Thursday, October 28, 2021

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 16 No. 36 (Issue #813)

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

BYE BYE BIGG: This is Ivan Bigg’s second-last Insider column. It’s about time, you say? Be nice. See his final comments on handicapping and group play below.

  • 10 CHANCES TO WIN $100: ASD will deposit $100 into the HPI account of 10 players who bet at least $40 on each of the two Breeders’ Cup days. They will be random draws. Wagers must be made through your HPI account.
  • FREE PROGRAMS Printed programs and DRF for both Breeders’ Cup days will be available FREE at ASD next Wednesday (at the VLT cage) and Thursday off-track at Pembina, Quest, Windsor, Green Brier and Rookies locations
  • GET 3% CASH BACK BONUS if you bet at least $1,000 during the two Breeders’ Cup Days. Maximum rebate $300. ($2.10 payoff bets are ineligible). Wagers must be made through your HPI account.


Did you pay attention to last week's top story?
You could have won big at Woodbine that afternoon.

If you took the lead story in last week’s Insider to heart, you could have made a small fortune playing Woodbine that afternoon.

Last week’s story showed the chaotic result at Century Mile--the huge payoffs--in a race for “non-winners of two races lifetime.” Well, look at what happened in the last three races at Woodbine that afternoon. All three races were the chaotic “non-winners of two races lifetime” condition.
  • Race 6: Winner paid $67.80 (It was a $40K claimer)
  • Race 7: Winner paid $40.50 (It was a $25K claimer). $1 double paid $1,258 (“all” with “all” in those two races would have cost you 10 x 8 = $80)
  • Race 8: Winner paid $23.80 (It was a $40K claimer) $1 double paid $530 (“all” with “all” would have cost you 10 x 8 = $80)
The 20-cent pick-3 on those three races paid $1,248. Will similar chaos ensue in nw2L races today or tomorrow or at any time?


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Have you signed up for the third-last ASD tourney of 2021? Do so by 5 p.m. tomorrow
  • Santa Anita ends Sunday; $4 million likely in mandatory payout pick-6 pool
  • How good are your Breeders' Cup smarts? Do the really tough quiz below and see
  • Can Kirt match or beat his Breeders' Cup handicapping success from last year?
  • Larry won $25K in Woodbine's Pick 5 -- so why didn't the betting group win, too? Sigh.
  • Breeders' Crown goes this weekend and it's Melbourne Cup time on Monday
SIGN UP FOR SATURDAY’S ONLINE PLAYER’S CHOICE TOURNEY BY 5 PM TOMORROW: This Saturday will be your third-last chance to share in $1,750 in prize money in the Players’ Choice handicapping tournament. Sign up by 5 p.m. tomorrow. See tourney rules here.
Click to enlarge.

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.
When do they play? Bombers, Jets.

Do you have your new HPIbet account card that replaces the previous HPI card and the ASD Player Rewards card? Assiniboia Downs has joined the HPI rewards and bonus program and the new program began Monday, Feb. 1. See details here. If you haven't received your new card in the mail call 204-885-3330 (ext. 225) to check on the status.

GREEDY CORNER: Mandatory payouts at The Meadows Friday and Santa Anita Sunday. The Meadows harness track (40 kilometres southwest of Pittsburgh) will offer a mandatory payout tomorrow of its Super Hi-5 pool that stands at $63K (first post 3 p.m.) and Santa Anita has a carryover of a whopping $682K which will be part of the mandatory pick-6 payout on Sunday when its fall meet ends. The pool should reach $4 million or more.
BREEDERS' CUP COUNTDOWN: One week from tomorrow

RACING DETAILS: 14 Breeders’ Cup races at Del Mar with purses totalling $31 million
  • FRIDAY, NOV. 5: Five ‘Cup races starting at 4:50 p.m. CT (2-year-olds). Race card begins at 1:55 p.m. with five races before the ‘Cup races.
  • SATURDAY, NOV. 6: Nine ‘Cup races starting at 2:05 p.m. CT. Race card begins at 12:15 p.m. with three races before the ‘Cup races.
PROGRAMS AVAILABLE FREE NEXT WEDNESDAY: Printed programs and DRF past-performances for the two BC days will be available FREE, compliments of ASD, at ASD next Wednesday (at the VLT cage) and the following day at the Pembina, Quest, Windsor, Green Brier and Rookies off-track locations.

with Breeders’ Cup pre-entries are available today through next Thursday for $2 at ASD (VLT cage) and at these off-track venues -- Pembina, Quest, Windsor, Green Brier and Rookies.

For reservations in the Terrace Dining Room for Breeders’ Cup Saturday where multiple TVs will be set up for all-day betting and dining call 204-885-3330.

The dining feature on Breeders’ Cup Saturday will be a crispy buffalo chicken sandwich with coleslaw served all day (plus the regular menu). Note there’s Happy Hour from 3 to 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to closing both days. And Friday is steak night and Saturday is certified Angus prime rib night, both served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $24.95.

: Enjoy a cherry vodka lemonade in a souvenir Breeders’ Cup glass for $9.95 and keep the glass! Available both Breeders’ Cup days while supplies last.

Join the excitement and potential big payoffs of Breeders’ Cup by sharing in group tickets that will be put together at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza on BC Saturday. You may buy shares ($20 each) to be applied to BC play at any time from Larry or me in the Race Book. (Assiniboia Downs is not involved.)

See more details on the Breeders’ Cup days here.

*       *       *
What BC horses do Stretch and Kirt like?
Can Kirt match or better last year's $2,758 pick-3?

Will they predict a biggie--like Kirt did last year?
Track announcer/handicapper Kirt Contois would like to duplicate what he did last year--or better it. He suggested a pick-3 ticket in last year’s Breeders’ Cup that paid a juicy $2,758 for a mere $28 investment.

He will join fellow handicapper, Stretch, for another special Breeders’ Cup edition of the ASD Live show you may watch at your leisure on ASD’s YouTube channel starting next Thursday. Go here.

Kirt’s $1 pick-3 wheel in races 8 to 10 in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup last year looked like this (2 x ALL x 1). The workout on the winner of the first leg caught his eye, he had told viewers. Whitmore won the race at 18-1. "I like bullet moves from horses who usually don’t put them out there,”  he had told viewers. Bombs-away Order of Australia won the middle “all” leg and his key, Monomoy Girl, the race favourite, won the third leg.

Will he--or Stretch--provide us with similar profitable insights this year?

*       *       *

How ready are you to win?

1. Which of these races produced the most longshot winners in the last six Breeders’ Cups held in California? (a) Dirt Mile (b) Fillies & Mares Sprint (c) Juvenile Fillies

2. Which of these races is most likely to be won by the race favourite? (a) Classic (b) Distaff (c) Sprint

3. Which of these races (in the past 13 years of the Breeders’ Cup) was won most often by horses that had won their previous start? (a) Juvenile Fillies Turf (b) Classic (c) Mile

4. Which of these races (in the past 13 years of the Breeders’ Cup) was least likely to be won by horses who won their previous start? (a) Juvenile Turf (b) Turf Sprint (c) Turf

5. Which of these tracks didn’t produce a single winner in a turf race in the past six Breeders’ Cups held in California? (a) Gulfstream (b) Woodbine (c) Santa Anita (d) Laurel

See answers below.

*       *       *

What track did BC turf winners come from?

Wise Dan went from Keeneland to win the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Half of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races at Del Mar next weekend will be run on the turf -- which makes turf racing a huge factor in winning your doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s and pick-6s. Maybe the turf conclusions below will help. They’re based on turf stats from the past six Breeders’ Cups held in California.

--The Mile on the turf (race 9 Saturday) is most likely to be won by a horse that previously raced at Keeneland. Four of the six races were won by Keeneland invaders. A European horse and a Woodbine horse won the other two.
--The Juvenile Turf (race 8 Friday) is most likely to be won by a European invader. They won four of six races held in California. Belmont horses won the other two.
--The Fillies and Mares Turf (race 7 Saturday) also tends toward Europeans.
--A horse from Belmont won each of the BC turf races except for the Turf Mile which was skewed toward Keeneland horses. Overall, here’s where the turf winners came from:
  • 16 turf winners had previously raced in Europe
  • 9 turf winners had previously raced at Belmont
  • 7 turf winners had previously raced at Keeneland
  • Of the other five winners, two came from Arlington, one from Woodbine, one from Santa Anita and one from Laurel.
*       *       *
ANSWERS TO MINI-QUIZ (answers are in red)

1. Which of these races produced the most longshot winners in the last six Breeders’ Cups held in California? (a) Dirt Mile (b) Fillies & Mares Sprint (c) Juvenile Fillies (This race produced winners that paid $9.80, $66.60, $125.40, $69.20, $36.60 and $7.40.)

2. Which of these races is most likely to be won by the race favourite? (a) Classic (b) Distaff (c) Sprint (Prices were $5.40, $7.60, $5.20, $8.60, $9.40 and $19.80.)

3. Which of these races (in the past 13 years of the Breeders’ Cup) was won most often by horses that had won their previous start? (a) Juvenile Fillies Turf (b) Classic (c) Mile (77% of Juvenile Fillies Turf winners won previous race)

4. Which of these races (in the past 13 years of the Breeders’ Cup) was least likely to be won by a horse who won his/her previous start? (a) Juvenile Turf (b) Turf Sprint (c) Turf (Just 23% of Turf Sprint winners had won their previous start)

5. Which of these tracks didn’t produce a single Breeders’ Cup winner on the turf? (a) Gulfstream (b) Woodbine (c) Santa Anita (d) Laurel

If you got five for five, you’re amazing and are ready to crush the ‘Cup. Email The Insider ( ) so Charley Horse can congratulate you. This was extremely tough. Even if you got three correct, pat yourself on the back. For a refresher, refer to the previous three Insiders. You know the drill: You do the work, you get rewarded.

Faulty opinions prompted the development of rules

Providing amusement for this columnist over the years has been watching players’ strongly-expressed opinions go up in flames. And that’s why you’ve seen the development of betting “rules” -- so opinions are secondary.

What comes to mind is the player who hollered “I’ll bet you $100 that horse doesn’t win” when the “I won bigger” betting group was looking at a 7-furlong race where the rule is to look for the horse with the highest 7-furlong speed number. Of course, the horse with the highest E speed did win--after group participants needlessly added five other horses to that race on the ticket.

On another occasion I couldn’t help flinging my race program in the direction of a player who badgered me incessantly for 30 minutes, saying a singled horse in a 7-furlong race on a group ticket didn’t have a chance. That horse won, too--by multiple lengths.

Then there was the time that a player vehemently insisted that a horse in the 6 ½-furlong downhill race at Santa Anita (a Breeders’ Cup race) not be added to a group ticket because “the horse is one of many speedballs in the race.” But the rule is to take a horse that is cutting back to a sprint after showing speed in a route race. That horse won, too, by closing from near the back of the pack, prompting the insistent player to leave the track in a huff.

And another Breeders’ Cup group discussion comes to mind where a player harshly criticized the addition of a horse racing from post #1 in a 5-furlong race at a particular track “because horses never win from there.” The horse won. There are many more, including “guarantees” that a horse would win. I frankly don’t recall a single guarantee coming through -- which, as mentioned, pointed to the need for “rules.”

Even with rules, though, players have insisted “this is a race where the rule won’t work” but that’s the very reason rules are needed. Falling in love with opinions is dangerous--and costly. My favourite rules are these:
  • In maiden races, add up two numbers--where the horse finished last time added to the first call in the horse’s previous race. The lowest added-up-numbers horses are the main contenders.
  • Horses cutting back to a sprint after showing speed in a route race are huge contenders
  • In turf route races, calculate the closing fraction of horses from the 6-furlong time to the end of the race. Horses with the lowest fractions are the main contenders.
  • In 7-furlong races, look for horses with highest E speed figs anywhere in their past performance lines
  • In the most chaotic race of them all, non-winners of two races lifetime, handicap from the bottom up. Look for horses that like to finish third or fourth and wheel those horses underneath “all” in the top two positions of the race. You’ll hit some big tri’s and supers that way.
TOP 3 NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 8

Lions over Eagles (Sunday noon): Last week I ranted about how bad the Lions were, and how they were going to lose by a minimum of 25 points. They then proceeded to go toe to toe with the Rams and actually had the lead heading into the fourth quarter. So, I’m going to hop back on the Lions train this week and declare them not to be the WORST team in the league. The REAL worst team in the league might be on the other side of the field from them in this game. The Eagles look like they aren’t even trying to win when they play. Maybe they are thinking ahead to next year already (they have three first-round picks in the 2022 draft) or maybe they just stink. I’m going with the latter.

Bucs over Saints
(Sunday afternoon): Tom Brady throwing for his 600th career touchdown pass last week was the highlight of the game against the Bears. The second highlight of the game was when Mike Evans, the receiver who caught the 600th touchdown, proceeded to give the ball away to a fan in the stands. After some negotiations between the fan and a staff member, the ball was returned in exchange for other goodies. Now, the fan might be happy getting a different signed ball, a helmet, a gift card, and some jerseys but one sports memorabilia CEO said the 600th touchdown ball could fetch “$500,000 minimum” at an auction. If that were me, I would have run out of the stadium the moment the ball was in my hands. 

Cowboys over Vikings
(Sunday night): Both coming off bye weeks, the Cowboys and Vikings will look to continue their winning ways. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is nursing a calf injury but I can’t see that preventing him from playing in this game. The hot-and-cold Vikings defense is going to have their hands full slowing down Cee Dee LambAmari Cooper, and the emerging Dalton Shultz at tight end. Throw in the one-two punch of Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard in the backfield and it’s no wonder the Cowboys are one of the Super Bowl contenders. 


Larry Liebrecht wins what the betting group should have won, too
PAINFUL TO WRITE: LARRY WINS $25K BUT BETTING GROUP DOESN’T How can I explain that the co-host of Saturday’s “I won bigger” group discussion, Larry Liebrecht, won $25,000 in Woodbine’s pick-5 and the group didn’t have a similar ticket? What happened was -- I didn’t write Larry’s race 2 horse choices on the board as I did for other players. And, in making up the ticket, that omission fell by the wayside as we simply bet the horses on the board without Larry’s $50 horse in the first leg.

Yeah, I know. As we congratulate Larry for making the biggest score of his racing life, we also drench our group crying towels in tears. Each participant could have collected about $1,000 for each $20 share. We’ll just have to make amends this Saturday and certainly in the Breeders’ Cup races when Bigg will deserve a generous conclusion to his column-writing, right? Are you paying attention, oh mighty gods of racing?

CENTURY MILE MEET ENDS SATURDAY WITH 13 RACES AND MUST-PAY POOLS: Note that Century Mile’s race meet ends Saturday with 13 races and mandatory payouts of all pools. First post is 3:15 CT. There is a $4,884 carryover into tomorrow’s pick-5. Post time tomorrow is 6:15 p.m. CT.

New York governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed a racing rule change that would have allowed husband and wife jockeys to race as separate entries in a race. They must be coupled as a single entry. “The rule applies neutrally to all jockeys, without regard to gender, and is intended to enhance the wagering public's confidence in the integrity of a race,” Hochul is reported as saying.

Thanks to B.C. race caller Dan Jukich, for scanning pages of a 1955 Western Canada racing booklet which contained the names of horses that had won the Canadian Derby at Polo Park and listed the special races at the 28-day race meet at Polo Park which would close the following year. “I came across this from my dad’s old stuff,” Dan told The Insider. The booklet also shows race dates from Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina which were the cities on the western race circuit at the time. Peruse those scanned pages here.
Program cover of famous match race held 83 years ago Monday
  • Tomorrow: Breeders’ Crown harness racing at Meadowlands with $6 million in purse money
  • Saturday, Oct. 30: ASD Player’s Choice online handicapping tournament. Eight stakes races at Belmont, Day 2 of Breeders’ Crown harness racing at Meadowlands, Note early post time of 11 a.m.
  • Halloween Sunday, Oct. 31: Boo! Ontario Derby at Woodbine, eight stakes races for New Mexico-bred horses at Zia Park
  • Monday, Nov. 1: Melbourne Cup from Flemington Racecourse in Australia (actually Tuesday afternoon in Australia); 83rd anniversary of the famous Seabiscuit/War Admiral match race that boosted the spirits of depression-era folk. Watch that race here.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 3: Breeders’ Cup programs available free at the Downs.
  • Thursday, Nov. 4: Breeders’ Cup programs available free at ASD and at off-track locations including Quest, Pembina, Windsor, Green Brier and Rookies.
  • Friday, Nov. 5: Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. Five BC races starting at 4:50 p.m. CT. See betting bonuses at top of Insider.
  • Saturday, Nov. 6: Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. Nine BC races starting at 2:05 p.m. CT. See betting bonuses at top of Insider.


Happy Halloween Sunday!


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