Hugh and Ruth Jackson, Merry’s Jay, and beautiful music in the 1976 Manitoba Derby

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by Bob When it comes to Derby memories, it gets no better than Merry’s Jay win on August 2, 1976. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple. Hugh and Ruth Jackson were another one of those special husband/wife teams that called Assiniboia Downs home. Our Manitoba Derby goes to post this Monday afternoon […]

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Woodlands’ Wizard – Ed Pawluk

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by Bob When he’s not falling out of trees, Woodlands’ Ed Pawluk can be found hard at work on his 40-acre farm with his partner-for-life, Joyce. Some 40 odd years ago, Ed and Joyce sold the trailer park they owned and operated, moved to Woodlands, and built a house complete with barn and fences. The […]

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Mike Smith. Good guy. Done too soon.

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by Bob If this was a tale about the old west, Michael Somerset Smith would have been one the guys wearing a white Stetson. You know — the one the good guys wore in westerns. Simply put, Mike loved horses, and as a youth he spent as much time as he could at Max Graham’s […]

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Glen Royce Ball, the man they call “GB”

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by Bob Originally from Edmonton, GB came to Winnipeg with his family when he was a youngster. Glen always loved to be around horses and got his start with show horses. Horses were his passion, but he made his living as a “car guy.” GB operated a White Rose service station and later got involved […]

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The day that shaped the face of Assiniboia Downs, September 25, 1957

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by Bob If it is possible to single out a date that marked the “birth” of Assiniboia Downs, Wednesday September 25, 1957 would be that day. On that historic Wednesday Jack Hardy, President of James Enterprises Ltd. announced the appointment of Alexander Gardner “Scotty” Kennedy to the post of General Manager of the “new” Assiniboia […]

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Bobby Q, The Horse that Jack Built

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by Bob This week’s image in our historical rear view mirror belongs to Bobby Q and veteran horseman Jack Robertson from Amaranth, Manitoba. Bobby Q first popped up on the radar screen with his performance in the 10th running of the Minnesota Derby in 1983. Sent postward at 16-1 he persevered in quarters so tight […]

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Mellow moments and memories of Albert and Eileen Blake

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by Bob This past Sunday I woke up early, very early, and poured myself a coffee. I retreated to our deck to enjoy the morning sunrise. The only other living creatures awake at that time were a few chirping song birds. The air was still and all was calm as I fell into a trance-like […]

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Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays! Wife, daughter, cat and the other woman!

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by Bob The month of June has special significance for me. Four of the most important women in my life celebrate birthdays in the month of “leaves and roses,” my wife, Kathy, our daughter, Deena, the cat, Kopy Kat and the “other” woman in my life.  Yes, you heard it right, the other woman. This […]

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Remembering Jim Sorenson, record-setting mystery man

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by Bob It’s been almost 40 years since 22-year-old Jimmy Sorenson lit up the tote board under a star-lit sky at Assiniboia Downs. Patrons in attendance on the evening of Wednesday, June 23, 1976 will not soon forget the riding exhibition put on by the young man from Minnesota. On this evening Sorenson hit the […]

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Raymond Stewart, The Pride of Gladstone — Reflections on a Life Well-Lived!

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by Bob It’s been more than 75 years since Ray Stewart scored his first win as a jockey on the old western prairie circuit. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with the 93-year-old Stewart and reminisce about his horse racing past at his home in Brandon where he lives with his son Melvin. […]

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