Thursday, May 14, 2020

Assiniboia Downs The Insider E-Newsletter

Vol. 15  No. 19 (Issue #738)

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

NOTE: You’ll receive your next Insider next Friday -- which will be the publishing day throughout the ASD live race season to bring the publication day closer to the Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday live race schedule. Horses for Monday’s card will be drawn on Thursdays, Tuesday's card on Fridays and Wednesday's card on Saturdays.


What a deal! Register today!


Kicking off an unusual live race season with Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday racing at 7:30 p.m., ASD will deliver FREE TO YOUR WINNIPEG HOME NEXT SUNDAY ALL THREE RACE PROGRAMS FOR THE FIRST THREE DAYS OF RACING!

To receive the free programs, register now by calling 204-885-3330 ext. 225.
Tell your friends about it so they can receive programs, too.

Programs will be delivered by ASD staff on Sunday, May 24.

JUST ANNOUNCED: $10,000 guaranteed pick-4 pools at ASD through May and June.

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Live racing to begin with a bang a week from Monday
Three overnight stakes races start the journey to the Gold Cup, Matron and Oaks

What a start to ASD’s 50-day live meet that begins, without spectators, Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday starting a week from this Monday. In overnight stakes races on each of those days, the journey begins to the Gold Cup for top horses on the grounds, the Manitoba Matron for top mare and the Manitoba Oaks for top 3-year-old filly:
  • On Monday, May 25, thrill to the Go Go Lolo Overnight Stakes featuring top mares. Ultimate goal: Manitoba Matron in September.
  • On Tuesday, May 26, it’s the Liz’s Pride Overnight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Ultimate goal: Manitoba Oaks in July.
  • And on Wednesday, May 27, it’s the Iwoodificould Overnight Stakes that showcases horses who ultimately may tangle in September in the Gold Cup Stakes.
STAKES RACES NAMED TO HONOUR PAST STARS: Those stakes races are named to honour past stars at the Downs. Who doesn’t remember the exciting stretch kick of Murray Duncan’s mare, Go Go Lolo, who won seven stakes races in 2014-2015? Or the unprecedented seven races in a row won by June Sifton’s Liz’s Pride as a 2-year-old? Or the back-to-back Free Press Stakes victories in 2004-2005 by Emile Corbel’s stallion, IwoodifIcould, who won more than a third of his 34 starts?



About 6 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. -- Click WATCH WORKOUTS atop the ASD home page at to watch daily workouts
12:00 p.m.
-- Gulfstream
2:45 p.m.
-- New! Golden Gate
6:00 p.m.
-- New! Charles Town
6:00 p.m.
-- Remington
8:00 p.m.
-- Australia.
Download racing schedule here
  • 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 are 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 ( account which you can open by calling 204-885-3330 ext. 225. Telephone wagering is also available at 204-885-9800.
(Assiniboia Downs remains closed to the public.)

Bullet briefs . . .

  • Churchill unveils loads of Kentucky Derby prep races
  • How to win more by spending less
  • Why will stallions be limited to fewer mates?
  • A Canadian is the new race-caller in New Mexico
  • Famous COVID doctor has a horse named after him

So the contest to win a $200 bankroll to play the Kentucky Derby is in a holding pattern awaiting the final two races in the contest: the Santa Anita Derby and the Wood Memorial. The Wood, if it goes, would be held at Belmont Park. So watch this space to submit your picks when the races are about to be held. See leader board here.

Click to enlarge.

  • $300K carryover today in Golden Gate’s 20-cent Golden pick-6. First post: 2:45 p.m.
  • About $200K carryover today in Gulfstream’s 20-cent Rainbow pick-6. First post: 12 p.m.

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MANITOBA HORSE RACING COMMISSION OFFICES NOW OPEN: The Manitoba Horse Racing Commission office in the ASD backstretch is now open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., reports Dara Johnson who overseas the MHRC operations for Manitoba’s Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA).

This is the first year for the integration of the MHRC into the LGCA. “In response to COVID-19,” Johnson says, “increased sanitation of public service areas, and social distancing measures are in place, limiting customer service to two persons in the office at any one time.”

She also tells The Insider that Thoroughbred Rulings from the stewards will be posted in a timely fashion on the Commission website at This is especially important at a time when the postings in the race office will be missed by many. The Commission phone number is 204-885-7770.


Suddenly, a Derby deluge

Churchill Downs announces a panoply of qualifying races for the Kentucky Derby

There’s lots of time before the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in September -- so why not have more qualifying races for the Derby? That seems to be the thought process of Churchill Downs who, this week, unveiled a panoply of races to be run over the next three months throughout the U.S. (with Derby qualifying points for the top four finishers in parenthesis):

  • East: Haskell (100-40-20-10) and Pegasus (20-8-4-2) at Monmouth Park.
  • Midwest: Matt Winn (50-20-10-5); Indiana Derby (20-8-4-2); Blue Grass (100-40-20-10); and Ellis Park Derby (50-20-10-5).
  • West: Santa Anita Derby (100-40-20-10); Los Alamitos Derby (20-8-4-2); and Del Mar's Shared Belief (50-20-10-5).

*       *        *

INSEPARABLE STARS: “I cannot separate those horses right now,” trainer Bob Baffert says of Nadal, Authentic and Charlatan. “I really couldn't tell you – even off the record,” he told a reporter. “They're three really talented horses and they're all different. Charlatan is all speed like Justify was. Nadal just won't go away. And Authentic just floats over the ground.”


140 and done

Jockey Club sets mating limit for stallions to diversify gene pool

Sets mating limit for stallions

When it comes time for this year’s crop of colts to begin mating, they won’t be able to service more than 140 mares a season, states a new regulation by The Jockey Club in Kentucky. And that’s a good thing, says Sherisse Ziprick of Ziprick thoroughbred breeding in Russell, Man. “The industry needs a reset button and this regulation should do that - a balancing of bloodlines.  The gene pool has become less diverse than it should be and I don’t think that is what this industry is about.

“If you look at the statistics for the stallions covering more than 140 mares from, say, fifteen years ago compared to today,”
she said, “I think the numbers have almost doubled.  And I think I read that almost one third of mares today are going to these stallions.”

*       *        *
Russell breeders Sherisse and Cam Ziprick: Will new foals lead to more of this?
NEW FOALS OFFER LOTS OF PROMISE: How’s this for future promise for Manitoba foals? Born these past few months at Ziprick Thoroughbreds in Russell, Man. were full sisters to Escape Clause, Hidden Grace and Why So Blue.

Escape Clause earned more than $1 million, Hidden Grace is unbeaten nine-for-nine, all stakes and Why So Blue has a record of 13-7-3-0.) Also, Sherisse Ziprick told The Insider, Runaway Delite has a super racy-looking Going Commando filly.  Loving the KY Bears! (Kentucky Bear is the farm’s main breeding stallion). We are just so lucky with the horses we have and having a friend like Charlie (Fouillard) to do this with.”
POCKET PLENTY IN '20: How to WIN MORE by spending less

What are the odds of favourites winning all legs of a pick-6? About 1 per cent. And the odds of favourites winning five legs? About 2 per cent. And the chances of four favourites winning is about 5%. So, do I have to say it? Putting favourites in all legs of your pick-6 just doesn’t make economic sense.

Find your two BEST favourites, key them and go deeper in other legs (no favourites!) Or play a ticket that keys one of those two favourites and a different favourite and then go deeper in other legs. Makes practical sense, doesn’t it? The author of a book on employing that betting strategy proved it!

FAUCI PREPS FOR RACING: It had to happen -- a horse named for a central figure in this coronavirus world. Trainer Wesley Ward is high on 2-year-old Fauci, a colt named for Dr. Anthony Fauci who has been a steadying influence in U.S. coronavirus briefing sessions at the White House. ”He’s a Malibu Moon colt (bought for $175K at a yearling sale last year) and he’s been doing really, really good,” Ward has been quoted as saying. Hey, the world could use another Fauci!

CANADIAN CALLS RACES IN NEW MEXICO: Mike Dimoff, born near Toronto and a former race caller at Northlands Park in Alberta and Fort Erie in Ontario, will now call the races at Ruidodo Downs in New Mexico when the meet opens a week from tomorrow. He’s calling the races part-time as he continues his job as critical care pediatric nurse at a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The approval of $330 million in race track funding by the Maryland state legislature guarantees that the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of America’s Triple Crown, will continue to be run at Pimlico which is in dilapidated shape. Under the plan, a renovated Pimlico would be a year-round event and community centre while racetrack property is ceded to the city and the other Maryland track, Laurel, will get a new stable area, training facility and synthetic racing surface

You don’t hear of race fans being in tears over a horse’s performance but that’s apparently what happened when Vigors, a horse dubbed ”the White Tornado,” soared from 20 lengths back of the pack to win the 1978 Santa Anita Handicap. “The big, white tornado was a huge fan favourite and people were literally crying as he crossed the wire,” recalls “Shasta Sam” in an online comment following the induction of that horse’s rider, Darrel McHargue--now a head steward at Santa Anita--into the U.S. Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Watch that thriller of a race here.

This is amusing, actually. Flashbacks of sports events on TV have their own vernacular. If you’re watching a past football or baseball game, you’re watching a “rewind” but if you’re watching a hockey game, you’re watching a “classic.” And what about a flashback Olympic event? That’s a “replay.” And this column uses “flashback” for races. Hey, the word “encore” is still up for grabs!.

who are--and should be--celebrating National Nurses Week. They are the bravest of the brave and can’t be thanked enough for doing what they do.
FINAL FLASHBACK: Bob's favourite column

Because a fresh new batch of Bob’s columns are on the way for the live race season, let’s conclude this flashback series with Bob’s all-time favourite column written in July 2018.

Plentiful's 2017 Manitoba Derby Triumph Provides Storybook Ending
“This was so easy to pick,” Bob says. “You want a heart-warming story with a fairy tale type ending you need go no further than Duncan-Stewart 2017 Manitoba Derby win. Garylle Stewart was taken from us on Derby Day in 2016 and, in storybook fashion, the stable led by Garylle's daughter, Audrey, and co-owner/trainer, Murray Duncan, dusted themselves off and won the Manitoba Derby with Plentiful on the first anniversary of Garylle's passing. My friends, it gets no better than that!” Read it here.

Bob celebrates the glories of ASD’s past with a new series of columns.
Manitoba Jockey Club president Harvey Warner to be honoured at Sovereign Awards program online Tuesday 7 p.m.
  • Today: Golden Gate meet begins at 2:45 p.m. Charles Town begins 6 p.m.
  • Tomorrow: Santa Anita begins 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 19: Watch Sovereign Awards 7 p.m. at with MJC president receiving a special award--online--for lifelong contributions to the sport
  • Wednesday, May 20: “I won bigger” play at Tampa
  • Saturday, May 23: Kentucky Derby prep race--the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill; “I won bigger” online group play. Ruidoso racing from New Mexico begins 2 p.m. with a Canadian announcer
  • Monday, May 25: First day of live racing from ASD 7:30 p.m. No spectators. Online and operator assisted betting only. Go Go Lolo overnight stakes race (prep for the Manitoba Matron).
  • Tuesday, May 26: ASD live racing 7:30 p.m. Liz’s Pride overnight stakes race (prep race for Manitoba Oaks).
  • Wednesday, May 27: ASD live racing 7:30 p.m. Iwouldificould overnight stakes race (prep race for Gold Cup)
NEW PUBLISHING DAY for The Insider: Friday -- which will continue throughout ASD’s live race season.
Remind your friends to open a betting account so they’re ready to
play live races a week from Monday! (Their first $20 in wagers are free!)

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