The Inside Track | Issue #21 | March 31, 2022
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLTs, Race Carrels and Tables are sanitized between customer use.
  • Our fully immunized staff will continue to wear masks for the safety of all customers.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Backstretch in Full Swing
  • Snapshot in Time
  • Photo of the Week: Franco!
  • Major Kentucky Derby Preps
  • Eugene Melnyk gone at 62
  • This Jockey is the G.O.A.T.
  • 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 every 30 minutes starting at noon.
TREMENDOUS TUESDAYS ARE BACK - 5% cash back on all eligible wagering Tuesdays in April. Minimum wagered $100 (each Tuesday). Maximum deposit $25 (each Tuesday). Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included).

FLORIDA DERBY DAY BONUS - 3% cash back on Gulfstream racing on Saturday, April 2. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum deposit $25. Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included).

  • Sunday, April 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • 70+ talented local aritsans and vendors will be showcasing their products at our second spring market.
  • Free admission and free parking

Our amazing brunches are back! From Certified Angus beef to all of your brunch favourites - we have you covered! Tickets are now on sale for Easter Brunch and Mother's Day Brunch.

EASTER BRUNCH: Sunday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for full menu. Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95. For tickets call 204-885-3330.

MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH: Sunday, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for full menu. Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95. For tickets call 204-885-3330.

Both of these brunches will sell out quickly so get your tickets today! Please note that there is no live racing on either of the above dates as live racing begins Victoria Day, Monday, May 23.

ASD's signature Prime Rib buffet is returning for live race nights starting Monday, May 23. Call 204-885-3330. Adults, $47.95, Seniors (65+), $44.95, 12 & under, $27.95, 5 & under, $14.95. See the buffet highlights at Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330. Click here for full race schedule.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Manitoba-bred star filly Melisandre with jockey Stanley Chadee Jr. She has that look in her eyes already!
Backstretch in Full Swing
190 horses on the grounds and more coming!
The warm, wet and frosty backstretch at ASD is in full swing now with more horses arriving weekly in preparation for opening day, Monday, May 23, and trainer spirits are springtime high as always at this time of year.

There are already 190 horses on the grounds. Champion Melisandre was seen galloping strongly for trainer Lise Pruitt and jockey Stanley Chadee Jr. Wednesday morning on the ASD training track and more Manitoba-bred stars are also on the grounds. Tom Gardipy’s assistant trainer Curtis Gamble was cuddling up to $100,000 plus earner Sweet Design with hopes of another big season.
Tom Gardipy's assistant trainer Curtis Gamble is hoping for another big year from Manitoba-bred Sweet Design, who went over the $100,000 mark in career earnings last year.
Trainers with horses currently on the grounds and/or in transit include Lise Pruitt (21 horses), Wendy Anderson (20), Shelley Brown (18), Elton Dickey (15), Steve Gaskin (12), Blair Miller (12), Devon Gittens (11), Tiffany Husbands (10), Mike Nault (10), Courtney Ross (9), Mike Taphorn (8), Tom Gardipy Jr. (8), Fred Rawson (7), Carl Anderson (6), Curtis Maxwell (6), Ryan Desjarlais (6), Jenn Jordan (5), Blair Kidd (3), Larry Cizik (2), Jim Donley (2), and Steve Thompson (2).

Taphorn might be a trainer to watch at good odds this year. Now in his third year at the Downs, Taphorn has improved his stable this year, and he has some back class, having trained multiple Marquis Downs stakes winner and 15-time winner Standoff from 2006-2008. People will also be following former Downs trainer Blair Miller, who has returned to the Downs this year to train for 2 Points Ranch. 
Trainer Mike Taphorn hiding out in the background of his 8-horse stable at Assiniboia Downs. A trainer worth watching at overlay odds.
And how about 77-year-old cagey veteran Carl Anderson, who says he could have had 30 horses this year if he wanted to. The 4-time Gold Cup winning-trainer is as good as they get with class horses and he’s got another in McKague that might just be able to pull off a Gold Cup victory if he keeps improving. Anderson has been around long enough to remember Hall of Famer Bill Mott ponying horses for him in the early days of his career at the Downs, and still learns something every day.
Current jockeys on the grounds include Stanley Chadee Jr., Kayla Pizarro, Nirone Austin, Renaldo Cumberbatch and Dwight Lewis. Also expected to return for the 2022 season are 2021 leading rider Jorge Carreno and two-time Downs champ Antonio Whitehall (2018, 2020), along with 2015 leading rider Chavion Chow, Ronald Ali, Sheldon Chickeness, Neville Stephenson and Shavon Belle. Other possible riders for the 2022 season include 2019 leading rider Richard Mairs, 2018 leading rider Prayven Badrie, Tyrone Nelson, Rasheed Hughes, Dane Dawkins, Arthur Badhu, and Leonel Camach-Flores from Turf Paradise.

That would make for a very competitive jocks’ room!
A Snapshot in Time
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
There aren’t a lot of aerial photos of Assiniboia Downs, and this is a rare one. Tough to date, but believed to have been taken in the late 1970s. Here you see the Downs in a totally different perspective, and just look at that parking lot -- filled to the max! (Gerry Hart photo)
Photo of the Week
Meet Franco! The colt by Manitoba stallion Nonios is out of the mare Franchesca by multiple Group 1 winner Henrythenavigator. Owned by Blaine McLaren and Larry Falloon, Franco was barely a day old when this photo was taken on March 27, and he already knew how to pose for the camera!
Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to
In The News
Arrogate filly Secret Oath morning-line favourite to beat the boys
Secret Oath, winner of three straight races at Oaklawn Park this year, trains over the track in advance of a planned start in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby on April 2. (Coady Photography)
One of the most important Kentucky Derby preps, the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) goes this Saturday, April 2, at Oaklawn Park. That's two weeks earlier than usual for this race, in order to give the horses more time before the Kentucky Derby. The Arkansas Derby is the highlight of a great race card at Oaklawn Park that also includes the Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies and three other stakes races. America's Best Racing has the scoop on the Arkansas Derby runners here.
Classic Causeway, Simplification and White Abarrio will vie for favourite status
Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Simplification is one of three major contenders that could be favoured in Saturday's Florida Derby. Lauren King photo.
The Florida Derby field has three serious win contenders in Classic Causeway, Simplification and White Abarrio. Classic Causeway and Simplification will meet for the first time after winning three of the four Derby trail points races in Florida. Holy Bull Stakes winner White Abarrio has a bullet workout and could give Classic Causeway all he can handle on the front end. Analysis from Horse Racing Nation here.
Toronto-born billionaire who had a large and influential breeding and racing operation for decades passed away on March 28 at the age of 62.
From betting on the races at Greenwood to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Eugene Melnyk rose to the top in horse racing. (Winding Oaks Farm photo.)
In business, in sport, in horses, and in life, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk went big. In horse racing, he graduated from a young boy looking for discarded winning tickets at Greenwood racetrack to becoming a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. He raced dozens of champions in North America and campaigned 62 stakes winners, all carrying blue-and-gold silks, the colours of Barbados and Ukraine, where his family is from. More from Jennifer Morrison at the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Apr. 2 - Florida Derby (GP)
  • Apr. 2 - Arkansas Derby (OP)
  • Apr. 2 - Jeff Ruby Steaks (TP)
  • Apr. 9 - Wood Memorial (Aqu)
  • Apr. 9 - Blue Grass (Kee)
  • Apr. 9 - Santa Anita Derby
  • Apr. 16 - Lexington (Kee)
  • May 7 - Kentucky Derby (CD)

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here.
Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Carryover Watch & Programs
  • Gulfstream (Mar. 31) - Rainbow Pick 6 - $408,224
  • Charles Town (Mar. 31) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $145,791
  • Santa Anita (Apr. 1) - Rainbow Pick 6 - $115,754
  • Fonner (Apr. 1) - Jackpot Pick 5 - $92,596
  • See all carryovers here.

Charles Town will offer a mandatory payout of the popular Charles Town Jackpot Pick 6 wager tomorrow Friday, April 1st. The current carryover stands at $145,791.

Gulfstream will offer a mandatory payout of the Rainbow Pick 6 on Sunday, April 3. The jackpot going into today's card is $408,224.
Horseback-riding goat a hit on B.C. farm
Farmer Aimee Kootnikoff says she discovered an unusual friendship between her goat Arret and her horse Bouge: Arret mounts Bouge to reach food from trees, while Bouge benefits from being massaged by Arret's hooves. Story and video from The Weather Network here. (Aimee Kootnikoff Photo)
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
The "I Won Bigg" betting group meets every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza in the Clubhouse. The group will be concentrating their efforts on Santa Anita and Tampa Bay again this week. Everyone welcome. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

What led me to revisit a personal memory of Assiniboia Downs Patriarch Bert Blake and his bride Eileen more than three years after their passing? This is truly a must read that shares private details of my final conversations with the Downs legend. Click here for more. (From June 2015)
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