Thursday, November 3, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 39 (Issue #559)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


  • SATURDAY BRUNCH: Reserve a seat in the Terrace Dining Room for the entire Breeders’ Cup card on Saturday. Includes brunch (11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and lots of TVs to watch the races. $19.95. Call 204-885-3330. Ext. 0.
  • WORKSHOP SATURDAY AT 10 AM: Join yours truly for a special Breeders’ Cup “I won big” workshop in the lower level Finish Line at 10 a.m. Saturday. Rules and opinions will be applied to the last six BC races with a view to constructing winning group tickets (pick-6, pick-4, etc.) The Downs will top up each $20 share contribution with $5! Complementary coffee and pastries served.
  • ADVANCE WAGERING AND SPECIAL WAGER: Advance wagering for ALL 13 Breeders’ Cup races begins 11 a.m. tomorrow. Note the special “double” on the top female race, the Distaff, on Friday and the Classic on Saturday. (Songbird to California Chrome?)



Your weekend to dream big

One superfecta can make you rich; here's what happened at Santa in 2014

Although the winners of four Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita two years ago paid between $3.40 and $8.20, superfectas in those races soared. Judy the Beauty, for example, paid $8.20 in the Filly & Mare Sprint but the $1 superfecta paid a whopping $4,220.

The nice thing is: you can now play supers for 20-cents which were not available two years ago. So are supers the way to go? You decide after noting the payoffs below. Here’s the schedule for tomorrow’s and Saturday’s BC races with the names of winning horses – and payoffs -- from 2014.

TOMORROW’S BC RACES (and 2014 winners)

  • 4:25 p.m. Juvenile Turf. In 2014: Hootenanny $14 ($1 superfecta $7,442)
  • 5:05 p.m. Dirt Mile. In 2014: Goldencents $3.40 ($1 superfecta $328)
  • 5:50 p.m. Juvenile Fillies Turf. In 2014: Lady Eli $6.80 ($1 super $2,736)
  • 6:35 p.m. Distaff. In 2014: Untapable $5.20 ($1 superfecta $607)

SATURDAY’S BC RACES (and 2014 winners)

  • 2:05 p.m. Juvenile Fillies. In 2014: Take Charge Brandi $125.40 ($1 super $97,520)
  • 2:45 p.m. Filly & Mare Turf. In 2014: Dayatthespa $13 ($1 superfecta $618)
  • 3:21 p.m. Sprint. In 2014: Work All Week $40.20 ($1 superfecta $19,848)
  • 4:05 p.m. Turf Sprint. In 2014: Bobby’s Kitten (rule horse) $16.40 ($1 superfecta $9,530)
  • 4:43 p.m. Juvenile. In 2014: Texas Red $29.80 ($1 superfecta $2,008)
  • 5:22 p.m. Turf. In 2014: Main Sequence $14.40. ($1 superfecta $829)
  • 6:01 p.m. Filly & Mare Sprint. In 2014: Judy the Beauty $8.20 ($1 super $4,220)
  • 6:40 p.m. Mile. In 2014: Karakontie (rule horse) $62 ($1 superfecta $93,616)
  • 7:35 p.m. Classic. In 2014: Bayern $14.20 ($1 superfecta $3,817)

*        *        *


  • 20-cent superfectas
  • 60-cent triactors, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5 and Super Hi 5
  • $1 exactors and $1 double on the Distaff (Friday) to the Classic Saturday
  • All other wagers including the pick-6s on Friday and Saturday have $2 minimums

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Here they are: your Breeders' Cup "rule" horses. Clip 'n' save.
  • Play a show parlay on the side; it may become your main meal!
  • Debate rages: Will Songbird's 11-race winning streak end at 6:35 tomorrow?
  • What's the name of the new VLT game with a $2,500 pot? It's in this song.
  • Win up to $1,000 by predicting BC winners--and fame, too, if you hit 'em all
  • What will everyone be talking about after the Breeders' Cup is over?

ILOTT WINS PRIME RIB BUFFET FOR SECOND MONTH: Al “Mr. Parlay” Ilott won a Thursday prime rib buffet for two for the second month in a row by being the top parlay player in October. Congrats, Al! You can win this month by increasing $6 the most in a five-race show parlay on Friday or Saturday night. The Downs will also match your winnings up to $100.

Be sure to enter the draw for Breeders’ Cup merchandise Saturday. Also predict BC winners to win up to $1,000 in cash. See below.

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 November? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? World Series-Bombers-NFL-Jets

EVERY FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Free VLT tournaments starting 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: 5-Alive "Double Your Winnings" contest from 7 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. and $10 buy-in poker. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m.

The debate rages

Will Songbird's 11-race winning streak end at 6:35 p.m. tomorrow night?

Will her wings be clipped?

Three-year-old filly Songbird hasn’t lost a race in 11 starts but almost everyone around me says that will end at 6:35 p.m. tomorrow night when she takes on older ladies in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

“My girl Beholder” will win, ASD handicapper Rob MacLennan says.“I’m against her (Songbird). Plain and simple,” says Marshall Posner who teaches handicapping and writes about HPIbet below.

To get an “educated” opinion from someone who trains horses and is a shrewd observer of horseflesh (he predicted American Pharoah’s ascendency last year), The Insider asked Manitoba Derby winning assistant trainer Rob Atras who is racing at Remington.

His response: “Songbird hasn't run against horses of this calibre yet but she seems to be getting better and more diverse every start. But on the other hand she has had a long season so I dunno if she has peaked or not.  I'm having trouble taking a stand.”

Which pretty much echoes my sentiments. Which makes the Distaff a not-to-miss race.

Where do you stand? Will you be keying her or playing big exactors with other horses on top? That race should be—as they say—a barnburner. A perfect record looms in the balance.


Clip and save: Here are your "rule" horses

These horses are strong contenders based on previous Breeders' Cups

The rules:

  • In turf route races, what horses have been racing for the highest purses?
  • In the 6 1/2f Turf Sprint, what horses have won on that peculiar course and what horses have shown early pace in route races?
  • In other races, have any horses bounced? (Won big two races ago and may have “bounced” last time)


RACE 6 JUVENILE TURF: #1 Lancaster Bomber
(6/1) raced for $622,000. #8 Intelligence Cross (5/1) raced for $233,000. Will they finish one-two?
#4 Point Piper (20/1). Not a real “bounce” because his big win happened a few months ago but is an interesting long shot to use at the bottom of superfectas.
#1 Hydrangea (6/1) raced for $673,000. #7 Intricately (6/1) raced for $393,000. #9 Carale Doree (15/1) raced for $337,000. Note the powerful O’Brien connections.


Bounce horses: #3 Jazzy Times (6/5) and #9 Navy Hymn (6/1).
#13 Nuovo Record (12/1) raced for $1.3 million. #3 Seventh Heaven (3/1) raced for $731,000 and #11 Queen’s Trust (5/1) raced for recent purses of $731,000 and $794,000 for the Queen’s trainer, Sir Michael Stoute.
RACE 7 TURF SPRINT: The unique 6 ½f downhill course. Who has won on it? #2 Obviously (6/1) 3-1-2-0, #10 Ambitious Brew (10/1) 9-5-2-0 and #13 Holy Lute (10/1) 8-2-3-0. Showing early speed in route races are #12 Om (12/1) with a 138 pace fig and #14 Celestine (8/1) with a pace fig of 118. If you’re going deeper, there are three European unknowns.
Two bounce horses to figure into your handicapping: #1 Bob Baffert’s Klimt (6/1) and #2 Todd Pletcher’s Syndergaard (6/1)
#9 Found (3/1) raced for $5.6 million. So did #12 Highland Reel (3/1). Also, #4 Flintshire (5/2) raced for $5.6 million last year, before coming to North America.
At this 7f specialist distance #2 Haveyougoneaway (3/1) had a 114 speed fig; #6 By the Moon (8/1) had 113 and #8 Carina Mia (7/2) had 113. Long shots: #1 Paolo Queen (20/1) showed a blistering pace number of 144 in winning the Test Stakes at Saratoga; #13 Spelling showed a 109 speed number in July and is being ridden by Luis Saez who had ridden Paolo Queen last time. Something to think about.
#12 Hit It a Bomb (20/1) raced for $1.4 million. After that, all horses are fairly close in purses they raced for. Horses to consider are: #3 Spectre (20/1) raced for $506,000 and $781,000; #10 Limato (7/2) raced for $549,000 and $691,000 and many raced for $1 million either at Woodbine or Keeneland where maybe the purses were a bit inflated: #8 Ironicus (8/1) raced for $1 million twice and #8 Tepin (3/1) raced for $1 million in the Woodbine Mile.
#2 Frosted (5/1) was a bounce horse in his last start. He’s been getting rave reviews from clocker Mike Welsch as has #4 California Chrome (1/1) who has done absolutely nothing wrong all year.

Two views of a 62/1 winner

Misko was laughing but "I won big" group was crying

From left: tourney winner Wayne Misko with director Dawn Forbes, Stan Stewin (3rd) and Steve Holborn (2nd)

The gate to wire victory by #9 Terra Xpress at 62/1 in Saturday’s seventh race at Woodbine had Player’s Choice tournament player Wayne Misko smiling but players in the “I won big” group frowning. The group needed the second-place horse, Fritzie’s Boy, to win the turf route race to pick up $1,900 in the pick-4. At least the group still came out ahead on the afternoon because it had picked up $930 in an earlier superfecta.

For Misko, who was last year’s Handicapper of the Year, the win/place pick-up of $173.30 on Terra Xpress gave him a total bankroll of $196.90 and $500 in prize money. Steve Holborn was second with $145.40 ($250 in prize money) and Stan Stewin, who is fairly new to the game, came third with $124.10 and collected $100.

Terra Xpress, after notching his maiden victory in his last race, simply went to the lead and never looked back. His lifetime stats of 10-1-3-2 showed he was a huge overlay and Misko obviously capitalized. See full tourney results here. See the full Handicapper of the Year leader board here.

A modest challenge

"Show" yourself the money; play a $10 or $20 BC show parlay

As a sideline to whatever other plays you’re making, what about playing a $10 or $20 show parlay on five Breeders’ Cup races Friday and/or Saturday? Besides being profitable, it’s fun and doesn’t have to interfere with your normal play.

Just decide on your picks ahead of time and carry through with them, regardless how much you’ve profited to that point.

Because fields are so big, show prices will pay well and you could get a very healthy return – that could make up for losses in other plays. You may be thanking yourself for doing so.

Play your parlay on “rule” horses noted elsewhere in today’s column. Or what about an Aidan O’Brien parlay? He’s got talented entries in every turf race.


Are you the best handicapper in the world?

Just predict the nine Breeders' Cup winners on Saturday for $1,000

Get into draws for these

If you can run the board in the nine Breeders’ Cup races Saturday—predicting who will win each race—the Downs will give you $1,000 and that will also make you probably the most famous horseplayer in the world. Of course, if you bet your picks, that $1,000 will be mere pocket change.

But, what the heck, the Downs’ BC Sweepstakes contest is free and, besides, you’d want an “official” record of your amazing talent.

If you get fewer than nine correct, though, you still can win:
• 7 or 8 correct -- $500 (split if more than one winner)
• 5 or 6 correct -- $250 (split if more than one winner)
• 4 or fewer correct -- draw for a BC merchandise package and $50 in wagering vouchers.

No handicapping feat in the history of the Breeders’ Cup has been more impressive than in 2003 when 40-year-old South Dakota jeweller Graham Stone spent $8 on the Breeders’ Cup pick-6 at Santa Anita and won $2.7 million. But he took two horses in two legs. (See story here.) You’d have to do it cold.

So, there’s your challenge. Not only are you being challenged to be a better bettor—so Santa Anita has to send the Downs a big fat cheque to cover your wins—you’re being challenged to be perfect in your picks and do what no one on record has ever done. Child’s play!

Enter the draw, too, for BC merchandise giveaways featuring items shown in the photo. There will be draws both at the track and at off-track locations. Breeders’ Cup caps will be on sale for $15.


HOW A GOOD JOCKEY THINKS: After Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey won the 1993 BC Classic aboard the longest shot in Breeders’ Cup history, Arcanque at 133/1, he told an interviewer the odds of the horse determined the way he would ride the horse. Since the odds showed the horse was given little chance of winning, he figured his best strategy would be to hug the rail to save ground the whole trip and then see what the horse had left in the tank. Which, of course, is what he did, helping him to win the race. It shows how good jockeys think.

Another tidbit from that race: California race-caller Trevor Denman said a British tout gave him one tip for that Breeders’ Cup card. Bet Arcanque. But he didn’t. Which is a good reminder for all of us this weekend not to let the odds influence your choices. The last time the Breeders’ Cup was at Santa Anita, in 2014, Take Charge Brandi won the Juvenile Fillies and paid $125.40. Will there be a similar tote blow-up or blow-ups this year?

Aidan O'Brien talks with his son, Joseph

WHAT WILL THEY BE TALKING ABOUT AFTER THE CUP? What will everyone be talking about after the Breeders’ Cup is over? My prediction: European trainer Aidan P. O’Brien and all his wins. Every time you find a horse you like in a turf race—and then check out the trainer—there it is: O'Brien. He has 12 horses in the six turf races and has a good shot at winning them all:
• Filly & Mare Turf – two horses
• Turf Sprint – one horse
• Turf – two horses
• Mile – three horses
• Juvenile Turf – two horses
• Juvenile Fillies Turf – two horses

His two horses in the Turf—Found and Highland Reel—might be the exactor of the day. What about considering playing an all-O’Brien show parlay? I am.

"I WON BIG" ACTION SWITCHES TO THE FINISH LINE: Last Saturday’s “I won big” session started so well with a $930 superfecta win at Woodbine but a six-horse chance to pick up anywhere from $800 to $1,900 in the pick-4 was kyboshed by a 62-1 horse that went to gate to wire. The horse that finished second would have added $1,900 to “I won big” winnings. Now we go for the gusto on the biggest day of the year Saturday when the “I won big” session will concentrate on the last six races of the Breeders’ Cup. The workshop begins 10 a.m. down in the Finish Line. Everyone welcome, of course, and each $20 share will be generously topped up with $5 from the Downs.

WANNA BET TRUMP WILL WIN? ODDS ARE 9/2: If you think Donald Trump will win the U.S. election on Tuesday, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power will give you $9 for each $2 you bet. But if you want to bet on Hillary, it will cost you $11 to make $2. (Bridgejumpers take note.) It’s surprising, I think, that the odds on Trump are so low. Shouldn’t he be, like, 20/1?

New Sugar Sugar game

BURKE MAKES IT TWO MONTHS IN A ROW: Retired probation officer and harness racing aficionado Glen Burke has shown he’s got Lady Luck on his side, too. For the second month in a row he won the free month-end VLT championship to win the $250 bonus. Speaking of which, there is a brand new—and I think, exciting—VLT game called Sugar Sugar where you have a chance at a $2,500 pot because you can play spins of up to $2.50 each (other games have a maximum of $1.25).

The game has some interesting bells and whistles and makes one think how, years ago, slots players were kept amused by nothing more than reels whirling around showing bars, cherries and the like. But, then again, just 16 years ago a person’s attention span was 12 seconds. Now it’s 8. Which means we need constant stimulation to stay entertained.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. Can I be notified when one of my favourite horses, jockeys or trainers is running in his/her next start?

A. The current HPIbet system does not provide any type of notifications functionality. However, the HPIbet team has been working diligently on adding this to the existing system. In fact, I recently spoke with the head of the HPIbet Development Team and he assured me that the following functionality will be available shortly:

First, the ability to get alerted on the following items: favourited horses, noted horses, favourited jockeys/drivers, favourited trainers, specific carryover thresholds (customer defined), and stakes races. You’ll also be able to be alerted when your favourite trainer and jockey/driver combo is racing. Lastly, HPIbet users will have the option of getting alerted for: horse entries, race day reminders and the results of the race.

Stay tuned for this exciting new HPIbet functionality!

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

Ever wonder where horseman Barry Arnason and MHRC chair Brett Arnason got their passion for thoroughbred horse racing? This week Bob gives you a glimpse into the life of the Patriarch of the Arnason family here.

How many "rule" horses will win? How many O'Brien horses will win?
See you at Saturday's BC workshop at 10 a.m.! Good luck!

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