The Inside Track | Volume 1 | Nov. 11, 2021
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Full immunization and government issued I.D. required to attend Assiniboia Downs.
In this edition . . .
  • New! ASD Sunday Markets
  • Breeders' Cup Recap
  • Breeders' Cup Blitz - Race-by-Race
  • Photo of the Week
  • NFL Week 10 with TravyFootball
  • Historian Bob Gates - Horses of The Great War
Do the Downs!
Upcoming Tournaments
  • Saturday, Nov. 27 - $1,750
  • Saturday, Dec. 18 - $1,750

Still lots of prize money up for grabs in our monthly handicapping contests! See who's in the lead for Handicapper of the Year here.
New! ASD Sunday Markets
  • Sunday, Nov. 28
  • Sunday, Dec. 5
  • Sunday, Dec. 12
  • Sunday, Dec. 19

Assiniboia Downs is excited to announce our new Sunday markets starting Nov. 28. Featuring 60 local vendors. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission and free parking!
New Year's Eve Gala
Join us on Friday, December 31 at ASD for our fabulous New Year's Eve Gala hosted by Jeff Molnar from QX104 FM (a variety of music will be played.) Enjoy a delicious buffet, prize draws, party favours, late night snack and free coat check. DJ music and light show. Tickets $75. Call 204-885-3330.

This event is a sell-out every year so get your tickets today!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Breeders' Cup Recap
Knicks Go (centre) heads for victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic -- Carlos Calo / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos
The 2021 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar featured incredible performances, history-making boos, the first ever Japan-based winners (with connections you know!), a new record handle, and a Saturday Pick 6 that paid over half a million dollars!

It’s impossible to select the best performance of the weekend, but a few that stand out are Life Is Good’s scintillating front-end performance in the Dirt Mile and the needle-threading late run by Loves Only You to win the Filly & Mare Turf, which gave Japan-based horses their first ever Breeders’ Cup victory.

European-based runners once again proved their class in the turf races, winning six of seven, and Japan-based Marche Lorraine posted the biggest upset of the weekend at 50-1 in the Distaff on the dirt, giving trainer Yoshito Yahagi and Japanese breeder Northern Farm their second Breeders’ Cup winner. Local fans will remember that Northern Farm bought Manitoba-bred superstar mare Escape Clause in 2019.

The riding stars of the weekend were Irad Ortiz Jr. and William Buick, who won three races apiece. Ortiz Jr. won the Juvenile Turf Sprint on Friday and followed up with wins in the Turf Sprint and Dirt Mile on Saturday. Buick won the Juvenile Turf on Friday and completed the hat trick for trainer Charles Appleby on Saturday with victories in the Mile and the Turf. The Juvenile Turf was the race that brought out the boo birds.

It all started when European shipper Modern Games (#1) acted up in the starting gate before the Juvenile Turf and sent his stablemate Albahr (#2) into an under-the-gate tizzy. Albahr wasn’t hurt, but had to be scratched. That was understandable. What happened next wasn’t.

A miscommunication between veterinarians and officials resulted in the jaw-dropping decision to scratch and then un-scratch Modern Games, who ran for purse money only. Of course Modern Games won, and this angered not only those who had their single-race wagers refunded, but also the Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 players who received post-time favourite Dakota Gold as a substitute on their multi-race wagers. Dakota Gold finished fifth, which resulted in a total loss for those players.

The boo birds were justifiably loud after the race, but not towards the horse and his connections. More details on this debacle in our news section below.

The bad craziness surrounding the Juvenile Turf on Friday wasn’t enough to stop punters from pounding a record-setting $182,908,409 through the windows and wires to break the previous Breeders’ Cup wagering record of $174,628,986 set at Santa Anita in 2019.

And if you were lucky enough to have the late Pick 4, Pick 5 or Pick 6 on Saturday, you were laughing all the way to the bank. The on-track 50-cent Pick 4 paid $4,403.95, the 50-cent Pick 5 paid $48,292.10 and the $1 Pick 6 paid $513,085.10.

If you nailed these wagers, you definitely had a good weekend!
Breeders' Cup Blitz
Race-By-Race Recap & Replays
Modern Games (running for purse money only) powers to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf -- Carolyn Simancik / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos

Race 6
Twilight Gleaming ($12.40) returns from France, shoots immediately to the lead under outside pressure from California-based One Timer, shakes that one in early stretch and holds off numerous late charges to win by a half length over English shipper Go Bears Go, giving trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Irad Ortiz. Jr. their third straight victory in the race. Favourite Averly Jane, also trained by Ward, finishes fifth after tracking the pressured pace from perfect position off the rail, unable to gain in the drive despite her best efforts.

Race 7
Heavily favoured Echo Zulu ($3.60) opens up out of the gate under jockey Joel Rosario, sets a slow pace and draws off to win under no urging by 5 ¼-lengths over Juju’s Map, who battles gamely to take the place late from Tarabi. Second choice Hidden Connection bobbles at the break, stalks between horses and fails to fire. Echo Zulu becomes the 8th Breeders’ Cup winner for trainer Steve Asmussen, who also trained her sire, 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Gun Runner.

Race 8
Natalma Stakes runner-up Pizza Bianca ($21.80), owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, ships back from Canada, bumps early with Cairo Memories, drops back inside, stalks from back between horses, steadies and drops back to last on the final turn, then comes flying through the stretch, slicing between two different groups of horses to take over late under jockey Jose Ortiz to win by half a length over French shipper Malavath, who broke slow. Pizza Bianca gives trainer Christophe Clement his first Breeders' Cup victory after 41 starts in the event. This is a ride you definitely want to watch!

Race 9
American Pharoah stakes winner Corniche ($4.80) takes advantage of the scratch of speedy morning-line favourite Jack Christopher, powers to the early lead from post 12, sets a solid pace and digs in through the stretch to win by 1 ¾-lengths over longshot Pappacap, who was checking early. Corniche gives all-time Breeders’ Cup leading rider Mike Smith his 27th victory in the event and trainer Bob Baffert his 18th.

Race 10
English shipper Modern Games, running for purse money only, saves ground to the final turn, moves outside, turns it up a notch in early stretch to catch the leaders in mid stretch and floats home on momentum and class to win by 1 ½-lengths over Tiz the Bomb ($17.60), trained by Kenneth McPeek. Favourite Dakota Gold finishes fifth after a perfect trip inside and a brief rally. Fourth Breeders’ Cup winner for trainer Charles Appleby. Third for jockey William Buick. And a pleasure to watch!

Loves Only You (centre) splits horses to win Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf for Japan -- John Voorhees / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos

Race 4 
Ce Ce ($14.40) takes advantage of a perfect trip under jockey Victor Espinoza to upset Gamine, the heaviest favourite of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup. Gamine sets a strong pace under outside pressure from Bella Sofia, gets more pressure on the inside from longshot Edgeway on the turn, shakes Bella Sofia in early stretch and digs in gamely trying to stay with Edgeway to no avail. Duel-stalking Ce Ce takes over on the far outside passing the eighth pole and draws out to win by 2 ½-lengths over Edgeway. Gamine gives her best to finish third. Bella Sofia takes the worst of bumping in early stretch and fades to fourth. No losers here. These are game fillies. Second Breeders’ Cup win for trainer Michael McCarthy. Fourth for Espinoza.

Race 5
Irad Ortiz Jr. explodes out of the gate aboard favourite Golden Pal ($7.00), gets the half-mile in a sizzling 43.91 and has enough left in the stretch to draw away from everyone but Lieutenant Dan, who chases and gives his absolute best in the drive to finish 1 ¼-lengths back in second. Notably, Golden Pal raced in Europe during the summer and also won the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland in 2020 for the same connections, trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Race 6
Irad Ortiz Jr. continues his Patrick Valenzuela imitation, taking the lead out of the gate aboard favourite Life Is Good ($3.40), shaking inside pressure into the first turn, getting the quarter mile in 21.88 and the half in 44.94, turning back two rivals on the final turn and thundering away in the stretch to win by 5 ¾-lengths over Ginobili -- with something left. Complete monster. Where was this 3-year-old during the Triple Crown races? Third Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend for Irad Ortiz Jr. and 12th overall for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Race 7
Loves Only You ($10.60) gives Japan-based horses their first ever Breeders’ Cup win, thanks to a patient early-ballsy late ride by Yuga Kawada, who splits horses in dramatic fashion just before the wire to get by longshot My Sister Nat and favourite War Like Goddess, winning by half a length. Bred by Northern Farm in Japan, the same connections that bought Manitoba-bred star Escape Clause, Loves Only You gives jockey Kawada, owner DMM Dream Club Co. and trainer Yoshito Yahagi their first ever Breeders’ Cup victory, but there was more to come!

Race 8
Aloha West ($24.60) takes advantage of a three-horse pace battle between heavy favourite Jackie’s Warrior, Japanese invader Matera Sky and Keeneland shipper Special Reserve, to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint by a nose. And he does it the hard way, coming from four lengths back at the top of the stretch to catch second choice Dr. Schivel, who received an excellent duel-stalking trip from Flavien Prat and moved to the lead at the top of the stretch. Prat and Dr. Schivel opened up and never quit, but Jose Ortiz and his freight train got ‘em. Second 2021 Breeders’ Cup win for Jose Ortiz and his 5th overall in the event. Fourth Breeders’ Cup victory for trainer Wayne Catalano.

Race 9
Space Blues ($6.20) ships in off a Grade 1 victory in France, gets a perfect inside trip under jockey William Buick and calls on his class in the stretch to defeat longshot speed Smooth Like Strait by half a length. Second choice Mo Forza never has a chance after getting sandwiched between horses early. Second Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend for trainer Charles Appleby and jockey William Buick.

Race 10
Japan gets back to the winner’s circle with the longest-priced winner of 2021 Breeders’ Cup! Northern Farm-bred Marche Lorraine ($101.80), who has never raced outside Japan, is well back of a fast pace early, but makes a good advance on the final turn, surges to the lead into the stretch under jockey Oisin Murphy and finds just enough to hold off hard-driving longshot Dunbar Road at the wire, winning an impossible photo. You have to see this finish to believe it.

Malathaat, the tough filly that former local trainer Rob Atras defeated this summer at Saratoga with Maracuja, runs a big race to finish third beaten half a length. Favourite Letruska chases the fast pace, makes a brief bid on the final turn and fades to finish second last. Second Breeders’ Cup win for trainer Yoshito Yahagi and Japan! First ever Breeders’ Cup win for Murphy!

Race 11
England-based Yibir ($19.00) completes the 2021 Breeders’ Cup hat trick for trainer Charles Appleby and jockey William Buick, as favoured Tarnawa fails to respond after a tough campaign. Yibir is back early inside Tarnawa and doesn’t make a move until turning for home, then comes eight-wide into the stretch and explodes, eating up ground with giant strides to catch European shipper Broome, who made a wide move on the turn and opened up three lengths in the stretch. The final margin of victory is half a length, but it wasn’t as close as it looked.

Race 12
Knicks Go ($8.40) opens a short but clear lead early with a slow first quarter, makes sure his rivals can’t stay close with a solid half mile in 45.77, then starts coasting on the lead, slowing the pace and getting a huge breather from jockey Joel Rosario. When they go after Knicks Go in the stretch, he’s ready. He turns back an inside bid from Hot Rod Charlie and runs away to win by 2 ¾-lengths over Medina Spirit. Favourite Essential Quality, stablemate of the winner, rallies to finish third. Second Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend for jockey Joel Rosario, and his 15th overall in the event. Eighth Breeders’ Cup win for trainer Brad Cox.

A thoroughly entertaining weekend of high-class racing comes to an end, but there were chances to make a score everywhere!

Did you? 
Photo of the Week
Katie MacLennan with former racehorse Tiz a Cyclone. Christine Budzak photo.
Tiz a Cyclone was one of the gamest horses at Assiniboia Downs during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The now 9-year-old gelding by Travers Stakes winner Colonel John made 13 starts at ASD and compiled an amazing record of 6-4-2, finishing out of the money only once and earning $39,371.

One of the primary reasons for Tiz a Cyclone’s success was his groom Katie MacLennan, who worked for trainer Elton Dickey and also trained her own winning racehorse Rincon, while finishing her degree at the University of Manitoba. She now works at MNP as a Senior Associate, Assurance.

At the same time, she is helping both Tiz a Cyclone and Rincon establish new careers off the track, and both horses are loving their new home at Bella Vida Stables in Domain, Manitoba.

“Tiz had a lot of downtime after an injury caused him to retire,” said MacLennan. “His owner, Tom Payne, gave him to me after he was done racing. He just started jumping in the last year and he’s a natural at it! Girls as young as 11 have ridden him. He’s a total saint. I’m very honoured to have him, it was a dream of mine when he was racing.”

Sometimes dreams do come true.

For both horses and people.

Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to [email protected].
Marche Lorraine (outside), bred by Northern Farm in Japan, holds off Dunbar Road to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff  -- Bill Denver / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos.
In The News
Two horses bred by Northern Farm in Japan win 2021 Breeders’ Cup races. Could Escape Clause colt be the next big winner?

Japanese breeder Northern Farm purchased Manitoba-bred superstar mare Escape Clause for $300,000 in 2019 and bred her to 2015 Japanese Champion 3-Year-Old Duramente. That romance produced a colt (Hip #377) that sold for more than $1.2 million (CAD) at a 2021 Japanese Select Sale.

Could this colt become the next Breeders’ Cup winner for Northern Farm, who bred the winners of both the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and the Distaff last Saturday? Why not! More on Northern Farm’s Breeders’ Cup winners from the Blood Horse below.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf scratch leaves bettors holding the (empty) bag.

Modern Games was mistakenly scratched from the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and then unscratched to run for purse money only. Single-race wagers were refunded and multi-race wagers automatically had post-time favourite Dakota Gold substituted for Modern Games. When Modern Games won and Dakota Gold finished fifth, bettors who had played Modern Games were left holding the (empty) bag. Matt Hegarty of the Daily Racing Form (DRF) and Natalie Voss of the Paulick Report provide an in-depth look at what really happened and why.

Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Nov. 27 - Kentucky Jockey Club - Churchill
  • Dec. 4 - Remsen - Aqueduct
  • Dec. 17 - Springboard Mile - Remington
  • Dec. 18 - Los Alamitos Futurity - Los Al RC
  • Dec. 26 - Gun Runner - Fair Grounds

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here
Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream Park Pick 6 Jackpot - $289,549
  • Del Mar Pick 6 Jackpot - $102,360
  • Woodbine Jackpot Hi-5 - $66,237
  • Churchill Downs Pick 6 Jackpot - $64,590
  • See all carryovers here
NFL Week 10 with TravyFootball
Titans over Saints (Sunday noon): No Derek Henry? No Problem! Just call up 36-year-old Adrian Peterson and you’ll be just fine. Not only will you be fine, but you will steamroll over a potential Super Bowl team in the LA Rams. Fun Fact: Peterson turned down a chance to be on Dancing With The Stars this past season because he believed he had a chance to land with the Baltimore Ravens during training camp when they lost three running backs due to injury. It’s hard to say who the “best” team in the league is right now, but the Titans have knocked off the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, and Rams in consecutive weeks so, who’s to say it’s not them? 
Patriots over Browns (Sunday afternoon): Don't look now, but the Patriots are all of a sudden only one game back of the division leading Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. You can chalk that up to the stellar play from rookie QB Mac Jones. Bill Belichick knows what he has in Jones, never asks him to do too much, and keeps things very simple for him. After ending their up-and-down relationship with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns didn’t miss a beat on the field defeating the struggling Cincinnati Bengals 41-16 last week. A couple of weeks ago this game wouldn’t have been worth watching, but now there is some excitement to it. 
Packers over Seahawks (Sunday afternoon): This game should see the return of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who missed the last month with a finger injury. It should also see the return of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who had himself QUITE the week. For some reason the Packers never seem to get the respect they deserve when talking about the elite teams in the NFL. Expect a little bit of rust from both these returning quarterbacks, but the Seattle defense might be in for a long day facing the running back duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. 
The Best of Bob returns!

Horses of The Great War. Lest we forget. By ASD Historian Bob Gates
A well deserved rest during The Great War. For man and horse.
This week marks the return of "The Best of Bob," who has put together a collection of his favourite history blogs for your reading enjoyment. What better place to start than with what has become our annual salute to the "Horses of The Great War."

November 11, 2018 marked the centenary of The Great War and Bob is proud once again to pay homage to the role of the horses in this terrible conflict. Click here for more. (First published November 2018)
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected]
Lest We Forget