Thursday, December 6, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 48 (Issue #666)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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

Okay, I’m a goat and I apologize

I’m ba-a-a-a-d. The Insider cost at least a few of you winnings (including the president of the Manitoba Jockey Club, Harvey Warner. Yikes!) when it said Escape Clause’s first race at Del Mar last month—which she won at 18-1—was Saturday instead of Friday.

Actually, the day WAS corrected at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the online version of that Insider and those who clicked on online at the top of The Insider after 9:30 a.m. would have received the correct info. Take note that that’s a good thing to do regardless when you read The Insider because occasionally there are other changes made after you’re emailed the first version.

In retrospect, what should have been done is emailing a correction when the mistake was discovered. It was ba-a-a-a-d not to have done that. Sorry.


A star is born

That's Escape Clause with her mom, Danger Pay, at the Ziprick breeding farm in Russell, MB. in 2014. She was dubbed the "darling of Del Mar" after winning a stakes race there and is now pointed to Santa Anita turf. (Sherisse Ziprick photo)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • An early Christmas present for the Downs
  • Who is the world's favourite horse?
  • "We're not sitting back anymore!" Who said this and why?
  • What does racing consultant say about ASD's food and ticket sellers?
  • Is there such a thing as a "good" loss? Kind of.
“3 FOR THE MONEY” CONTEST CONTINUES WITH $150; MORE DRAWS SATURDAY: ASD contest veteran Jim Roberts was the only “3 for the money” entrant alive to win $150 Saturday but the favourite in the third contest leg at Aqueduct, the Cigar Handicap, Mendelssohn, didn’t get the lead and finished fourth (and now has been retired to stud). Which means $150 is at stake this Saturday at Los Alamitos Race Course, site of the Kentucky Derby prep race, the CashCall Futurity.

The contest races begin with the futurity (races 5, 6 and 7). And there will five draws for $10 in wagers on those races. Last week’s winners were Ann Champion, Ron Zurba, Pat George, Manny Medeiros and George Moehring.
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 December? 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 now begins at 7:00 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. Maximum of 60 players. No late registration. Royal Flush progressive jackpot for tomorrow, Friday, is $19,610.


Early Christmas present for the Downs

Sean Pinsonneault
BluSlate president, former COO at Woodbine Entertainment

Consultant's report—and the province's response—herald a bright future

Good on Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler for commissioning a report on ways to sustain horse racing in Manitoba. And good on BluSlate Inc. consultants (led by former Woodbine Entertainment COO Sean Pinsonneault) for producing a very thorough thoughtful 125-page report with reasonable recommendations. And good on the province for saying: “ The Manitoba Jockey Club, the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission and the Manitoba Great Western Harness Racing Circuit will have their funding maintained at current levels for the next three racing seasons to provide adequate time to develop a long- term strategy.”  

What more needs to be said? It appears the future of horse racing in Manitoba—even for more harness racing (operated by the Red River Ex?)—is bright indeed.

Agriculture minister Ralph Eichler
Funding will continue at present level

As ASD CEO Darren Dunn has put it: “This revised agreement means further stability for the industry and an ability to plan. To be clear, we understand the need for government to be fiscally responsible so it is very important to understand that this deal does not reflect any new funds that were not already committed to the industry in the original agreement.

“I also believe that it is also very important to remind everyone that the vast majority of the funds allocated in the agreement are created right here onsite at Assiniboia Downs.  The balance is reflective of an investment in an industry that is overwhelmingly ‘net positive’ in tax contributions to Manitoba.”

*       *       *

Take a bow, food services, ticket sellers and management

Report praises food profitability and "exemplary" ticket sellers

The BluSlate report praises the quality of food at the Downs and is impressed even more by the fact that the food and beverage department turns a profit. “We commend the Manitoba Jockey Club,” the report states. “Their achievements are not common at many racetracks.”

The mutuel staff gets high marks, too. “The mutuel sellers exhibited exemplary customer service. This is not common in the industry.”

And the VLT staff? “The staff was available when needed and very helpful when engaged. This level of customer service was also evident in the other operations.”

All of which should have ASD staff members patting each other on the back at the upcoming staff Christmas party!


“Manitoba is unique in the relative harmony and cooperation between horsepersons, breeders and the Manitoba Jockey Club.”

“Manitoba Jockey Club operating costs are at or below industry norms and revenue enhancement from events at Assiniboia Downs exceeds industry norms.”

“The races we attended attracted larger audiences than we have experienced at similar tracks throughout North America.”


"We're not sitting back anymore"

Newly-elected harness president to explore partnership with Red River Ex

Trevor Williams
New president

“Big changes being made. We’re not sitting back anymore,” bank manager and huge harness racing aficionado Trevor Williams told The Insider after being elected president of the Manitoba Great Western Harness Racing Circuit at the organization’s general meeting in Killarney on Saturday.

He owns standardbreds and has even announced harness races at towns in Manitoba where races are held during the summer.

The racing sustainability report released in October by BluSlate recommends that the Red River Exhibition take over the promotion of standardbred racing in rural towns (10 dates) and add six more dates on the exhibition grounds during the June fair.

Late shipping works for Don Schnell

Did you know . . . Escape Clause arrived at Del Mar Race Course at 8 p.m., the night before she won the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby stakes? The Manitoba-bred filly had been shipped that afternoon from Turf Paradise, a distance of 570 kilometres. Shipping the day before a horse’s race “works for me,” said owner/trainer Don Schnell. “It doesn’t give a horse a chance to sour at a new track.” In her next race, the $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap, Escape Clause arrived from Turf Paradise in the afternoon--the day before the race in which she finished third.


CashCall Futurity goes Saturday at Los Alamitos

Name horses have come out of this race

The CashCall Futurity this Saturday at Los Alamitos Race Course is one to pay special attention to, considering the 2-year-olds that have won this Derby prep in the last five years:

2017 – McKinzie
2016 – Mastery
2015 – Mor Spirit
2014 – Dortmund
2013 – Shared Belief

Need I say more?

Future pool #1 results

Game Winner is 5-1 choice to win the Kentucky Derby

Who’s going to win the Kentucky Derby? Those who played the first Derby future pool picked Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner as their first choice at odds of 5-1. (The pool was unavailable to ASD players because Canadian wagering rules don’t allow bets to carry over from one year to the next.) In the Sire Future Pool (which sire will produce the Derby winner?), Tapit was the favourite.

See the Derby Future Pool selections and prices here. Exactor prices here.
See the Sire Future Pool selections and prices here. Exactor prices here.

The first Kentucky Derby future pool that ASD players will be able to play takes place from February 8 to 10. There will also be future pools in early March and April.

YOU NAMED ME WHAT? Schulace. At first glance, this 3-year-old California gelding seems to have a classy name—until you realize what this really says. Good one!  


WINX IS WORLD’S FAVOURITE HORSE; WINS VOX POPULI AWARD: Who’s the favourite horse in all the world? The 7-year-old Australian mare, Winx, the winner of 29 races in a row. She became the second mare to win the Vox Populi award created by the late owner of Secretariat, Penny Chenery. She beat out the likes of Justify, Monomoy Girl, European turf star Enable and Accelerate. Zenyatta was the only other mare to win the award—and that was in 2010 when the award was created.

Murray Duncan
Posts wins at Hawthorne

DUNCAN’S CJ’S FLAIR POPULAR AT HAWTHORNE: ASD trainer Murray Duncan’s 5-year-old mare, C J’s Flair, just keeps on winning. Favoured in three starter allowance races at Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago, she won two and finished third in another, all in a one-month period, earning $14,110 U.S. Last year’s Manitoba Derby winner, Plentiful, wasn’t as successful, finishing fifth in two optional claimers.

Okay, a loss can never really be “good” but when you follow rules, some losses are easier to take than others. Last Saturday, the “I won big” betting group collected just $142 in total for the Woodbine pick-5 but would have won that amount 11 more times if a first-time starter in the fourth leg had been added to the “multiples” ticket. It wasn’t added for multiple wins because the filly’s sire has produced first-out winners six out of 130 starters. That’s very, very low. Hence, that loss is “easy” to take. What adventure will present itself this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza? C’mon out and crunch on a bacon treat as we discuss Woodbine races 2 to 7.

If Australia is “down under,” why isn’t Canada “up over?"

THE BEST OF BOB: A Derby tale out of this world

Did you know that on July 19, 1963, a certain Armstrong rode Fire n Desire to a Manitoba Derby victory followed, the next day, by another Armstrong walking on the moon? Read "A Derby tale out of this world" here. (First published in August,2012)


  • Chanukah theme at tonight's prime rib buffet

    Tonight: Chanukah-themed prime rib buffet from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring Chanukah dishes, pasta bar, salad bar and dessert bar. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.
  • This Saturday: 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 $49.95 available at the General Office or call Samantha at 204-885-3330 (ext. 0). Tickets are going fast! This will soon be a sell-out!

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3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2E9
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