Thursday, November 7, 2019

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 14  No 43 (Issue #713)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

LEST WE FORGET: Monday, Nov. 11

Colourized photo of Canadian veterinarian and his horse in gas masks in 1914, the first year of the Great War. Eight million horses died in that war.

Get swept away . . .

. . . by the scenery, the crowd and the excitement of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff by watching the replay of that race here. Wow! Gorgeous! Could Escape Clause have won this race? See below.

How Escape Clause could have won the BC Distaff
She would have had first crack at getting past the pacesetter

Manitoba’s Escape Clause at the top of her game could have won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff Saturday. And that’s not just idle speculation by a homer.

The way Santa Anita was playing on Saturday, Escape Clause would likely have been following the pacesetting Serengetti Empress and would have had first crack at running her down at the head of the stretch while Blue Prize--the ultimate winner of the Distaff--was making her run from the back of the pack.

Escape Clause could then have held Blue Prize off, just as she did in the Delaware Handicap in July when she finished second to Blue Prize’s third. (Elate won that race.)

Just saying.

The Distaff went in 115 (Equibase speed), the same figure Escape Clause set in the Apple Blossom Handicap in April when she lost by a nose to Midnight Bisou.

The real problem is that Escape Clause’s owners would have had to fork over $100,000 to make her eligible to run in the Distaff and then pony up $40,000 in entry fees. That’s a huge gamble. Just breaking even would have required her to finish third. But it’s fun to speculate, isn’t it?


Bullet briefs . . .

  • Who bought Escape Clause? How much did Manitoba's super mare fetch?
  • Glen & Marshall do a "Winnipeg Jets" in their Breeders' Cup picks. How?
  • Did Bravo outride Smith in the Breeders' Cup Distaff?
  • What are the biggest race days going forward?
  • Ace-chasing draws a crowd -- even at the start of a new game!
APPLAUSE HORSE CONGRATULATES ELITE 9 CONTEST WINNERS: The three Elite 9 Breeders' Cup contest winners at the track were especially deserving of applause for predicting five winners in the nine Breeders’ Cup races Saturday, given the fact there were 105 entries. They were Neal Kowlessar, Max Humarang and Jim Roberts and they shared 50,000 Player Rewards points. Off-track, two entries that were four-for-nine also shared 50,000 points: Those winners were Dave Sarran and Samuel Bagot.

People love the “Chase the Ace” game. Even with a full deck of 54 cards (including two jokers), a crowd gathered around the Chase the Ace board in the Clubhouse Saturday at 4 p.m. to see if Robert--whose name was drawn--would pick the ace of diamonds jackpot card (to win $1,000) or one of the two jokers (worth $100 each). He received $25 for drawing the nine of hearts. The new game will continue every Saturday to raise money for the non-profit Winners Foundation which helps backstretch individuals and families deal with addictions and other problems. Tickets are $5 or three for $10.

It’s Millions Stakes Day at Gulfstream so pick three winners in a row in the late pick-4 to win $50 in wagering vouchers. Get program pages and entry forms in the Race Book.

Get an entry form from mutuel tellers at OTBs during the week to get into the draw for $50 in wagering vouchers Saturday afternoons during November.
QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

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Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in October/November? 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.

Famed Japanese breeder buys Manitoba's greatest horse
Katsumi Yoshida's bid of $300,000 takes her at Lexington auction

Escape Clause in sales ring at Tuesday’s auction with highest bidder Katsumi Yoshida (inset)
The greatest horse ever bred in Manitoba, Escape Clause, is now in the hands of a famous Japanese breeder, Katsumi Yoshida.

He was one of two bidders who knocked heads in the Fasig-Tipton November Sale in Lexington, KY on Tuesday, raising their bids by $25,000 a pop, with Yoshida executing the final blow with a bid of $300,000 U.S.

It is unclear whether Yoshida will race her or send her to his vast Northern Farm in Japan where he is breeding hundreds of mares. She was presented at the sale as both a “racing prospect and a brood mare.” After all, she earned more than $500,000 U.S. racing this year--and she’s only five. She has the potential of doubling her lifetime earnings of $866,100 U.S. and she loves to race.

Yoshida does minimal racing in the U.S. His last victory came in April at Keeneland when his The Mackem Bullet won the Grade 2 $200,000 Appalachian Stakes ($15.20) under the tutelage of Wesley Ward. He had an entry in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Shadn, who finished ninth with Andrew Balding training.

Escape Clause was bred by Cam Ziprick and Barry Arnason in Russell, Man. and was owned by Arnason, trainer Don Schnell and True North partners. Her overall racing record is 35-20-5-4. Her record for graded stakes is 8-1-2-1.

Ironically, the horse she beat in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap in July, Blue Prize, was purchased for $5 million at the auction because, of course, she had just won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Saturday, a race that Escape Clause owners were thinking of entering.

Congrats to Leona Stahl whose $250,000 prediction came closest to the actual selling price of $300,000 without going over. She wins $25 in wagering vouchers and a $25 ASD gift certificate. She has a feel for horse value given the fact she was involved in breeding at K5 Stables under the late Phil Kives. See everyone else’s predictions here.

Handicappers Glen & Marshall do a "Winnipeg Jets"
The two ASD reps at Santa Anita save their best picks for last

Like the hockey Winnipeg Jets who have had a proclivity for saving their best play for the last part of recent hockey games, Marshall and Glen closed out their Breeders’ Cup picks in The Insider special with a flourish.

After their best bets fizzled, their top three in the Distaff--Blue Prize, Midnight Bisou and Serengetti Empress--came through for them as did the top two in the Classic. Here’s what they said in last Friday's Insider special about the Distaff:

#4 Midnight Bisou has done nothing wrong all year and could make a case for HOTY with a win here. She’ll be a very short price so we’re going to take a shot against. Marshall thinks that #9 Serengetti Empress can wire the field as the lone speed. Glen likes #11 Blue Prize as his longshot in here.”

The 11-4-9 triactor paid $261 for $1 and the $1 superfecta paid $2,171.

And, for the Classic: “We’ll opt for #8 McKinzie, the class of the field and #10 Vino Rosso, who has shipped West and won earlier this year.”

A $2 Vino Rosso/McKinzie exactor paid $47 and a $1 triactor paid $197.

But that’s the way it is for most bettors, isn’t it? You plug along, not knowing when the stars will line up just right. The trick is to have the courage and wherewithal to keep plugging along to the closing buzzer, to use the hockey analogy.

*       *       *

Groan. Bravo outrides Smith to win Distaff
Bravo's quick move on Blue Prize leaves Midnight Bisou with too much to do

Is there any doubt Midnight Bisou would have won the Distaff instead of Blue Prize had she not had so much to do in the stretch after Blue Prize made a quick move and Mike Smith on Midnight Bisou didn’t follow?

Blue Prize, ridden by Joe Bravo, surged from eighth place to fifth at the three-quarter pole while Bisou languished in seventh.

Surely one of the most experienced jockeys in the business should have seen that no one on the track that day was able to make up that much ground in the stretch. He simply ran out of ground, leaving pained looks on the faces of yours truly and the “I won bigger” betting group who had keyed Bisou on most of our tickets. Groan.

Then again, giving Smith the benefit of the doubt, maybe the deep, slow track surface wasn’t to Bisou’s liking. How slow was it? The BC Juvenile was run in the slowest time ever: 1:44.93 for 1 1/16-miles. And the Juvenile Fillies was two seconds slower than that. They could have used an hourglass to time those races.

*       *       *

BISOU BUSTS BETTING GROUP: If Midnight Bisou had won the Distaff, the “I won bigger” betting group would have cashed a $2 pick-5 and $10 in tickets for five-of-six in the pick-6 (it paid $300 for each $2 ticket). But she finished second (see above) and all the group could do was cash about $600 in the pick-4, a ticket comprised mainly of betting angles discussed in past Insiders. But it’s not over for those who bought shares: rather than pay out a mere $3 for each $20 share, the $600 will be applied to a future wager(s) with a view to increasing that amount (unless you prefer not to participate--which you can tell Margaret by this Saturday). Group play will be back at Woodbine this Saturday at 10:30 a.m.--the pick-5 in races 2 to 6.

Wasn’t Mitole nailing Shancelot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint the highlight of the two BC days? That should have been the race in which the betting group played the superfecta, wheeling those two horses on top of the field: a $1 ticket costing $60 paid more than $400. The group could have played a $5 ticket for a nice payoff since Mitole and Shancelot seemed to be the most reliable one-two finishers of the day.

World’s richest race goes Feb. 29
  • January 25: $17 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream ($9 million purse for dirt race, $7 million for turf race)
  • February 29: The inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest race, at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadhat, Saudi Arabia. There’s already talk of McKinzie (second in Breeders’ Cup Classic) meeting Midnight Bisou (second in BC Distaff) in that race.
  • March 28: $12 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Race Course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • May 2: $2 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
2020 BREEDERS’ CUP: Nov. 5 & 6 at Keeneland
Fund-raising send-off for ASD mutuel seller

Mutuel ticket seller Scott Bruce is second from the right
Not to be outdone by Travers Cummings’ quarterbacking prowess (see his NFL picks below), Scott Bruce--a Manitoba champion curler who sells mutuel tickets in the Clubhouse with Travers--is heading to the Canadian Curling Club Championships with his team in Leduc, Alberta on Nov. 24 to compete against 13 other teams representing the provinces and territories.

And he’s hoping that a fundraising social this Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club will help give the team a rewarding send-off and help the “for the love of curling” foundation that brings young people into the game. Tickets are $10 and available from Scott at the track over the next three days. Derek Blanchard who works for Investors Group is skip. Manitoba has never won the tournament which was created in 2009.
SAVVY NFL PICKS by TravyFootball: Week 10
  • 49ers over Seahawks (Monday night): The last remaining undefeated in the league vs MVP candidate Russell Wilson. I’ll give the 49ers the edge here because it’s being played on their home field.
  • Saints over Falcons (Sunday noon): This is easy. The Falcons are a mess, and yet Dan Quinn STILL hasn’t been fired.
  • Ravens over Bengals (Sunday noon): The Ravens knocked off the previously undefeated New England Patriots last week. And this week they get a winless Bengals team who are starting a rookie quarterback (Ryan Finley).
  • Lions over Bears (Sunday noon): I’ve watched some bad quarterbacks play over the years but Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is making a bid for “worst QB I have seen”. He was so bad that at half time of the Bears game last week he had -11 passing yards. Minus!
MY $5 PROLINE TICKET (worth $88.65): Lions over Bears ($2.75), Ravens over Bengals ($1.30), Jet/Giants tie ($3.20), 49ers overSeahawks($1.55) Record: -$30

PICKS RECORD: Last week: 1 correct out of 4. Overall (since week 3): 17 correct out of 28.

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: Horses of the Great War -- Lest We Forget

November 11, 2018 marked the centenary of "The Great War." This week The Insider is proud to rerun the special blog Bob wrote that pays homage to the role played by the horse in the Great War. Click here to read about the "War Horses." (First published in November, 2018)

Don’t forget, every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. features ASD’s popular certified Angus prime rib buffet for $27.95 in the ambience-rich Terrace Dining Room highlighted by a pasta station, salad bar, amazing soups, the signature Bourbon Bacon Brownie dessert and lots more. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0
  • This Saturday: It’s Millions Stakes Day at Gulfstream West
  • Monday, Nov. 11: Give pause to reflect on all those graves of young men and women who died saving us and others from tyrants and dictators. A big day of racing starts at 11:15 a.m.--after Remembrance Day services--with Finger Lakes and Aqueduct
  • Thursday, Nov. 28: U.S. Thanksgiving
  • Saturday, Nov. 30: Kentucky Derby prep race (Kentucky Jockey Club) at Churchill; Player’s Choice handicapping tournament
  • Saturday, Dec. 7: Two Kentucky Derby prep races -- Remsen at Aqueduct and Los Alamitos Futurity at Los Alamitos
Canadians at Passchendaele

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