Thursday, November 9, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 42 (Issue #611)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Ivan is taking a two-week break
Ivan is taking a two-week break from writing The Insider, returning on Nov. 30.
In his absence, you will continue to receive an event-style Insider with other regular features.

. . . all the way to the bank
"Unbelievable" is too weak a word to describe Les Buzzell's five longshot wins in quick succession Saturday afternoon with $50 & $100 wagers while another player collected $75,000. What? See "Shout-Outs of the Week."

Bullet briefs . . .

  • What were The Insider's hits and misses in the Breeders' Cup?
  • Have you ever seen this kind of luck? Hits five longshots with $50 & $100 wagers
  • Got tactical smarts? Then new Pick-10 "survivor" wager at Meadowlands is for you
  • Coolidge -- Winnipeg Futurity runner-up -- gets invitation to $2 million Dubai race
  • Hanukkah Festival of Lights buffet is set for Thursday, Dec. 14. Book now!
SWEEPSTAKES CONTEST SHOWED TRICKINESS OF BREEDERS’ CUP RACES: Of 86 entrants to the Downs’ Breeders’ Cup Sweepstakes Contest in the Race Book Saturday (“Hit 5, win $500”), only two entrants managed to predict three winners out of the nine BC races—which demonstrated just how tricky the races were. The win price of $135.40 on #5 Bar of Gold in the Filly & Mare Sprint Saturday was the second-highest in BC history. Arcangues ($269.20) in the 1993 Classic was the highest ever.
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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? Jets - Bombers

FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS : Free VLT tournaments starting 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. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. Royal Flush progressive jackpot is at $2,545!


What were The Insider’s hits and misses?

This is text from last week’s Insider. HITS (text that proved correct) have been coloured in green and MISSES have been coloured in red.

HIT RACE 7: Filly & Mare Turf

#9 Lady Eli is back as the likely favourite as is the horse who beat her last year but there are no standout “biggest purse” rule horses this year so consider taking “all” horses on some sequence tickets. Note that clocker Welsch "loved"  #5 Wuheida's  turf work--best of the day.

HIT RACE 8: Sprint
#2 Drefong
is back—but is unproven over the deeper Del Mar dirt track whereas #8 Roy H and #9 Ransom the Moon are.

#10 Ribchester is a perfect fit for a different rule, the “highest purse” rule.

HIT RACE 10: Juvenile
#11 Bolt d’Oro, appears to be primed to win except California’s DRF rep, Brad Free, says that 2-year-olds regress off a huge 100+ Beyer race.


Highest purse #5 Ulysses is the rule, followed by #3 Highland Reel who won last year.

HIT RACE 12: Classic
This year’s clocker horse is Gun Runner
whom Welsch continues to gush about. Gunnevera, training really well, is your closer for superfectas and super hi-5 wagers --and longshot winner?

*        *        *

WHAT PLAYS FROM THE ABOVE WERE ESPECIALLY PROFITABLE? The Wuheida/Roy H double (races 7 & 8) paid $160. Gun Runner won the Classic and Gunnevera finished fifth in that race, setting up a $4,000 Super Hi-5.

*        *        *

FRIDAY’S BIG PLAY: Friday’s strongest play was #1 Mendelssohn (highest purse value) winning race 8, the Juvenile Turf, and #4 Catholic Boy (very favourable clocker comments) finishing fourth in that race, setting up a superfecta that paid $640 for 20-cents.

*        *        *

Mike Welsch

BEST FRIEND WAS AGAIN CLOCKER WELSCH: As you notice, it was again DRF clocker Mike Welsch who provided the best insights into the chances of horses to perform well. His Elate didn’t live up to her “sitting on the best race of her career” workout hype in the Distaff, finishing fourth, but Gun Runner came through, as did Wuheida in the Filly & Mare Turf, Roy H in the Sprint, and “underneath” horses such as Catholic Boy in the Juvenile Turf. His exact comments for Wuheida ($24.40) were: “I really loved the way she went today. Made a very favourable impression” and also described her turf work as “best of the day.” Now you know the kind of comments to watch and listen for next time around.

  • #4 Stormy Liberal caps $75,000 win by ASD veteran (RacingUK photo)

    THE BIGGEST SHOUT-OUT goes to the veteran ASD player many simply know as the “candy man” who collected $75,000 for hitting the pick-5 and pick-4 in the first five races at Del Mar Saturday. His $66,000 pick-5 was a hastily put-together $19 ticket that had just #4 Stormy Liberal (30-1) and #1 Disco Partner (5-1) in the last leg. He doesn’t usually show much emotion but he was doing a lot of fist-pumping when #4 emerged from the pack in the final leg. The buzz from his big win, a record for Breeders’ Cup wins at the Downs, quickly circulated through the Race Book. The previous high was $52,000 for a superfecta.

  • A MONSTER SHOUT-OUT, too, to railway signal contractor Les Buzzell who did something Saturday afternoon nobody had ever seen before: he hit longshot after longshot with $50 and $100 win bets within minutes of each other at Woodbine and Del Mar, leaving onlookers grasping for superlatives to describe what they were seeing. “Outstanding,” after his first blockbuster win. “Exceptional,” after his second. “Unbelievable,” after his third. “Unfathomable,” after his fourth. And what if he hit a fifth? “Drug test,” joked tournament specialist John Whitehill. Uproarious laughter followed that comment as evident in his picture at the top of today’s column. Part of his “luck” ritual before each play was touching my pricey official Del Mar Breeders’ Cup shirt then immediately vigorously scrubbing his hands with sanitizer. His hits included:

    $100 wager on #12 Caledonia Road earns Les Buzzell more than $1,800 (Eclipse Sportswire photo)

  • 1:13 p.m. Woodbine race 3. $50 to win on 28-1 Arrius (#3). Pays $60.40
  • 1:21 p.m. Del Mar race 3. $50 to win on 14-1 Declarationofpeace (#9). Pays $30.40
  • 2:01 p.m. Del Mar race 4. $100 to win on 17-1 Caledonia Road (#12). Pays $36.60
  • 2:15 p.m. Woodbine race 5. $50 to win on 6-1 After Party (#10). Pays $14.30
  • And after making a couple plays that don’t connect (including 18-1 Ami’s Mesa who loses by a nose at Del Mar), he makes a final bet at 3:26 p.m. on Woodbine’s race 7. $50 to win on 18-1 Signature Data (#9) incidentally ridden by ASD jockey Christopher Husbands. Pays $38.

    After which he headed out the door with his wife before he could be summoned to the test barn.

  • A BIG SHOUT-OUT to bull-riding Brad (and sometime groom) for hitting 66-1 Bar of Gold in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. “She cut back to a race she belonged in (7f),” he explained to The Insider.” Why wouldn’t you bet her?” (The mare had primarily been racing in route races but had finished second in a sprint two races back.) She paid $135.40 and Brad remained giddy the rest of the afternoon. Who could blame him?


Do you have tactical smarts?

That's what it takes to win exciting Pick 10 "survivor" wager at Meadowlands

So the buzz in the Race Book Saturday evening—besides Breeders’ Cup races, of course—was the exciting new Pick 10 “survivor” wager that Meadowlands had been perfecting for two years and finally launched.

It requires players to predict winners of 10 races in a row. But having the most winners isn’t the way a person wins. The objective is be the last person or persons standing. In other words, not to get knocked out by having a losing horse.

At Saturday’s launch, the bet paid out after only three races because longshots knocked out all tickets after the first three races. Just over $6 in tickets were alive going into the fourth leg but were dead after that race. Each 20-cent ticket paid $267. The pool was $11,600. Here’s what happened:

  • Race 1: #3 Thrillonthebeach $39.20
  • Race 2: #5 Southwind Hydro $4
  • Race 3: #2 Girl Talk $46
  • Race 4: #7 Lyons Snyder $10 – WHICH NO ONE HAD. So the Pick 10 paid out on 3-5-2-x-x-x-x-x-x-x. The winners of the last seven races were irrelevant.

So what would be a tactical bet? A shrewd bettor would consider playing longshots or even “all” in early legs where a favourite is vulnerable, then only playing singles after that (any horse will do) with the hopes that longshots will have knocked out other players’ tickets, ending play before the later single horses mean anything. Neat, eh? Meadowlands harness racing goes just Saturdays at 6:15 p.m. during November but then Thursday-Friday-Saturday starting Dec. 1.

*        *        *

SPECIALIST RACE PAYS BOXCARS AT WOODBINE: We all know that 7f is a specialist distance. So why did the horse with the highest 7f speed number in the first race at Woodbine Saturday pay $52? See that race here. Would you have let that horse (#7 Gosudarina who had a 70 speed figure) get away? He won easily. What a great tournament play that horse would have been, eh? But that seems to happen regularly in 7f events.


Will Coolidge race here?

COOLIDGE IS INVITED TO $2 MILLION RACE IN DUBAI; WILL HE GO? The 4-year-old Arizona-bred gelding Coolidge, who finished second in the Winnipeg Futurity two years ago and won a $50,000 race at Turf Paradise and a $55,000 stakes at Albuquerque, has been invited to enter a $2 million dirt sprint race at Meydan Race Course in Dubai in mid-March, his trainer and part owner Don Schnell has told The Insider. An invitation to enter the race—which includes all-expenses-paid shipping—came from a veterinarian connected to Dubai who worked on Coolidge at Turf Paradise, Schnell said.

Will he go? “I want to have a shot at being competitive before I decide to make the trip,” he said from Turf Paradise in Arizona where he and his 11 other horses are being stabled. He noted, though, that “there are not a lot of dirt sprinters” that are willing to make the long trip to the desert track—which improves Coolidge’s chances. In the meantime, Schnell is pointing super Manitoba-bred filly Escape Clause to the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks in New Mexico on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Owner/trainer Murray Duncan’s bargain $6,250 claim, C J’s Flair, who won three stakes at the Downs, has continued to race at Hawthorne in Chicago, posting a second and third in her first two starts. Duncan is still looking for his first win in eight starts at the Chicago track.

ARROGATE’S STUD FEE $75,000: So Juddmonte Farms had announced it will cost you $75,000 if you want your mare to mate with Arrogate who has been retired from racing following his fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Would it have been $100,000 if he had won the Classic? Hmm.

“I WON BIG” UPDATE: GREAT DISCUSSION, KEYS DISAPPOINT, NEW HOST: The “I won big” group discussion on the last six Breeders’ Cup races Saturday was excellent and gave players grist for their own bets. But the group’s pick-6 ticket failed to win when two seemingly jump-off-the-page keys (Bolt d’Oro in the Juvenile and Highland Reel in the Turf) didn’t do what was expected of them. So it’s back to more familiar ground on the Clubhouse plaza at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday--races 2 to 7 at Woodbine--with a substitute host (with thanks)--fan education specialist Marshall Posner--as I will be away this Saturday and the following Saturday. This Saturday is Nov. 11 so I expect there will be a break at 11 a.m. to pay respect to the soldiers and millions of horses who died during wars.

Readers write . . .

Bad rides?

Hi Ivan: I have to say I haven't seen so many bad rides on favourites in one day (Breeders’ Cup Saturday) and these are the best jocks in the world. You could argue they probably wouldn't have won anyway but if you don't put your horse in a position to win then you are working against him.”Stewart Hayek

Hi Stewart
: A dead rail compromised the performance of some horses, too. Most surprising was the willingness of so many to predict Arrogate's return to glory on a track he had clearly shown he did not like. 


Did you know . . . that prior to training thoroughbreds at the Downs, trainer Glen Ball provided horses to Shrine Circus stars Hugh O'Brian (Wyatt Earp), Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) and western star Johnny Ringo? Read more here.


  • Book Festival of Lights buffet Thursday, Dec. 14

    Wednesday, Nov. 22: Manitoba-bred super filly Escape Clause scheduled to race in the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies in Hobbs, New Mexico
  • Thursday, Nov. 23: U.S. Thanksgiving which means great racing, early post times and all-day NFL action on Race Book TVs
  • Saturday, Nov. 25: Player’s Choice horseplayer tournament from noon to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 14: Hanukkah Festival of Lights buffet $27.95. Reserve a table with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0
  • Thursday, Dec. 21: Festive buffet $27.95. Call Samantha above.
  • Sunday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve. Downs is open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. for VLT play, turkey dinner and contest fun.
  • Monday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day. Downs is open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. for VLT play, turkey dinner and contest fun.

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