• What do readers think of stewards' bungled placing?
Looking for clues into bungled placing Investigator will be watching stewards tonight
Dan Williams, the province's special investigator into the stewards' photo-finish screw-up last month, said he will be in the judge's stand at Assiniboia Downs tonight looking for clues as to why the stewards goofed in their race placing Aug.22 in race 5.He will suggest changes to their procedures, if necessary, and will recommend penalties that should be meted out to the stewards who mistakenly designated #1 Antarian as the winner instead of #6 Senator Matty.They corrected themselves after bettors cashed tickets on the incorrect finish for six minutes.(See photo in last week's Insider.)
Williams noted this is the fifth time in 25 years stewards have been in hot water over their horse placement--three involved thoroughbreds (in about 1987, in the late 1990's and in 2004) and one was a harness race (1986) where, incredibly, on a cold winter day when horses wore protective blankets until the last minute, two horses bearing the same saddle cloth number raced without anyone noticing until the race was off.Mistakes occur, Williams said, when stewards "lose focus" because they're so used to the procedures or because they have a preconceived opinion of the finish so they don't study a photo thoroughly.
In past transgressions, he said, the errant stewards were handed fines equal to two days pay.The commission also may cover some of the losses the Downs incurred paying for the wrong order of finish. In the last screw-up in 2004, he said, ASD received just under $1,000, half of their losses, he recalls.
And what do readers say about the stewards' goof?See "letters" below.
FAN'S PHONE CALL PROMPTED RESULT CHANGE AT WOODBINE:Woodbine suffered an exceptional loss in the early 2000's, Williams recalls, when the track had to pay out on two different finishes in a harness race after a U.S. fan phoned the trackand was put through to the stewards' stand and he told them they missed a horse going off-stride for one step at the finish line.The stewards watched the video again, determined the fan was correct and posted a new order of finish.Woodbine had to cash tickets on both results because that was the rule in place.A fan with that much power?Had to be a first.
Chow wins four but, sorry, this objection overruled
Jockey Chavion Chow, having the best day of his career by winning four races, all on longshot horses, could have logged win #5 if stewards accepted his complaint that Jennifer Reid's horse, Military Deputy, interfered with his #8 Flammable Boom in the sixth race.But Reid (standing next to Chow) professed innocence. Foul claim disallowed.
Saturday was one of THOSE days
Players shell-shocked; Chow careers
Chow (#8) loses objection in this race but won four other races
Saturday was one of THOSE days. All pick-4 tickets were dead after the third leg, the first time that's happened this season (setting up a $5,184 carryover into tonight's pool).But, for jockey Chavion Chow, it was the best day of his riding career.He logged four victories, all longshots. He's never even had a hat-trick before.Hey, I thought the blue moon was exerting its influence LAST week!So, forgetting for a moment all of our ripped up tickets, let's hear it for the young man who deservedly emerged from the shadows since making his first start four years ago.What did he eat for breakfast Saturday?It wasn't his breakfast that primed him for a career day, he said, it was "dedication to my job."Whatever it was, it was an exciting accomplishment.Well done, Chav!One thing is sure:His backers won't soon forget the rider who had them collecting handsome payoffs:
Race 2:Chippewa's Gal$20.40
Race 4:Emerald's Diamond $23
Race 7:Hot Off the Bench$14.60
And, if the stewards had allowed his objection to stand, he would have won five races.As it was, they left untouched his second-place finish on #8 Flammable Boom (paying $11.40 to place) setting up an exactor of$283when top-three jockey Jennifer Reid scored with 19-1 longshot #7 Military Deputy.
BOB'S BLOG TODAY:Hold the presses!Bob pays tribute today to a prominent newspaperman and sportsman whose death was an immeasurable loss to Manitoba's horse racing industry. On Track with George, Rob & Bob.
ROB'S BLOG FRIDAY: One of Rob's best bets came in last weekend but he was victimized, as many bettors were, by Saturday's upset results.But he excels at analyzing stakes races so, with four events worth $200,000 happening this Friday and Saturday, be sure to check out On Track with George, Rob & BobFriday.
Balooga Bull headlines $200,000 weekend Ardell Sayler looks for babies/Bull sweep on Saturday
Here comes the biggest weekend since Derby Day: four stakes races worth $200,000 this Friday and Saturday, with trainer Ardell Sayler's babies and Bull in the spotlight Saturday.
$50,000 J.W. Siftonfor Manitoba-bred 3-year-olds.Danger Rules and Kola Cat appear to the be the class of this seven-horse field.Entered with hope and a prayer:Jon's Golden Run.
$50,000 Matron.Two invaders, Miss Victoriana from Northlands, who is looking for her THIRD Matron win in a row, and Ruby's Big Band from Canterbury (fourth in the Canada Day stakes but first last year), join a highly-competitive 10-horse field. which also includes Witch's Coven who won the Winnipeg Sun Stakes at 19-1 and She's Copacetic who upset She's Regal in the Jack Hardy.Great final leg of the pick-4.
Ardell Sayler Enters tough babies and Bull on Saturday
$50,000 Winnipeg Futurity.Ardell Sayler's best girl (Debutante winner Two Barrel Tootie) and best boy (Osiris winner Da Hoot) face each other in a good 10-horse field with Greg Tracy's Tigger Town from Hastings, and Charlie Smith's Canterbury horse, Portales, runner-up in the Debutante and Graduation, hoping to pull the upset.
$50,000 Gold Cup.No horse shipped in to tangle with Balooga Bull, which indicates the respect he gets, so it's up to horses he's already beaten to try a new strategy--unless they'll be happy being runners-up.It's no secret he'll simply go to the lead, with Paul Nolan saying:"Catch me if you can."Which they won't.Maybe Pleasant Closing will try to do what he did three races ago when his early pressure led to Balooga's only loss in nine races.
Quick bits. . . Squash star works at ASD
Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz awards Asif for winning the Qatar International Open squash championship in 2005
You may have seen him picking tickets off the floor in the Clubhouse and attending to other housekeeping duties but, in his more-important other life, Asif Khan Khalil, 20, is a squash star, having won various championships in his teens (and being awarded by Pakistan's prime minister) and now seeking the Canadian open championship in Vancouver this month. He has been working at ASD for 18 months while his claim for refugee status has been processed so he can travel to major tournaments, he said.In his native Pakistan, he said, religious fundamentalists killed family members in a bombing attack, kidnapped and badly broke the leg of his brother until Asif paid a ransom with squash tournament winnings and he, himself, has a long scar on the inside of his thumb as a result of being slashed by two assailants posing as autograph-seekers.
He said his squash coach was threatened, too, all part of efforts by the Taliban to prevent squash stars from being role models for children whom they want to convert to their way of thinking, he said. Asif's goal is to win the world title his legendary uncle, Jahangir Khan, the greatest squash player of all time, held in the 1980s, having won 555 games in a row (a Guinness World Record) including the World Open six times and British Open a record 10 times.Best wishes in Vancouver, Asif!
A FIGHT TO THE FINISH:With just seven race days left (closing day is Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.), the three-way jockey race at ASD is as competitive as it gets.The jocks seem to be taking turns having spectacular days.Standings going into tonight:
Who wants it more?
On the trainer side, there's more separation:Shelley Brown 41 wins, Ardell Sayler 35, Chad Torevell 32, Blair Miller 30.Miller's win percentage exceeds the others, though.
ADVICE WORKS:It's nice when something you've just told your audience at a seminar comes to pass on the track.One way to come up with longshots, I said during my "learn the secrets" presentation Saturday, is betting top jockeys when they go off at big odds.So I was later hoping that one or more of them were cashing when Jennifer Reid rode Military Deputy to victory in race 6 at juicy odds of 19-1.
HASTINGS HAS BIG DERBY DAY: Hastings had its $200,000 BC Derby listed by the Daily Racing Form as the biggest race on the continent on Sunday and it paid off with more than $240,000 in wagering on its Derby alone. Second City won the race at almost 6-1, with the next three positions being filled by a three-horse #1 entry at 2-5 odds. I wonder how Balooga Bull would have fared had he entered? The Vancouver track attracted more than $36,000 to its pick-4 pool after guaranteeing $25,000.
Readers write . . . "Let's have a two-day horseplayer tourney" "Dear ASD:I enjoy your monthly horseplayer tournaments and it seems participation is on the increase which obviously is your goal.The qualification days with the three-winner rule to reduce the cost is very innovative--original or not. But the finale leaves me a bit lost. What you have created so well ends so abruptly and leaves me thinking: Why am I wasting my time doing this?Here is my analysis and possible solution.
"Two recent contests were won when a 2-year-old paid more than $30 one time and nearly $25 another time. This is OK if you're fortunate to have them. But each win basically shut down each contest and the winner had been determined before the next five races were run. The problem is fields are short and favourite-driven, making it impossible to catch up. The solution, I believe, is to have the tournament over a two-day period.And your questions here are: Will the contestant be available for two days, will they put up more money, will we have the same (almost) participants? The answer, I believe, is YESSSS!"-- Trevor Tilston-Jones
Readers sound-off on steward's bungled placing (see photo)
"Dear Ivan: It might help if the horses number was on both sides of the bridle so it could be seen in the mirror image." -- Maurice Tryhuk
"Dear Ivan: How can you mistake the horse wearing blinkers vs the horse not?Fired!" -- Jeff Blair
"Dear Ivan:The result is clear to me for three reasons:You can see Antarian's mouth/teeth under/behind Senator Matty, the rider on #1 is clearly behind Matty's rider as is the rear of the horse." -- Delaney Macaig
"Dear Ivan: I can easily see how the stewards could make that mistake." -- Lionel Bernhard
"Dear Ivan:Yes, #6 did win. Notice #6 on the horse's bridle and also the color of the horses. The darker horse won--#6!" -- Earl
"Dear Ivan: This would never have happened if ASD had Trakus!" (Trackus is a tracking system with devices planted in each horse's saddle that signal to poles positioned around the track.) -- Charles Scotlend
Note to Charles:So you're saying it’s worth the expense of installing Trakus to eliminate a misread photo every eight years?
Looking forward to . . . You asked for it.Saturday workshops begin right after live Some of you are telling me you can hardly wait for the resumption of the Saturday morning "I won big" workshops.Actually, your excitement is making me excited, too, so let's get them rolling again right after live racing concludes.The first one will be Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m.They'll be held in the Terrace Dining Room or the north end of the Clubhouse (if there's another event in the dining room).Everyone is invited to attend and will receive a free $5 share in our group's pick-6 and pick-4 tickets at Belmont Park. Wouldn't it be nice to land a big one as a present to ourselves before Christmas? So, circle Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. and let's do it!
$350,000 IN STAKES RACES AT NORTHLANDS SATURDAY:Northlands features seven races Saturday worth $50,000 each including races for 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds and a handicap for older horses.