Top o' the week . . .
• Reeves wins whipping appeal
• Sign up: Win Vegas, pet a horse, book a seat for RCMP ride
• New contest! How many Olympic medals will Canadians win?
• Needle found in messy truck; trainer fined
• Stats watch: Nolan's "zero" is an aberration
• Jennifer Reid: hand-ride of the week
• Sizzling stakes this weekend: Jim Dandy and Haskell
| New contest! How many gold, silver, bronze will Canada win?
How many gold medals, how many silver medals and how many bronze medals will Canadian athletes score in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games that begin Friday in London, England? You have until Friday midnight to make a prediction. Four years ago in Beijing, Canadians earned 3 - 9 - 6 (three gold, nine silver and six bronze). Will they improve on that? Email your gold-silver-bronze prediction to theinsider@ASDowns.com by Friday midnight. Prizes: To the closest (without going over): a race night buffet for two and your choice from two ASD wearing apparel items. PLUS a $100 wagering voucher if all three of your medal predictions are dead-on. Go, Canada, go! And go, contest entrant, go! Only one entry per person and per email address, please.
LAST WEEK'S "WE HAVEN'T LOST HOPE" CONTEST: When will the Blue Bombers win and by how much? Here are your predictions. They lost to Toronto last Wednesday so they're now zero for four. They play Edmonton tomorrow--at home, finally--and Montreal a week from Friday. Schedule.
Danger (didn't) Rule
On track to have a record-breaking year as a trainer, Irene Britton was all smiles in the Winners' Circle Friday when her #2 Kola Kat ($8.50), ridden by Tim Moccasin, put away the prohibitive 1-2 favourite Danger Rules (#3) and Charlie Waffles (#1) to win the colts and geldings division of the $15,000 Gold Strike Mile for 3-year-olds. Her horses’ earnings of $68,000 this season is just $8,000 short of her total earnings last year which was her best year since she started training in 2002. She has seven wins in 59 starts. The personable trainer also won with Energy One ($5.80) last Wednesday for the same Let Er Rip Stable, Moccasin also riding. Larry Falloon can take credit for having bred Kola Kat.
Trainer Irene Britton and jockey Tim Moccasin after Kola Kat's victory
Reeves wins whipping appeal
"Not adequately informed" of what is abusive, MHRC rules
Jockey Robert Reeves has won his appeal to overturn a $500 fine for "abusive" whipping because "he was not adequately informed" of whipping rules at ASD, the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission ruled yesterday.
But also, in a written decision acting chairman Tom Goodman said "one of the greatest and gravest responsibilities of the Commission is to guard against cruelty to horses" and ordered the stewards to warn jockeys now that lifting a whip over the shoulder, as Reeves did with Coles Cave in a race on June 30, constitutes "abusive" whipping which will result in fines that start at $500.
He noted, however, there was no evidence that Coles Cave suffered as a result of being whipped in that manner and that today's cushion whips motivate the horse through the whapping sound rather than the bite.
Reeves has a distinctive "windmill" action whereby he swings his whip from under his head and above it and then comes down on the horse. He did that six times on June 30 which resulted in the fine. However, evidence at his appeal showed he had not been warned this could be abusive. He was simply given a form that said a jockey should strike a horse no more than three or four times in a row, then wait for the horse to respond.
Read full decision here.
Fri & Sat next week
ME! Saturday evening is your third chance to earn a $3,500 trip to Las Vegas (where you'll play in a $1 million event) by entering the Get Serious Las Vegas Horseplayer Challenge. Bet $2 win/place on a horse in each live race that begins 7 p.m. The highest money-earner wins the trip. Entry fee is $50; less if you qualified for discounts by having picked three winners in race cards this month. Phone 885-3330 ext. 225 to sign up immediately.
TOUCH ME! Sunday morning is your monthly opportunity to visit restricted areas of the track--press box, judges' viewing area, jockey quarters, starting gate--and visit horses in the stables with a jockey and trainer ready to answer your questions. Capped off with lunch in Charley's Diner in the backstretch. A memorable visit to be sure. Bring a friend(s)! Sign up for $10 (includes lunch) at Guest Services.
SEE ME! Next week, Friday and Saturday, the famed RCMP Musical Ride will perform during live racing. Plus thoroughbred racing and the fastest horses in the world--quarter horses! Watch from the best seats in the house--the third floor of the grandstand. A reserved box of four is $50. A single rush seat (first-come, first-seated) is $5. Get your tickets at Guest Services or phone 885-3330. Still some openings for the buffet in the Terrace Dining Room, too!
HOTTIES OF THE WEEK:
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
Hottest jock: Rohan Singh, Jennifer Reid (5 wins)
Hottest trainer: Shelley Brown (5 wins)
Biggest upset: Emerald's Diamond $34.40 (Wednesday's 5th)
Biggest 20-cent superfecta: $1,754 Wednesday's 5th (3-6-5-7)
BOB'S BLOG TODAY: What horse in history has won more races at ASD than any other? What horse holds a remarkable win rate? Are they the same horse? No. Bob explains why in today's On Track with George, Rob & Bob.
ROB'S BLOG FRIDAY: Rob's picked a winner and a second-place finisher last weekend. So where does his bankroll stand now? Read him Friday at On Track with George, Rob & Bob .
ASD stats an aberration
Nolan won 22% of his route races at Sam Houston
How could jockey Paul Nolan be second in the jockey standings but have zero wins for 15 starts in route races this season at ASD? That's something I wondered about after last week's Insider in which I pointed out that stats-oriented players might have used that stat to back away from playing his horses in route races, one of which was the 1 1/16 miles Harry Jeffrey Stakes where his horse, Balooga Bull, finished third.
Past route record enviable
So I looked back at a full year of Nolan's stats at Sam Houston for 2010. Well, there was certainly nothing wrong with his route record back then; in fact he had 27 wins from 125 starts, a huge 22 per cent. Only jockey Chris Landeros was ahead of him with 24 per cent wins.
So his current record at ASD appears to be an aberration--he's just having a dry spell or the trainers he's riding for are more adept with sprinters than routers.
Regardless of the reason, it's likely only a matter of time before his route wins match his success in sprints.
(Those who misread last week's column, thinking it was about Nolan's ability were plain wrong. The column just pointed out a stats angle, nothing more, nothing less. Some players are persuaded more by stats than anything else. That is a similar strategy used by some stock market investors who use the "technicals"--i.e. the peaks and valleys of a graph--to buy or sell a stock rather than information about the company or its principals.)
QUOTABLE QUOTE: "Having a cluttered truck does not constitute an excuse." -- The Manitoba Horse Racing Commission in fining trainer Chad Torevell $1,500 after a hypodermic needle was discovered in a bunch of stuff on the floor of his truck behind the driver's seat. They determined the syringe had fallen out of a bag of used syringes placed there for disposal by his former wife, Dr. Cara Torevell, a veterinarian, but would have been noticed by Chad if his truck weren’t so messy. Torevell could have been barred for six months if the Commission had determined the syringe belonged to him.
Ex-wife's needle leads to fine
Quick bits . . .
Reid hand-rides like a veteran in the big leagues
Cool as a cucumber
Watching jockey Jennifer Reid win aboard High Toned ($4.40) in Saturday's second race clinched it for me. She's one amazing jockey, at 23 way ahead of her years in riding smarts. She's still an apprentice (until the third last day of live racing) but rides like a veteran in the big leagues. Go to replays and watch that race (July 21, race 2). She just sits there, barely flinching, hand-riding High Toned to the wire, not panicking when horses come up to her, feeling confident she can ward off all comers just doing what she's doing, cool as a cucumber. A breathtaking performance and a treat to watch. She is third in the jockey standings with 34 wins. Rohan Singh leads with 43. Paul Nolan has 40.
CONGRATS TO SELMAN: Another apprentice female jock, Alyssa Selman (nee Harder) suddenly tripled her winning record Saturday by bagging two races--the first aboard the Gary Aimonetti-trained Ring Chest ($3.50) in the first race and then again in the third race aboard Sis Draper ($4.80) conditioned by Clayton Gray. That gives her three wins for 26 starts on the season.
SHELLEY OVERTAKES BLAIR: With five last week, Shelley Brown has taken over from Blair Miller as top trainer at the Downs. They both have the same number of wins (23) but Brown's horses have 25 seconds compared to seven for Miller.
FIDGITY FELON COLLARED: Politics usually stays out of the Winners' Circle but not at Ellis Park in Kentucky. When Ghost Chapel won the fifth race last Friday the owners unfurled a giant blanket with the words NICK HERMANN FOR PROSECUTOR emblazoned across it. Fittingly, the prosecutor's supporters could already claim to be doing their bit because their horse had collared a horse named Fidgity Felon who faded to third.
HONEY TIP WORKS FOR READER’S SON: A reader thanked me for writing how applying honey to my wasp bite stopped the sting. (See this Insider.) He said his 8-year-old son was bitten by two wasps, on the head and on the arm, and honey also worked for him. “It was unbelievable,” the reader said.
Looking forward to . . .
Sizzlin' stakes: Jim Dandy at Saratoga, Haskell at Monmouth
It's high summer which means it's time to follow the fortunes again of 3-year-olds we got to know in the Triple Crown of racing. Gemologist, unbeaten in five races until his clunker in the Kentucky Derby, has been training exceptionally well said trainer Todd Pletcher with a view to entering him in one of these summer biggies: the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga Saturday or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Sunday.
GOLD STRIKE MILE (FILLIES DIVISION) AT ASD THIS FRIDAY: This week it's the Manitoba-bred girls who will be doing battle in the $15,000 Gold Strike Mile.
NOTE! NO RACING WEDNESDAY BEFORE AND AFTER DERBY: There will be no live racing a week from today, Wednesday, or the following Wednesday, Aug. 8, because of the Derby long weekend of racing--Friday night, Aug. 3, Saturday night, Aug. 4 and holiday Monday afternoon at 1 p.m., Derby Day.
Win $100 for your hat
ENTER HAT CONTEST! (Or pass this message along.) $300 is up for grabs on Derby Day, Aug. 6, for the designers of the best hats. $100 for each of these categories--best racing theme, most elegant and kookiest. There will be prizes for the top three kids' creations, too
Is a $3,500 Vegas trip worth a try for $50 (or less)?
Bet you can't find a better deal anywhere. And it's fun.
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