The Inside Track | Issue #55 | November 25, 2022
  • 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?
  • Friday & Saturday Dining Specials
  • New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance hosted by CJOB's Kathy Kennedy
  • Off-Track Betting Locations
  • The Best Manitoba-Breds of 2022
  • Rich Strike attempts rare double in Clark Handicap
  • Manitoba Mile winner takes Zia Park Championship
  • Respected DRF handicapper Dave Litfin dead at 64
  • "I Won Bigg" Betting Group
  • Carryover Watch
  • TravyFootball Week 12 Predictions
  • Snapshot in Time - Gordie Marsh and Bobby Stewart
  • The Best of Bob - R.J. Speers Stakes History
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
SPIN TO WIN THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS IN THE CLUB WEST GAMING LOUNGE - Enter at the VLT cage every Thursday and Friday for a chance to spin the wheel to win up to $100 cash! Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.

  • Saturday, December 10

Entry fee: $25. Bankroll: $60. Place 10 ($2 WPS) wagers on any North American harness or thoroughbred race that takes place on the contest day. You must have a Manitoba HPI account to participate. Deadline to enter is the Friday prior to each of the tournament dates by 4 p.m. Entry formRules. Current Handicapper of the Year standings.
Dining at Assiniboia Downs
HAPPY HOUR - Daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close
  • 6 oz. House Wine - $4.50
  • House Spirits - $4.50
  • Domestic Beer - $4.50
  • Fireball - $4.50
  • Downs Caesar - $5.50
  • Pint Longshot Lager - $5.50
  • Poutine - $8.00
  • Onion Rings - $8.00
  • Chicken Fingers - $9.00
  • Cheese Nachos - $9.00
  • All Day NFL Sunday Special - Regular Wings $10 (all day Sunday only)

All of the above specials are dine-in only.
The Club West Dining Room and Lounge is open daily at 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages. Our menu includes favourites such as chicken wings, pizza, chipotle mozza burger (pictured), steak sandwich or bacon and eggs plus much more! See the full menu here.
FRIDAY STEAK SPECIAL - $24.95 - 8 oz. top Sirloin charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

PRIME RIB SATURDAY SPECIAL - $29.95 - Our signature Certified Angus Prime Rib (8 oz.) served with vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries, horseradish and Yorkshire pudding au jus. Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Reservations are not required.

Friday, Dec. 23: 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 24: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 26: 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

  • Roast Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Apple, Onion & Tarragon Stuffing
  • Rutabaga, Carrots & Asparagus
  • Gravy & Cranberry Sauce
  • $24.95 per person
  • Add Pumpkin Pie & Whipped Cream or Apple Pie and Ice Cream for $4.95

Reservations required. Call 204-885-3330.
New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance
Saturday, December 31 - Main Floor Ballroom
  • A fabulous buffet from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. featuring our renowned Certified Angus Prime Rib. See menu here.
  • Complimentary champagne toast at midnight
  • Late lunch served
  • Dancing until 2:00 a.m.
  • Door prizes
  • Photo wall
  • Party favours 
  • DJ music & lights
  • Free coat check
  • Free parking
  • Hosted by CJOB's Kathy Kennedy
  • Tickets $79.95 plus taxes & gratuities. Call 204-885-3330

Tickets are selling fast so get yours today!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
The Best Manitoba-Breds of 2022
Once again, Manitoba-breds and their connections show they can win with the best
Manitoba-bred Hidden Grace led all runners in earnings at Assiniboia Downs in 2022. Shown here winning the 2022 Distaff Stakes. Renaldo Cumberbatch up. (Jason Halstead photo)
How much does it pay to own a Manitoba-bred? And can they really compete with open company? You bet they can! And they’re only getting better.
The Manitoba CTHS sent us the list of the top-earners at ASD this year, and not only did Manitoba-bred mare Hidden Grace top the overall list with $77,310 in earnings, four more Manitoba-breds made the Top 10. And Manitoba-bred McKague just missed the cut, finishing eleventh with $44,350 in earnings.
The Manitoba-breds that cracked the Top 10 along with Hidden Grace include Meabear ($68,140), Lady Cop ($63,660), Prairie Drifter ($55,780) and Bettermakethattwo ($48,390).
The connections of Manitoba-breds are not always recognized as much as they should be, and this seemed like a good place to give them a little added appreciation for the great work that they do with our homegrown horses.

Hidden Grace (Going Commando-High Pioneer by Pioneering) was bred by her owners Barry Arnason, Cam Ziprick and Charles Fouillard. Trained by Lise Pruitt, the 6-year-old mare won the Distaff and Escape Clause Stakes in 2022 and compiled a record of 3-1-1 from five starts to improve her lifetime record to 18-4-4 from 27 starts for overall earnings of $309,671 (US). One of the best Manitoba-breds we’ve ever seen here!

Meabear (Kentucky Bear-Takara Cove by Bold Executive) was bred by Kelly Halliday and owned by Dunworken Stable. Purchased for just $1,800 at the 2020 Manitoba Yearling Sale by trainer Fred Rawson, the 3-year-old filly won the Hazel Wright Sire Stakes in 2022 and finished second in the R.C. Anderson Memorial, winning four of her seven starts and finishing second three times to improve her lifetime record to 4-4-0 from eight starts for earnings of $58,234 (US).
Meabear winning the 2022 Hazel Wright Sire Stakes. Prayven Badrie up. (George Williams photo)

Lady Cop (Vengeful Wildcat-Agolo Bynoe by Successful Appeal) was bred by Dr. Betty Hughes and owned by A2 Thoroughbreds and True North Thoroughbreds. The game 2-year-old filly was purchased for $12,000 at the 2021 Manitoba Yearling Sale by Pat Beavis and showcased her big heart for trainer Mike Nault with three wins in a row including the Debutante and Osiris Stakes. In her final start of the season she finished third in the Winnipeg Futurity after finding trouble into the turn, but she was coming on again in the stretch to finish the year with a career record of 3-1-0 from four starts for earnings of $48,978 (US).
Osiris Stakes winner Lady Cop with grooms Charlotte (left) and Olive Johnston outside trainer Mike Nault's barn. (George Williams photo)
Prairie Drifter (Vengeful Wildcat-Naughty Dotty by Rebmec) was conditioned by trainer Devon Gittens for owner/breeder Dr. Betty Hughes. The 2-year-old gelding saved his best for last, when after breaking his maiden and finishing second in the Graduation Stakes, he won the one-mile Buffalo Stakes to finish his first season at the races with a record of 2-3-0 from five starts for earnings of $42,022 (US).
Prairie Drifter winning the 2022 Buffalo Stakes. Leroy Nelson up. (Jason Halstead photo)
Bettermakethattwo (Going Commando-Two Dorcas by Two Punch) was rumoured to be a good one before he ever ran and he didn’t disappoint. Bred by Jean McEwen and owned by Janice Braiden, the 3-year-old gelding won his first three lifetime starts for trainer Larry Cizik, including the Frank Arnason Memorial Sire Stakes. He then had a few tough trips but came back to finish second in the J. W. Sifton Stakes in his final start of the year, compiling a record 3-1-0 for lifetime earnings of $37,627 (US).
Bettermakethattwo winning the 2022 Frank Arnason Memorial Sire Stakes. Stanley Chadee, Jr. up. (Jason Halstead photo)

McKague (Secret Circle-Northern Cotton by High Cotton) was the recipient of one of the best conditioning and management jobs of the year by veteran trainer Carl Anderson. Bred by his owner Nearco Ltd., McKague only started five times in 2022, winning the Phil Kives Stakes in his fourth start, and finishing a hard-trying third in the Gold Cup after a perfect prep race, beaten only 1 3/4-lengths at 10-1. McKague finished the year with a record of 2-1-1 from five starts and improved his career record to 6-5-6 from 19 starts for lifetime earnings of $91,647 (US).

Manitoba-breds once again showed they could compete and win against the best on the grounds at Assiniboia Downs in 2022.

As did their connections.
McKague returns with jockey Stanley Chadee, Jr. after winning the 2022 Phil Kives Trial. (George Williams photo)
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

In The News
Kentucky Derby Winner Out of Manitoba-Bred Mare Tries To Pull Off Rare Double
Rich Strike, the 2022 Kentucky Derby winner out of Manitoba-bred mare Gold Strike. (Carlos Calo/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders' Cup photo)
Rich Strike is on the cusp of history as he attempts to become only the 15th Kentucky Derby winner in the last 148 years to win the $750,000 Clark Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday. Rich Strike is the first Derby winner to attempt the Clark since 1997 Derby winner Silver Charm (who also had Manitoba connections!) won the 1998 Clark as a 4-year-old. More from the Paulick Report here
Triple stakes winner on short list for Canadian Champion Older Horse
Soy Tapatio, trained by Robertino Diodoro and owned by Albertans Rick, Clayton and Lana Wiest and Gary Kropp, (shown here winning the Harvey Warner Manitoba Mile at ASD on August 1) won the $100,000 Zia Park Championship on Nov. 22. (Jason Halstead photo)
Soy Tapatio, who won the $50,000 Harvey Warner Manitoba Mile at ASD on August 1, set a track record for 1 1/8-miles in the $100,000 Zia Park Championship in New Mexico on November 22. The 4-year-old son of Not This Time-Rum Punch by Street Hero is now on the short list for Canadian Champion Older Horse. More from Jennifer Morrison at the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
Lead handicapper in New York from 1991-2016 was one of the best in the business
Dave Litfin (Daily Racing Form photo)
Dave Litfin, one of the most widely respected thoroughbred racing handicappers and columnists for more than three decades, died last Thursday in Saratoga after a battle with cancer. He was 64. More from the Daily Racing Form here.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
Veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht lead the "I Won Bigg" betting group every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza. This week the group will be looking at Woodbine and Del Mar. Everyone is welcome. Can't make it out? Email Larry at
Carryover Watch
  • Del Mar (November 25) - Pick 6 Jackpot carryover $254,206
  • Woodbine (November 25) - Pick 6 Jackpot carryover $144,367
  • Woodbine (November 25) - Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover $61,203

See all carryovers here.
Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 12
Jets over Bears (Sunday noon): The Jets were involved in one of the worst games of the year last week against the Patriots. I decided to punish myself and watch the entire thing, and it almost made me want to quit watching football for the rest of my life. 
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson solidified himself as the worst quarterback in the league right now, completing only eight passes on 21 attempts for 77 yards and no touchdowns. They were SO bad on offense that they only averaged 2.7 INCHES per play in the second half. Thank goodness for a Patriots kickoff return touchdown with 8 seconds left in the game, otherwise there would have been overtime and I’m pretty sure I would have poked my eyes out at that point. Having said all that, the Jets defense played extremely well. It’s definitely their strong point and they potentially will be facing a Chicago Bears team without their starting quarterback, Justin Fields, who has an injured left shoulder. If Fields can’t go, journeymen QB Trevor Siemian would get the nod. 
Commanders over Falcons (Sunday afternoon): The surprising Washington Commanders, who have won five of their last six games, will look to push their winning streak to the three in a row when the 5-6 Atlanta Falcons make a trip to the capital of America. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as soon as Carson Wentz was injured and Taylor Heinicke took over, the Commanders started playing better. You don’t have to be a great quarterback to win games, you just have to be competent, and I think that is a very accurate description of Heinicke. Despite getting the win against the Bears last week, Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota turned in another sub-par performance, throwing for 131 yards and completing just 13 passes. Unfortunately, they also lost their star tight end Kyle Pitts for the foreseeable future with a torn MCL. 
Jags over Ravens (Sunday noon): Going for a bit of an upset with this pick. Even though the Ravens are 7-3, I don’t feel like it’s an impressive 7-3. They struggled to beat a very bad Panthers team last week and if you look at the wins they have this year, none of them really stand out. The Jags still have a long way to go before they can even be called an average team, but second year running back Travis Etienne seems to be providing them with hope. For the first half of the season Etienne was having to split carries with former Jags running back, James Robinson, but after a trade sent him to the Jets a few weeks ago, Etienne now has the backfield to himself and that can only mean good things. Don’t expect to see a lot of passing in this game as the Ravens own the third best rushing attack and the Jags are 7th.
Last week (2-1)
Overall (22-11) 
A Snapshot in Time
By Track Historian Bob Gates
This week we have another 50-year flashback. Owner/trainer Gordie Marsh from Montana was a regular visitor to the Downs for as long as any of us can remember. On June 7, 1972, here is Gordie and Stout Me with Bob Stewart in the saddle. Any guesses who the young couple to the left of Marsh is? Only a keen eye would recognize current thoroughbred owner John Ganas’ mother and father, Bertha and Dimosthenis (Jim), owners of Nick’s Inn in Headingley. Sadly Jim passed in 2009.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Bob’s blog story this week covers the history of the R. J. Speers Stakes from 1959 to 2019. Did you know that one year the race was cancelled? And that only one filly/mare has ever won the race? And that only one 3-year-old was able to get his name on the 85-pound marble trophy that bears the name of R. James Speers? What are your your best guesses? Bob has the answers here. (From July 2019)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, Dec. 10 - more info
  • 12 Days of Christmas Draws - Dec. 13 - Dec. 26 in the Club West Gaming Lounge
  • Together Again: FROST, Loud Luxury, Arty & more - December 22 - more info
  • Christmas Dinner Plated Special - December 23 - more info
  • Christmas Dinner Plated Special - December 24 - more info
  • Christmas Eve Hours - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Christmas Day - closed
  • Christmas Dinner Plated Special - December 26 - more info
  • New Year's Eve Gala - Saturday, December 31 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to
The Inside Track Archives
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