Thursday, December 14, 2017

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 12 No. 47 (Issue #616)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

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


What's new this Sunday?
Note the brand new Derby prep race!

Bullet briefs . . .

  • They get a deserved rest after making Manitoba proud. Who?
  • Who will win Handicapper of the Year title? The big reveal comes Saturday.
  • Horses die in fire; daughter-in-law of noted equine cartoonist in a coma
  • Time to book New Year's Eve fun and Ukrainian Christmas feast
  • Here comes the quickest $2 million race on the continent. Don't blink!
“CUSTOMER APPRECIATION” PERK FAIRY STRIKES AT THE PEMBY, GREEN BRIER: Suddenly, off-track players at the Pembina Hotel on Friday and at the Green Brier Inn on Saturday found themselves being treated to a drink at the bar, a menu item from Kyu Slice Fusion Pizzeria (Pembina) and Relli's Breakfast and More (Green Brier) and a chance at calling 60 seconds in free wagers. Kevin Palmer managed $120 in bets at the Pembina; Bryan Haeberle called $58 at the Green Brier, turning that into $64.20 in triactor payoffs. When and where will the perk fairy strike next?

Congrats to Jim Roberts who picked up $50 in wagering vouchers and Rodney Zaretsky who won $20 for getting all five legs of their 5-Alive plays (show, show, show, place, win) on Saturday night. Their prize was double their wagers. The contest continues tomorrow and Saturday after 7 p.m. in the Race Book.
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

FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS : 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: $10 buy-in poker. Registration 8 p.m. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. Royal Flush progressive jackpot is at $3,945!

REMEMBER THE ASD GIFT CARD—OR HPI DEPOSITS for your holiday gift-giving. Available at the VLT cage or by calling Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.


$5,250 in prize money at stake Saturday; $25 gets you in

Final horseplayer tourney of the year will award top five plus HOTY top 10

For $25 you can join in the fun Saturday afternoon to share in $5,250 in prize money that will be awarded to top players in the final horseplayer tournament of the year:

  • $1,750 will be shared by the top five players in Saturday’s Player’s Choice tournament
  • $3,500 will be shared by the top 10 players of 2017. Leader board

Will you be among them? Simply bet $2 win and place on 10 horses of your choice from any thoroughbred track between noon and 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Enter by 9 p.m. tomorrow.

*       *       *

Remington is site of new Derby prep race

Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds goes Sunday afternoon

Who will earn Kentucky Derby qualifying points?

Note that the road to the Kentucky Derby (see top of column) now goes through Remington Park in Oklahoma. That’s where the next Derby prep race, the $400,000 Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds, will be featured this Sunday on a program that begins at 3 p.m.

Also note that, besides the Derby prep races in North America, there is a road to the Derby in Japan and in Europe. A top Japanese horse from a series of three prep races there (which included a race held there yesterday) will be invited to participate in the Kentucky Derby.

And there will be a total of seven European road to the Derby races, four on turf and three on synthetic tracks. The top four finishers in each race accumulate points just as they do in North America.

*       *       *

Two reasons to pay attention to Los Alamitos Sunday

Thoroughbred meet ends and $2 million quarter horse futurity goes at night

Almost back-to-back race cards will be held at Los Alamitos Sunday, each with elements of interest.

  • The afternoon card that begins at 2:30 p.m. is the final card of the meet which means mandatory payouts of all pools. The pick-6 pool is currently $34,000.
  • The richest baby race in North America (besides the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile) will be held during the quarter horse card that begins at 7 p.m.: the vaunted Two Million Futurity—breathless action for 400 yards by the quickest 2-year-olds on the continent
TRIVIA TEASER: What North American track has the longest stretch, thereby giving closers a better chance? See answer at bottom of column. (Hint: The track’s meet ends Sunday.)

A much-deserved holiday

Escape Clause and Langara did Manitoba proud

Escape Clause and Langara did their job. They did Manitoba proud. They proved that Manitoba-breds sold at the annual CTHS yearling sale can have an edge over their Alberta and B.C. counterparts—even though those provinces send quite a few more horses through the sales ring.

So now the 3-year-old filly and 4-year-old gelding will get to horse around in a veterinarian’s paddock for a couple months before going back into training. That’s what their trainer, Don Schnell, told The Insider from Turf Paradise where he has been training 14 horses.

“They deserve it!” he said. Indeed, Each of those horses defeated Alberta and B.C. breds in $50,000 sales stakes at Century Downs before being shipped to Arizona and are a big part of the reason Schnell rated his season “nine out of 10.” Their other accomplishments:

  • Bred by Cam Ziprick and Arnason Farms and purchased for just $3,500 at the annual CTHS yearling sale two years ago, Escape Clause won eight of 11 starts this year, almost all of them stakes races. She also finished second in the Manitoba Derby and earned a total of $118,000. She is the best filly at ASD since 1978 when Liz’s Pride won all eight of her 2-year-old races at the Downs and was honoured with a Sovereign Award for being best in Canada.
  • Bred by Cam Ziprick and Charles Fouillard and purchased at the yearling sale three years ago for $5,000, Langara won five of 10 races including the Phil Kives Stakes and an allowance race at Century Downs in addition to the sales stakes there. His earnings were $61,000.

COOLIDGE WON’T GO TO DUBAI: Coolidge, the Arizona-bred who came second in the Winnipeg Futurity two years ago and won two stakes after that won’t be going to Dubai to compete in a $2 million race in March despite an invitation to do so, trainer Don Schnell said this week. He made the comments following Coolidge’s last-place finish in the Cactus Wren stakes for Arizona-breds at Turf Paradise Saturday. Schnell said a virus, which started among harness horses in Alberta, has been making the rounds at Turf Paradise and six of his 14 horses, including Coolidge, seem to have been affected. The bug isn’t easy to detect, he said: “Horses still train, they still eat, they just don’t have the finishing power in a race.”


Horses flee fire. Inset: Seriously burned trainer Martine Bellocq

CALIFORNIA FIRE KILLS 46 HORSES, PUTS CARTOONIST’S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW IN A COMA: Horse trainer Martine Bellocq--whose father-in-law is the noted “Peb” equine cartoonist--is fighting for her life with burns to a reported 50 per cent of her body suffered while trying to rescue her six horses from fire raging through the San Luis Rey training centre housing 500 horses near San Diego. She was put into a medical coma and is listed in “critical” condition. Four of her horses were reported saved but 46 horses died in the blaze including multiple stakes winner California Diamond. Most of those horses are now being stabled at Del Mar about 65 kilometres from the training centre. Two race horses and multiple yearlings are missing. A Gofundme page has been set up here.

Wagering at U.S. tracks last month increased by six per cent, a result that is being attributed to the reduced tax on big wins. Wins of more than 300-1 were taxed without considering the total cost of a ticket that won the bet. Now, for example, if a player bets $200 on a pick-4 ticket, tax wouldn’t kick in unless the player won at least $6,000 ($200 x 300).

A first-time starter cost last Saturday’s “I won big” betting group the pick-5 at Woodbine (paying more than $5,000) but now it’s on to Tampa Bay to make amends. Your dutiful scribe and host has been doing some serious research on last year’s races at Tampa, looking at race conditions and their payoffs, and will reveal some interesting findings this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. What race conditions are most likely to yield the biggest payoffs? It’s not as obvious as you might think. Find out Saturday. We’ll be playing the pick-5 on the last five races. Everyone is invited, of course.


Did you know . . . that Robert James Speers laid the foundation for the opening of Assiniboia Downs in June 1958, even though he passed away three years earlier in July 1955? Read more here.


  • Book now for Ukrainian Christmas-themed prime rib buffet Thursday, Jan. 4

    TODAY: Hanukkah Festival of Lights-enhanced prime rib buffet $27.95. Reserve a table with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0
  • Saturday, Dec. 16: Final Player's Choice horseplayer tournament of 2017
  • Sunday, Dec. 17: Kentucky Derby prep race: Springboard Mile at Remington
  • Sunday, Dec. 17: The richest race in quarter horse racing—the $2 Million Futurity—at Los Alamitos
  • Thursday, Dec. 21: Festive buffet $27.95. Call Samantha above.
  • Sunday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve. Downs is open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. for VLT play, $10 turkey dinner and contest fun. Simulcast racing from Gulfstream & Sunland
  • Monday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day. Downs is open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. for VLT play, $10 turkey dinner and contest fun. Simulcast racing from Australia (through HPIbet only).
  • Sunday, Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Gala. Main Floor Ballroom. Hosted by 94.3 The Drive's Tom and Kerri. Tickets $49.95 (plus taxes & gratuities). Call Samantha at 204-885-3330.
  • Thursday, Jan. 4: Ukrainian Christmas-themed prime rib buffet. Reserve at 204-885-3330 ext. 0
ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER: Los Alamitos has the longest stretch in North America at 1,380 feet, 34 feet longer than Fair Grounds. (Teaser courtesy of Glen & Marshall, the fan education guys). The Los Alamitos thoroughbred meet ends Sunday with mandatory payoff of all pools. First post: 2:30 p.m. And, for interest sake, what’s the length of ASD’s stretch? 1,100 feet.

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

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