Thursday, November 1, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 43 (Issue #660)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


Here's "today's" match race program

Beset by the woes of the Great Depression and unsettled by the drums of war emanating from Germany, you jostle for space among a crowd of 40,000 at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, a track designed for 15,000--or you tune in on the radio, as 40 million other people are doing—to take in the most anticipated event of the year: the match race between the people’s horse, knobby-kneed Seabiscuit from California and the aristocratic Triple Crown-winning easterner, War Admiral, a prohibitive favourite at odds of 1-4. Of course, you are pulling for the underdog (underhorse?). SEA BISCUITS TO BE SERVED AT THE TRACK TODAY: To mark the 80th anniversary of the Seabiscuit/War Admiral match race, ASD Chef Gerardo has baked up a batch of sea biscuits—a staple for sailors on long voyages in the Seabiscuit era--that will be served with your soup today in the Clubhouse.

Watch the Winnipeg Jets play the Florida Panthers in Finland on Race Book TVs at 1 p.m. while playing your favourite tracks. Pick up Breeders’ Cup programs for tomorrow and Saturday and/or tomorrow’s Daily Racing Form at the VLT cage.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who's hot? Who's not? (According to Breeders' Cup clocker reports)
  • When should you bet horses you don't like?
  • Here's a simple (and perhaps very profitable) betting angle for Breeders' Cup races
  • Enter Breeders' Cup sweepstakes contest to win $1,000
  • Glen who? A little-known player emerges as Top Dog in October handicapping tourney
  • ASD's Don Schnell and Jared Brown finish one-two in percentage wins at Century Downs
ENTER BREEDERS’ CUP SWEEPSTAKES TO WIN $1,000: Predict the winners of six of the nine Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday and win $1,000, predict five to win $500 by entering the Breeders’ Cup Sweepstakes contest in the Race Book. (If no one collects on that, a consolation prize of $100 will be awarded the person with the most winners.) Also get into merchandise draws and spins to win up to $100 on the wheel of fortune between BC races.

Congrats to Charlie Johnson and Paul Gray who predicted the first two winners in last Saturday’s ‘3 for the money” contest at Santa Anita but failed to pick the favourite to win the third leg. Which means $150 in betting vouchers will be at stake on the next contest day—a week from this Saturday.
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

Click to expand


Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in November? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jets, Bombers, NFL. ASD subscribes to NHL League Pass - watch any NHL game any day!

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 $16,860.

ROCK THE MIC: SING WITH A LIVE BAND! Channel your inner rock star at ASD on Thursday, Nov. 1, 8, 15 and 22. Registration 6 p.m.; music and dancing starts at 7 p.m. Cover charge: $7.

– 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.



11:55 AM: First race from Churchill Downs
2:21 PM:
First of five Breeders’ Cup races worth $7 million--on the dirt and grass--featuring 2-year-olds, the stars of tomorrow. Note special new doubles combining Friday’s last three BC races (Juvenile Fillies, Juvenile Turf and Juvenile) with three BC races on Saturday.


8:30 AM: ASD doors open
9:00 AM:
“I won big” betting group discusses the last six Breeders’ Cup races on the Clubhouse plaza. Job one: To win the pick-6 but also to consider pick-3s, pick-4s and superfectas. Everyone welcome. Each $20 share will be generously boosted to $25 by the Downs. Current bankroll: $1,720. Coffee and muffins will be served.
Breakfast specials ($1 off). Enter BC Sweepstakes to win $1,000 and enter draw to win BC merchandise and chances to spin the wheel to win up to $100 in betting vouchers
9:45 AM:
First race from Churchill Downs
11:00 AM:
First of nine Breeders’ Cup races goes to post and $16.95 brunch begins in the Terrace Dining Room. (Phone 204-885-3330 to reserve a place for the day.)
4:45 PM:
The Breeders’ Cup finale: the $6 million Classic with Accelerate the favourite and Catholic Boy the horse Bigg hopes will run big
5:15 PM:
“I won big” players collect their share money

Wagers available both days: 60-cent pick-4s, pick-5s, 20-cent superfectas, $2 pick-6

*       *       *


1. An easy (and perhaps very profitable) betting angle

In-the-money stats produce startling results

Here’s a jaw-dropper for you. Just for the heck of it, I pulled out an old Breeders’ Cup program—the 2006 Breeders’ Cup program from Churchill Downs—and did something I had never done before: In the BC Distaff: I simply calculated the number of times each horse finished in the money related to their number of starts.

I was shocked. The horse with 10 out of 10 in-the-money finishes had won the race (Round Pond) and paid $28. A superfecta box of the six horses with the best in-the-money stats had produced a $2 payoff of $33,800. Crazy!

An investigation of other races showed the longshot winner of the Turf, Red Rocks ($22.90) had finished in the money 8 out of 9 lifetime starts and the winner of the Classic, Invasor ($14.90) had exactly the same in-the-money stat.

Remember Bar of Gold, the 66-1 bomber that won the Fillies and Mares Sprint last year? For that specialist distance of 7-furlongs, I did something a bit differently: I analyzed how many times horses had finished in the money ONLY AT THAT SPECIALIST DISTANCE. Bar of Gold was 4 for 5 at the distance. Need I say more?

2. Take clocker reports to heart

Who's hot? Who's not?

Click to watch latest clocker report

You’ve been repeatedly urged to watch clocker reports posted online by DRF’s Mike Welsch. If you haven’t yet done so, here are horses (up to Tuesday) that I have separated into a “hot” and “not” list with his comments. His reports are free at Breeders’ Cup Clocker Reports.


  • Yoshida:“Huge gallop out. Best work all week.”
  • Polydream: "Number one star this morning (Tuesday). Looked super awesome. Came down the stretch with a big reach. Looked so happy."
  • Comedy: "Zipped along. Great energy level. I like what I saw.
  • Mind Your Biscuits:“Couldn’t be doing better”
  • Mr. Money:“Really caught my eye.”
  • Golden Mischief:“Not asked at all (in her gallop out). Really on her toes.”
  • Midnight Bisou:“Really good. Happy. Galloped out.”
  • Thunder Snow:“Galloped out terrific. Doing well.”


  • Bravazo:“Not the way you want to see a work. Bearing out.”
  • Wonder Gadot:“Really rank.”
  • Monomoy Girl:“Not as sharp as last week. Struggled a bit.”

3. Use this angle for predicting turf winners

Purse values of previous races is a major indicator

This is simple. Year after year, The Insider has shown you can separate out the major contenders in a BC turf route race by examining the purses each horse has recently been racing for. You’ll require the Equibase program for this; the DRF doesn’t list purse values in U.S. stakes races, only for European ones.

4. Bet horses you don't like

Why you should fall out of love with your opinions

You don't have to like a horse to bet him

Let’s face it. Our opinions about race winners are wrong more often than they’re right. I should know. I’m in the unique position of hosting a weekly betting group and have seen the most strident opinions go up in flames.

Two incidents during Breeders’ Cup races stand out in my mind: A normally good handicapper left the race track in a huff after a race was won by a horse he had vociferously argued against adding to a group ticket. (It was a “rule” horse and had to be added whether anyone liked him or not.) Another time, a player loudly protested including an inside horse in a turf sprint “because horses don’t win from there.” He wouldn’t let it go. Of course, the horse won.

So what I’m saying is this: If you have even a loose set of rules about horses to bet, don’t deviate from them even when you have a low opinion on a horse that fits your criterion. That’s often the kind of horse you WANT to win because it will usually give you a better payoff.

Another thing: Those with the loudest, strongest opinions seem to be wrong more often than they’re right. So take those opinions with a grain of salt. And, of course, never leave out just one horse in a race you’re wheeling in a pick-3, pick-4, etc. You must take “all.” (Oh, the crying I’ve heard over that mistake.)

With Halloween literally creeping up on them, Player's Choice tourney winner Glen Gray (middle) fans out his $1,000 prize Saturday with runners-up Kevin Palmer 2nd (right) and George Williams 3rd (Sheri G photo)

A HUGE SHOUT-OUT to Glen Gray, a retired pile driver construction worker, who turned heads by winning the October Player’s Choice handicapping contest for the first time ever Saturday with a whopping bankroll of $161.10. “Glen who?” veteran players asked. Glen caught the get-serious horseplayer bug about six years ago after dropping into an “I won big” workshop, he told The Insider. “It’s a challenge, it’s exciting, it’s learning, it’s got everything in one,” he recalls thinking about racing at the time.

He chose sloppy-tracked Parx for most of his tournament plays. “I knew the slop was going to shake things up,” he said. And it did and he profited big time. His biggest catch was 16-1 maiden filly winner Like a Pro in race 5 that added $66.20 to his bankroll. The top five finishers:
  1. Glen Gray. Bankroll $161.10. Prize $1,000
  2. Kevin Palmer. Bankroll $131.60. Prize $400
  3. George Williams. Bankroll $110.50. Prize $200
  4. Brian McKellar. Bankroll $103.20. Prize $100
  5. John Whitehill. Bankroll $101. Prize $50
All top five finishers except Gray had been previous winners of a tournament or tournaments. Full results. HOTY leader board.

to ASD horses (and their connections) who raced at Century Downs in Alberta where, overall, they had a great meet. Among many, the 5-year-old mare, Jaya Ho, owned by Cristen Parks and Dave Blake of Kenora--who couldn’t quite get it done at the Downs with two seconds and two thirds--produced two wins for Don Schnell at Century at juicy prices of $11.80 and $15.10. The Downs’ co-leading jockey, Prayven Badrie, was aboard.

to Don Schnell and Jared Brown for being the leading percentage trainers at Century Downs’ 21-day meet that ended Sunday. Schnell’s horses won at a clip of 32 per cent (28-9-4-1) and Brown’s at 29 per cent (21-6-6-4). Both posted winners on the final day of the meet: Son of Eleanor ($4.60) for Schnell and Head of the Herd for Brown ($9.80).


BADRIE FRACTURES HIP AT CENTURY DOWNS: ASD’s co-leading jockey Prayven Badrie suffered five fractures to a hip when the 7-year-old mare he was riding in race 2 Sunday at Century Downs, Dona Bianca, went down of an apparent leg injury and two following horses fell over him and his horse, his former agent at the Downs, George Williams, has told The Insider. He needed surgery and will require three months of healing, Williams said, but “he’ll be all right.” The accident happened on the final day of the meet where Badrie finished fifth in the jockey standings with a record of 67-13-10-10.

Elcor Aragundi

DOES WINX MAKE IT 29 IN A ROW? Does the 7-year-old Australian mare, Winx, set a record, too, by winning her fourth $5 million Cox Plate? Watch that race, which went last Saturday in Australia, here.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR ONE-TIME ASD JOCKEY: Sylvia Flowers, the daughter of Elcor V. Aragundi who, according to track historian Bob Gates, rode at Assiniboia Downs in 1965 and 1966, has told The Insider that a celebration of life will be held for her father—at the same time as that of her mother--a week from this Saturday 3 p.m. at the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3901 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. A native of Ecuador, Aragundi also apparently raced at Exhibition Park (now Hastings) in Vancouver and throughout the U.S. but later turned his attention to writing poetry, some of which is published in A Flight in the Night in 2002. He died in May this year at 84.

After being closed for a year to rebuild the bridge over Sturgeon Creek, Saskatchewan Avenue has re-opened to through traffic heading to the back entrance and stables of Assiniboia Downs. A long stretch of the road has been repaved, too, making for a nice smooth drive that leaves opposite ends of the newly-paved road desperately calling for a re-pave, too. Next summer?
THE BEST OF BOB: A kind man who loved life

Who was the Gladstone, Manitoba native who had one of the longest consecutive careers as an owner/trainer of thoroughbreds at Winnipeg race tracks from 1951 at old Polo Park to the time of his death in 1980 at Assiniboia Downs? Bob has it here. (First published in May, 2013)


  • First post Monday 5:30 p.m.

    Tomorrow: Five Breeders’ Cup races from Churchill
  • Saturday: Nine Breeders’ Cup races from Churchill. Enter $1,000 BC sweepstakes and draws.
  • Sunday: It’s “fall back” time. Daylight Saving Time ends.
  • Monday, Nov. 5: The race that stops a nation—the Melbourne Cup from Flemington racecourse in Victoria, Australia. First post 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: Remembrance Day in Canada, Veterans Day in the U.S.
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.

Did you enjoy the match race?

Hit ‘em big and hit ‘em hard in your Breeders’ Cup play!
(Give The Insider good news to report!)

© Copyright 1996-2018 All Rights Reserved. Assiniboia Downs.
3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Read our Blog  See us on Instagram  Watch us on Youtube
Make Dinner Reservations
Book Your Event
Bet Online