Thursday, October 11, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 40 (Issue #658)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Not just the first day of legal weed

Track historian Gates finds eight racing reasons to make Oct. 17 noteworthy, too

Six days from today, Canada becomes the second country in the world after Uruguay to legalize fully the recreational use of marijuana. But dogged research by track historian Bob Gates has shown there are eight surprisingly noteworthy racing reasons to recognize on this date, too. Tell me you’re not impressed!

In chronological order, here’s Bob’s take on what makes Oct. 17 stand out in Assiniboia Downs’ past:

  • Irwin Driedger bags four races on Oct. 17, 1979, leading to riding title

    Oct. 17, 1977:   Jockey Dean Kutz scores a hat-trick on his way to the 1977 leading rider title.
  • Oct. 17, 1979: Jockey Irwin Driedger boots home four winners, setting a new riding record for most wins in a season—149, eclipsing the 147 set by Dean Kutz the previous year.
  • Oct. 17, 1980: Jockey “Cowboy” Jack Kaenel wins two races on the ASD card in his march to the highlight of his life: winning the Preakness Stakes on Aloma’s Ruler in 1982.    
  • Oct. 17, 1981: Trainer Alexander (Sandy) McPherson saddles four winners, becoming the first trainer to do so that year.
  • Oct. 17, 1983: On the final day of the meet, jockey Mike Rowland bags five wins to end the season with 144 victories and the leading rider title.
  • Oct. 17, 1989: The Winnipeg Free Press publishes an announcement from track president Bob Wright that since cell phones were becoming common, the Downs was going to install pay telephones at the track for the first time.
  • Oct. 17, 1990: In his rookie year as trainer, Ardell Sayler wins the first race on the card and ultimately is ranked 10th in the trainer standings with 31 wins.
  • Oct. 17, 1992: With simulcast wagering in its infancy, the Downs stages a novel card of 11 races: eight local thoroughbred races, a quarter horse race and two races broadcast from the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
Put THOSE fascinating facts in your pipe next Wednesday, Oct. 17 and smoke ‘em!

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Why was the post-position draw for world's richest turf race held in secret?
  • Why will Eddie O be under pressure in the Breeders' Cup?
  • Is Escape Clause getting even better?
  • "Rule" horses pay big
  • The race made famous by Secretariat is Saturday's feature stakes at Woodbine
$100 AT STAKE IN “3 FOR THE MONEY” SATURDAY: The 70-1 winner in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland Saturday ensured the fact nobody would win the $75 in the weekly “3 for the money” contest so the pot has increased to $100 in wagering vouchers this Saturday. Feature track: Woodbine.
QX104 � Today's Country

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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? Jets, 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. 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 $15,305.

BALANCED LIFE EXPERIENCEAligning body, mind and spirit. At the Downs this Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free fitness demos, exciting speakers and workshops, Find out more here.

Manitoba’s premier art show and sale. At the Downs Friday, Oct. 26, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info here.

– At the Downs Friday, Nov. 2, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info here.


Manitoba horse "annihilates" Alberta field

Escape Clause looks more impressive than ever in $50,000 Founders Distaff


It was an awe-inspiring performance. Someone in the Race Book got it just right when he used the word “annihilate” to describe how Manitoba’s Escape Clause, last year’s Horse of the Year, put away the nine other fillies and mares on a muddy track in the $50,000 Founders Distaff handicap at Century Downs near Calgary on Thanksgiving Day.

It couldn’t have been easier. Jockey Prayven Badrie tracked front-running Parcam Cougar in the 1 1/16-mile test until the final turn then said “go” and the 4-year-old filly blew by the leader and lengthened on the field with every stride. It was stunning, even for those who have come to expect that of her. Her $2.80 return for a $2 win ticket was a gift. Her next race is likely to come in two weeks: the CTHS Sales Stakes for western-bred 3- and 4-year-old fillies, a race she won under wraps last year but is still eligible for at 4. Sorry, Alberta horsemen!
This year:
9-7-1-1 with earnings of $136,866
23-16-3-2 with earnings of $273,947
Number of stakes races won:
Career best Equibase speed figure:
HEY BRO FINISHES THIRD IN $100,000 HARVEST PLATE: Assiniboia Downs’ Hey Bro, who set a 7 ½-furlong track record at Century Downs three weeks ago, finished an impressive third in the 7-furlong $100,000 Harvest Plate on holiday Monday, one of three ASD horses entered in the 12-horse field. The 6-year-old gelding lost by just a length to B.C. invader Driller ($11.80).

Hot Rodin
, the winningest horse at the Downs and in North America, finished sixth at odds of 8-1 and ASD Gold Cup winner Media Melee (20-1) was eighth.

It was a big day for owner/trainer Don Schnell with Escape Clause’s win and Hey Bro’s third.

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Wegotoldyougotsold. You gotta love horse names that tell a whole story in 18 characters. “We got old, you got sold.” Says it all, doesn’t it? He’s a 3-year-old gelding who won a $40,000 claimer Saturday at Keeneland ($11).


What was the result of the final future pools?

Accelerate is favoured to win the Classic; Enable is favoured in the Turf

My prayer, Catholic Boy, is fourth choice to win Classic (Courier-Journal photo)

So, with three weeks remaining until the 35th Breeders’ Cup, here are the top 10 horses to win the Classic according to betting into the third and last future pool on the ‘Cup:
  1. Accelerate – 3-1
  2. McKinzie – 6-1
  3. West Coast – 6-1
  4. Catholic Boy – 7-1
  5. Yoshida (Japanese horse) – 9-1
  6. Mendelsohn – 10-1
  7. Thunder Snow – 13-1
  8. Mind Your Biscuits – 15-1
  9. Diversity – 21-1
  10. Gunnevera – 28-1
The longest shot among the 20 interests is Lone Sailor at 79-1. The total wagered in the pool was $90,313. In the Breeders’ Cup Turf future pool, Enable from England is favoured at 2-1.

See the full Classic future results here and the Turf results here.

*       *       *

Pressure is on Eddie O

Someone will win $1 million if Eddie O, the former Winnipeg Jet, wins the BC tournament

Eddie Olczyk, the one-time Winnipeg Jet and now NBC broadcaster, will put his handicapping skills to the test (again) in the horseplayer tournament in the Breeders’ Cup. And, if he wins, someone (you?) will win $1 million.

That’s contest fun being sponsored by the Breeders’ Cup people and open to both U.S. and Canadian citizens (except Quebecers). It’s a game in which following directions through social media will give you up to 100 chances to win, depending on how many points you accumulate. TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY YOU CAN START ACCUMULATING POINTS. Find out more at

Even if Olczyk doesn’t win, $7,200 U.S. in prize money will be given away.

*       *       *

BREEDERS’ CUP BRUNCH: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Breeders’ Cup Saturday $16.95. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0

Wednesday, Oct. 31 in the Finish Line banquet hall with fan education specialists Glen and Marshall. Free BC programs and entry into draws for BC souvenir merchandise. Reserve a seat with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.


"Rule" horses pay big (including $4,300)

'Twas a weekend to pay attention to "mile back" and "bounce" horses

Did you play them? This past weekend, two handicapping angles that The Insider dubs “rules” led to significant scores including $4,300 pocketed by Les “Longshot” Buzzell.

Harvest Stakes winner Driller (middle of three horses) fits the "mile back" rule

“BOUNCE” HORSES: When a horse won big (by three lengths or so) two races back and then ran a so-so race last time, play him in his next race. There were two such horses in race 7 Saturday at Woodbine. Buzzell bet $50 on the longer of the two, #3 Front Nine ($49.10) and a $10 exactor that netted him more than $3,000. What’s more, a 20-cent superfecta with the bounce horses first and fourth paid $6,492.

Horses who showed early speed in a route race last time are great plays when cutting back to a sprint. The final two legs of the pick-4 at Century Downs Monday (where Escape Clause won one of the legs) were won by “mile back” horses. The horses paid $17.80 and $11.80 and a $1 pick-4 ticket paid $1,113. The final leg was the $100,000 Harvest Plate feature.

*       *       *

TOUGH PICK-5 STYMIES “BIG” GROUP; TIME TO BUILD UP B’CUP BANKROLL: Two weeks ago the pick-5 at Woodbine was too easy, paying $31. This past Saturday it was too hard, paying $46,800 (the whole pool) for a 20-cent ticket. Hey, Goldilocks, can you help the “I won big” group find one this Saturday that is “just right?”

half of each share contribution ($10) this Saturday will be used to build a bankroll for the biggest event of the year, the Breeders’ Cup in three weeks. Participants this past Saturday voted their approval to do that. So the pick-5 at Woodbine will be played with about half the usual amount. Half of the following Saturday’s contributions will be added to the Breeders’ Cup bankroll as well. See you Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza for an overdue bacon score.


WHINE OF THE WEEK: A $1 superfecta (10-8-2-3) in the last race at Woodbine last Friday paid a whopping $17,537. Which left a superfecta player in ASD’s Race Book groaning. His $1 wheel was 10 with 2 with 3,8 with 3,8. His #2 in the second position lost by just a head at the wire to #8. Oh, what might have been!

OBSESSED WITH BACON? THEN SANTA ANITA WILL GET YOU DROOLING: The Insider and Saturday’s “I won big” betting group aren’t the only bacon-obsessed people in the racing world. Santa Anita is promoting a Bacon Bash this Sunday: “Bacon, bacon and more bacon. Take a trackside seat and savor bacon creations and craft beer from all corners of So-Cal. ” Hear that Joe? Book a flight to L.A.! (Joe is the conscience of the “Big” group. He laments the absence of bacon each week when the group doesn’t win big.)

Does the place price on a horse offer good value? Races from Australia don’t leave you guessing. TV simulcasts show you place prices along with the usual win prices in the countdown to each race.

As Australian super mare Winx goes, so goes an Aussie TV commentator. Australians are getting used to not only focussing on each of Winx’s races (27 wins in a row going into this past weekend) but also on Bruce McAvaney, a Channel 7 commentator who becomes apoplectic watching the mare run.
  • Watch Winx in the Turnbull Stakes trying to make it 28 wins in a row here.
  • Click on the video here to watch extreme Winx devotee McAvaney watch that race.

Post positions for Everest Stakes projected on Opera House despite protests

WHY WAS POST POSITION DRAW FOR RICHEST RACE HELD IN SECRET? Here’s a first in the racing world. The post position draw for the world’s richest turf race--the $13 million Everest, a Pegasus-style race to be run at the Royal Randwick in Sydney, Australia this Saturday (Friday in North America)--was held in secret and kept under wraps pending a ruling on whether the draw results could be projected on the sails of Sidney’s famous Opera House. Protesters and 250,000 petitioners wanted the sails to be kept free of racing boosterism—but the display went on for a half-hour anyways as protesters tried to dim the projection by shining their own lights on the sails at the same time.

Paul Wiecek
His sports writing will be missed

TOP FREEP WRITER RETIRES: It was surprising and it struck hard. Paul Wiecek, one of the city’s top sports writers—including horse racing--announced in the Free Press Saturday that he is retiring. His writing style was fresh, incisive, revealing and colourful. He could make drying paint exciting to read about. So why is Paul retiring at the youthful age of 51? “I’ve covered everything I’ve always wanted to cover,” he said in his Saturday piece. ”And I’ve pretty much said everything I’ve wanted to say.” Hmm. Didn’t the commissioner of U.S. patents say something along those lines in 1899? “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” And look what happened after he said that.
THE BEST OF BOB: A tribute to the master of K5 Stables

Did you know that K4 Stables was named for the four members of the Kives family (Phil, Ellie, Kelly and Samantha) and was changed to K5 in 1982 when son, Daniel, joined the Kives clan? Read Bob’s tribute to Phil here.


  • This Saturday
    This Saturday: $800,000 Canadian International (turf) at Woodbine, the race made famous by Secretariat in 1973. (That was Secretariat’s retirement race. Watch it here.) ALL-TURF PICK-4 combining two races from Woodbine (races 9 & 10) and two from Keeneland (races 9 & 10).
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: Maryland Millions Day at Laurel with 11 stakes races worth $1.12 million
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: Player’s Choice horseplayer tourney; Breeders’ Crown--$6 million in championship harness races from The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania
  • Wednesday, Oct. 31: Happy Halloween! But there will be nothing spooky about Marshall’s and Glen’s Breeders’ Cup workshop at 7 p.m. in the Finish Line.
  • Friday, Nov. 2: Five Breeders’ Cup races from Churchill
  • Saturday, Nov. 3: Nine Breeders’ Cup races from Churchill
  • Monday, Nov. 5: Melbourne Cup from Flemington race course in Australia

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