Thursday, October 17, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 40 (Issue #710)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Freak storm cuts The Insider off from the world

Call today’s column a “hardship” Insider, the result of a freak early snow storm in Manitoba that downed trees and wires and put me on a list of 48,000 awaiting internet and cable TV restoration for my home-office.

So I’m pounding out today’s column elsewhere. It’s been an adventure, digging out my car buried by tree branches and wet snow, hacking at a wall of sagging trees and vines blocking the public sidewalk and slogging through slush as Mr. Chainsaw carved up a fallen tree across my back lane while avoiding dangling wires.

Hey, it resulted in my listening to Canterbury Park track announcer Paul Allen call a Vikings football game on the radio for the first time—with excitement and interesting stats you don’t get in the TV broadcast.

Did someone say “climate change?” Or just a reminder that Christmas—horseplayer Christmas, that is—the Breeders’ Cup—is just two weeks from tomorrow with a very special treat: ASD fan education specialists Marshall and Glen will be on-site at Santa Anita to provide insights and analysis (see below).


Contest: What will Manitoba’s millionaire mare fetch?

Email your guess to over the next couple of weeks with your guess in the subject line. Closest to the correct amount (without going over) receives $25 in betting vouchers, $25 in ASD merchandise and, of course, copious bragging rights.

Did you see Escape Clause’s listing in the Fasig-Tipton November Sales catalogue in last week’s Insider? Download it here. She is Hip 114 among 201 horses who will be sold that day.

If the final bid on her does not reach the reserve bid, that bid will still be considered her sale price for the purpose of this contest.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Watch for the world's richest turf race, the $14M Everest from Australia tomorrow
  • ASD fan ed specialists will be at Santa for Breeders' Cup: got questions?
  • Seeing is believing: Will the result of this handicapping angle blow you away?
  • Readers write: Should Secretariat have gone to France instead of Canada?
  • 15 minutes with this trainer turns to hours: See Bob's blog
$100 NOW AT STAKE IN “3 FOR THE MONEY” CONTEST: So, with no one correctly picking the winner of three races at Woodbine last Saturday, this Saturday’s prize has increased to $100 in betting vouchers if you correctly pick the first three winners of the late pick-4 at Laurel which is showcasing Maryland Million races.

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


Do you have questions for them?
Send them to

ASD fan education racing specialists Marshall and Glen will be covering the 2019 Breeders’ Cup live from Santa Anita this year. They’ll be arriving on Monday, Oct. 28 just in time for the post-position draw for all 14 races.

Throughout the week they’ll provide insights on various ASD social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) AND WILL RESPOND TO QUESTIONS FROM INSIDER READERS. Send them to and The Insider will forward them to Glen and Marshall. Here’s what they’ll be looking at:
  • Glen and Marshall will be situated here in the Santa Anita grandstand during Breeders’ Cup races
    Which horses are living up to the hype?
  • What are “experts” saying—straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak?
  • Which horses are training up a storm? (“Psst, Mike Welsch, give us the real scoop!”)
  • Which Euros have shipped the best and are ready to run big? And a whole lot more.
They’ll sleuth out as much inside info as possible from the trainers, jockeys and owners and other details leading to Friday’s first BC race and then be stationed at the “Top of the STRETCH” (appropriately named after Glen "Stretch" Sirkis) in the Santa Anita grandstand during the races.

Watch for their TOP 10 list of handicapping angles and things to look for

THE INSIDER ON BREEDERS’ CUP EVE: Their analysis of all 14 BC races

Seeing is believing

This result blew me away. Will you be similarly smitten?

The top three finishers in the Nearctic Stakes had the best in-the-money records
Here are the lifetime results for the nine horses who ran in race 7 Saturday at Woodbine, the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes, a 6-furlong turf sprint. What three horses have the best in-the-money stats?
  1. 6/14 (six in-the-money finishes out of 14 starts)
  2. 6/13
  3. 18/38
  4. 9/9
  5. 10/15
  6. 9/19
  7. 5/11
  8. 14/17
  9. 11/24

So #4, 5 and 8 have the best in-the-money finish records, correct? And what was the race result? 5-4-8. And the prices?

$1 triactor 5-4-8: $2,000
$2 exactor 5-4: $419
#5 City Boy paid $50.70 to win

And why, you may be asking, did I compute lifetime stats? Because this was a successful handicapping angle I discovered for last year’s Breeders’ Cup races and, with the BC coming up in two weeks, I decided to see how the angle worked in the first stakes race at Woodbine on the track’s big Canadian International Day. To say the least, I was blown away by the above result, as you may be, too.

Of course, no handicapping angle works every time but this gives you some idea how valuable a tool this may prove to be for BC races in two weeks – or for graded stakes races in general.


CASSE COSTS BETTING GROUP: Horses trained by Mark Casse are always dangerous but especially so on Saturday when two of his longshots won two legs of Woodbine’s late pick-5, costing the “I won bigger” betting group another pay day. In the early pick-5, the group missed the winner of the bottom-level $7,000 claiming race—which is always a tricky-to-handicap race. Way overdue, the group will look to turn things around this Saturday at the usual 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Breeders’ Cup—and the chance for a mega pickup--can’t come too soon, with the group hoping to build on last year’s pick-6 success.

In the end, last Saturday’s “I won bigger” betting group didn’t take a stab at the mandatory Jackpot Hi 5 wager on the last race because the 12-horse field of maidens seemed impossible to get a handle on—and it was. One 20-cent ticket won the entire $224,846 jackpot. The betting group took seven of the horses in its pick-5 but boxing those seven horses in the Jackpot Hi 5 would not have won a share of the pool because it missed one of the five horses in the jackpot sequence.
Readers write . . .
Should Secretariat have ended his career in France instead?

Dear Ivan: A bit busy with the OBS (Ocala Breeders’ Sale) but always have time for the best newsletter in North America. As for your reference to Secretariat who passed away 30 years ago, Oct. 4, his 1 ½-mile time in the Canadian International at Woodbine in 1973 would easily have won the Arc de Triomphe in France which was run just days apart from the International. As much as I always loved the fact that Secretariat ended his racing career in Canada for the Canadians involved, going to and winning the Arc as a 3-year-old after winning the Triple Crown would have been even more historic.”W.G. Wind, Florida

An interesting observation W.G. adds to Secretariat lore.
SAVVY NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 7
  • Packers over Raiders (Sunday afternoon): The Packers are already playing their 5th home game and it’s starting to get a little cooler out at Lambeau Field. The Raiders are coming off the bye week, but I still don’t like them to win here having to travel from the west coast.
  • Bills over Dolphins (Sunday noon): The Dolphins are much more interested in watching Alabama play on Saturdays since their future franchise QB Tua Tagovailoa is making his case for the Heisman Trophy. The Bills might be the 2nd best team in the AFC right now.
  • Rams over Falcons (Sunday noon): Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn somehow hasn’t been fired yet, which is surprising to most because I’m pretty sure my touch football team could score points against their defense right now. This is just what the Rams need to get back on track.
  • Eagles over Cowboys (Sunday night): HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS!! Losers of 3 straight, and now the injuries are starting to pile up. If the Eagles can come out of the gate strong and not play catch up for once, they should win this one.
MY $5 PROLINE TICKET (worth $252.45): Rams over Falcons ($1.80), Texans/Colts tie ($3.00), Eagles over Cowboys ($2.75), Ravens/Seahawks tie ($3.40). Record: -$15

PICKS RECORD: Last week: 3 correct out of 4. Overall (since week 3): 10 correct out of 16.

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: 15 minutes with Clayton Gray (lol)

Did you know that Clayton Gray won seven training titles and ranks 9th on the all-time leading trainer board at the Downs? This despite a 20-year absence from the local racing scene? Read Bob’s account of the life and times of Clayton Douglas Gray here. (First published in May 2017)
  • World’s richest turf race goes tomorrow from Australia
    Tomorrow: The richest turf race in the world, the $14M Everest, will be run in Australia (Saturday afternoon in Australia)
  • This Saturday: It’s Maryland Million Day at Laurel where all 11 races are feature events
  • 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.
  • Friday, Nov. 1: Day 1 of the Breeders’ Cup featuring five baby races
  • Saturday, Nov. 2: Day 2 of the Breeders’ Cup with 14 races. “I won bigger” workshop at 10:30 a.m. Breeders’ Cup brunch $19.95: Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Monday, Nov. 4: Melbourne Cup from Australia. First post from Australia is 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 5: Escape Clause, Hip 114, at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale in Lexington, KY

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