Thursday, February 27, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 8 (Issue #727)

By Ivan Bigg


Weekly Horseplayer Report and Fun Stuff

and, remember, if you don’t receive The Insider in the usual way,
you can always find it--and past columns--at


Assiniboia Downs opens 6:30 a.m.
FREE breakfast sandwich to the first 25 until 8:30 a.m.


  • FREE PROGRAMS at program kiosks every Sunday and Monday. PRESS THE “FREE” BUTTON on the kiosk screen.

  • 5% REBATE ON WAGERS at all tracks every Monday (use your Player Rewards card when betting and have HPI account for deposit). Will not apply to $2.10 show payoffs.

  • OTB FUN: Each day you’re at a staffed OTB venue, enter the draw for 5,000 Player Rewards points ($25 value) which will be made Saturday afternoon.


Just say “let it ride”
Show parlays are fun and a challenge as they begin to grow and put pressure on your making the right decisions. So let’s make it happen in an informal way all this month.

Play a parlay starting with whatever amount you feel comfortable with. I suggest $10 but you can start with $5 or more if you wish and make a commitment to keep parlaying your winnings for FIVE races.

(if you want extra incentive): Send a brief comment to on how you make out, surprises, pressure plays, etc. and The Insider will award one of you an invitation for two to the hottest media event in town -- the ASD press conference to kick off live racing that includes a storied, lavish buffet.

Ready? On your mark, get set, show!

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Manitoba's super mare mates with Japanese star stallion
  • Sign up by tomorrow at 9 p.m. for Saturday's Player's Choice tournament
  • Will mare beat the boys in Saturday's $20 million Saudi Cup?
  • How to find a good "under" horse for your triactor and superfecta wagers
  • One of the most impactful stallions of the past three decades dies
“3 FOR THE MONEY” NOW AT $100: Predicting the winners of the first three legs of the late pick-4 at Gulfstream Park Saturday afternoon could win you $100 in betting vouchers. It’s a big stakes day at the Florida track with the highlight being the Fountain of Youth qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby.

by predicting the winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream: You’ll earn points toward winning a $200 bankroll to play the Kentucky Derby and will be part of a draw to win a unique “designer” set of Kentucky Derby glasses. Contest leader board.

with more than $1,300 available if you pick the Ace of Diamonds and $100 for each of two jokers ($5 per ticket, three for $10). Buy tickets before 3:30 p.m.; draw at 4 p.m. Your ticket purchase supports the Winners Foundation.
Click to enlarge.

Want highlights for the next 10 days? Click calendar.
What tracks are running in February? Find out here.
What are today’s $$$ carryovers? See them here.
Want to follow sports in the Race Book? Jets

FREE VLT TOURNAMENTS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8 PM: Enter in the Club West Gaming lounge Friday and Saturday. 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.

POOL TABLES, ELECTRONIC DARTS, TAP TV TRIVIA: These are the new games added to Clubhouse fun on the plaza. Pool games are just $1 (insert coins). Tap TV Trivia: Download the free app on your phone to answer 12 questions every 20 minutes to see if you’re better and faster than others. NOTE: FRIDAY & SATURDAY ARE TRIVIA NIGHTS WITH PRIZES! Starts at 7 p.m.


GREEDY CORNER: See all jackpot carryovers here.

Manitoba's mighty mare mates with Japanese star stallion
Ran the fastest Japanese Derby ever as a 3-year-old

Early next year Manitoba’s super mare, Escape Clause, should be mothering a foal fathered by Duramente, a Japanese stallion who ran the fastest-ever Japanese Derby.

In a telephone interview this week from Northern Farm on Hokkaido Island in northern Japan where Escape Clause is now stabled, Noriko Takahashi told The Insider the 6-year-old mare mated with Duramente on Feb. 17 (holiday Monday in North America).

Duramente winning the Japanese Derby (Wushi photo)
Duramente’s most important achievements:
  • In 2015, recorded the fastest time ever in the Japanese Derby in its 82-year history, eclipsing the previous record set in 2004, ironically, by his talented father, King Kamehameha. The derby is a 2,400-metre race on the turf.
  • Beat 14 colts in the Grade 1 $1.7 million Satsuki Sho Stakes in 2015
  • Won the Japanese Racing Association award for best 3-year-old colt
  • Finished second in the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan race course in Dubai in 2016 after which he was retired as a result of an injury in a subsequent race
Escape Clause (by Going Commando out of Danger Pay) was bred at Ziprick Thoroughbreds in Russell, Man. by Cam Ziprick and Barry Arnason. She earned more than $1 million in four years of racing at 13 different tracks before being sold last fall for $300,000 U.S. to Northern Farm in the Fasig-Tipton auction in Kentucky by her owners--Barry Arnason, trainer Don Schnell and True North partners.

“Very cool,”
Sherisse Ziprick of Ziprick Thoroughbreds said in an email to The Insider after being informed of the mating. “ I went on to research after you emailed. The horse (Duramente) had over $4 million in earnings so definitely a solid racehorse.”

Now the dreaming begins. Sounds like there will be plenty more chapters in the great Escape Clause saga.
SAUDI CUP SATURDAY: First race 7 a.m.; Free breakfast sandwich to first 25 until 8:30 am.

Click photo to watch Steve Asmussen’s Rowdy Yates breezing for the Saudi Derby at King Abdulaziz Racetrack

RACE 1 -- 7 a.m.: $1 million Naghi Motors Cup on the new turf surface
RACE 2 -- 7:35 a.m.:
$1 million 1351 Cup turf sprint
RACE 3 -- 8:10 a.m.:
$2.5 million Longines Turf Cup
RACE 4 -- 8:45 a.m.:
$1.9 million Obaiya Arabian Classic
RACE 5 -- 9:30 a.m.:
$500K Local Handicap
RACE 6 -- 10:10 a.m.:
$800K Saudi Derby
RACE 7 -- 10:50 a.m.:
$1.5 million Saudi Sprint
RACE 8 -- 11:40 a.m.:
$20 million Saudi Cup


*       *       *

Will mare knock off the boys in the richest race ever?
It's Midnight Bisou vs McKinzie, Mucho Gusto, Maximum Security in $20m Saudi Cup

Richard Hoiles
UK announcer will call races
Almost $30 million in purse money will be up for grabs Saturday morning in eight races simulcast to North America from King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where the time is nine hours later than ours.

UK race caller Richard Hoiles will be manning the microphone as 14 horses from around the world take to the dirt track--modeled after Belmont Park with big sweeping turns--for the inaugural edition of the richest race ever: the $20 million Saudi Cup at 1 1/8-mile. The race card will include three turf races on a brand new turf course.

The biggest headline--especially for Manitoba race fans--is the mare, Midnight Bisou, taking on the boys in the Saudi Cup. Manitoba-bred Escape Clause lost by a mere nose to Midnight Bisou in a Grade 1 stakes at Oaklawn Park last April. And should Midnight Bisou win this race, how much will that win flatter Escape Clause who is baby-making in Japan?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “$20 million gets me off the couch” -- trainer Bob Baffert, talking about the motivation for shipping McKinzie and Mucho Gusto to race in the $20 million Saudi Cup Saturday.
POCKET PLENTY IN '20: Here's a good "under" horse for your tris and supers

When handicapping sprint races, scan the field to see if any horses raced in a route last time, showing speed then tiring late. These are good plays, often at handsome odds, especially in the “under” position in triactors and superfectas.

With stamina from route racing, usually that kind of horse will be held off the pace and make a late charge in the stretch to catch tiring sprinters. If the early pace is fast and contested, that kind of horse can even win the race. A top handicapper in the U.S. once said in a panel discussion that this is his favourite money-making angle.

A.P. Indy (1989-2020) with groom Asa Haley
(Anne M. Eberhardt photo)
TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT ON HALL OF FAME STALLION A. P. INDY who died on Feb. 21 of infirmities of old age at 31 at Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, KY, leaving one of the most impactful legacies of the past three decades in the racing world. Fetching an eye-popping $2.9 million as a yearling (because of his “perfect” conformation and Seattle Slew sire and Secretariat-fathered mother), he proved to be worth every cent. He won the Belmont Stakes, Santa Anita Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic then ultimately commanded a $300,000 breeding fee to produce stamina-laden offspring who had a one-in-eight chance of winning a stakes race, a very high rate.

Bernardini, Mineshaft, Pulpit
and Queen’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard are among his most recognizable progeny. Trainer Neil Drysdale called him “fearless” around people and horses and he was a fan favourite and the “signature” stallion at Lane’s End Farm where, today, his breeder, William S. Farish, and Asa Haley, his long time groom, must be experiencing a deep sense of loss.

: “Anything can happen in a claiming race for 3-year-olds” reads the warning in a book on handicapping. Yup. That’s what killed the “I won bigger” betting group’s pick-5 at Tampa Saturday. A 3-year-old who had gone backwards in his previous two starts reversed form and won. The class drop and first-time Lasix appeared to help more than expected. Oh well, can’t take them all. Or could we -- on at least one back-up ticket.

Maybe that will come as soon as Tampa’s late pick-5 this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza. Also under discussion will be the late pick-4 at Gulfstream Park where the Fountain of Youth prep race is being run. On a positive note, the betting group DID nail a $30 horse in a bottom-level claimer by looking more deeply than at horses’ recent past performances (a “rule”).
THE BEST OF BOB: "Boys from different mares"

Want to learn more about two brothers who dominated the Winnipeg racing scene? Bert Blake said it best, "those two boys came from different mares." Click here for more on Don and Clayton Gray. (First published in September 2012)
  • This Saturday: $20 million Saudi Cup, second Player’s Choice handicapping tournament of the year. Fountain of Youth Kentucky Derby prep race at Gulfstream (enter Countdown Contest).
  • This Sunday: The backstretch Equi-Ciser “merry-go-round” opens for horses
  • Friday, March 6: Three-day Kentucky Derby Future Pool #3 begins. Got a hunch? Bet a bunch!
  • Saturday, March 7: Three Kentucky Derby prep races-- Gotham at Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa, San Felipe at Santa Anita (enter Countdown Contest)
  • Tuesday, March 10: Training track opens, weather permitting
  • Saturday, March 11: Kentucky Derby prep races -- Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway, Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn

EVERY THURSDAY: Dig into super-tender certified Angus prime rib buffets with soup, salad bar, pasta station and signature Bourbon Bacon Brownie dessert every Thursday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. in the ambience-rich Terrace Dining Room. Reserve with Samantha at 204-885-3330 ext. 0.

On your mark . . . get set . . . show!

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