The Inside Track | Issue #70 | March 10, 2023
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLTs, Race Carrels and Tables are sanitized between customer use.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • 2023 Handicapping Tournaments
  • Dining at ASD
  • New Value Added Chef's Specials
  • A Day in the Life of a Groom
  • Call for Foal Photos
  • 2023 Shipping Incentives
  • 2023 Live Racing Dates/Purses/Stakes
  • ASD Condition Book #1 Download
  • Road to the Kentucky Derby
  • Kentucky Derby Top 10 Has New #1
  • Brilliant Women in Racing
  • Sovereign Awards Update: Photos
  • Snapshot in Time: River Park
  • Carryover Watch
  • The Best of Bob: Winnipeg Futurity
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
Club West Gaming Lounge

140 VLTs available daily in our spacious Club West Gaming Lounge from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m. Please note that our VLTs are sanitized between play. Click here for a full list of games available at ASD.

Win CA$H Every Day!

  • Draws to win up to $100 cash on our lucky wheel Monday through Friday from noon until 5 p.m.

  • Draws for $20 FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
2023 Player's Choice Online Handicapping Tournaments

  • Saturday, March 18, 2023
  • Saturday, April 15, 2023
  • Saturday, May 13, 2023

Entry fee: $25. Bankroll: $60. Place 10 ($2 WPS) wagers on any North American race that takes place on the contest day. You must have a Manitoba HPI account to participate. Deadline to enter is 4 p.m. the Friday before the tournament. For complete list of 2023 handicapping tournaments click here.
March HPI Cash Back Specials

  • MONDAY MARCH MADNESS: Earn 4% cash back on all eligible wagers on Mondays, March, 13, 20 & 27. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum cash back $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) Opt-in at All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.

  • DUBAI WORLD CUP SPECIAL: Earn 3% cash back on all eligible wagers on Dubai Racing on Saturday, March 25. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum cash back $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) Opt-in at All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
Dining at Assiniboia Downs
Club West Dining Room & Lounge Open Daily

Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks plus Happy Hour food and beverage specials in our Club West Dining Room & Lounge! Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Friday & Saturday Value Added Specials
Friday Steak & Suds $24.95: 8 oz. Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with fresh vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Plus a complimentary pint of ASD Lucky Lager.

Saturday Prime & Wine $29.95: Certified Angus Prime Rib (8 oz.) cut. Served with fresh vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries, horseradish and Yorkshire pudding au jus. Plus a complimentary 6 oz. glass of house wine.

Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are not required.
Easter Brunch - Sunday, April 9

  • Sliced Certified Angus Prime Rib in Mushroom Sauce
  • Carved Ham with Grilled Pineapple
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Omelette Station
  • Bacon and Sausage
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Hashbrowns
  • French Toast and Syrup
  • Assorted Salads
  • Croissant, Rolls, Flatbreads & Butter
  • Cheese Cubes, Kolbassa and Pickles
  • Smoked Salmon Pizza
  • Fruit and Assorted Desserts
  • Served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Tickets: Adults $39.95, 12 & under $19.95, 5 & under $9.95
  • Call 204-885-3330 to purchase yours today!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
A Day in the Life of Groom
From cleaning stalls to brushing, bathing and being a friend, good grooms do it all
Madison Tirk grooming Miss Understood Stable's 4-year-old filly Miss Giving for trainer Devon Gittens. (George Williams photos)
Grooms are probably the most important person in the life of a racehorse. They spend more time with the horses than anyone else in the barn, tending to their every physical and mental need. But what exactly does that entail? What’s a day in a groom’s life look like?

We’ll start in the morning and take you all the way through a full day that doesn’t include racing at night. We’ll leave the latter for part two, which includes racing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Assiniboia Downs. If one of your horses is racing on those nights, you might have to work, or you might have to help another groom with their horse.

A groom’s day generally starts between 5-6 a.m. You arrive at the barn and the horses greet you with knickers and smiles. They should have already had their morning feed before you get there, and they’re ready to go to work.

You may have a set number of horses to look after, or you might be doing something with all the horses in the barn. Every trainer operates differently. Regardless, all the horses are going to need some version of the care described below.

The first thing you’ll do is check on the horses to make sure everything is okay. It won’t take you long to figure out what that means. Do they look happy? Did they eat their breakfast? Are they chipper and alert, ears pricked, interested in what’s going on around them? If anything seems amiss, you have to let the trainer know about it.

The next thing you’ll do is remove any leg bandages that have been applied. If a horse is not wearing bandages, you’ll run your hand over their legs from the knees down and through the feet, looking for anything abnormal, sensing for heat or swelling. If a horse has been wearing bandages, you’ll generally have to wait at least 30 minutes for their legs to return to their normal temperature before you can accurately assess them, although anything serious will stand out right away.

Each horse is different. Some will always have warm legs and feet. Others will always have ice cold legs and warm feet, and vice versa. Once you get to know each individual horse, you’ll be able to sense any important changes in their legs, and in their mental state, from day-to-day. If something is off, you’ll report it to the trainer. If all is good, it’s time to check the training chart or ask the trainer which of your horses are going out for exercise and when.
Picking Miss Giving's feet and checking her shoes. Feet are very important on racehorses.
Some trainers like to have the stalls cleaned before the horses go out, others like the stalls cleaned and freshly bedded while the horses are out walking or exercising. In the former case, a groom might get to the track early, remove any soiled bedding from the stall, spread the remaining dry straw or shavings throughout the stall, and wait until the horse goes out before adding fresh bedding.

Regardless of whether a horse is going out to walk, exercise at the Equicizer facility, or train under tack with a rider, they’ll need to be cleaned up. Good trainers and their grooms take great pride in how they care for their horses, and a quick brush and cleanup before the horse goes out not only makes the horse look good, it often makes them feel good too. The same thing goes for humans.

If the horse is walking, you’ll either take it out to a mechanical walking machine, walk it yourself, or hand it off to someone else to walk. If the horse is going to the Equicizer, you’ll walk it over there. If the horse is going to train under tack, you’ll have to saddle and bridle them, pick their feet with a hoof pick, and check their shoes to make sure they are on properly. You may also have to put polo or training bandages on the legs, depending on the horse and trainer.

When the horses leaves the stall for training, you’ll clean the stall and/or add fresh bedding, remove the feed and water buckets from the stall, clean them, and fill up the water bucket with fresh water. You’ll also place hay in the stall for the horse to eat after training. If the horse is training rather than walking, you won’t put the water bucket back in the stall until the horse has “cooled out” after training.

While the horse is training, you may also have to get another horse ready to go to the track, and if the weather is warm enough, you might have to prepare bath water for the horse. Some trainers like to have five-gallon buckets of soapy water and rinse water prepared for a bath, others use a spray hose and give the horse a shower.

When the horse returns from the track, you’ll remove the saddle and bridle and put their halter on for walking. If it’s warm enough, you’ll often give the horse a bath before they start walking. Horses are generally walked for 20-30 minutes to cool down after training and up to an hour after a serious workout or race, while also being given limited sips of water.

This is not always the case during spring training but is generally done when the weather is warmer. The same could be said for baths. It’s usually too cold to give a horse a bath during spring training in Manitoba, but you’ll definitely look forward to bath days in the summer when they come. As will the horses. Baths make horses feel good, and they make grooming much easier. They also make the horses prettier, and they know it.

After a horse has been cooled out, they’ll go back in the stall and eat the hay you left for them, while waiting for you to perform your grooming duties. You’ll usually groom your horses after they have all been out, the stalls are all done, and your shedrow has been raked to provide an aesthetically pleasing work environment.
And now the left foot. With two smiles. Horses love to be cared for.
Some horses love to be groomed, others don’t. Each has their own unique personality. Your job as a groom is to figure out what works best for each individual horse. Most horses love to be cared for, and your time spent in the stall with them will help you establish a bond that is much closer than you might ever imagine.

Horses are very sensitive. You're not only their caregiver, you're their companion. Love them and they'll respond in kind. They'll do their very best for you.

In the spring, when the horses often have long hair, you’ll first use a curry comb to remove the sweat marks from the saddle, along with any loose hair and dirt. You’ll then use a combination of hard and soft brushes on the body, legs, head, mane and tail, and finally you’ll use a cloth rub rag to shine up your charge.

Next, you’ll pick your horse’s feet and check their shoes again. You may even wash and paint the feet with a specialized oil depending on the horse and the trainer. Then you’ll stand back and admire your work. A well-groomed horse is a thing of beauty, and it will make you feel good. The quote, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man,” speaks the truth.

After your basic grooming is done, you may have to practice some additional preventative maintenance depending on the trainer. Racehorses are serious athletes, and they appreciate anything you can do to make them feel better.

Rubbing their backs and legs with liniment, bandaging their legs, hosing their legs with cold water, standing them in a hot or cold water turbulator, and fitting them with electronic blankets, are just a few of the many extras the best grooms will do to make their horses feel and perform better.

By the time you have all the above done it will usually be 11 a.m. and time for lunch feeding. After the horses are fed, you will generally have the afternoon off. You may or may not have to come back for afternoon feeding between 4-6 p.m. depending on your trainer. Grooms often share afternoons off with regards to feeding.

If you do have to come back, you’ll often go through the stalls to remove any soiled bedding, dump water buckets and give the horses fresh water. Someone in the barn will also come back to top up the water buckets and check on the horses later in the evening. If one of your horses is scheduled to race that night, there’s a good chance you’ll be there.

Admiring your handiwork, feeling proud and satisfied.

For a job well done.
Pretty, happy horse. Proud, happy groom. A job well done!
Manitoba HBPA Groom School Application Information
For more information, or to apply to the HBPA Groom School Program, please email a resume along with a cover letter or summary to the attention of Shannon Dawley at Deadline for applications is March 10, 2023. And if you know someone who might be looking for a job working with horses, please share! Thank you!
Call for Foal Photos
The Jockey Club of Canada wants to showcase your foals and so do we!
The new Manitoba foals will soon be here and we want to see yours! (Manitoba CTHS photo)
The foaling season is upon us and the Jockey Club of Canada is looking for foal photos to share with their membership group. If you have a foal you'd like to show off, please email your photo to and include the province foaled, sire, dam, and photographer, as well as any additional information you wish to provide.

Any photos received will be included in the Jockey Club of Canada Newsletter through to the end of foaling season. And don’t forget to cc us on your email at

We’d love to showcase your foal photos here too.
Excellent Purses, Stakes Schedule and Shipping Incentives in Place for 2023 at ASD

Assiniboia Downs offers some of the best shipping incentives in North America, and an excellent purse and stakes schedule to match. If you're looking for a great place to race this summer, you won't find a more friendly and inviting track anywhere. We've also got one of the kindest racing surfaces in North America, complemented by numerous additional amenities.

The 50-day 2023 live race meeting begins on Monday, May 22, and runs through to Tuesday, September 19. We race Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings at ASD, which means you can take the weekends off and enjoy our fabulous Manitoba summer weather with family and friends! Links to the 2023 shipping incentives, racing and graded purse schedules here.
The first ASD Condition Book for 2023 is here! Time to get excited! Click here to download.
Can't make it to the track to wager?
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

60-Second Betting Sprees!

60-Second Betting Sprees continue at off-track locations! Visit any of the locations below on the corresponding dates and you could win a chance to make as many $2 wagers as you can in 60-seconds!

  • Nor-Villa Motor Hotel - Saturday, March 11
  • Rookies (Central Hotel) - Sunday, March 12
  • Canad Inns Windsor Park - Saturday, March 25
  • Club 3D - Sunday, March 26
Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • Mar. 11 - Tampa Bay Derby
  • Mar. 25 - UAE Derby (MEY)
  • Mar. 25 - Jeff Ruby Steaks (TP)
  • Mar. 25 - Louisiana Derby (FG)
  • Mar. 26 - Sunland Derby

See Kentucky Derby prep winners here.

Kentucky Derby Future Wagers
  • Pool #3 - Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 - final odds
  • Pool #4 - Feb. 10 to Feb. 12 - final odds
  • Pool #5 - Mar. 10 to Mar. 12 - odds & pps
  • Pool #6 - Mar. 30 to Apr. 1

Kentucky Oaks Future Wager
"I Won Bigg" Wagering Group

Join veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht as they lead discussions for the "I Won Bigg" betting group every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse.

The group will be playing Santa Anita and Tampa Bay this week. $20 gets you a share in the ticket. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
In The News
Plus Tampa Bay Derby Picks from Jon White
Practical Move returns after winning the San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. (Evers/Xpressbet photo)
Jon White of has moved San Felipe Stakes (G2) winner Practical Move to the top of his Top 10 Kentucky Derby list. Interestingly, Steve Haskin of also had Practical Move near the top a month ago at 83-1 in Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Great pick at those odds! White also offers his top four picks for this Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby (G3). More from here.
Brilliant Women in U.S. Horse Racing History
Hall of Fame rider Julie Krone, left, and pioneer Diane Crump, right, are two important women in Thoroughbred racing. (Equi-Photo-BloodHorse/Jim Raftery-Turfotos)
Throughout horse racing history, women have been instrumental in contributing to the progression and advancement of the sport. International Women’s Day took place this year on March 8, which makes this a great time to celebrate some of the women in racing who have made a lasting impact and paved the way for women in the sport today.
More from Nikki Samolovitch a America's Best Racing here.
Finalists announced for E. P. Taylor Award of Merit, Outstanding Groom and Media Sovereign Awards. See the nominated photos.
The Catch, by veteran photographer Allan de la Plante, is one of three exceptional photos nominated for a 2022 Sovereign Award.
The Jockey Club of Canada is pleased to announce that Dale Saunders will be presented with the E. P. Taylor Award of Merit during the 48th Annual Sovereign Awards ceremony on the evening of Thursday, April 13, 2023 in Vaughan, Ontario. The finalists in the Media and Photography categories have also been announced. Read more and see the nominated photos from the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
Over the next few weeks our trip down Memory Lane will take us back 100 years. The first stop on this journey will be old River Park, where in 1922 Jim Speers got racing (as we know it today) started. The Park was located in the area of present day Churchill Drive. In the early 1920s Jubilee Avenue was the last street before the Red River, with River Park lying between Jubilee and the river. We remember River Park with this program from June 30, 1923. The program came to me from none other than Downs’ patriarch Albert Edward Blake, who in turn had received it from Joe “Duck” Tataryn.
Carryover Watch
  • Charles Town (March 10) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover - $93,981

See all carryovers here.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

2019 marks the 90th running of the historic Winnipeg Futurity and Bob has put together a delicious assortment of facts, figures and stories for you to feast upon. Who was the winner of the first Futurity? Did you know that one trainer won the race a record-setting four times, in consecutive years? Bob has all the details here. (From September 2019)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Spin to Win in the Clubwest Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • 4% cash back every Monday in March (13, 20 & 27) - more info
  • 3% cash back on the Dubai World Cup - Saturday, March 25 - more info
  • Easter Brunch - Sunday, April 9 - more info
  • Mother's Day Brunch - Sunday, May 14 - more info
  • MICEC Monster Bingo - Saturday, May 20 - more info
  • ASD Live Racing starts - Monday, May 22 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to
The Inside Track Archives
Did you know that past issues of The Inside Track are available on our website? Click here to read them now.