The Inside Track | Issue #13 | Feb. 3, 2022
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Full immunization and government issued I.D. required to attend Assiniboia Downs.
  • VLTs, Race Carrels and Tables are sanitized between customer use.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Valentine's Day Specials
  • 2022 Live Racing Dates
  • A Snapshot in Time
  • 12 Strong Handicapping Angles
  • Photo of the Week
  • Weekend Derby Preps
  • Black History Month: Jockeys
  • NFL Playoff Recaps with TravyFootball
  • The Best of Bob
Do the Downs!
SPIN TO WIN FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS IN THE CLUBWEST GAMING LOUNGE - Enter at the VLT cage every Friday & Saturday for a chance to Spin the Wheel for up to $100 Cash! Draws will be made throughout the afternoon and evening.
TUESDAYS ARE TREMENDOUS IN FEBRUARY - 5% cash back on all eligible wagering every Tuesday in February. Minimum wagered $100 (each Tuesday). Maximum deposit $25 (each Tuesday). Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included).

FRIDAYS: 8 oz. top Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. $24.95. Reservations are not required.

SATURDAYS: Smoky charbroiled St. Louis ribs with our signature BBQ sauce. Served with vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. $24.95. Reservations are not required.
Monday, February 14 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Entree Specials
Certified Angus Prime Rib $34.95 - Our signature favourite served with horseradish, Yorkshire pudding, peppercorn jus, fresh vegetables and your choice of potato.

Maple BBQ Salmon $32.95 - With Dill Cream Sauce. Seared and baked with white wine and rich cream. Served with fresh vegetables and your choice of potato.

A full a la carte menu is also available and features appetizers, pizza, ribs, fish & chips & steak.

Dessert Specials
Red Velvet Cake $6.95 - With cream cheese icing and strawberry sauce
Chocolate Cake $6.95 - Layered with caramel and milk chocolate ganache
Warm Apple Pie $5.95 - Served with ice cream

Reserverations are required. Call 204-885-3330.
PLAYER REWARDS POINTS EXTENDED - You now have until February 28, 2022 to use up your old Player Rewards points. Points can be used for program and DRF purchases from the kiosks, food and beverage purchases or entry into monthly handicapping contests.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
65th Live Racing Season Kicks Off at ASD on Monday, May 23!
Diamond Digger wins the 2021 Winnipeg Futurity. Stanley Chadee Jr. up. Jason Halstead photo.
The 65th live racing season at Assiniboia Downs kicks off on Victoria Day, Monday, May 23, 2022, and who isn’t looking forward to that after this week’s blizzard! The 50-day meeting will run through to September 14 and operate on the same Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday schedule as last year, with first post being 7:30 p.m.

There will be 32 stakes races in 2022, highlighted by new purse increases in the $50,000 Escape Clause Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, and the $50,000 Manitoba Mile for 3-year-olds and up, both of which are scheduled to run on Terry Fox Day, Monday August 1, along with the $100,000 Manitoba Derby. See full 2022 ASD Stakes Schedule here.

Aside from the stakes, horse people at ASD will be competing for purses that start at $8,500 for $1,500 claiming races to $20,000 for open allowance races, plus the lucrative bonuses available for Manitoba-bred horses. The first ASD Condition Book of 2022 is posted here, along with a link to the ASD 2022 Stall Application. And out-of-town horse people should definitely check out the 2022 Shipping Incentive Program!

Long gone are the days when you could buy a horse for $500 and climb the ladder scooping riches, but the strong purse structure at ASD keeps us looking, and memories of John Mulligan claiming Chart Line for $2,500 and winning five races on his way up to a run in the 1985 Gold Cup will never fade. Maybe you could do it now for $1,500. Why not?

If you really want to shoot for the stars, think about Canonero II, the horse that was purchased for $1,200 at auction and went on to win the 1971 Kentucky Derby. Or Dust Commander, who won the Derby the year before after being purchased for $6,500. Or Seattle Slew, who sold for $12,500 and won the 1977 Triple Crown. And who could forget Mine That Bird, who was purchased for just $9,500 before posting a spectacular upset in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and later had the must-watch movie 50-1 made about him.
2021 Manitoba Derby winner Uncharacteristic. Alexander Marti up. Jason Halstead photo.
Closer to home, 2021 Manitoba Derby winner, Uncharacteristic was claimed for just $8,000 and also won the Canadian Derby (G3) while earning over $120,000. And it’s not out of the question that one of our local horses, Diamond Digger or Lucky Chuckee, could win the 2022 Manitoba Derby.

Undefeated as a 2-year-old, Diamond Digger was purchased for just $2,000 at auction and impressively won the 2021 Graduation Stakes, Osiris Stakes and Winnipeg Futurity for trainer Mike Nault and The Young and the Rest of Us Stable, while earning $58,835 USD. He could be any kind. As could undefeated Manitoba-bred Lucky Chuckee.

Lucky Chuckee was bid up to only $5,000 in the 2020 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale before being bought back by breeder Larry Falloon, but the big handsome homebred by Bird Song-Blazing Sasha by Langfuhr went on to win the $35,000 CTHS Sales Stakes by 9 ¼-lengths and the $35,000 Buffalo Stakes by 19 ¼-lengths for Falloon and his ownership partners Anne Champion and trainer Shelley Brown.

Manitoba breeders have really stepped up their game over the past few years and there are some very good horses growing up in our own backyard.

Dream time.
A Snapshot in Time
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
A man and his horse -- the late great Don Gray poses with Phil Kives’ Island Fling, circa 1979. You have to love the look on Don’s face. Do you think he admires “Fling?” You better believe it! Both were great ones! Don passed away on Christmas Day in 1993, yet he is still third on the Downs’ all-time leading trainer board.
As for Fling, he won the Gold Cup twice (1977, 1979), and the Speers twice (1977, 1978). From 1977 to 1979 he was voted the HBPA’s Top Older Horse and his name appears four times on the Downs' list of horses that set track records. Fling was the juggernaut that helped establish K5 as one of the top stables in the history of Assiniboia Downs. Gerry Hart photo.
Handicapper's Corner
12 Angles That Can Make You Money
Going beyond current form, class, speed and pace
The next Player’s Choice Handicapping Contest takes place on February 19, but why not start practicing your longshot discovery techniques ahead of time?

Good handicapping always starts with an assessment of the fundamentals -- current form, class, speed and pace -- all of which are available in the past performances for your competition to easily discover. If you want to find longshots, you’re going to have to dig deeper and look for combinations of positive angles that may be overshadowed by negative fundamentals.

Every set of past performances has both negative and positive aspects to consider, and negative fundamentals often cause handicappers to throw out horses before assessing them in full. This is your edge. The trick is to find horses with numerous positive angles combined. Horses with 12 or more positive handicapping angles in their past performances can make for profitable bets, but a lower number of combinations can also lead to lucrative longshots.

The sample angles below (with win percentages included), are courtesy of The Skeptical Handicapper by Barry Meadow. They were gathered from 12,661 horses that had 12 or more positive angles in their past performances. Two of the more intriguing discoveries on the list were the fact that blinkers-off outperformed blinkers-on, and that second-time Lasix horses won at a higher percentage than those getting Lasix for the first time.

Horses with 12 or more positive angles won at an overall rate of 36%, regardless of any negatives found in the past performances. Adding your own favourite angles, watching replays, and compiling trip notes can provide you with even more positives, but the real key is paying attention to detail and doing the work.

12 Strong Handicapping Angles with Win Percentages

  • Top 1st Call Fraction (35%)
  • Top pace rating (38%)
  • Top trainer rating (39%)
  • Top jockey rating (38%)
  • Top pedigree rating (35%)
  • Blinkers on (34%)
  • Blinkers off (40%)
  • First-time Lasix (30%)
  • Second-time Lasix (37%)
  • Trainer-Jockey Combo 30%+ wins (38%)
  • Jockey switch (35%)
  • Jockey won with horse (37%)

Good luck!
Photo of the Week
Sun dogs and horses in MacGregor, Manitoba. Judi Watt of JBM Equi-Farms on Twitter took this photo before the blizzard. Judi works with rescues and rehab horses, as well as NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) prospects. Could a retired thoroughbred find a second career as a reining horse? Why not? Thanks Judi!
Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to
In The News
Derby points also up for grabs in Holy Bull, Robert B. Lewis Stakes
Courvoisier wins the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct. Chelsea Durand / NYRA photo.
The road to the Kentucky Derby continues this Saturday when Jerome Stakes winner Courvoisier takes on 10 rivals in the wide-open Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. The Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park also takes place on Saturday, and it could feature a battle between Remsen Stakes (G2) winner Mo Donegal, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up Tiz the Bomb, and Giant Game, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). On Sunday, Bob Hope Stakes (G3) winner Messier will try to give trainer Bob Baffert his ninth win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. Is the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner in these races?
Legendary jockey Isaac Murphy was the first rider to win three runnings of the Kentucky Derby, in 1884, 1890, and 1891. Library of Congress photo.
From the beginnings of the sport, African Americans have made significant contributions to horse racing. African American jockeys dominated the winner’s circle in racing’s first three decades. They were the first black superstar athletes in the United States, and won 15 of the first 28 runnings of the Kentucky Derby. In fact, 13 of 15 jockeys for the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875 were African American. More from America's Best Racing here.
Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Feb. 5 - Holy Bull - Gulfstream
  • Feb. 5 - Withers - Aqueduct
  • Feb. 6 - Robert B. Lewis - Santa Anita
  • Feb. 12 - Sam F. Davis - Tampa Bay
  • Feb. 12 - El Camino Real - Golden Gate

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here.
Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Carryover Watch & Programs
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
The "I Won Big" betting group is back at it this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse. Tampa and Santa Anita will be their tracks of choice this week. Want a share? $20 gets you in! Email Larry at
Top NFL Picks with TravyFootball: Conference Championship Recap
Rams defeat 49ers 20-17: *Sigh*… It’s hard for me to sum up what happened in this game without it bringing tears to my eyes. As is always the case when these two teams get together, the 49ers defense found a way to slow down the Rams very high-powered offense (albeit a couple of lucky drops in the end zone by the Rams receivers).

For three quarters it looked like the Niners were on their way to their second Super Bowl in three years. But a fourth quarter collapse, topped off by what would have been a game sealing interception that Jaquiski Tartt dropped (I knew in my gut the Rams were going to win at that point), and the 49ers were left scratching their heads. Two field goals later and Los Angeles punched their ticket to Super Bowl, in their home stadium.
Bengals defeat Chiefs 27-24 in OT: Talk about a tale of two halfs. Having watched many hours of football on TV, plus playing a lot of football myself, I understand that when something is not working on offense or defense, you go into the locker room at halftime and discuss what adjustments need to be made. The Bengals were down 21-10 at the half and it really could have been 28-10 had the Chiefs come up with a better play selection while on the Bengals five-yard line to close out the second quarter, but nonetheless, an 11-point deficit is not easy to overcome.

What happened in the second half of the game completely blew my mind. All of a sudden, the Chiefs looked like a grade school football club that couldn’t score points, or even move the ball up the field, so whatever defensive adjustments were made, they certainly had Patrick Mahomes confused. Once again, thanks to the heroics of superstar in the making Joe Burrow and his favourite receiver Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals are going to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989. 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Who was the man that ‘presided’ over R. J. Speers’ racing empire from 1925 to 1956? He was credited with calling the first horse race when he introduced the public address system in tracks at Tijuana in 1927. He also was the first presiding Steward to oversee the use of the mechanical starting gate, which made its debut at Whittier Park in 1939. Hint: He was known by many as simply the “Judge.” As always, Bob has the details here. (From June 2020)
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