Thursday, November 10, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 40 (Issue #560)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

First post today and Remembrance Day: Aqueduct at 11:20 a.m. Full schedule.
VLTs open
at 1 p.m. on Remembrance Day.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Race Book players had predicted Trump win
  • Kudos to the clocker! His reports helped us pick Beholder and Arrogate
  • Why ASD players were so close to pick 6 riches ($292,000)
  • What we learned from the Breeders' Cup: rule, opinion and clocker horses
  • Imagine Secretariat with the name Weirdhaircut Seth
  • What were the "better bettor" tracks for October?

HO-HUM! MR. PARLAY INCREASES $6 SHOW TO $160: At this stage, Al “Mr. Parlay” Ilott, who is counting down the days to his January Mexican vacation he won playing a place parlay during live racing, should be holding workshops on how to turn a little into a lot. Last Friday, he increased his $6 show parlay at Mohawk into $160.50. See his plays here. Who says playing “show” isn’t profitable? The Downs will match $100 of his winnings. If you beat that amount any Friday or Saturday this month, YOU will be in line for this month’s free prime rib buffet for two!

So, in the Breeders’ Cup Sweepstakes, four of you got three races correct out of the nine races Saturday. In a draw, Gail Chartrand won $50 in wagering vouchers and a BC merchandise basket. Congrats also to Rey Reyes, Bruce Johnston and Reno Molinari.

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 November? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? 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.

NEW SATURDAY FEATURE: You already know about the $10 specials after 5 p.m. Friday and Sunday (Friday: Ukrainian Platter, Sunday: spaghetti & meatballs). Now know Saturday’s new feature: an 8-oz prime rib steak with Yorkshire pudding, gravy, vegetables and cole slaw for $17.


Hail to the clocker

His reports clued us in to Beholder and Arrogate

Beholder runs down Songbird

Shockingly, few people who came out to Breeders’ Cup group play did the most elementary aspect of preparation to be better bettors: watching clocker Mike Welsch’s reports on the DRF website.

Yet his comments were keys to playing the horses who upset the unbeaten filly Songbird and the mighty California Chrome.

  • Of the dozens and dozens of workouts Welsch watched, he had said no horse looked better in workouts than Arrogate. “Big reach, everything terrific, couldn’t have been better.” So it came only as a mild surprise when Arrogate ran down California Chrome in the Classic.
  • Arrogate runs down California Chrome

    He went on and on about how Beholder was looking very sharp during her workouts, “She looked so good …. Pulling her rider.” And, of course, she beat unbeaten Songbird in the Distaff.
  • And here was his comment about Tourist who won the turf Mile, paying $26.80. “Awesome all week long. Cruising along. Galloped out.”

Other horses he cited may not have won but showed they belonged on triactor or superfecta tickets. Ulysses “looked really really good” and, of course, he finished fourth under the obviously top three Euopean horses in the Turf: Highland Reel, Flintshire, Found.

Once again, the evidence is overwhelming: Ignore the clocker in Breeders’ Cup races at your peril.

*       *        *

So close to pick-6 riches ($292,000)

ASD player gets five of six for just $12; groups thought it was too tough

Someone at the Downs could have won the Breeders’ Cup pick 6 that paid $292,000. In fact, there might even have been two winning tickets.

Derek Corbel
Best Bet had potential for big score

Problem was, no one took it seriously enough because they thought it too tough. But,even then, one ASD player got five of six legs for just a $12 ticket and an ASD group led by ASD assistant director of racing Derek Corbel had one of the tricky pick-6 horses as their “best bet of the day” (#12 Finest City in the Filly & Mare Sprint) but decided only to play the horse in their pick-4, which they won.

Thickening the plot even more was the ticket suggested by Jonathon Kinchen on Breeders’ Cup TV coverage. Kinchen is one of most prominent handicappers and tournament players in North America and a whole chapter in the new DRF book, Winning Big on Racing’s Biggest Days, is devoted to his strategies. The $864 ticket he suggested on TV ONLY MISSED THE CORBEL “BEST BET” HORSE!

Kinchen’s $864 pick-6 ticket
(winners in red).
Race 7
Race 8
Race 9
– 4,10,12
Race 10
– 2,8 (he missed the ASD group’s best bet--#12)
Race 11
– 2, 5,8,9
Race 12
– 4,10

The pick-6 paid $292,000 (US). The consolation for five of six was $779.

The reason Corbel’s group and the $12 player (who only missed the second leg on his tiny ticket) liked Finest City so much? Because she had finished third behind Beholder three races previously. And we know that Beholder had won the Distaff on Friday. Finest City also had bullet works leading into the Breeders’ Cup.

Oh, what might have been! Groan.

*       *       *

How did "rule" horses do?

Rules were dead-on in BC Turf, also picked Turf Sprint, Filly & Mare Turf

Top purse horses finish 1-2-3: Highland Reel, Flintshire, Found

Players who used the “highest purse” angle were solid in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. All three horses who had raced for $5.6 million finished one-two-three: #12 Highland Reel ($9.60), #4 Flintshire and #9 Found. The horse that finished fourth, Ulysses, had gotten rave reviews from the clocker. So the superfecta was pretty much a given (and the “I won big” group had it). It paid $325 for $1.

Another turf rule horse, #11 Queen’s Trust ($18), won the Filly & Mare Turf. But the highest turf money horse-- the Japanese horse, #13, Nuovo Record--was nowhere so I’m thinking the purses in Japan and Hong Kong are inflated compared to European purses and horses from Asia need downplaying next time.

On the tricky downhill Turf Sprint, Obviously ($9.60) won the race, fitting the rule that horses who won on that course have an 84 per cent chance of doing it again. The horse who finished second, Om, fit the route-speed-to-a-sprint rule.

in the turf Mile was one of many horses who had raced for $1 million purses. But he was the only horse in the race cited by clocker Mike Welsch for being “awesome all week long.”

*       *       *

MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL (file away for next year)

In summary, three RULE horses, three OPINION horses and two CLOCKER horses won eight of the nine BC races on Saturday.

Race 4 – Juvenile Fillies –#6 Champagne Room
(33/1). Defied rules, opinions and clocker reports. Players might have used history as a guide, taking ALL horses based on the fact a $125 horse, Take Charge Brandi, won the previous BC Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in 2014
Race 5 -- Filly & Mare Turf --
#11 Queen’s Trust (8/1) – RULE horse (purse)
Race 6 -- Sprint --
#2 Drefong (7/2) – OPINION horse (Baffert, etc.)
Race 7 – Turf Sprint --
#2 Obviously (7/2) – RULE horse (won on this course)
Race 8 – Juvenile --
#5 Classic Empire (9/2) OPINION horse (among highest pace and speed)
Race 9 -- Turf --
#12 Highland Reel (7/2) – RULE horse (purse)
Race 10 – Filly & Mare Sprint --
#12 Finest City (8/1) OPINION horse (finished third to Beholder)
Race 11 – Mile --
#5 Tourist (12/1) CLOCKER horse (“awesome all week”)
Race 12 – Classic --
#10 Arrogate (8/5) CLOCKER horse (best workout of all horses)

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Weirdhaircut Seth. A 3-year-old gelding who started out as a $62,500 claimer at Del Mar last November but now is racing for $10,500. And no wonder. Horses with oddball names seem to have a strike against them right from the start. Can you imagine if Secretariat had been given this name? I’m going to substitute his name for Secretariat’s name in this story.

"Ten thousand people come to this farm every year, and all they want to see is Weirdhaircut Seth.  They don't give a hoot about the other studs.  You want to know who Weirdhaircut Seth is in human terms?  Just imagine the greatest athlete in the world.  The greatest.”   

Better Bettor tracks for October

ASD players excelled at 23 tracks, generally good at harness

It’s amazing how consistently ASD players outperform other players at about 23 tracks each month. That means ASD bettors are winning more at those tracks than they’re losing and hence are good citizens because they’re boosting Manitoba’s economy.

Predictably, the top better bettor track in October was Santa Anita because of the $33,000 pick-4 won by an ASD horse owner and written about in a previous Insider. That means Santa owes the Downs a sizable cheque.

Other top better bettor tracks in October: Remington, Gulfstream West, Northlands, Laurel, Mountaineer, Keeneland and Belmont. It seems ASD players find Gulfstream West “easier” to handicap than Gulfstream which usually runs a deficit.

Generally speaking, ASD players are good harness handicappers. Bettors showed positive results at Hazel, Pompano, Freehold, Pocono and Harrington. Harrah’s Philly, though, seems to be particularly challenging.

At the other end, ASD players have decidedly not been better bettors at Woodbine/Mohawk. Other tracks near the bottom of the list include Charles Town, Indiana, Parx and Monmouth. Remember, playing to your strengths makes YOU a better bettor and a good citizen.


RACE BOOK PLAYERS GOT TRUMP VICTORY RIGHT: Interestingly, in a discussion about the U.S. election in the Race Book six weeks ago, there was almost unanimity that Donald Trump would win the presidency because the U.S. electorate was tired of same-old same-old gridlock politics. One player cited the need for the U.S. to be taken to a new low by a one-term president so it could be shaken to its senses and rise up under a new president that would garner support from all feuding factions. Still, how many of us are in total shock at what just happened?

A Paddy Power outlet
Jumping the gun proved costly

BUT BOOKMAKER PADDY POWER GOT IT WRONG: The result of the U.S. election has left Irish bookmaker Paddy Power not only with egg on its corporate face but with cash drawers considerably lighter. You may recall that for publicity purposes the bookmaker paid out about $1 million three weeks ago to people who bet Hillary Clinton would win the election. Now they must pay out again to those who bet Donald Trump would win—at odds of 9/2. The bookmaker apparently took in a total of $4.38 million in wagers on the election. About two-thirds of those who bet on Trump had also successfully bet on Brexit.

HE CAME PREPARED TO BE A BETTER BETTOR: The player who played a $12 pick-6 on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, getting five of six (see above) had almost memorized clocker Mike Welsch’s opinions on horses and, as a result, was cashing almost everything in sight on the last four BC races—multiple times. Put simply, he came prepared to be a better bettor and deserves a “good citizen” citation as well.

John Ganas & Jared Brown
Winners at Turf Paradise

"MADE TO ORDER" WIN FOR GANAS AT TURF PARADISE: Restaurateur John Ganas (Nick’s Inn) and his wife, Vicki, got a treat last Friday at Turf Paradise when, almost made to order, Alpine Luck won a $12,500 claiming race, giving them an opportunity to visit the Winner’s Circle. It was the first win of the young meet for John’s trainer, Jared Brown. Alpine Luck had finished second in the De Cat and Manitoba Mile stakes at the Downs. Another ASD trainer at Turf Paradise, Don Schnell, has a record of 10-1-3-1.

A NEW "GOLDEN AGE" OF RACING? The dramatic results of the Distaff and Classic has inspired DRF racing writer John Sparkman to proclaim we may be entering a new golden age of racing akin to the mid-sixties to the end of the 1970s (recall that there were three Triple Crown winners in the 70s). He notes that seven Breeders’ Cup winners this past weekend descended from the Northern Dancer line and five from Mr. Prospector. If, in fact, Sparkman is right, we’re in for more really great racing—and maybe the next Triple Crown in short order? Read the thoughtful article here.

"I WON BIG" RETURNS TO MORE FAMILIAR WATERS: So, after last Saturday’s foray into the Olympic-size pool (i.e. Breeders’ Cup races), it’s back to more familiar wading-pool waters (i.e. Woodbine) for the “I won big” workshop this Saturday. The group didn’t hit either pick-4 or the pick-6 at Santa Anita last Saturday but did hit a couple superfectas and everyone who played will get back about one-third of their money. It is some small comfort that “I won big” was in good company: one of the most experienced handicappers in North America, Jonathon Kinchen, missed #12 Finest City in the Filly & Mare Sprint just like “I won big.” So, see you on the Clubhouse plaza this Saturday for “easier” pickings on races 2 to 7 at Woodbine – the pick-5 and early pick-4. Bacon beckons.

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I access Probables & Will Pays on my Smartphone?

A. At present, you can’t access PROBABLES & WILL PAYS on your smartphone. This functionality is only currently available when you’re accessing HPIbet on your desktop, laptop or a tablet such as an IPad. This appears to be the only functionality that is different on smartphones versus these other access points. Additionally, some harness track bettors have mentioned that COMPUBET is not available on your smartphone either but if you rotate your phone from portrait configuration (vertical) to landscape configuration (horizontal), the COMPUBET tab becomes available. This is not the case with the PROBABLES & WILL PAYS (view image here).

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

What do Jack Robertson, the late Glen Ball and the late Albert Blake have in common? They participated in 117 race meets at the Downs and in 2014 ranked 8th, 16th and 20th respectively on the Downs' leading trainer board. Give up? Bob has the answer here.

Just 358 days to the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar!
(Nov. 3 & 4, 2017)

Horse gas masks during World War 1.
Eight million horses died.

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