Welcome to your favourite corn site!Actually, I'm hearing nothing but positive comments from those of you who "flew over" the corn maze of dueling horses near Stonewall.If you haven't done so yet, click here to view three minutes of aerial footage. It's awesome.It gave me the same tingling sensation I had when I got my first-ever glimpse of mountains travelling through Wyoming as a kid. You have to give credit to the incredible patience of graphic designer Brent Polson who created and mowed the intricate horse-race design using GPS (Global Positioning System) that, he said, is often frustrating to use because of biospheric interference with the satellite images on his receiver.
In other news, it's been a sad week with the death of the world's greatest tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, and I've found myself humming the melody of his signature NessunDorma.How does this relate to horse-racing, you ask?Actually, in a big way for me.He--and the other two tenors he did a recording with--played a big role in my having a very good summer of picking horses. How? I'll tell you why in a moment; it may be instructive.
Also, a crescendo of great live racing starts this weekend with two $45,000 stakes events and builds to a climatic final weekend of racing glory and giveaways: two $70,000 stakes races, a VIP Party, fan appreciation discounts and two tournaments that will send the top horseplayer and the best poker player to Las Vegas to participate in million-dollar events.Let's go ....
BEST HORSE NAME:I think this is one of the best names for a horse I've ever seen. It's a playfully brilliant play on words. The name is: Neighsayer, a horse that raced a couple ofweeks ago at Penn National.I wish I had thought of that one.
HUGE PLACE PRICE:Big bet triggers chatter
It was one of those aberrations that was the talk of the track on Sunday.Suddenly, an additional $4,000 appeared in the win and place pool on Island in the Sky in the sixth race and his odds dropped to 1-9.Unfortunately for the big bettor, his horse, a just-claimed speed horse, was facing another improving speedball on the rail, Shrike's Coin, a horse coincidentally that I had notes on and had keyed in my pick-4 and pick-3 tickets after he had run a very game race last out, giving way very begrudgingly in the closing strides.My horse put away the 1 to 9 horse and he faded to third.Not a happy day for his big backer but the place price on my horse, which normally would have been about $5 to $6, was $36.40.(The win price was $44.90.)The horse that finished second in the race, Windearance, the only strong closer, paid $9 to place, almost three times the expected price. Players are used to seeing occasional giant show bets, by so-called "bridge-jumpers," but this kind of play is a rarity and reminded even grizzled veterans that each race day is an adventure where the unexpected is to be expected.
HOW PAVAROTTI HELPED MY HORSEPLAYING
Making money at the races has more to do with attitude than with the ability to pick horses.A lot of you tell me that.One summer, I discovered all of the right elements to win at the races and, interestingly, the late great tenor Luciano Pavarotti played a role. It was a summer in the early 1990's, a time when live racing was the main game. This was a typical race day:
• I carefully analyzed all races for that particular day at home, referring to notes written in programs saved from previous race days. I circled horses that would be my biggest bets and worked on exotic plays.
• Before leaving for the track--about 90 minutes before post time for the first race--I meditated for about 10 minutes.Meditation, for those who haven't done it, is amazing: it drains all tensions from your body, puts you at peace and energizes you. I can flick a switch in my brain and do it instantly anywhere anytime. I liken it to recharging a battery.
• On the drive to the track, timed so I got there well ahead of the replays from the previous day's races, I listened to a tape of The Three Tenors: Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras.NessunDorma was my favourite. I found the music liberating and arrived at the track with a clear, refreshed brain.
• I watched televised replays from the previous day of live racing and documented how the races went, making notes of horses who perhaps got into trouble, were making a big move and got shut off, got into a heated pace duel, etc. and I saved those programs.
• I made my bets and, overall throughout the summer, made money.More importantly, I proved I could do it and showed what it took to do it.It was very enjoyable.
My attitude throughout was this:racing is a season, not a day. Ups and downs on a particular day would be irrelevant and emotions would be kept in check because of this.I realized I had achieved my desired mental state when a jockey's less-than-perfect ride cost me $5,000 in triactor winnings but I remained perfectly calm.Friends were asking me why I wasn't kicking the furniture; I have to say it really didn't bother me because I had acknowledged this was part of racing. I was even surprised at myself.
These days I have to confess I'm a crazy man, playing everything in sight, although from time to time I get a grip again, usually after a bad losing streak, and have reversed the tide with huge wins, usually in superfectas in maiden claiming races, my specialty. I know what it takes to be a winner because I've done it.I hope you find something here that can help you become as good a horseplayer and money-maker as you want to be, too.
CHAMPIONSHIP RACES:Last chance for VIP stamp
This is your second-last weekend of top-calibre stakes races at the Downs and your last chance to get your VIP Party Card stamped to gain entry into the VIP party on the final day of live racing, Sunday, Sept. 23.Manitoba-breds will duke it out this weekend in route races: Saturday, it's the $45,000 J.W. Sifton for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles; Sunday, 2-year-olds get their chance to go the testing distance of one mile in the $45,000 Buffalo Stakes.Remember:six filled-in spaces on your VIP Party Card will have you enjoying free food, beverages and a T-shirt in the Finish Line on the final day of live racing while you're enjoying the $70,000 Gold Breeders' Cup (for the best horses on the grounds, 3-years-and-up) and the $45,000 Winnipeg Futurity for the best 2-year-olds.
FINAL SIX DAYS OF LIVE:What to expect
What should players be asking themselves as they bet the final six days of live races?
• What horses are game and which horses aren't?Horses coming off big wins are game.Those dropping in class or coming off a layoff often aren't. Horses coming off a layoff are to be regarded suspiciously; because the season is ending, a trainer may simply put a horse into a race just in case he can nab a bit of the purse (which is paid to horses finishing anywhere in the top six positions).
• Look at horses coming from Fargo as well.Marq Time, a horse who had previously raced in Fargo, was ignored at the windows in race two last Sunday and paid $72.60 when he won. • Horses claimed out of their last race are usually worth looking at, too.
FUN 'N' GAME$: Six days left to "show" off
Are you going to let CharlesScotlend walk off with $100 and the trophy for the best show-parlayer of the season without a fight?You have six days of live racing left to unseat the current show king and beat his $450. Just play the free show parlay challenge on the live card from races .Sure, $450 is a huge amount to shoot for, but a couple of longshots could do it for you.A longshot in the third and fifth races would probably do it.Maybe play the parlay with that in mind!(See the current top-10 parlayers of the season listed on the Show Parlay Challenge Honour Roll on the main floor at the Downs.)Top winners from the past week:
• Best show parlayers:Congrats to Rob Clakewho turned his mythical $10 into $173 by letting his money ride in the show pool in races . Off track, AdolfLattaturned his $10 into $99 at the Selkirk OTB.
• Friday's Insta-Frame Fantastic Fan:Dave Shand'sname was chosen from show parlay entrants to make a Winners' Circle presentation and get a framed photo and jockey's autographed picture marking the special occasion.
• Best at poker:Friday--Doug Oberek $100, Larry Liebriecht $50, Andrew McNaught $25. Saturday--Harry Woroniuk $100, Gail Peltz $50, Tom Papaioannou $25. Top two also get into Sept. 23 finale for trip to World Series of Poker.
• Best newspaper selector:George Williams of the Free Press appears to have an insurmountable lead over the Sun's Bill Bilous174 to 162.
HORSEPLAY TIP OF THE WEEK:Rate your horse
How much will your horse win by?If you say "four or five lengths," bet him to win.If you say "two or three lengths," bet him to place.If you say "one length" or less, bet him to show.Again and again you'll notice horses that should win easily just squeeze out a victory.So, generally speaking, you should bet a horse to win only when you feel the horse is far superior.Another time to bet a horse to win is when the odds on him are higher than you think they should be. The return on your bet when you do win that kind of bet should be high enough to compensate you for the times you don't win--and then some.
NEW WINNING LUCKY NUMBER$ for this week:Did you pick up a free Lucky Number card for September when you were at the track on the Labour Day long weekend?If the number on your card matches one of these numbers, you're a winner!$25 winner: 0829$10 winners: 0490, 0711 $5 winners: 0585, 0120, 0689, 0643, 1014.Claim your prize atwww.assiniboiadowns.com See additional lucky numbers worth up to $200 posted weekly on the Lucky Numbers page on the website.
TEXAS BARBEQUE BEEF RIBS.Need I say more?That finger-licking entree headlines tonight's big bold Texas-themed Taste the World all you can eat buffet in the Terrace Dining Room which also features Texas tortilla soup, potato salad with creamy cajun dressing, slow-smoked barbeque pulled pork, Texas pecan-pie and--need I say more?I just love those ribs!From to , all you can eat $14.95.Full menu.Next Thursday's theme:Greek.Phone 885-3330 to reserve.
UPCOMING EVENTS:Next weekend marks an end and a beginning:The end of live racing and a countdown to the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Championship and to the biggest celebrations in Downs' history: it's 50th birthday year. Lots of excitement is brewing.Stay tuned.
STANDARDBRED TRIPLE CROWN: Little Brown Jug goes Thursday
Always a Virgin captures first leg of Triple Crown
Always a Virgin, an easy victor in the Cane Pace on Labour Day at Freehold Raceway--the first leg of standardbred's Triple Crown--will enter the second leg next Thursday, the $541,000 Little Brown Jug, in Delaware, Ohio, as the prohibitive favourite. This 62nd edition of this premier event for 3-year-old pacers is now so big it costs $110 to rent box seats at the half-mile track. The Triple Crown has been won only 10 times since its 1956 inception. The Jugette, for female 3-year-old pacers, goes on Wednesday. Simulcasting for both race cards, which are filled with special races, is The final leg for the pacing Triple Crown will be held at Yonkers on the biggest day in thoroughbred racing, Breeders' Cup Day, Oct. 27.