Thursday, December 1, 2016

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 11 No. 43 (Issue #563)

By Ivan Bigg

Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

A CLASSIC CONFRONTATION FOR THE AGES: Recognize this from the early 1980's? These two classy horses duked it out at the Downs nine times, with the horse on the lead winning eight times. So who are they? Historian Bob has the answer here.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • How a player turned $6 into $1,000 at Woodbine
  • Who will emerge from the logjam to become Handicapper of the Year?
  • With bells ringing and taste buds tingling, dive into festive-enhanced Thursday buffets!
  • How DOES Misko find those longshots to win tournaments?
  • Manitoba Derby winner comes close in $200,000 Zia Derby
  • Special "I won big" workshop Sunday, mandatory Jackpot Hi-5 Day at Woodbine

HO-HUM! ANOTHER ILOTT YUM! Yup, for the second month in a row Al Mr. Parley Ilott gets to enjoy another prime rib buffet for two because he had increased a $6 show parlay in five races to more than anyone else during November. Al’s lucky. He gets to chose from either Christmas-enhanced or Hanukkah-enhanced buffets this month! To see Al’s most recent parlay tickets, go here. And what happened to a potential rival? That person (Mystic Writer) emailed The Insider to say he’s had business to attend to in the U.S. Next week?

QX104 � Today's Country

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

94.3 The Drive

Click to expand


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? NFL-Jets

EVERY FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY: 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: 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.

A snout to call your own?

WANT TO SHARE IN HORSE OWNERSHIP? MEETING DEC. 11: Remember reading about the thrills the newly-formed Assiniboia Racing Club experienced last live racing season? Want to join? Then come to the Terrace Dining Room at the Downs Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. for the organizational meeting of the 2017 Assiniboia Racing Club spearheaded by John Field of the HBPA. There are still a few shares available ($500 a share includes everything from buying a horse to trainer, feed and vet bills). There will be about 40 shareholders.

Says John: “At this meeting we will be discussing trainer selection, interest in a club Barn Tour, interest in a spring social gathering at one of the member's farms, club golf shirts, etc.”

Braised beef added for Hanukkah

HERE COME THREE FESTIVE BUFFETS! Dine at tonight’s all-you-can-eat certified Angus prime rib buffet (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and reserve for these upcoming festive-enhanced prime rib buffets, too! (204-885-3330 ext 0):
• Thursday, Dec. 8: Christmas enhanced
• Thursday, Dec. 15: Christmas enhanced
• Thursday Dec. 22: Hanukkah enhanced

Alix Michaels of 94.3 The Drive will be hosting the New Year’s Eve Gala at the Downs featuring a fabulous buffet with eight specialized food “stations,” music/light show by NuFrequency Light and Sound, prize draws and more. Tickets $49.95 available at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.

QUICKIE QUIZ: What trainer is on his way to winning more races than any other trainer for the third year in a row? (a) Steve Asmussen (b) Karl Broberg (c) Robertino Diodoro (d) Todd Pletcher(See answer at bottom of column.)


Logjam for Handicapper of the Year

Trip to Vegas and entry into the World Series hinges on final tourney Dec. 17

Top three in Saturday tourney: (From left) Wayne Misko (1st), Murray Chaban (3rd), director Dawn Forbes and Trevor Phelps (2nd)

Life at the top—and near the top—of the Handicapper of the Year standings has to be a bit unnerving. That’s because there are many still in contention to win the $4,500 trip for two to Las Vegas that includes entry into the $1,500 (U.S.) Horse Player World Series.

Everything comes down to one day: Saturday, Dec. 17, when the final Player’s Choice tournament is held and someone will get enough points to be declared the 2016 Handicapper of the Year.

Will it be you?

By virtue of his third tournament win of the year last Saturday, Wayne Misko, last year’s Handicapper of the Year, pulled into the lead on the HOTY leader board. But just barely. Here’s how close it is among the top seven:

  • Wayne Misko 253
  • Bob Pistawka 249
  • Maurice Gregoire 246
  • John Urbanski 246
  • Trevor Tilston-Jones 245
  • Stan Stewin 243
  • Randy Premachuk 237

But, with 46 points at stake for the winner, there are others, too, who have a mathematical chance of winning the prestigious title. See full leader board here.

*       *       *

HOW MISKO WON LAST SATURDAY'S TOURNEY: Wayne Misko won the tournament last Saturday on the basis of longshot selections. “I look for young horses that haven’t raced a lot and have a chance of improving,” he said.

He found one such horse in race 3 at Laurel, Giles Fair, who had just won his maiden race but seemed to have made the improvement based on blinkers being removed. Would this lead to a second victory in a row? Yes, it did. At 25/1. Misko’s total bankroll after playing 10 horses was $167.30.

Runners-up were two other players who frequently have been in the mix: Trevor Phelps was second with $79.40 and Murray Chaban was third with $77.20. See full tournament results here.


$12 million Pegasus Cup meet begins at Gulfstream

Woodbine meet ends Sunday with mandatory Jackpot payout

Will Pegasus fly at Gulfstream?

Gulfstream’s championship winter meet begins Saturday at Gulfstream at 11 a.m. with a special claiming series of races but the real anticipation is being generated by the brand new $12 million Pegasus World Cup race to be held Saturday, Jan. 28. It will be the richest race in the world.

Never has there been a race quite like it. The track sold 12 shares at $1 million each to enter the race. And those who bought the shares will also be sharing in other revenue generated by the race. It will be costly for fans to attend the track that day with grandstand seats at $165 ( U.S.) and a seat in a restaurant selling for more than $700. Will it fly – like the mythical Pegasus?

In other weekend action:

  • Del Mar headlines the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on the turf Saturday
  • Aqueduct features the Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap Saturday
  • Sunday is mandatory payout day for Woodbine’s Jackpot Hi-5 with the pool likely to reach $750,000 or more. Woodbine’s meet ends Sunday

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Badabing Badaboom. An Indiana-bred 3-year-old gelding (14-4-3-0) who raced in a stakes race at Penn National last Wednesday. What do the owners say when they enter the Winner’s Circle? “Badabing Badaboom!” What else?


What can you win for pocket change?

How about $1,025 for a $6 outlay in the pick-4 at Woodbine

Smart (and very profitable) play at Woodbine

Specializing in just one track—Woodbine thoroughbreds and harness—and watching the races closely to get to know the horses, a player on Friday capitalized on his careful observations by spending just $6 to pick up $1,025.

It came on Woodbine thoroughbreds. He didn’t even look at past performances—he didn’t have to--he just looked at the preview sheet and went by memory to make his picks, one of which was #2 Cat Zapper in the fifth that paid $32.70.

To keep his ticket at his $6 price level, he had to choose between four horses he liked in the fourth leg and he chose the right one.

“It’s the most I’ve ever won,”
he said, which is pretty good for someone who’s only been playing for a couple years and keeps his bets at the pocket change level. But he obviously has proven it CAN be done. For him, deep thoughts trump deep pockets. (He also predicted Ottawa’s victory in the Grey Cup to win a couple small wagers.)


Can anyone beat Classic Empire's 117 speed fig?

Mo Town gets 105 in Remsen; McCraken gets 100 in Kentucky Jockey Club

If the Kentucky Derby were held this Saturday, Classic Empire would win going away. His 117 Equibase speed figure—scored in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile—is not only bigger than any other 2-year-old, it is bigger than any 3-year-old in the prep races leading up to the 2016 Kentucky Derby. (Mohaymen was highest with 115 in the Fountain of Youth.)

Also, consider this: Classic Empire’s speed fig is higher than the highest career figures obtained by Nyquist (109), I’ll Have Another (110) and Orb (113), all Kentucky Derby winners.

And it is just five below the very best figure California Chrome could achieve in any of his wins (122). No wonder then that Classic Empire was the leading candidate to win the Derby in last weekend’s Future Pool (after “the field”).

(The horse Classic Empire just beat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Not This Time, who also had a 117 speed figure, has been retired to stud after suffering a soft tissue injury.)

In recent Derby prep races: Gunnevera scored 105 in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, MoTown got 105 in the Remsen at Aqueduct and McCraken notched 100 in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill. That resulted in their getting 10 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Classic Empire has 30 (20 for his Breeders’ Cup win and 10 for winning the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity). Next up: The Los Alamitos Futurity a week from this Saturday.


Inside Straight finishes 3rd in Zia Derby

MANITOBA DERBY WINNER ALMOST WINS ZIA PARK DERBY: Inside Straight, winner of this year’s $75,000 Manitoba Derby, ran out of ground in a fast-closing bid along the rail in the $200,000 Zia Park Derby last Wednesday to finish third, one-half length from winner Pass the Buck ($16.40). Inside Straight went off at 26/1 and picked up $20,000 ( U.S.) for finishing third. Manitoba trainer Rob Atras who is training on the road for Robertino Diodoro, had shipped Inside Straight to the New Mexico track after the 3-year-old won an allowance race at Remington Park in Oklahoma City where Atras also trains.

So you should be watching for Diodoro horses at both tracks now—Zia and Remington because of Atras’ high-percentage wins: 13 of 33 at Remington (39 per cent) and a first, second and third at Zia in just four starts. Zia Park is in Hobbs, just inside the New Mexico border 737 kilometres southwest of Remington in Oklahoma City. Both meets end soon:
• Remington Park:
Racing goes Fridays & Saturdays the next two weekends at 7:07 p.m., then ends Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
• Zia Park:
Racing Saturday to Tuesday at 1:15 p.m., with the final day Tuesday, Dec. 15.

DEBRIS BLOWS ONTO TRACK: DID STEWARDS MAKE THE RIGHT CALL? Jockeys riding in the Jimmy Durante Stakes Sunday at Del Mar were suddenly faced with about five large white squares of something sitting on the track in the first turn of the 1-mile turf race. Some of the horses scattered.

“There’s a little bit of scrimmaging on the turn,”
said race announcer Trevor Denman. But the stewards decided the incident wasn’t serious enough to declare the race “no contest.” The debris were squares of foam used to cover sewer openings and had blown onto the track during a deluge before the race. Watch that race here. Do you think the stewards made the right call?

HORSE BREAKDOWNS: INTERESTING FINDING Researchers examining horses in fatal breakdowns have discovered something amiss in the leg opposite the one that fractured. The researchers hope to come up with a way to predetermine a horse’s propensity to break down.

"BIG" GROUP LOOKS FOR BIG SCORE BUT NOT TO BE: Last Saturday’s “I won big” group looked for upsets in the pick-5 and/or the pick-4 but surprisingly there were none despite large fields (up to 14 horses) and the fact this was the second last Saturday of the meet. The pick-5 started out with three favourites in a row ($7, $3.10 and $4.20) that led to a $119.75 payoff for 20-cents and the pick-4 paid $66.85 for 20-cents which essentially meant the group got back one-third of its outlay.

It can’t be that chalky again this Saturday, can it? This will be the final Woodbine Saturday; Tampa Bay play will begin the following Saturday. See you at 10:30 a.m. You will be frisked for possession of chalk so please leave it in your car.

Sunday morning sizzle

THE SIDE BENEFIT OF GROUP PLAY: After listening to an analysis of races 1 to 5 in the special “I won big” workshop at Aqueduct last Thursday on U.S. Thanksgiving Day, John Urbanski spent just $9.60 to play a 60-cent pick 5 ticket and won $642. That’s the residual benefit of joining the “I won big” discussions each Saturday at 10:30 a.m.; it helps players with their own tickets. Note there will be back-to-back workshops this weekend because it is closing weekend at Woodbine, with mandatory payout of the Jackpot Hi-5 on Sunday (likely to reach $750,000 or more).

In what is expected to be bigger-than-usual pools on Sunday, we’ll be playing the usual races 2 to 7 (pick-5 and pick-4) plus the Jackpot Hi 5 on the last race. Oh yes, since it’s the final day of Woodbine’s thoroughbred meet, THERE WILL ALSO BE AN EXTRA-CRISPY BACON TREAT TO MARK THE OCCASION! See you both days: Saturday and Sunday on the Clubhouse plaza at 10:30 a.m. Crunch!

HPIBET Marshall Posner

Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q. How do I access race summary information?

A. Depending on how your HPIbet viewing experience is set up, you will either always have the race conditions visible for whatever race you’re looking at or it will be accessible in two other ways. If your top menu is expanded, the race conditions will be viewable just below the RACE SUMMARY header in the middle of the page (view image here). If your top menu is collapsed, then you can click on the yellow icon to the left of the RACE SUMMARY header to view the race conditions in a pop-open window (view image here). If your top menu is collapsed but you’d like to expand it so that this info remains on-screen at all times, simply click the EXPAND link along the right hand side of your screen (view image here).

If you’re looking for a complete list of all of the race conditions for an entire card, just download the BRISNET REPORT available for FREE at the bottom of the RACING INFORMATION screen .

Got a question for Marshall? Email

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob

We lost Phil Kives in April and there are so many of his accomplishments we could look back on and give thanks for. But there is one horse that stands out above all others, a horse he bought for $71,000 ( U.S.) in June 1980, considered a lot of money back then. This champion's assaults on the Downs track record books were legendary, as were the horse’s nine confrontations with a certain rival. Who is he? Find out here.

ANSWER TO QUICKIE QUIZ: (b) Karl Broberg is on his way to winning the most races for the third year in a row. He has 348 wins, 50 more than second-place Steve Asmussen. Last year, he was leading trainer with 420 wins and led in 2014 with 325. He logged his 2,000th career win this past Saturday at Delta.

Gulfstream’s championship meet begins this Saturday.
Special “I won big” bacon workshop Sunday, Woodbine Jackpot Day

© Copyright 1996-2016 All Rights Reserved. Assiniboia Downs.
3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
Ph (204) 885.3330 • Fax (204) 831.5348

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Read our Blog  See us on Instagram  Watch us on Youtube
Make Dinner Reservations
Book Your Event
Bet Online