Secretariat to race on Saturday — virtually speaking

Apr 29, 2020 | ASD History, News

Secretariat winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby. Photo courtesy of

While most sports are quiet these days, there are major happenings in the horse racing world while it also observes coronavirus safety protocols.

In what may be a first at any racetrack, Assiniboia Downs — which is closed to the public– is broadcasting morning workouts live at and on MTS racing channels 179-180. This is especially important to horse owners who otherwise wouldn’t be able to watch the animals they are supporting with feed, training and veterinarian bills as they look forward to the opening of the proposed 50-day live race meet on Sunday, May 24.

Churchill Downs has come up with an exciting replacement for the Kentucky Derby that was to have been run this Saturday but was postponed to Sept. 5 over coronavirus concerns. The track will broadcast a computer-simulated Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown showdown race consisting of the 13 Triple Crown winners through the years.

Using algorithms and historical races, a company called Inspired Entertainment has put together a virtual race that will see the return of Secretariat, among others. The stay-at-home program — which will be aired on NBC-TV from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. — will also include virtual tours, derby cocktail recipes, ideas for party decorations, kids’ crafts, derby fashion contest and more.

While there is no betting on the above virtual race, Assiniboia Downs is offering $100 to the person who predicts the top four finishers in the race. The contest will be featured in the track’s online newsletter, The Insider, which can be accessed at 

This Saturday will also showcase top 3-year-old colts in two divisions of the Arkansas Derby which is a qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby. The race is being run — without spectators — at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is looking to sweep both divisions with speedy Nadal and Charlatan — two horses that are popular in future wagering on the Kentucky Derby. Will he?

Those races and others can be watched and wagered on online with a Horse Player Interactive (HPI) account which can be set up by going to or calling 204-885-3330 ext. 225 at the Downs. A player’s first $20 in wagers are free.

The Downs races are likely to be run without spectators so having an online betting account (see above) will make wagering of the races possible.

Who’s YOUR pick in the Triple Crown Showdown?