Thursday, December 13, 2018

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 13 No. 49 (Issue #667)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


"Did someone say winter officially begins next Friday? I can hardly wait." (Ben Birchall/PA Wire photo)

TRIVIA TEASER: In a study of more than 700 pick-6s, what percentage were won by MORE THAN THREE race favourites? (a) 8 per cent (b) 12 per cent (c) 16 per cent (d) 24 per cent (e) 30 per cent. See answer at the bottom of this column.

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Will you share in the $5,250 cash to be awarded Saturday?
  • Why this Sunday will be a sizzler
  • Groan! 2% jockey & 2% trainer kill "Big" ticket. So what's the remedy?
  • Why the name change--from "I won big" to "I won bigger"?
  • Here comes a panoply of festive perks! Love that hot apple cider!
$150 PROVES ELUSIVE; WILL THIS SATURDAY BE THE CHARM? It looked like a slam-dunk that someone would win last Saturday’s “3 for the money” contest and $150 in wagering vouchers in the Race Book when 1-5 favourite Improbable won the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity but the 20-1 second leg winner, Scathing, eluded entrants even though it was a “rule” horse (route speed cutting back to a sprint). The five winners in the $10 draws were Gil Fraser, Bill Brooks, Roger Bamburak, Rick Zaretsky and Charlie Johnson. This Saturday’s “3 for the money” track is Woodbine—the first three legs of the late pick-4.

Enter the draw every Saturday for $25 in wagering vouchers at your favourite OTB. Off-track betting supervisor Shannon Davis continues to make the rounds, too, to regale race fans with festive perks.

Complimentary hot apple cider, hot chocolate and other beverages will be served along with assorted crunchies and munchies.
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 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.

GIVE THE GIFT OF GREAT ASD BUFFETS AND MORE! In a pinch, what better gift than an ASD gift card that will have your recipients enjoying a Thursday night prime rib buffet on you – and more! Go to the VLT cage to make it happen in whatever denomination you choose. In addition to food purchases, the cards can be used for gift shop merchandise during the live race season.

2019 live racing calendar

HELP RETIRED RACE HORSES ON SATURDAY: The non-profit Final Furlong group will offer $10 mugs and $20 T-shirts again this Saturday at the horseshoe kiosk in the Clubhouse to raise money to find loving homes for retired race horses. Feel the warmth of your thoughtfulness when you sip coffee or tea from the mug.


$1,740 available in final Player's Choice tournament

Will you share in holiday cash?

And top 10 handicappers of the year will share $3,500

Eleven down and one more to go. Will you give it a go? That’s the monthly Player’s Choice handicapping tournament Saturday from noon to 4:30 p.m. where—just in time for the holidays--your $2 win/place/show wagers on 10 horses could have you sharing in $1,750 and perhaps catapult you to a better position on the Handicapper of the Year leader board where $3,500 in prize money will be distributed to the top 10.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Sign up to play in the tournament before 9 p.m. tomorrow ($25 entry fee) or before noon Saturday (for $35).

*       *       *

Victory by 2% jockey & trainer kills pick-5 ticket

"Big" group falters in a bottom level claimer but loss leads to a new "rule"

“Uh-oh.” That’s the first thing I said when I found out that Woodbine’s pick-5 last Saturday had two bottom-level $10,000 claiming races. And, wouldn’t you know it, a 19-1 filly, #2 Ready’s Princess, in one of those legs—ridden by a two per cent jockey (1 win in 43 starts) and conditioned by a two per cent trainer (2 wins in 83 starts)—won, killing the “I won big” betting group’s ticket.

But it has led to the adoption of a new rule: “In bottom level claimers, the horses with the best speed numbers SOMEWHERE in their past performance lines should be added to the ticket in that leg.” That would have required five of the seven horses in the race to be played (including the winner), rather than just the three the group’s ticket took (#1, 4 and 6).

See the program page here. #2 killed the group’s ticket. Would you have played it?

So we enter the final Saturday of Woodbine racing nursing our wounds from a rare total loss. But at least a bottom claimer shouldn’t do us harm again. (Famous last words?) That’s 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza—with continuing bacon, of course because of the pick-6 success on Breeders’ Cup day. And, oh yeah, with a revised name! Read on . . .

“I WON BIGGER”: In a vote last Saturday it was decided that a part of the weekly shares (about $200 worth) will be used to play A BIG CARRYOVER pool from another track each Saturday. That will give the group—renamed “I won bigger”--a chance at a very big score in addition to the regular track (which is Woodbine this Saturday, switching to Tampa next Saturday). About four or five handicappers will put together that ticket—with input from anyone who wishes to give it. Strategies from the book How to Win the Pick 6 will be put into play.

*       *       *

Were you a better bettor in November?

ASD players excelled at 17 tracks including Portland, Santa, Delta, Churchill

Wagering stats for November showed ASD players chalked up positive returns at 17 tracks—including Santa Anita, Churchill, Aqueduct, Tampa, Delta and Portland thoroughbreds and Plainridge, Pocono and Yonkers harness.

Among the most challenging? Indiana Downs, Hawthorne, Remington, Golden Gate and Woodbine on the thoroughbred side and Pompano, Dayton and Harrah’s Philly among standardbreds.

Remember that playing to your strengths pads your pocket, adds to holiday joy and makes you a good citizen, too, because that forces other tracks to send money to the Downs to cover your wins—which helps the economy.


Suffering succotash, Sunday is shaping up to be a not-to-miss sizzler. Here’s what’s on tap:
  • Sunday night's feature at Los Alamitos

    12:00 p.m.: Woodbine’s final thoroughbred card of the year. That means a mandatory payout in the Jackpot Hi-5 wager on the final race.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Los Alamitos Race Course begins its final card of the meet, too, with mandatory payouts in the pick-6 and Super Hi-5.
  • 3:00 p.m.: Post time for Remington Park in Oklahoma where the featured race is a KENTUCKY DERBY PREP RACE, the $400,000 Springboard Mile.
  • 6:00 p.m.: Lightning vs Jets on Race Book TVs
  • 7:00 p.m. Post time for heart-stopping Los Alamitos quarter horse races where the richest race on the continent for babies is featured: the 2 MILLION FUTURITY.
And don’t forget the great new delicious breakfast menu until noon with such lip-smacking delights as eggs benedict, stuffed hash brown, Belgian waffles and lots more with free coffee.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to the ASD player Friday who spent $14.40 in 20-cent combinations to win $2,475 on the first pick-4 at Woodbine when a 58-1 horse, Yoda Man, won the third leg, a $7,500 maiden claimer. “I added him because I played him before and I like the name,” the player told The Insider. But a close examination of the past performance lines showed he was a sneaky good play for another reason. Noteworthy was his first lifetime start three races before Friday’s race when he was the 5-2 favourite to win a $40,000 optional maiden claimer with a top jockey, Luis Contreras, aboard. Would you have played him? See the program page here.

Tim Sass wins $20,185 for this royal flush

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to shipper/receiver Tim Sass who on Saturday won the $20,185 progressive royal flush jackpot that had been growing for almost a year in the All-In Poker Tour games at the Downs every Friday and Saturday night. Players took a shot at the pool for $5. This was Tim’s second royal flush win, the first being for $3,150 in August last year. Tim, in turn, gives his own shout-out: “I feel extremely lucky to win twice and to play poker with such a friendly group of people! I have to give a huge thank you to Kerran and Rosie for their tireless efforts to put on this event every weekend.”

Note that the $10 Texas hold ‘em buy-in games will take a break between Christmas and New Year’s (Dec. 28 and 29). Registration for other Fridays and Saturdays begins at 7 p.m. Games begin at 8:30 p.m. Next year the poker group will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the Downs.

NEXT PREP RACE: This Sunday, the $400,000 Springboard Mile, at Remington Park, Oklahoma. First post: 3 p.m. Last year’s winner: Greyvitos.

in the Los Alamitos Futurity last Saturday. Equibase speed: 108.


Friday, Feb. 8 to Sunday, Feb. 10

Is Improbable another Justify?

Creates a big buzz after winning Los Alamitos Futurity

Improbable impresses in the Los Al Futurity
(Brisnet photo)

Among the happiest race fans on the continent should be those in the U.S. who put a future wager on Improbable to win the Kentucky Derby at very juicy odds of 18-1.

The 2-year-old colt by City Zip and trained by Bob Baffert (who else?) was the talk of the ASD Race Book Saturday as he put away some other good ones in the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity. “He’s better than Game Winner,” players were saying after the race. (Game Winner won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and was the 5-1 future wager choice to win the Kentucky Derby.)

We know the many ruts on the road to the Kentucky Derby but if he stays sound, Baffert may just have his third Triple Crown winner in five years (after American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify this year). The next prep race goes this Sunday at Remington Park.

Watch the CashCall Futurity here.


Tips ’n’ Tricks

with Marshall Posner

Q: Do you have a couple tips for picking more winners?

Yes, this topic often comes up during handicapping workshops. Surprisingly, I do. Here are a couple to consider as you handicap the winter tracks of Gulfstream, Fair Grounds, Santa Anita and other favourite tracks:
  1. Don’t Put Too Much Stock in Just One Handicapping Angle – Whether you rely on speed figures, closing fractions, trainer percentages, jockey stats, or anything else, weigh everything proportionately. No doubt all of these angles are contributing factors; in combination, they’re powerful tools. Be sure the positives outweigh the negatives.
  2. Keep an Open Mind -- Be open to other people’s opinions especially when it comes from a trusted contemporary. After all, if you’re a fan of a particular horse your judgement may be biased. Keep an open mind and welcome other handicappers’ perspectives to help strengthen your own opinions.
Got a question for Marshall? Email

THE BEST OF BOB: A love story

Did you know that Charlie Smith’s and Terry Propps' Miss Missile went undefeated in six straight races at the Downs including five stakes races--the Debutante, Chantilly, Canada Day, Assiniboia Oaks and the Jack Hardy? Read “Miss Missile, a love story” here. (First published in June, 2013)


  • Xmas-themed prime rib buffet next Thursday; ASD remains open Xmas Eve and Xmas Day 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. for turkey dinner and VLT play

    This Saturday: Final Player’s Choice tournament of the year. Who will be crowned Handicapper of the Year? $600,000 Champion of Champions quarter horse race at Los Alamitos. First post: 8 p.m.
  • This Sunday: Kentucky Derby prep race (Springboard Mile) at Remington Park (first post 3 p.m.) and 2 Million Futurity at Los Alamitos quarter horses (first post 7 p.m.).
  • 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: See above. Australian 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: ALMOST SOLD OUT! 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)
ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER (TOP OF COLUMN): Answer is (a): 8 per cent. (From the book: How to Win the Pick 6 by Steven Kolb). In a study of 701 pick-6s, here’s the breakdown:
  • Favourites win ALL six legs of the pick-6: 1 per cent of the time
  • Favs win five legs: 2 per cent
  • Favs win four legs: 5 per cent
Which should tell you it’s counter-productive (and costly) playing favourites in more than three legs.

© Copyright 1996-2018 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