Top o' the week . . .
• "Pick 'em" contest returns tonight. Also, when will lockout end?
• Breeders' Cup countdown: 2-year-olds on turf today at Keeneland
• Chantal fails breathalyzer; 5-day suspension ends today
• Richest race in Canada goes Sunday: $1.5 m Canadian International
• Smart AND lucky: That's why math prof keeps making news
• Prime rib Thursday (tonight) now features four dessert choices
On Oct. 11, 1977 the Winnipeg Free Press reported that trainer Don Gray had just accomplished a rare feat in horse racing. For the fifth time during that race season his two-horse entry finished one-two (Bronson Bridge, Oscar's Trend). There were 123 race days in 1977, the most ever. (With thanks to track historian Bob Gates.)
NEW CONTEST! When will lockout end? On what day will there be an official announcement that the NHL lockout is over? Send your prediction, giving the day, month and year to theinsider@ASDowns.com by this Saturday midnight, Oct. 13. Tie-breaker: Also predict the score in the Jets' first game after the lockout ends (e.g. Jets 4 Rival team 0). The closest to the correct date (without going over) wins a Fun Night at the Downs which will include a Thursday Angus prime rib buffet for two, 16 free VLT spins on the game of your choice and $20 in wagering vouchers. Good luck! (One answer per person and per email address, please.)
PICK 'EM CONTEST RETURNS TONIGHT! Predict winner and pick-3 at Remington (a) Predict the winner of race 5 at Remington Park and (b) the pick-3 in races 5,6 & 7 and email your predictions in the subject line to theinsider@ASDowns.com by 8 p.m. Prizes: $20 in wagering vouchers for each prediction, doubled if the winner is present Friday between 8 and 9 p.m. when the winner is announced. (A draw will break a tie.) Prizes increase by $20 each week when they are not won. Bon chance! (As usual, one answer per person and per email address, please.)
BEEF BOURGUIGNON and walleye in roasted red pepper sauce are two of the entrees on tonight's all-you-can-eat certified Angus prime rib buffet for $22.95 (seniors--65-plus--$19.95) which also includes home-style soup, freshly baked breads, salad bar, other entrees and side dishes AND NOTE you now have a choice of FOUR different tantalizing desserts. Plus a little free fun afterward: A VLT spin that could win you up to $1,000 (last week, diner Jim Roberts pocketed $25). Phone 204-885-3330 and dive into deliciousness between 5 and 8 p.m. tonight.
Enjoy beef bourguignon tonight
A favourite memory
As summer has turned into fall and snowflakes start to fly, scenes like this, on Derby weekend, come to mind as having made the summer of 2012 particularly memorable.
WHAT WAS DARREN'S FAVOURITE RACE CALL? What race call do you think was announcer Darren Dunn's favourite during the 2012 live season? (a) The Manitoba Lotteries Derby when Balooga Bull re-asserted himself as the best horse on the grounds? (b) the Marathon Series finale on the last day of racing when two jockeys mistook the end of the race? (c) the Aug. 22 race that Darren called correctly but the stewards muffed with the wrong order of finish? (d) the Matron stakes on Sept. 14 won by a mare who wins no other race than that stakes race three years in a row? See answer at bottom of column.
Quick bits . . .
Chantal fails breathalyzer, suspension ends today
She's earned a reputation over the past little while for taking it off. But on the Thanksgiving long weekend, it was the stewards at Woodbine who were taking HER off -- taking Canadian jockey/cover girl Chantal Sutherland off the mounts she was supposed to ride while visiting Woodbine because she failed a breathalyzer test Saturday morning. They also fined her $300 and banned her from riding for five calendar days ending today. So she could only watch in disappointment as her horses, Seaneen Girl, finished second in a $200,000 stakes race, two horses won and two others finished second. Her next riding assignment will be on her home turf, Santa Anita, on Saturday.
Too much to drink
Actually, I think Chantal had every good reason to hit the bottle after trainer Bob Baffert replaced her with Rafael Bejarano on Game on Dude in the Awesome Again stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 29 because she had finished second in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August. Dude won and Bejarano earned $15,000. Boo, Baffert! After all, Chantal had finished a game second with Dude in the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall.
XL FOODS NOT AN ASD SUPPLIER: It's important for Assiniboia Downs diners to know that XL Foods, the Alberta company at the centre of recalled beef products, is NOT a supplier to the track. And that the Downs serves only certified Angus beef, the best possible beef in the marketplace. Tonight is prime rib night, of course, in the Terrace Dining Room from 5 to 8 p.m. with other tasty dishes including beef bourguignon and walleye in a roasted red pepper sauce. (See above.)
ASD PLAYERS IN VEGAS--BEST FINISH IS 31ST: Ten veteran ASD players entered the fall horseplayer tournament at the Orleans hotel in Las Vegas last weekend where one player finished a decent 31st out of 380 entrants and picked up $550 in prize money which was in addition to $350 in "day money" for having finished 7th on the first day of the three day tournament that cost $500 to enter. One local player blanked, picking no winners in 36 tries, while looking for longshots throughout the tourney. The next Orleans tournament is the "world series" in February where winners in tournaments during live racing will be joining the fray to win a first prize of about $300,000.
HAVE YOU DISCOVERED LOW-PRICED KEENELAND BETS? As reported in the last Insider, Keeneland is the first U.S. track to offer Canadians the possibility of making 20-cent superfecta bets and 60-cent bets on triactors, pick-3s, pick-4s and the pick-5.
A REAL PAIN IN THE BUTT: While playing synthetic tracks may be considered a pain in the butt to some horseplayers, those tracks are proving to be a deadly pain in the butt to horses themselves. In a report presented recently to the California Horse Racing Board, it was shown that of 111 horses who died racing on synthetic race tracks in 2008, 19 resulted from hind-end injuries whereas only one horse succumbed to similar injuries out of 65
horses racing on a dirt surface. No wonder ASD horse owner John Ganas said his visit to the backstretch at Woodbine--which has a Polytrack surface--showed myriad horses with hind-end problems that prevent them from racing more than once a month.
ANOTHER SAD PASSING: Right to the end, retired firefighter George McLean had racing programs delivered to him at Grace Hospital where he died of cancer on Sept. 26 at the age of 76. He had served with the Winnipeg Fire Department for 39 years until his retirement in 1995. Some of his fondest times were at the track where he last entered a horseplayer tournament in June. Condolences go out to his family and friends.
THE "I WON BIG" WORKSHOP GROUP CATCHES A $28 HORSE in its pick-6 ticket Saturday at Belmont but misses a $58 horse that wins because the group's horse got a bad trip. There were two winning tickets that paid $66,000 each. It was an important session nonetheless because certain aspects of group play became clearer--which will be put into play this Saturday at 11 a.m. in the lower-level Finish Line. Once again, everyone is invited and will receive a free share in the tickets. And, yes, this time there will be knives to spread the butter on your muffins so you don't have to use your fingers or coffee stir sticks. Sorry, John!
REASON YOU COULDN'T BET ARC: Last Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the biggest race in Europe in the fall, was unavailable to Canadian bettors this year because there was no separate North American pool as in previous years and Woodbine experienced "issues" that prevented wagers from flowing directly into the betting pool in France. The Arc was won by 41-1 outsider, Solemia.
Santa Anita Nov. 2 & 3
IMPORTANT RACE TODAY: The "Win & You're In" $150,000 Jessamine Stakes for 2-year-olds will be run this afternoon on Keeneland turf. The winner automatically qualifies for the Juvenile Turf Fillies.
SATURDAY MORNING: The final European "Win & You're In" race, the $232,000 Middle Park, at Newmarket in England. (Only available on HPI.) The winner gets a berth in the juvenile turf race.
RICHEST RACE IN CANADA SUNDAY: The final three "Win & You're In" races go Sunday at Woodbine including the richest race in Canada, the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International Stakes on the turf plus the $1 million Nearctic Stakes turf sprint and the $1 million E. P. Taylor Stakes filly and mare turf. All winners qualify for their respective Breeders' Cup races.
BOOK THE BRUNCH: Phone 204-885-3330 to book the Breeders' Cup all-you-can-eat brunch for $19.95 in the Terrace Dining Room where you can eat and watch the races throughout the afternoon Saturday, Nov. 3. The brunch itself will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
BREEDERS' CUP WORKSHOP: 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 in a cozy set-up on the main level. Group will discuss what bets they want to play as a group: from pick-3s to the pick-6. Everyone in attendance receives a free $5 share in the tickets.
Where are they now? By Rob MacLennan
TURF PARADISE: Racing for Jared Brown Friday: Baronshill, Toccet's Charm and Waronthehomefront. Saturday: Lake Sawyer. Sunday: Unbridled Thoughts
Blair Miller Friday: Forchtenberg. (Scotty Q ran 5th on Tuesday)
Wendell Matt Sunday: Smarty Matt (Emerald's Diamond ran 4th on Monday, Seven Tuff ran 3rd on Friday in $35,000 stake)
Don Schnell (Lewiston ran 1st on Sunday, Douglass ran 3rd on Sunday)
Chad Torevell Sunday: Reminiscence
RETAMA: Charlie Smith (Won NW2X Alw with Ruby's Big Band, Rohan Singh up. Mining Town ran 2nd in the same race)
NORTHLANDS: Red K. Smith (Miss Victoriana ran 3rd in stake at Edmonton--she won the Matron at ASD last three years)
Greg Tracy (Silkworm who was a fast closing fourth in ASD's Debutante won the Freedom of the City Stakes at Northlands)
LETHBRIDGE: (Barramoon ran third for Lloyd Buffalo in an allowance race)
THIS DAY IN RACING HISTORY:
ASD is a lucky place for Energy and Breeze radio fans
How about this? The two winners of major summer promotions on two FM radio stations--106 Days of Summer on Energy 106 and 100 Days of Summer on Breeze 100.7--entered those contests at Assiniboia Downs during those station's special nights at the races. Mark Fleet entered his name during Energy's night on Aug. 10 and Len Letain entered on Breeze's night on June 30.
Entered Energy contest at ASD
Fleet won two mountain bikes from Tim Hortons, a $2,000 shopping spree at River City Sports, a scooter from Scooter City Plus, pizza for a year from Pizza Hotline and a 2-year lease on a new car from Birchwood Nissan. Letain won a $2,000 landscaping package from Veert Landscaping, pizza for a year from Pizza Hotline and $2,500 towards the purchase of a car at Birchwood Infinite. ASD is obviously a lucky place to enter contests. Pass it on.
A heady combination: He's smart AND lucky
Red River College math prof Jim Roberts is never far from making news in The Insider--either because he's lucky or because he's smart. And he's at it again. Last Thursday, the first day that buffet diners got one free VLT spin after dinner, Roberts pocketed more than anyone else: $25. That was his lucky side. And, on his smart side, he's leading Sunday's Countdown to the 'Cup contest with 65 points, 20 more than his closest rival, Ray Pearson. You can still enter Sundays by predicting the winners of four contest races. The ultimate prizes are Breeders' Cup bankrolls of $200, $100 and $50. Can you outfox the fox dragging all those lucky horseshoes? See standings here.
5-Alive Challenge: On Friday, realtor Alice Bowman won the $75 betting-vouchers jackpot for predicting three show horses, a place horse and a winner at Remington Park. This Friday's jackpot: $50. On Saturday, Reg Pluchinske won $10 in betting vouchers as a consolation prize predicting Woodbine harness races. This Saturday's jackpot: $100 in betting vouchers.
VLT tournament winners: Friday--Dave Boehmer was the top player on the 5-Times Pay game, registering $56.25 in winnings. Saturday--Rick Boychuk was tops with $64. The tournaments are free to enter. Just add your name into a draw. Ten names will be drawn and those entrants receive $20 to "unleash" their luck. They keep what they win and the top player each night will play for $250 in an end-of-month finale.
Looking forward to . . .
Renovation surprise getting closer
You will be visiting the hen house and smashing pigs when the renovation surprise is completed in the Clubhouse. What? Stay tuned. (Everything is still opened during the reno.)
BIG NIGHT AT REMINGTON FRIDAY NIGHT featuring eight stakes races for Oklahoma-breds.
PLEASANT CLOSING RACES SATURDAY IN $200,000 HAWTHORNE DERBY Pleasant Closing is the only horse to have beaten Balooga Bull (in the Harry Jeffrey) and finished second to Balooga in the Gold Cup.
FLORIDA-BREDS IN THE SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY in stakes races at Calder.
2-YEAR-OLDS TAKE CENTRE STAGE AT HASTINGS SUNDAY in two stakes races worth $75,000 each while Breeders' Cup Challenge races take place at Woodbine including the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International (see above).
ANSWER TO WHAT WAS DARREN'S FAVOURITE RACE CALL: (b) the Marathon. Why? "The longest race of the year, two jockeys blew the distance and it was just fun to call," he explained. Here's the race. (Click on Sept. 23, race 7.) Note that Jerry Pruitt on #4 Baby Face Assassin and Alyssa Selman on #7 Rogue River whip their horses in error going around the first time, thinking the race had ended. Some of you were very incensed by their inattentive riding and told me they should be penalized by the stewards at the start of next year’s season.
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