• Renovations are almost complete!Check out the new look!
• Lockout contest winner soon?Or not at all?
• Memorialize a person by donating a bench to backstretch park
• Is it possible to quit your job and play the races?
• From broke to beaming: another memorable day at the track
• Workshop participants will get a lesson they'll never forget.Uh-oh! • Wanna follow local horses?See best-ever horse tracker below
• What happened today in racing history?
ENTER TONIGHT'S PICK 'EM CONTEST TO WIN $120!Since there was no correct entry last Thursday night (when a $36 horse won race #5), prizes have been doubled for tonight's pick 'em contest at Remington Park.(a)Predict the winner of race 5 and (b) the pick-3 in races 5, 6 and 7 and email your picks in the subject line to theinsider@ASDowns.com by 8 p.m.Prizes:$40 in betting vouchers for each PLUS an extra $20 for each if you're present Friday night (between 8 and 9) when winner(s) will be announced in the Race Book.A draw will break a tie. There were 21 entrants last week.
Pork souvlaki Indulge tonight
WHEN WILL LOCKOUT END?Ron must be holding his breath! Former racing blogger Ron Phelps predicted the NHL lockout will officially end a week from tomorrow--and I like his chances.Any earlier and no one will win The Insider's"When will the NHL lockout end?" contest. See everyone's predictions here.
BITE INTO JUICY CHUNKS of pork souvlaki as you slide them off their skewers at tonight's $22.95 all-you-can-eat certified Angus prime rib buffet which also features teriyaki chicken, soup, salad bar, freshly-baked rolls, side dishes and your choice from FOUR desserts including one piping hot from the steamer.Then test your luck with a free VLT spin for $1,000.Phone 204-885-3330 to indulge
Lasting legacy Donate a bench or picnic table to backstretch park
Artist's rendering of proposed backstretch gazebo
Want a unique way to honour a special person or memorialize a loved one?And, at the same time, give backstretch people at Assiniboia Downs a pleasant outdoor area to kick back between training and racing?Then donate a bench ($250) or picnic table ($500) in the name of that special person to a new gazebo/park project in the ASD backstretch. An engraved name-plate will be secured to your donation. For a lesser amount, you can also add a name-plate to the gazebo or to a planter."The idea (for the park) came from our backstretch barbeques and having no proper site to enjoy the evenings," said Brian Billeck, longtime horseman and vice-president of the Winners' Foundation of Canada.
The overall cost of the project is $20,000 and funding has been provided so far by the Manitoba divisions of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Association and the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society and Assiniboia Downs' backstretch improvement fund. Make a big donation and you may even get the entire park named for you or your designated person! Act quickly because there are obviously a limited number of benches and tables and I expect this gift will strike the right note during the upcoming festive season. Email Brian at email@example.com.
Quit your job and play the races? Two workshops start this Saturday at
Is it really possible to quit your job and play the races?That's the question that will discussed at two workshops on the next two Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Terrace Dining Room.This workshop is for (a) curious newbies and (b) occasional players who have toyed with becoming more serious.Players put up $10 and the Downs will match it so each player begins with $20 to play races based on proven handicapping techniques.To read more about it and sign up for you and your friends, go here.Registration is limited.
TRIVIA TEASER: What's the longest horse tail ever recorded?(a)7 feet, 5 inches(b) 10 feet, 7 inches(c) 12 feet, 6 inches(d)13 feet, 1 inchSee answer at end of column
Santa AnitaNov. 2 & 3
PRE-ENTRIES RELEASED NEXT WEEK:Next Wednesday, Oct. 24, pre-entries for the 15 Breeders' Cup races will be announced and an advanced edition of the Daily Racing Form will be available.Six races will be run Friday, Nov. 2 and nine on Saturday, Nov. 3, with one change taking place since last year:the Marathon Race has been moved back to Friday and the Fillies and Mares Sprint will be moved to Saturday.The order in which the races will be run will also be announced next Wednesday.
TURF HANDICAPPING ANGLE:In the last two years of Breeders' Cups at Santa Anita (2008-2009), European horses won half of the 10 races that were run on the turf, which may be counter-intuitive because European horses would not be expected to take to a hard turf surface.I expect that shows that Santa Anita thoroughly drenched their turf course in the days leading up to the Breeders' Cup.I would expect them to do the same this year.
NOTE FROM LAST YEAR'S BREEDERS' CUP: Woodbine horses were exceptionally competitive on the turf (remember Perfect Shirl's victory in the Fillies and Mare Turf at 27-1?).Box European and Woodbine horses in your tri's and super's for what could be monster scores.
BOOK THE BRUNCH:Phone 204-885-3330 to reserve the all-you-can-eat brunch in the Terrace Dining Room Saturday, Nov. 3, and keep your seat all afternoon.
BC WORKSHOP:10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 on the main level.Share in group tickets in the pick-6 and/or other bets. Out of money . . .
But not out of luck
Dave Boehmer From broke to beaming
It was late Sunday afternoon in the Race Book and curler/roofer/nice guy Dave Boehmer was out of money. Or was he? "I thought I was broke but found a $20 bill in my right front pocket and dug through my jacket pocket for the other $4." So, back in business, he plays a $24 pick-4 ticket at Hastings (which pays more than $1,000 for $1) and gets four of five in the pick-5 to collect $350. And once again does what almost seems a mantra for him: scratching and clawing his way out of a deep hole. He once increased a mere $3 left in his phone account to $1,200 the same night.
And he wasn't through on Sunday. "I was taking off but Mountaineer's last race was getting close so I played the superfecta keying just #10 in the fourth position at 28-1. You guessed it. I got it!" Which added another $400 to his bankroll and showed another aspect to his play. Long odds don't scare him. In fact, what often kills his pick-3 and pick-4 tickets is eliminating the odds-on favourite in a leg. Which means when he's on a roll, he's looking for extra pockets to stuff all his loot into. And, on Sunday, having to fend off hangers-on who can sniff out winning horseplayers like a pig rooting out truffles. But, hey, being charitable could earn him extra karma to keep his streak going! Here's wishing, Dave!
Quick bits. . . Kid-free zone
With the removal of the wall in the Clubhouse which was separating the VLT lounge from the Race Book, kids under 18 will only be permitted to enter and dine in the south side of the Terrace Dining Room so they don't see the VLTs.
NEVER A DULL MOMENT:In case you haven't noticed, you can now bet and watch races from Sweden, Hong Kong and Japan on your HPI account in addition to England and Ireland.
"I WON BIG" GROUP SETTLES FOR 5 OF 6:The first words out of my mouth at last Saturday's "I won big" pick-6 workshop on Belmont Park races turned out to be prophetic, unfortunately. I said race 10, the last leg of the pick-6, was very tricky and we'd need to take numerous horses on our ticket.We had two horses--they finished second and third--but not the $41 winner which produced an $8,000 payout.We got back $121 for five of six.On further reflection, that horse was not as tricky as one might expect and, I promise, once the workshop attendees see why--and they will this Saturday--they will NEVER miss this kind of horse again.I promise.
On a positive note, a big shout-out to Trevor Tillston-Jones. He insisted the group include another tricky horse and, thankfully, everyone listened to him.Otherwise, the ticket might have had four of six.Such are the dynamics of group play.So we'll be back at it again in the Finish Line this Saturday at 11 a.m., the second-last workshop until the Breeders' Cup.Everyone's invited and receives a free $5 share.
Ibrahim Gundogdu rides in Australia
MISLEADING IMPRESSION:Recipients of the DRF newsletter could get the misleading impression that all of racing in Canada is in immediate danger rather than just Ontario, which is what they really mean."Ontario" ought to be substituted for "Canadian" to be fair to other provinces.That's like saying racing in the U.S. is in trouble because a state government is non-supportive of racing in that state.
MOST UNUSUAL JOCKEY NAME?I. Gundogdu is the name of a highly-successful jockey riding in Australia ("I" stands for Ibrahim).That name is common in Turkey, where he originated, and there's a city and a prominent female volleyball player with that name in Turkey as well.
BEST-EVER HORSE TRACKER
Where are they now?By Rob MacLennan
Blogger Rob loves horse racing and statistics and, fortunately for Insider readers, he has combined both interests to produce the best-ever weekly update on local trainers and horses
Trainer Blair Miller Empties barn at Turf Paradise
as they pursue fame and fortune on the road.Be sure to click the database after you read his highlights that follow.
Trainer Blair Miller will empty his barn this weekend as he looks for his second win at Turf Paradise. Scotty Q (ridden by Jennifer Reid) should move forward tomorrow afternoon off his last race and Tannat looks like he should like the turf.Too bad they are in the same race. Lewiston and Patrician Snoop (who broke his maiden at ASD after a couple runner-up finishes) are both in the ATBA Sales Stakes and I give the advantage to Lewiston who rallied impressively to finish third in his first start at Turf and then won a maiden optional claimer for $30,000. Reid rides Patrician.
Who's racing over the next few days? CLICK HEREto see the database.
Note that PAGE ONE lists local horses currently entered.
Note that PAGE TWO will list the result of EVERY start made by a local horse.
THIS DAY IN RACING HISTORY:Horse racing made the cover of Sports Illustrated on Oct.18, 1954. The magazine ran an article about Queen Elizabeth sending a horse to the U.S. for the first time (her horse, Landau, ended up finishing last in the International Stakes at Laurel) and featured another story lauding Nashua's "dashing victory" in the Belmont Futurity, saying he was a horse to watch. (But, the following year in the Kentucky Derby, had to settle for second behind Swaps.)Another story highlighted "the traditional scoring duel" between hockey's Gordie Howe and Maurice"the Rocket" Richard.
ROBERTS CONTINUES TO LEAD 'CUP COUNTDOWN: With two weeks left in the Countdown to the 'Cup contest to win a bankroll to play Breeders' Cup races, Jim Roberts continues to lead. Who are the runners-up? See leader board here. Enter the contest Sunday afternoon. You get 10 points for each win.
5-ALIVE CHALLENGE: Friday thoroughbreds:Dave Boehmer won $25 in wagering vouchers as a consolation prize.Tomorrow's jackpot: $75. Saturday harness:Retired electrician George Newbury picked up $10 in betting vouchers as a consolation prize.Jackpot Saturday $100.
THEY UNLEASHED THEIR VLT LUCK and won a berth in the VLT finale on Saturday, Oct. 27:Congrats to realtor Alice Bowman, Friday's top player, who turned $20 of ASD money into $81 (and kept that, too, of course) and retired teacher and baseball umpire Rick Zaretsky who accomplished the same deed Saturday with a $35 score.
PLAYERS' CHOICE HORSEPLAYER TOURNEY:Saturday, Oct. 27.Perfect timing to hone your skills for Breeders' Cup play the following weekend
Looking forward to. . .
That OTHER 'Cup
Who will be kissing the Cup?
The first Monday in November is the date of that other important 'Cup--the Melbourne Cup from Australia.So, right after the Breeders' Cup ends Saturday, Nov. 3, swing Down Under to springtime and "the race that stops a nation" and your chance to score big bucks with a 20-cent superfecta.
AND, FOR HARNESS FANS, A CROWN: A week before the Breeders' Cup, the best trotters and pacers will be vying for $6 million in 12 Breeders' Crown races at Woodbine. That's Saturday evening, Oct. 27, the same day, incidentally as ASD's Players' Choice horseplayer tournament which will be held in the afternoon.So, within a nine day period: Breeders' Crown, Saturday, Oct. 27, followed on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 & 3 by the Breeders' Cup, then Monday, Nov. 5 by the Melbourne Cup.Interspersed in there, alas, may be the very last day of racing ever at Fort Erie, Tuesday, Oct. 30.
BELMONT SIZZLES SATURDAY WITH SEVEN STAKES including two stakes for 2-year-olds.And Saturday is a big day at Delaware Park with multiple stakes action including the First State Dash for 2-year-olds, an historical reminder that Delaware was the first state to sign the U.S. Constitution after the American Revolution.
ANSWER TO TRIVIA TEASER:(c) 12 feet, 6 inches.Belongs to JJS Summer Breeze, a registered Paint mare, 15, who competes in Kansas horse shows with her tail braided up and in a tube sock.Her tail was measured in August, 2007 and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
Choose from four desserts at tonight's prime rib buffet