Thursday, October 29, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 43 (Issue #762)

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


Relive the greatest upset in Breeders' Cup history

SUPER BONUSES CONTINUE TOMORROW AND SATURDAY as the Breeders' Crown harness racing championship races are run at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Find out more here.

NOTE: ASD WILL BE A COVID TESTING SITE beginning Friday, Nov. 13 in a fully secure area totally separate from all public access customer areas of the facility. The province will operate the restricted area and will require that appointments be made for testing. Read important FAQs here.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Cheap ASD claimer could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. Why?
  • What are two simple tips for discovering contenders in Breeders' Cup races?
  • What is an absolute MUST before you play Breeders' Cup races?
  • What's the biggest coup ever by a Breeders' Cup player?
  • ASD loses a true gentleman horse owner / player
NEXT HANDICAPPING TOURNEY GOES THIS SATURDAY; $1,750 AT STAKE: The third-last handicapping tournament of the year goes all day Saturday online until 10 p.m. Prize money $1,750; entry fee $25 due by tomorrow, Friday, at 5 p.m. Entrants make $2 win/place/show wagers in their HPI account on a horse in 10 races, their choice. Those earning the top five highest bankrolls will share in the prize money. See complete rules here. Entry form.
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 and November? 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:
  • 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 8 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.
Is It Gold, seen here winning at ASD, was bred to Nyquist (inset)

Modest ASD claimer is suddenly worth a fortune . . .

. . . after her half-sister, Swiss Skydiver, wins Preakness Stakes

What? Is It Gold, a mare who raced at ASD last year for a mere $7,500, may fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars when she goes on the auction block as Hip #34 at the Keeneland Breeding Stock Sale on Monday, Nov. 9.

That’s because her half-sister happens to be Swiss Skydiver who recently won the Preakness Stakes and a bunch of other important stakes races -- and also because her owner, Saskatoon financial adviser Kane Kachur wisely bred her to Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (for $40,000 U.S.) this past spring after he found out about his mare’s lofty maternal connection.

Kane Kachur
His mare is half-sister to Swiss Skydiver
“I got into racing as a way of owning a sports franchise--where I could get an adrenalin rush,” the 64-year-old told The Insider from his Saskatoon office--and it seems that’s about to happen in a big way after he spent decades “nickel and diming” low-level horses at tracks on the Canadian prairies, western U.S. and Arizona. Is It Gold was a $10,000 claim at Turf Paradise in April of 2018.

Kachur’s first hint at possible fame and fortune came in the form of a phone call from a Kentucky bloodstock agent in late March. The agent tracked him down after Swiss Skydiver won the Gulfstream Oaks on March 28 and Kachur’s Is It Gold had the same mother, Expo Gold, as Swiss Skydiver.

Kachur said he might have sold Is It Gold for $30,000 to $40,000 at the time but COVID confusion put discussions on hold and, in the meantime, Swiss Skydiver won the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park, making his horse even more valuable. And, of course, mating her with Nyquist should have a few buyers licking their chops come auction day.

“I’m planning a party,”
Kachur said. No kidding.
BE READY FOR THE BREEDERS' CUP next Friday and Saturday

Q: What are the basic Breeders’ Cup details?
Fourteen Breeders’ Cup World Championship races with a purse value of $35 million will be run at Keeneland next Friday and Saturday. The five juvenile races will be run Friday and the balance of the races, leading to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will be run on Saturday. First post of the undercard on Saturday is 9:15 a.m.

Q: When will the advance pre-entries for the 14 Breeders’ Cup races be available?

Today or tomorrow. You may download the pre-entries at program kiosks or purchase printed copies at the VLT cage.

Q: Why are Breeders’ Cup races so challenging to figure out?
Horses are the cream of the crop from multiple tracks with little to separate them. And juveniles are a work in progress, with a chance one or more of them will make a sudden unexpected improvement.

Q: What are two simple ways to come up with contenders?

(a) CALCULATE IN-THE-MONEY FINISHES: Add up the number of times each horse has finished in the money related to the horse’s starts. Last year, THREE of the winners in Saturday’s pick-6 had the best in-the-money records (Mitole, 13 for 13 in the money, won the Sprint at odds of 9-5; Uni, 15 for 17 in the money, won the Mile at 7-2; Bricks and Mortar, 12 for 12 in the money, won the Turf at even odds. A $20 bet on each of those earned $188.)

IN TURF RACES, LOOK FOR HORSES WHO RACED FOR THE BIGGEST PURSES: Example: Horse A raced for a $750K purse, which is bigger than horses who have raced for $500K or $400K.You’ll need the Equibase program to see turf purses because the DRF does not carry that info. This angle has paid huge dividends through the years including helping the “I won bigger” group winning $7,400 in the pick-6 two years ago.

Q: How do I keep from running out of money?

Besides indulging in risky B.C. wagers, consider playing races at tracks that you do well at. Also, instead of just playing pick-3s or pick-4s in Breeders’ Cup races, why not play doubles that could keep your bankroll from dwindling. And what about playing a $20 show parlay on five races?

DRF Mike Welsch’s clocker reports are must-watch videos
Q. What is a must-do to be ready to play B.C. races?
You must watch Mike Welsch’s clocker reports that contain his observations on horses working out in the mornings. He’ll clue you in to horses that catch his eye and let you know horses that gallop out in their workouts, indicating their readiness for a big B.C. effort. In other words, don’t make a wager until you’ve checked out Breeders’ Cup Clocker Reports which should be starting online soon.

Q: When should you press the “all” button in a leg of a pick-3, pick-4, etc.

When you need to play more than half the field on your ticket. If you need more than half the field, you obviously have no idea who’s going to win--and anything can happen.

Q. Should you take the opinions of other horseplayers seriously?

Graham Stone (left) and Will Dixon with $2.7 million won for an $8 pick-6 ticket
A: Only if they have proven winning records. I prefer “rules” to “opinions.” In other words, I know that in-the-money finishes and turf horses racing for the highest purses point the way to good plays--and those “rules” rate higher than anyone’s opinions. Of course, it IS your money and you can accept the opinions of anyone you want to.

Q: What was the biggest single achievement by any Breeders’ Cup player at any time?
: In 2003, a South Dakota jeweller, Graham Stone, spent $8 on a pick-6 ticket on Santa Anita’s Breeders’ Cup card that won him and his partner, Will Dixon, the pool of $2.7 million. He keyed a horse in four races and took two horses in the other two legs. Simple.

David Champion (left) examines sales book at a Manitoba yearling sale with his wife, Anne
ASD LOSES A LOYAL HORSE OWNER/PLAYER: As a gift to themselves around their wedding anniversary each year, retired grain trader David Champion and his wife, Anne, could be seen at the annual yearling sale readying to bid on a Manitoba-bred horse that would become their consummate interest and joy in the following racing season. On big race days, they would be dressed nattily to the nines. On Saturdays, they offered thoroughly researched picks for “I won bigger” group tickets.

Then came reports Dave was hospitalized. Then this past Monday, this brief sad note from Anne appeared in my email box: “Dave passed away peacefully today in his sleep holding my hand.” “Such a nice gentleman and great industry supporter,” commented ASD CEO Darren Dunn. One can only hope Anne’s many friends at the track help sustain her through these dark times and that she rebounds in the spirit of the famed June Sifton who continued in her racing pursuits after her husband passed. Dave was 84.

After Saturday’s “I won bigger” betting group lost one leg of its Woodbine pick-5, it became obvious that players should start paying attention to Woodbine’s pre-races handicap show. Doug the handicapper had KEYED the horse the group had missed on their ticket. In fact, he had keyed two legs of the pick-5 and both horses won. So, obviously, his picks can’t be ignored heading into this Saturday’s group play. Then it’s on to Breeders’ Cup Saturday with visions of major moola dancing in our heads.

NO SPECTATORS FOR MELBOURNE CUP: “The race that stops a nation,” Australia’s Melbourne Cup, will be run Monday night North American time with no spectators present at Flemington Racecourse due, of course, to COVID-19 precautions. You can watch and play Melbourne Cup Day races in your HPI account.
TOP 3 NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 8

Eagles over Cowboys (Sunday night): I’m not even sure who’s going to be playing quarterback for the Cowboys this week. Andy Dalton wasn’t playing great even before he was knocked out of the game on a dirty hit from Washington linebacker Jon Bostic. The Eagles at least are showing some signs of life now after a rough start.

Chiefs over Jets
(Sunday noon): The last time I looked, the point spread on this game was Chiefs by 20.5. Not only do I pick them to win but I also expect them to cover. The Jets actually held a 10-point lead over the Bills last week, but then it evaporated and that pushed their losing streak to seven games.

Bucs over Giants
(Monday night): After the first two weeks of the season, many people had written Tom Brady off as washed up and over the hill. But since week three, he has been on a tear. He has a 4-1 record, has thrown 15 touchdowns with only one interception, and passed for 1454 yards. Not bad for a washed up 43-year-old. Oh, and let’s not forget he’s getting another weapon on offense in the form of Antonio Brown.

The Bills scored nothing but field goals against the Jets. They won but it wasn’t impressive; they need to play better.....Chargers QB Justin Herbert had another solid outing against the Jags and is the leading rookie of the year candidate......The Giants gave up two touchdowns with five minutes left in the game to squander their lead against the Eagles.
THE BEST OF BOB by Bob Gates: From sad sack to silver medalist

Did you know that horseman Milo Monroe, who won a slew of races at the Downs, owned a thoroughbred that couldn’t run a lick? So Milo sold the sad sack of a horse for $400 and he became a silver medalist in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Read Milo's story here. (First published in June 2017.)
Goes Oct. 30-31 at Hoosier Park at 5:30 p.m.  
  • 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.

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