Thursday, April 30, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 17 (Issue #736)

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

TGTR! (Thank Goodness There’s Racing!):
  • ATTN: WINNIPEG PLAYERS -- TWICE-A-DAY HOME DELIVERIES, PICK-UPS CONTINUE: Call 204-885-3330 ext. 225 before 10 a.m. and an ASD staffer will deliver race programs or pick up a deposit at your home by 2 p.m. Call before 2 p.m. and the delivery/pick-up will be made by 5 p.m. Distancing protocols will be in place.
  • FREE ONLINE RACE PROGRAMS will be emailed to Manitoba players. Email your request to Sheri at Please specify whether you’d like an Equibase or DRF program
  • WHERE TO BET: Bet on your phone, laptop or computer through an HPI (Horse Player Interactive) account which you can open by calling 204-885-3330 ext. 225. Telephone wagering is also available at 204-885-9800.
Click on image to go to the ASD morning workouts page

About 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. -- Click WATCH WORKOUTS atop the ASD home page at to watch daily workouts (see right)
12:00 p.m.
-- Gulfstream -- Rainbow pick-6 carryover about $500K
1:30 p.m.
-- Oaklawn
6:00 p.m.
-- Remington
8:00 p.m.
-- Australia.
Download racing schedule here.

(Assiniboia Downs remains closed to the public at this tiime)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Triple Crown winners return to Churchill to face off in a virtual race to see who's best
  • Will Baffert speedsters sweep both divisions of the Arkansas Derby Saturday?
  • Harbinger of good luck? Escape Clause's sister is born on Escape Clause's birthday
  • "Crunching in place" is the way a group player celebrates group's big win Saturday
  • New! Bob does a Top 10 countdown of his favourite columns

Who’s going to win each of the two divisions of the Arkansas Derby on Saturday? Only if you’ve entered this contest before, email your picks to to accumulate more points to win a $200 bankroll and also to get into two draws for unique Kentucky Derby glasses. Download Saturday’s Oaklawn program here. See contest leaderboard here.
Secretariat returns!

What a brilliant idea!

100 years of Triple Crown winners face off Saturday in a virtual race at Churchill

What a brilliant idea! With this weekend’s originally-scheduled Kentucky Derby postponed to the first Saturday in September, Churchill Downs will broadcast a virtual Kentucky Derby consisting of all 13 Triple Crown winners in the past 100 years engaging in a computer-simulated race. Using algorithms and those horses’ past performances, Inspired Entertainment has produced the race.

The showdown will air on NBC in a special three-hour “healthy-at-home” broadcast from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) that will also include virtual tours, Derby cocktail and fascinator-making instructions, ideas for party decorations, kids’ crafts, Derby-inspired recipes, an at-home Derby fashion contest and more. Donations are also being solicited at for COVID-19 relief efforts.

No wagering will be offered but The Insider is holding a contest on the race. Predict the top four winners of the race in the correct order to win $100 (deposited into your HPI account) and, if no one gets the first four, then the first three in the correct order to win $50. (Ties will be broken by a draw.) Send your top four in the correct order to by 1 p.m. Saturday. Must have a Manitoba HPI account to qualify.

Entries and odds (with the date each won the Triple Crown):

Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes. Is he a slam-dunk to win Triple Crown showdown?
Sir Barton  (1919) 20-1
Gallant Fox
 (1930) 20-1
(1935) 20-1
War Admiral
 (1937) 8-1
 (1941) 6-1
Count Fleet
 (1943) 6-1
(1946) 20-1
 (1948) 4-1
 (1973) 7-2
Seattle Slew
 (1977) 5-1
 (1978) 5-1
American Pharoah
 (2015) 6-1
(2018) 15-1 See post positions here.

MY TOP-FOUR PREDICTION: Secretariat, Sir Barton, Affirmed, Seattle Slew.
What’s yours? Email your picks by 1 p.m. Saturday.

Will Baffert sweep both divisions of the Arkansas Derby?

He's got the guns--Nadal and Charlatan--to make Saturday Bob Baffert Day at Oaklawn

Will it be Bob Baffert Day at Oaklawn Park Saturday? With four months until the likely running of the Kentucky Derby, he’s got the guns to win both divisions of the Arkansas Derby.
  • His Charlatan will race in one division. Despite not having raced in a stakes race, the colt--unbeaten in two lesser races--was the 5-1 favourite to win the Kentucky Derby in the last Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool.
  • His Nadal, the very impressive winner of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, will race in the other division: He was the 9-1 third choice to win the Kentucky Derby in the Derby future pool.
Although he’s known primarily as a California trainer, Baffert has won the Arkansas Derby twice--with American Pharoah in 2015--who went on to win the Triple Crown--and with Bodemeister in 2012.

Be sure to make picks in the Arkansas Derby’s two divisions to earn points to win a $200 bankroll to play the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. See Fun & Games above.

A harbinger of good luck?
Escape Clause's sister is born on Escape Clause's birthday

Is this an omen of good things to come? A sister of Manitoba’s greatest horse, Escape Clause, was born at the Ziprick Thoroughbred farm in Russell, Man. on April 11, the same day that Escape Clause was born. Like sister like sister?

This is Escape Clause’s second sister. Her first, 2-year-old Reasonable Cause--who needed more than 100 stitches to close an injury suffered when lighting struck her enclosure in Kentucky last fall--is being prepared to race this summer, with fingers crossed that her injury won’t limit her physical abilities.

The three sisters were fathered by Going Commando and their mother is Danger Pay.

“We are super excited to have another sibling on the ground!”
said Sherisse Ziprick. “She is a very leggy filly, correct, and with lots of muscle. She was bred and is owned by Cam Ziprick, Charlie Fouillard and Barry Arnason.”

Escape Clause, who earned more than $1 million racing at 13 different tracks over a three-year period, was purchased at a Kentucky auction in November for $300,000 U.S. by a Japanese breeder who shipped her to his Northern Farm on Hokkaido Island in northern Japan where she is now in foal.

"Crunching in place"
Player treats himself to bacon at home after "I won bigger" group wins $8,445

If these were “normal” times, participants in the “I won bigger” betting group would be looking forward to a bacon treat at the Downs this Saturday because the group collected $8,445 for winning Oaklawn’s pick-5 several times last Saturday. But since these aren’t normal times--with players “sheltering in place” making online plays from home--participants are invited to do what group player Ken Faulkner did. He self-crunched at home.

“I had bacon to celebrate,”
he emailed the Downs. Each $20 group share was worth $122.40, thanks to the fact that a player’s “guaranteed” winner, Unrighteous at 3-5, finished fourth in the last race while a 25-1 bomber came through for the group. (See POCKET PLENTY IN ’20 below to see why this was a solid bettable horse.) If the “guaranteed” horse had won, each share would have been worth just $24.75.

But Ken and other group players can still look forward to a group bacon treat when get-togethers resume at the Downs. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice for the group to “bank” a bunch of bacon-treat days which it can do with more big wins.

*       *        *

BREAK-EVEN AT FONNER LAST NIGHT: Playing Fonner Park’s mandatory pick-5 payout last night, the “I won bigger” group had ALL horses in the final leg with a chance to win thousands but--boo-hoo--the lowest group payout horse won and each $20 share paid $21.75. Oh well, the races were still fun to watch and the entertainment cost nothing!

*       *        *

GROUP PLAY RETURNS TO OAKLAWN ON SATURDAY: Online “I won bigger” group play will centre on Oaklawn Park’s late pick-5 Saturday which will be the biggest day in racing that day with the running of two divisions of the Arkansas Derby.

POCKET PLENTY IN '20: A trouble line may point to a longshot winner

Longshot Les hits many longshots simply by paying close attention to trouble comments in horses’ past performance lines. Which is exactly what the “I won bigger” betting group players did Saturday in Oaklawn Park’s last race. “Bobbled at the start” said the trouble line for #3 Violent Pass at 25-1 in his previous race. His past performance line showed he had started 12th in that race but then charged up with decent pace numbers.

What if he got away alertly on Saturday? Which he did--and the rest is history. The betting group collected $8,445 when it had him in their pick-5, ignoring the player who “guaranteed” #4, Unrighteous, was a “single” on group tickets. See program page here.

WILL A SEPTEMBER KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER BE VIEWED LESS FAVOURABLY? An online poll in the daily Paulick Report on racing asked this question: “How will you look upon a September Kentucky Derby race and winner compared to usual?” The results:
  • More esteem -- 20%
  • No change -- 37%
  • Less esteem -- 43%
TURF PARADISE OWNER DONATES $1 MILLION TO CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND: Negative comments were flying in the ASD Race Book last month about Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms when he quickly closed the Arizona track in the wake of the coronavirus threat and initially gave horsemen little time to ship their horses elsewhere. But now we learn he has given $1 million to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund for which he has earned the comment “Classy move by Mr. Simms” in an online discussion section. The money will be used for protective medical gear for frontline workers and help food banks, homeless shelters and domestic violence facilities.

Of the 155 columns track historian Bob Gates has written since 2012, what are his Top 10 favourites and why? We begin the countdown today with #10.

#10: Strawberry Shortcake, a Leather Coat and the Flying Filly
(from August 2018).“My story of Ruling Lark kicks off my list of favourites because of the special memories the "Flying Filly" bestowed on Bobby Dimma's wife Sandy of a night of celebration so many years ago.” READ IT HERE.
  • This Saturday: Arkansas Derby Kentucky Derby prep race at Oaklawn Park. “Healthy in place” showdown of all Triple Crown winners in a virtual race at Churchill Downs--televised on NBC from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. “I won bigger” betting group play at Oaklawn.
  • Wednesday, May 6: “I won bigger” betting group play at a track to be determined.
  • Sunday, May 24:  Target date for the kick-off of ASD’s live race meet. See race schedule  here
So who’s going to finish in the top four in Saturday’s Triple Crown showdown? Email your entry to by 1 p.m. Saturday to win $100.

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

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