Thursday, November 29, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 47 (Issue #665)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


"The right thing to do"

Century Downs pays Prayven Badrie's medical bills

Huge sighs of relief greeted the news this week that Century Downs is paying $40,000 in Calgary hospital bills for Prayven Badrie—ASD’s co-leading rider—whose insurance policy didn’t cover severe hip injuries suffered when he was trampled in a race at Century Downs on the final day of the meet Oct. 28.

“We felt it was the right thing to do,”
general manager Paul Ryneveld told The Insider in an email. “The industry should take care of the industry. It is very unfortunate how this came about and has prompted serious discussion in Alberta.”

The “serious discussion,” he said later in a telephone interview is how to ensure that all riders are properly insured including those, such as Badrie, who come to ride for a short time. (At Assiniboia Downs, the track pays about $25,000 to insure all jockeys during the 50-day meet.)

When Badrie’s fate was uncertain, K5 Stable’s Leona Stahl set up a GoFundMe page which collected more than $5,000 that Badrie is drawing from as he heals from his injuries in his native Trinidad. In an operation at Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Badrie’s hip required plates and screws and 120 staples to close the wound. The staples were removed before his trip home last week.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • What Manitoba horse is "The Darling of Del Mar?"
  • No luck? That's because the player below is hogging it all
  • Racing commission agrees to post stewards' decisions online
  • Horses have a "speed gene." A what?
  • Classy stallion seeks dates

Watch for festive cheer at OTBs and draws at the Downs

SPREADING JOY (AND FREEBIES) AT OFF-TRACK PLACES: “Tiz that time of year,” reports off-track betting supervisor Shannon Davis. “Every Saturday I will be stopping by one OTB location to spread festive cheer: a taste of food, a drink and more! Hope to see my betting buddies!” 

Entering the “3 for the money” contest in the Race Book--featuring Aqueduct this Saturday (where the Kentucky Derby prep race, the Remsen, will be run)--could not only win you $150 in betting vouchers but also will give you five chances to win $10 in bets on the three featured races. That’s the festive bonus every Saturday this month.
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? Jets, 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. Please note that registration is now from 7:00 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 $19,030.


"The darling of Del Mar"

California race fans applaud Manitoba's Escape Clause; Mike Smith wanted to ride her

Who could imagine a Manitoba-bred filly making such a huge impact on sophisticated California race fans? Well, that’s what Escape Clause has done.

“Racing secretary David Jerkins called me aside,”
owner/trainer Don Schnell told The Insider in a telephone interview, “and he thanked me for bringing Escape Clause to the track and said ‘She’s the darling of Del Mar. Everybody loves her’.”

In fact, Schnell said, when she paraded in the paddock for her second race there last Thursday—after having won her first race two weeks before that—“fans applauded her.” They appreciated the filly coming from “humble beginnings” to beat classy California stakes horses, he said. She was entered in the $100,000 grade 3 Red Carpet Handicap.

She finished in a dead heat for third as the second choice in the race but Schnell considered it her “best effort ever,” saying that the 1 3/8-miles on the turf was maybe a tad too far. Still, she lost by just a length.

Next? Schnell said he’s considering entering the 4-year-old in a $150,000 turf race at Santa Anita at 1 ¼-miles on the first day of the meet—which is Boxing Day, Dec. 26. Schnell and Escape Clause are based at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona where he is racing five other horses at this time.

Neat fact:
Schnell said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was named to ride Escape Clause in her first race at Del Mar (which she won at 18-1) but Smith’s agent booked him on Birdie Gold instead. Birdie Gold went off at 22-1 and finished 10th.


No luck?

That's because Les "Longshot" Buzzell is hogging it all

Les "Longshot" Buzzell
Breathtaking luck

There’s luck. And then there’s ridiculous, jaw-dropping, seemingly impossible luck. Call it luck on steroids. That’s the kind of luck Les “Longshot” Buzzell seems to have clinging to him. You’ve read about his previous exploits but what happened last week is a breathtaking new high.

Last Wednesday, after viewing a suggestive animation someone showed him on her iPhone, Buzzell, who owns a railway signals company, proclaims he’s going to bet $75 on horses with names he considers “suggestive.” He decides to bet $75 on Doc’s Rocket, a 23-1 bomber at Delta. A little later he would bet the same amount on Johnny Jump Up at 23-1 at Penn National. They both win (of course). He leaves the track with $4,900.

The next day, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., still giddy over his Wednesday luck, he tells someone standing next to the Wheel of Fortune to spin it, saying he’ll bet $100 at Del Mar on whatever number the Wheel lands on.

The spin lands on 5 so Buzzell bets $100 on #5 India Mantuana in the stakes race that Escape Clause is racing in (see above). Do I have to say it? India Mantuana wires the field and pays $39.60, meaning Buzzell collects almost $2,000 for his $100.

You can’t make this stuff up. “This is too much fun,” he keeps saying, as he’s been saying for a year, after he rediscovered racing at last year’s Breeders’ Cup. And the rest of us? Shell-shocked.

*       *       *

TOMORROW'S STRONACH 5 CARRYOVER: $88,189. Here are the five races, run in quick succession, making it an exciting wager. Minimum bet: $1. Track: Laurel.
  • "Big" group's mantra

    Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 2:21
  • Leg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 2:51
  • Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 2 with an approximate post time of 3:15
  • Leg D – Laurel Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 3:23
  • Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 3:45
  • *       *       *

“BIG” GROUP EKES OUT A MODEST WIN WHILE BACON KEEPS EVERYONE HAPPY: While weekly crispy, crunchy bacon treats are keeping “I won big” betting group participants happy to the end of the year, their bets on Woodbine pick-5s are continuing to come up short or producing modest gains, such as this past Saturday when each $20 share collected $24.65. At the same time, aggressive moves are being considered each week that could ultimately land a big score. Tampa Bay looms but this Saturday’s menu is still Woodbine, races 2 to 7, 10:30 a.m. Clubhouse plaza.


There will be no more wondering why ASD stewards do what they do when it comes to inquiries and objections. The reasoning behind their decisions will be posted online said Brett Arnason, chair of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission which discussed the matter at a recent meeting.

AWARDED BREEDER OF THE YEAR, K5 STABLE WINDS DOWN: K5 Stable is experiencing a bittersweet time after four proud decades of racing and breeding at the Downs, although not always carrying the K5 name. While Ellie Kives, the wife of the stable’s founder, the late Phil Kives, accepted a 2017 Canadian Breeder of the Year trophy from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in Lexington, KY, stable manager Leona Stahl was contemplating the winding down of the stable over the next year or two. Initially, the Kives family was considering selling their remaining horses at a Keeneland auction but Stahl said they decided to sell off their horses as they continue racing in 2019 and perhaps into 2020. The stable has five older horses, a 2-year-old and a yearling. Sad to hear—but lots of great memories.

EXHAUSTIVE REPORT ON RACING ELICITS POSITIVE RESPONSE: A consultant’s exhaustive 125-page report on the Manitoba horse racing industry has elicited a positive response from the provincial government and industry officials—which will be examined in next week’s Insider. The main consultant behind the report is a former chief operating officer at Woodbine Entertainment who obviously knows the business.

Paul Ryneveld

THE BIGGEST SHOUT-OUT goes to Century Downs’ general manager Paul Ryneveld for covering jockey Prayven Badrie’s $40,000 in hospital bills when Badrie’s insurance policy didn’t cover injuries he suffered when he was trampled in a race at the Calgary-area track. So many people felt deeply about the Trinidadian’s predicament and Ryneveld made it right.

to the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission for deciding to post stewards’ reasons online for the decisions they make respecting inquiries and objections. It’s not likely to end horseplayer arguments about their decisions but at least there will be no more guessing on how they reached their decision. The general feeling among players is that a horse should not be disqualified unless the horse’s actions cost another horse a better position.

Al Ilott
Wins tourney for first time

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to Al Ilott, an aviation fuel manager, who won his very first horseplayer tournament at the Downs Saturday, turning $2 win-place-show wagers on 10 horses into $107.10. “I looked for longshots,” he said of his strategy and he found two such juicy winners at Gulfstream West. The top five finishers were:
  1. Allan Ilott: Bankroll $107.10. Wins $1,000.
  2. Stan Stewin: Bankroll $98.50. Wins $400.
  3. Brian McKellar: Bankroll $98.30. Wins $200.
  4. Jeff Rozmus: Bankroll $97.90. Wins $100.
  5. Roger Jones: Bankroll $97.50. Wins $50.
See full tourney results here. See Handicapper of the Year leader board here. The final Player’s Choice tournament to determine the Handicapper of the Year is Dec. 15.

to Daily Racing Form’s handicapper Jim Amoroso for picks he made in race 7 Sunday at Woodbine. His three selections—Red Rita (31-1), Dirty Girl (11-1), Worlds Your Oyster (21-1)-- finished in the top four in the superfecta that paid $11,455 for a 20-cent ticket. A 20-cents wheel with his horses in all positions would have cost you $33.60. A $1 exactor box costing $6 returned $337.

to Jeanne Landreville whose name was drawn Saturday night in the “Unleash Your Luck” VLT tournament and she turned $20 in free VLT play into $759.75 playing Viracocha.

Stuffed Hash Brown

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to ASD Chef Gerardo for producing a new wide-ranging breakfast menu that makes it worth getting to the track before noon. His “stuffed hashbrown” ($11.95) is a tour de force: shredded potato stuffed with cheddar cheese, onion and bacon topped with two eggs and toast of your choice. Looks too good to eat. Also, there’s eggs benedict with two different sauces ($11.95).

The other delicious alternatives: At the Post - $7.95 (two eggs, bacon or sausage, hashbrowns and toast), Breakfast Sandwich - $5.95, Omelets - $10.95, Breakfast Wrap - $6.95, Hot Oatmeal - $3.95, Belgian Waffles - $6.95,  Pancakes - $6.95, Grilled Cinnamon Bun - $2.95, Muffin - $1.95  


HORSES HAVE A “SPEED GENE”: An article in The Horse magazine says horses have a “speed gene” that tells whether a horse is better at sprinting or routing. Does that open the door to analyzing the DNA of foals to determine their best distance? Will that information appear some day in horse sales books?

NEW TRACK ANNOUNCER FOR SANTA ANITA: Mike Wrona is out; who’s in? We’ll find out on Dec. 26 when Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet begins. Wrona was the announcer the track had hired (and now fired) after Trevor Denman decided to cut back his race-calling to just Del Mar. It wasn’t easy trying to replace one of the best track announcers on the continent—so we’ll see who they come up with next.

Readers write . . .

Classy stallion ready for Manitoba "dating"

Nonios winning grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park (Benoit photo)

Hi Ivan:“Here's a little breaking news. This Facebook link is that of Nonios, a new Kentucky-bred stallion Larry Falloon, Denis Huberdeau and I are standing at Dunroven Farm (Maggie and Darrell Lawson's). He placed second to Game on Dude in the grade 1 Awesome Again and in the grade 3 Native Diver. He also ran sixth in the Breeders' Cup at 3. Not sure, but this may be a first for a stallion in Manitoba with this racing experience and lineage. He impresses us.

Nonios only ran as a 3-year-old before being injured and retired. He also ran against quality older horses that year. I think it makes his efforts that much more impressive. We brought him from Ontario where his foal Alacritous broke his maiden at Woodbine for $32,000 at 6-furlongs in 1:11.19 and recently ran third for $40,000 optional claiming that went in 1:10.79.”
Andrew Clarke

THE BEST OF BOB: Who was ASD's very first employee?

Who was Assiniboia Downs’ very first employee? Hint: He had been a jockey who competed against the likes of Red Pollard and George Woolf of Seabiscuit fame. An even better hint: There’s an ASD stakes race that honours his memory. Give up? Bob’s got the fascinating details here.


  • The prime rib buffet on Dec. 20 will be Christmas-themed with traditional festive dishes

    This Saturday: Kentucky Derby prep race (the Remsen) at Aqueduct; $750,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, Claiming Crown at Gulfstream.
  • Thursday, Dec. 6: Chanukah-themed prime rib buffet featuring Chanukah dishes, pasta bar, salad bar and dessert bar. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Saturday, Dec. 8: Kentucky Derby prep race (Los Alamitos Futurity) at Los Alamitos; Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds.
  • Saturday, Dec.15: Final Player’s Choice tournament of the year. Who will be crowned Handicapper of the Year?
  • Sunday, Dec.16: Kentucky Derby prep race (Springboard Mile) at Remington Park.
  • Thursday, Dec. 20: Traditional Christmas-themed  prime rib buffet, pasta bar, salad bar and dessert bar. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Monday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. VLTs open regular hours 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Christmas dinner special: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, chef's vegetable, gravy, dinner roll, cranberry sauce. $13.95.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25, Merry Christmas! VLTs open regular hours 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Christmas dinner special: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, chef's vegetable, gravy, dinner roll, cranberry sauce. $13.95. Australia racing is available but only on your HPI account.
  • Thursday, Dec. 27: Certified Angus prime rib buffet, additional entrees, pasta bar, salad bar and dessert bar. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • Monday, Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Gala hosted by 94.3 The Drive's Tom and Kerri, eight strolling food stations, music by Nu Frequency, photo booth, party favours and late night snack. Tickets are $49.95 and can be purchased from the General Office or call Samantha at 204-885-3330 (ext. 0).

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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

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