The Inside Track | Issue #103 | October 27, 2023

140 VLTS
  • 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?
  • Chase the Ace at ASD
  • ASD Handicapping Tournaments
  • Dining at ASD
  • ASD Class Showing up Everywhere
  • 19+ Adult Expo and Market
  • TravyFootball Week 8
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Snapshot in Time - Secret Cipher
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Breeders' Cup Pre-entries Strong, 18 in Classic
  • Breeders' Cup Race Order, Post Times, Wagering Menu
  • 10 Live Longshots for the Breeders' Cup
  • The Best of Bob - I Dreamed of a Racetrack Heaven
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!

2023 Player's Choice Online Tournaments

  • Saturday, November 11
  • Saturday, December 16

PRIZES: 1st place: $1,000 (plus a trophy), 2nd place: $400, 3rd place: $200, 4th place: $100, 5th place: $50

Entry fee is $25. $2 WPS on one horse in any 10 races (harness, thoroughbred or quarter horse) from any North American track on the contest day. Click here for full rules.


Player's Choice Tournaments

  • Saturday, January 21 - Randy Premachuk
  • Saturday, February 18 - Steve Holborn
  • Saturday, March 18 - Nicole Baker
  • Saturday, April 15 - Barry Mymko
  • Saturday, May 13 - Brad Ostrove

Las Vegas Challenge Tournaments

  • Monday, June 19 - Ron Zurba
  • Monday, July 10 - Murray Chaban
  • Monday, July 31 - Tanis Atras
  • Monday, August 21 - Brian McKellar
  • Monday, September 18 - David Blake

Player's Choice Tournaments

  • Saturday, October 14 - George Williams



  1. This exclusive contest is free to enter and is open to anyone who has participated in at least one of the eleven Handicapping Contests that have taken place in 2023.
  2. The contest will take place on the five Breeders’ Cup races (races 5 through 9) on Friday, November 3 and the nine Breeders’ Cup races (races 3 through 11) from Santa Anita on Saturday, November 4. Select the winner of each of the fourteen Breeders’ Cup races.
  3. Submit your selections by horse number via email to Sheri at [email protected] or leave a voicemail at (204) 885-8780.
  4. Friday’s selections must be submitted prior to the start of race 5 on Friday and Saturday’s selections must be submitted prior to the start of race 3 on Saturday.
  5. Your selections cannot be changed once they have been submitted.
  6. If your selection(s) is scratched, you will receive the favourite at post time.
  7. The total number of winners from Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4 will be added together and the $500 HPI deposit will be awarded to the person who has selected the most winners.
  8. In the event of a tie, the $500 HPI deposit will be divided equally between all the winners.

Breeders' Cup from Santa Anita

Friday, November 3 at 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 4 at 12:10 p.m.

  • The Breeders' Cup Advance DRF for both days is available to purchase on the program kiosks. $2 per day.
  • 3% cash back bonus on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4. Wager $1,000 or more on your HPI account on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4 and receive 3% cash back to a maximum of $100. ($2.10 wagers are not eligible). All wagers must be placed on your HPI account to qualifiy.
  • Special Breeders' Cup Handicapping Show with ASD Live's Kirt & Stretch
  • Free Breeders' Cup programs and DRF at all locations (except casinos). The free programs and DRF will be available at all locations by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1
  • Breeders' Cup merchandise draws at all locations (except casinos)
  • The Terrace Dining Room will be open for seating. If you would like to reserve a table please call 204-885-3330. The Club West menu will be available along with the daily food specials.
  • Breeders' Cup Canadian bet minimums: WPS ($2), Daily Double ($2), Exactor ($1), Special Daily Doubles ($1), All-Turf Pick 3 ($4), Pick 6 ($1.40), Triactor ($.60), Pick 3 ($.60), Pick 4 ($.60), Pick 5 ($.60), Super Hi-5 ($.60), Superfecta ($.20)

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.

  • NEW! Starting Monday, October 30th. Draws to win 20 break-open tickets! Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

  • Draws for $20 in FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. One lucky person turned their $20 into $1,604!
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.

  • Club West Dining Room & Lounge menu
  • Daily Happy Hour specials
Chef's Weekend Specials
Friday Steak & Suds $24.95: 8 oz. Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with fresh vegetables and a 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 a choice of mashed potatoes or french fries, horseradish, and Yorkshire pudding au jus. Plus a complimentary 6 oz. glass of house wine.

Sunday Fish & Chips $14.95: Two pieces of beer battered cod with tartar sauce and lemon. Served with french fries and coleslaw.

Add a starter Caesar salad, tossed salad or soup of the day to any of the above specials for $3.95. Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are not required.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson

Assiniboia Downs Class Showing Up Everywhere

Jeff Fa Fa, Tiger Dad, Whitehall, Escape Clause, Danelson making their marks

Jeff Fa Fa, shown here winning his second of four races at ASD on July 5 at ASD with Damario Bynoe up, meets eight rivals in the $200,000 Bold Ruler Stakes (G3) on Friday. (Jason Halstead photo)

Assiniboia Downs class is making its presence felt across North America, and the world may be next!

Four-time ASD winner Jeff Fa Fa takes on eight tough rivals in Friday’s $200,000 Bold Ruler Stakes (G3) at Belmont at The Big A; Free Press Stakes winner Tiger Dad recently won at Keeneland; leading ASD rider Antonio Whitehall won a stakes last week at Century Downs; all-time leading ASD trainer Gary Danelson has been named to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame; and the first foal from the best Manitoba-bred in history, Escape Clause, is slated to make his first start on Saturday in Japan.

Whew! That’s a lot of purple velvet!

Jeff Fa Fa returns after his third of four wins at ASD in the 7th race on July 17 for trainer Wendy Anderson. Damario Bynoe up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Jeff Fa Fa won four races at ASD this summer and finished the season on a three-race winning streak for trainer Wendy Anderson. He then ventured to Century Downs in Alberta and set a new track-record winning the $50,000 Red Diamond Express Handicap on September 16. Transferred to former ASD trainer Rob Atras in New York, Jeff Fa Fa has been listed at 20-1 for the Bold Ruler Stakes, which goes as the 8th race on Friday at Belmont at The Big A. He’ll be making a big jump up in class, but he’s at the top of his game right now.

“Pierre (owner-breeder Pierre Esquirol) called me up out of the blue to see if I’d take this horse and give it a shot – why not,” said Atras in an NYRA Press interview posted on “He’s won four in a row and broke the track record last out at Century. If he’s not at this level we can find a different spot for him, but Pierre wanted to give him a shot at the top level in New York.”

Go get ‘em Jeff!

Tiger Dad (#2), shown winning the Free Press Stakes this summer at ASD for trainer Robertino Diodoro and jockey Jorge Carreno, recently won at Keeneland. (Jason Halstead photo)

Tiger Dad has already carried his winning ASD form south of the border, so maybe Jeff Fa Fa can do the same. Trained by top North American trainer Robertino Diodoro, Tiger Dad won the Free Press Stakes and finished second in the R. J. Speers Memorial this summer at the Downs before venturing to Del Mar and then on to Keeneland, where he won a $20,000 claiming race on October 13 in game fashion.

2023 ASD leading rider Antonio Whitehall moved his tack to Alberta this fall after winning his third local riding title with 56 wins and has continued his winning ways at Century Downs, highlighted by a recent victory in the $50,000 Birdcatcher Stakes on October 22 aboard Grated Coconut for top trainer Craig Smith. Whitehall currently sits in a tie for third in the standings at Century Downs with 11 wins, and is only five victories behind leader Dane Nelson as they head into the final weekend of racing.

Good luck Antonio!

Three-time ASD leading rider and 2023 champion Antonio Whitehall has continued his winning ways at Century Downs in Alberta. (Jason Halstead photo)

On the breeding and racing front, Ivan Bigg reports that Shonan Gachi, the first foal out of Manitoba-bred superstar mare and Sovereign Award winner Escape Clause, is slated to make his debut in the fifth race this Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan. The bay colt by Japanese Derby (G1) winner Duramente sold for almost a million dollars in the 2021 Japanese Select Sale. Escape Clause (Going Commando-Danger Pay by Circulating), was bred in Manitoba by Cam Ziprick and Arnason Farms and went on to win numerous stakes including the La Canada (G3) at Santa Anita, earning $866,100 US from a record of 20-5-4 in 35 starts. On pedigree alone…

Shonan Gachi should be a runner!

Escape Clause colt Shonan Gachi, shown here as a yearling, will make his racing debut at Tokyo Racecourse this Sunday in the fifth race.

Congratulations are in order for all-time ASD leading trainer Gary Danelson. Track historian Bob Gates reports that Danelson has been chosen for induction into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame as part of their class of 2024. The 86-year-old master horseman from Scobey, Montana has been one of the elite trainers at Assiniboia Downs since he first arrived here in 1959, and has trained numerous stakes winners and champions at the Downs including Electric Fever, Smoky Cinder, Hi Lord, Baladi, Smart Figure, Tadaa, and Fancy Bru among others.

Danelson won his 1,250th race at the Downs in his final start of the 2023 season with Kate’s Princess on September 12, improving his overall career record to 1288-1095-959 from 6,501 starts for purse earnings of $5,931,023 US.

Congratulations Mr. Danelson!

Trainer Gary Danelson wins his 1250th race at Assiniboia Downs with Kate's Princess on September 12, 2023. Congratulations! (Jason Halstead photo)

Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 8

49ers over Bengals (Sunday afternoon): I’m kinda glad I didn’t end up going to Minneapolis last week to watch the Niners play, because that would have been a long drive just to see them get their butts kicked. But they don’t have time to sit around and mope because the suddenly resurgent Cincinnati Bengals are coming into town fresh off their bye week. San Fran REALLY needs to figure out their defense because for two weeks in a row, they have been bullied around by the opposing team and haven’t generated any sort of pass rush. New defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who replaced the outgoing DeMeco Ryans, is coming under fire for his play-calling during the game, more specifically, calling an all-out blitz right before halftime that led to a Vikings touchdown. Now, before we hit the panic button on San Fran, they did lose weeks six and seven last year. But if they couldn’t slow down Kirk Cousins and Jordan Addison, I don’t know how they will stop Joe Burrow and J’Marr Chase. But football is a funny thing, one week you can look like the best team in the league, the next week you can look completely different. Maybe being back home after two road games is just the medicine they need to get back to their winning ways. 


Titans over Falcons (Sunday noon): I don’t know how the Falcons won last week considering how bad their quarterback played, but you take the wins when you can get them. The leash on Desmond Ridder has to be getting shorter and shorter. Two weeks ago, he threw three interceptions, last week he fumbled three times (all inside the red zone) and yet, they are in first place in their division, although it’s the worst division in football right now. The Titans want to get back in the win column coming off their bye week, but that might be hard if they can’t get some decent play out of the QB position. Ryan Tannehill most likely won’t be in the lineup so that leaves incumbent second year quarterback Malik Willis, and rookie quarterback Will Levis, to get this ship turned in the right direction. I expect a healthy dose of Derek Henry to help out whichever young signal caller gets the start (assuming he doesn’t get traded by the time readers see this). 


Colts over Saints (Sunday noon): The Saints acquisition of Derek Carr in the off season was supposed to take the team to the next level and make them overwhelming favourites to win the NFC North. Instead, the Saints sit third in the division and have really struggled to find any sort of rhythm or consistency on offense. Carr only has six touchdown passes on the season, that's less than one a game. This might be one of the reasons the Raiders were so willing to let him go (although they're having their own QB issues now). Even with Alvin Kamara back from suspension, they still seem to be settling for field goals instead of getting touchdowns. The Colts found themselves in an unexpected shootout last week against the Browns, and if it wasn’t for a questionable penalty at the end of the game, they very well could have won. With rookie QB Anthony Richardson done for the season, backup Gardner Minshew has been serviceable in his place. He still will make some boneheaded plays (like fumbling in the endzone) but he definitely has no problems moving the offense up and down the field and scoring points, pretty much the opposite of what the Saints do. 


Last week: 0-3 (yikes!)

Overall: 12-9

Looking for a Special Photo of Your Big Horse?
Track Photographer Jason Halstead may have just what you're looking for

Burrow Down (inside) battles it out early with Evan Pandura on her way to victory in the Miss Sandy Dee Overnight Stakes for trainer Murray Duncan and owner Gerald Babchishin. Stanley Chadee, Jr. up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Looking for that extra-special photo of your big horse, one you might not find in your win pictures? Track photographer Jason Halstead takes numerous photos during the races, and not all of them can make it into the win photos. If you’re looking for something frameable from your big race, or of your special horse, email Jason at [email protected]. Prices are excellent! Almost as good as his photos 😊

Carryover Watch
  • Woodbine (October 27) - Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover $223,885
  • Belmotn (October 27) - Pick 6 carryover $20,080

See all carryovers here.

Can't make it to the track to wager?
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

"I Won Bigg" Wagering Group

The "I Won Bigg" wagering group will meet every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza. This week the group will be playing Woodbine and Santa Anita. $20 per share. Email Larry at [email protected] for more information.

Next week's focus will be the Breeders' Cup. ASD will be seeding the "I Won Bigg" Breeders' Cup pool with $500.

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

We will close out our review of Gold Cup champions with the winner of the 1983 edition of the race. Multiple stakes winner Secret Cipher was owned by Mark Anthony and Ron Wood, trained by veteran Carl Anderson, and ridden by Larry Bird. Secret Cipher was one of those bargain horses who just got better as they went along. The $7,500 purchase did his best running for Anderson and topped a Gold Cup field that included Frosty Friday, Cliff House, and Major Enterprise. (Gerry Hart photo)

Breeders' Cup Pre-entries Strong, 18 in BC Classic

Large international contingent, O'Brien leads all trainers with 13

White Abarrio is one of 18 horses pre-entered for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. (Barbara D. Livingston photo)

Led by four winners from a year ago and a large international contingent, a total of 205 horses were pre-entered for this year’s Breeders’ Cup, which takes place on Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita. The 205 figure matches that of last year and represents the second-most pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup behind only the 221 that were pre-entered in 2018. International representation is strong, with 43 European-based runners pre-entered along with nine Japanese-based horses and one from Argentina. More from the Daily Racing Form here.

Breeders' Cup Race Order, Post Times, Wagering Menu

Final two Breeders' Cup races Nov. 4 will be on NBC's streaming service Peacock

Wagering tickets from the 2019 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita. (Chad B. Harmon photo)

The Breeders' Cup has announced the official order of races, post times, and wagering menu for the 2023 Breeders' Cup Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita. There will be a total of 10 races, five of them Breeders' Cup races, on the first day—"Future Stars Friday"—and 12 races on the Saturday program, highlighted by nine Breeders' Cup races including the 40th running of the Breeders' Cup Classic. More from the Blood Horse here.

Live Longshots for the 2023 Breeders' Cup

Michelle Yu and PTF have 10 longshots they can't wait to bet at this year's Breeders' Cup

Live Longshots for the 2023 Breeders' Cup

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

And now for something completely different. This week our faithful track historian has taken a swing at song writing and re-worked Tex Ritter’s 1961 hit Hillbilly Heaven. Click here to listen to the Ritter hit then check out Bob’s lyrics for his version of Racetrack Heaven here(From July 2020)

Upcoming events at ASD

  • Spin to Win in the Club West Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 in free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • Naughty Halloween Social - Friday, October 27 - more info
  • Wpg 19+ Adult Expo - Friday, October 27 & Saturday, October 28 - more info
  • Breeders' Cup - Friday, November 3 & Saturday, November 4
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, November 11 - more info
  • Inspirations Market - Saturday, November 11 & Sunday, November 12 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected].
The Inside Track Archives
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