For the Love of Racing, Those Were the Days…

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by Bob With less than a handful of live racing dates left, the end of the 2015 season at Assiniboia Downs is almost upon us.  It has been a challenging year, like others recently, but that seems to be the norm these days. And I have a confession! I love this sport and I couldn’t […]

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Spring, Sprints and a Spike, with record-setting speed

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by Bob Those of us who go back to the early 1980s will know that “Spike” is none other than Northern Spike. He was owned and bred by the late Ivan Dowler in partnership with sons Graham, John and Dan – Graham and John have both passed as well. Spike was a handsome chestnut gelding […]

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Robert James Speers Stakes – The Tradition Continues!

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by Bob Sixty years ago this past July 19, Robert James Speers, the “Father of Thoroughbred Horse Racing on the Canadian Prairies” died as a result of a massive heart attack at his home in River Heights, right here in Winnipeg. Speers was only 72 when he was laid to rest in Elmwood Cemetery.  Wednesday, […]

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Honest Onyx and Exclusive Gold: The dead-heat twins that made history at Assiniboia Downs

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by Bob Today’s flashback in history recalls the 1994 rivalry between Honest Onyx and Exclusive Gold. Robert Ripley, creator of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, would have loved this one. Imagine two thoroughbreds so evenly matched that after running their eyeballs out for seven furlongs the photo finish camera was unable to determine who reached […]

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The Magnificent Seven – Riders at ASD

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by Bob The very title conjures up images of Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen and company! Cue the main theme and seven of the most successful riders in the history of Assiniboia Downs make their entrance on the stage that is our humble 6 1/2-furlong oval. This season marks our 58th year of operation […]

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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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