled by increased purses that keeps high-quality horses in Kentucky year-round and appeals to horseplayers nationwide.”
SAVVY NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 6
  • Cardinals over Falcons (Sunday afternoon): Both these teams are pretty terrible but I’ll take the Cardinals because they are at home.
  • Packers over Lions (Monday night): The Lions look like they are for real but the Packers defense looked impressive again last week up against an undefeated Dallas Cowboys team.
  • Chargers over Steelers (Sunday night): The hit that knocked Steelers QB Mason Rudolph unconscious for several minutes last week was the scariest thing I’ve seen watching a football game. They are now forced to start their 3rd stringer Devlin Hodges. Chargers need to win to keep pace with the Raiders and Chiefs in their division.
  • Redskins over Dolphins (Sunday noon): I’m labelling this game “The Toilet Bowl.” One team is 0-4, the other team is 0-5. The difference is the Dolphins are trying to lose whereas the Redskins are trying to win but are a dysfunctional mess from the top down.The Redskins are also trotting out a new head coach after firing Jay Gruden earlier this week.
MY $5 PROLINE TICKET (worth $122.90): Falcons/Cardinals tie ($3.20), Panthers over Bucs ($2.00), Eagles/Vikings tie ($3.20), Ravens over Bengals ($1.20). Record: -$10

PICKS RECORD: Last week: 2 correct out of 4. Overall (since week 3): 7 correct out of 12.

In exceptional cases (e.g. injuries to key personnel), these picks may be amended in the online version of The Insider early Saturday afternoon. Go there ( for updates.

THE BEST OF BOB: Wondrous Wednesday--oh, what a night!

Did you know that Wednesday racing figured prominently in multiple winning mounts for jockeys Sorenson, Stewart, Rodriquez and Adkins? Read Bob's "Wondrous Wednesday" here. (First published in May 2016)
  • Enjoy a Thanksgiving plate dinner Sunday and Monday in the Clubhouse 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Tonight: Thanksgiving buffet in the Terrace Dining Room 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. $27.95. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-330 ext. 0.
  • This Saturday: Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine. 1 ½-miles on turf, the race made famous by Secretariat; it was his final race before heading to the breeding shed
  • This Sunday: Thanksgiving plate special from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Includes roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies, gravy, cranberry sauce and dinner roll. Just $13.95 per plate. Pumpkin pie available for purchase separately.
  • Thanksgiving Day Monday, Oct. 14: Thanksgiving Day plate special as above.
  • Friday, Oct. 18: The richest turf race in the world, the $14M Everest, will be run in Australia (Saturday afternoon in Australia)
  • Friday, Oct. 25: Day 1 of the $6M in Breeders Crown harness races from Woodbine/Mohawk (four races for 2-year-olds today)
  • Saturday, Oct. 26: Player’s Choice horseplayer tourney. Hidden Grace, Manitoba’s new super filly, to race in the $50K CTHS Sales Stake at Century Downs. Day 2 of the $6M Breeders Crown at Woodbine/Mohawk featuring eight races for older harness horses.
Saturday is officially “Evaluate Your Life Day”
Don’t be too hard on yourself!

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