The Inside Track | Issue #63 | January 20, 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
  • Valentine's Dinner & Dance
  • That, Was Horse Training
  • 2023 Shipping Incentives
  • 2023 Live Racing Dates/Purses/Stakes
  • ASD Condition Book #1 Download
  • Road to the Kentucky Derby
  • Lecomte Stakes Preview
  • Woodbine champ Kimura wins La Canada
  • Sam Houston Handle Plummets
  • Flightline Leads Eclipse Awards Finalists
  • Snapshot in Time: Bert Blake & Sparkling Wit
  • Carryover Watch
  • TravyFootball Divisional Predictions
  • The Best of Bob: It Happened in 2020
  • 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 santizied between play. Click here for a full list of games available at ASD.

Special promotions in our Clubwest Gaming Lounge:

  • Every Thursday & Friday - Enter for your chance to spin the wheel for up to $100. Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.
2023 Player's Choice Online Handicapping Tournaments

  • This Saturday, January 21, 2023
  • Saturday, February 18, 2023
  • 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.
January HPI Cash Back Specials

  • MONDAY MADNESS: Earn 3% cash back on all eligible wagers Mondays during the month of January (January 23 & 30). Minimum wager $100. Maximum cash back $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
  • PEGASUS BONUS: Earn 2% cash back on all eligible wagers on Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 28. Minimum wager $100. Maximum cash back $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) 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.

New! Value Added Chef's Specials
Introducing our new value added Friday and Saturday specials. Friday's feature "Steak and Suds" which includes an 8 oz. top Sirloin steak plus a complimentary pint of ASD Lucky Lager and Saturday's feature "Prime and Wine" which includes an 8 oz. cut of Certified Angus Prime Rib plus a complimentary 6 oz. glass of house wine.

Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are not required.
Valentine's Dinner & Dance
Tuesday, February 14

Enjoy our renowned Certified Angus Prime Rib buffet from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. then dance until midnight at our Valentine's Dinner & Dance!

  • See full menu here
  • $49.95 per person (plus taxes & gratuities). Call 204-885-3330
Sweetheart of a Deal!

Purchase your tickets by January 31 and receive a complimentary 6 oz. glass of wine or bottle of house wine for reservations of four or more.

Call Samantha at 204-885-3330. Use promo code VALENTINE2023.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
That, Was Horse Training
Jerkens, Stephens, Whittingham, the last of the great horse trainers
Prove Out defeats Secretariat in the 1973 Woodward Stakes for trainer H. Allen Jerkens
What makes a great horse trainer?

I asked the late Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens that question once and he thought for a bit before answering… “Imagination.”

That was an extremely short summary of a seven-decade career that saw him post more upsets in major races than any other trainer in the history of the sport, which earned him the nickname the “Giant Killer.”

Jerkens was one of the last of the great horse trainers that dominated the sport in the ‘70s and 80’s along with Woody Stephens on the east coast and Charlie Whittingham on the west coast.

Jerkens took ordinary horses and turned them into monsters like Prove Out and Onion. A former allowance sprinter, Prove Out beat Triple Crown winner Secretariat in the 1973 Woodward Stakes, and then defeated 1972 Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge in the 1973 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Jerkens was chided in the press about Prove Out’s workout schedule before the Gold Cup, as described by Steve Haskin at below.
Prove out defeats Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge in the 1973 Jockey Club Gold Cup for trainer H. Allen Jerkens
“For the two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, Jerkens breezed Prove Out a pair of slow miles, then breezed him three furlongs in :39 the Sunday before the race,” wrote Haskin in How Allen Jerkens Beat Secretariat Twice. "The following morning, Prove Out worked a mile and a half in 2:39 3/5 with a final half in :49 1/5. Three days later, on the Thursday before the race, he galloped a mile and a half, after which he broke off into a dead run for a half-mile, which was timed in :47 2/5. He then galloped out an additional furlong in :12 3/5. There certainly was never anything conventional about Allen Jerkens.

“With all this bottom and sharpness in him, Prove Out went head and head with Riva Ridge in the Gold Cup through a seemingly suicidal half in :47 2/5. After six furlongs, Riva Ridge was spent, but Prove Out kept right on going.”

Prove Out bounced off the rail in the stretch and drew out to win by about six lengths while Riva Ridge was beaten 33 lengths.

That, was horse training.
Woody Stephens wins five straight Belmont Stakes - Part 1 (1982,1983)
The same could be said for Woody Stephens' accomplishments. Stephens won five Belmont Stakes in a row from 1982-1986 with Conquistador Cielo, Caveat, Swale, Creme Fraiche, and Danzig Connection (Part 2 here). How do you win the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes five years in a row against the best 3-year-olds in the country? It’s not possible.

Whittingham won 252 stakes in California during his career and became the all-time leading trainer at both Hollywood Park Racetrack and Santa Anita Park. He won three Eclipse Awards, led the North American earnings list seven times and trained five Hall of Fame members including Ack Ack, Cougar II, Dahlia, Flawlessly and Sunday Silence.
Ferdinand wins the 1986 Kentucky Derby for trainer Charlie Whittingham
Jerkens, Stephens and Whittingham all had two things in common. They spent most of their time in the barn with their horses, and their horses were always fitter, physically and mentally, than their competition. If a horse turned a hair, they knew about it. And they always gave their best. Especially when it counted.

That, was horse training.
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:

Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • Jan. 21 - Lecomte (FG)
  • Jan. 28 - Southwest (OP)
  • Feb. 4 - Holy Bull (GP)
  • Feb. 4 - Withers (AQU)
  • Feb. 4 - Robert B. Lewis (SA)
  • Feb. 11 - Sam F. Davis (TAM)

See Kentucky Derby prep winners here.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Dates
  • Pool #3 - Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 - click here for horse pps and odds
  • Pool #4 - Feb. 10 to Feb. 12
  • Pool #5 - Mar. 10 to Mar. 12
  • Pool #6 - Mar. 30 to Apr. 1
In The News
‘Already Proven’ At Distance, Instant Coffee Headlines Saturday’s Lecomte
Bolt d’Oro colt Instant Coffee, with Luis Saez aboard, takes the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club. (Coady Photography)
Gold Square LLC's Instant Coffee, currently in fifth on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with 12 points, headlines a field of eight 3-year-olds for the 79th running of the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3), the finale of 14 races carded on Saturday's “Road to the Derby Day” at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. More from the Paulick Report here.
Woodbine's leading rider Kazushi Kimura scores his first victory at Santa Anita in the same race that gave Manitoba-bred Escape Clause her first graded stakes win
Kirstenbosch and Kazushi Kimura winning the Grade 3 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 15. (Benoit photo)
Woodbine's 2022 leading rider Kazushi Kimura won his first-ever Santa Anita race in style on Sunday, as he drove the John Sadler-trained Kirstenbosch to a desperate nose victory over favoured Ganadora in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (G3), the same race that gave Manitoba-bred superstar Escape Clause her first graded stakes win four years ago. More from the CanadianThoroughbred here.
Without nationwide simulcasting total wagering drops from $11.75 million on six days of live racing last year to $1.04 million on seven days this year
Through six days of racing, Sam Houston has handled just over $1 million. The track has paid out purses in excess of $1.5 million. (Coady photography)
Total wagering on races held at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston this year has plummeted 91 percent compared to betting last year through the first two weeks of the meet due to the inability of the track to accept bets from out-of-state markets. More from Matt Hegarty at the Daily Racing Form here.
The winners, including Horse of the Year, will be announced Jan. 26
Flightline returns after winning the 2022 Breeders' Cup Classic. (Anne M. Eberhardt photo)
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced Jan. 7 the finalists for the 2022 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing. More from the Blood Horse here.
A Snapshot in Time
By Track Historian Bob Gates
Believe it or not, A.E. “Bert” Blake has been gone for more than a decade. He passed on June 19, 2012, 10 days short of his 90th birthday. The above photo (part 2 in our Bert Blake series), while a little dark, captures his first win at Assiniboia Downs on June 23, 1958. Blake owned and trained Sparkling Wit, who was ridden by Lloyd Cowie. (Assiniboia Downs archive photo)
Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream (January 20) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover - $339,959
  • Parx (January 23) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $156,385
  • Woodbine Harness (January 20) - Jackpot Hi 5 carryover $148,993
  • Santa Anita (January 20) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $86,624

See all carryovers here.
Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Divisional Round
Giants over Eagles (Saturday evening): The number one seed in the NFC finally gets to see some playoff action when they host the New York Giants, who defeated the fraudulent Minnesota Vikings on wildcard weekend. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had an excellent game in his first playoff appearance, throwing for over 300 yards and tossing two touchdown passes while also adding 78 yards rushing. These teams played just a couple weeks ago with the Eagles winning 22-16, but the Giants weren’t playing any of their starters in that game, and still managed to hold their own. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts definitely needed the bye week off to rest his injured shoulder, and even with that he still might not be 100%. The Eagles will win or lose with Hurts, because in the last few games, when he didn’t play, Gardner Minshew, the backup quarterback, was a complete disaster.
Bills over Bengals (Sunday afternoon): Maybe it’s just divine fate that these two are facing off in the playoffs, considering what happened a few weeks ago when they were supposed to play on Monday night. I don’t know how I can talk about this game without mentioning the excellent progress Damar Hamlin is making in his recovery. As far as the actual game goes, it will be interesting. Buffalo’s defense didn’t play particularly great last week against the Dolphins. You could make the argument that if they weren't starting a third string QB (teams can't all be as lucky as SF), playing the Dolphins, they very well could’ve won that game. Josh Allen seems to be turning the ball over a lot more frequently and he really has to clean that up. The Bengals are a little banged up on the offensive line and that might be an issue for Joe Burrow if they aren’t able to block for him. Just like the Bills, the Bengals didn’t play well last week either, and if it wasn’t for the fumble 6 they also could have lost that game to the Ravens. 
49ers over Cowboys (Sunday night): Boy oh boy… am I ever pumped for this one. I can tolerate Vikings fans, and I can put up with Packers fans, but Cowboys fans are on a whole different level of annoyance. In a rematch from last years wild card game that caused my blood pressure to rise multiple times within the span of three hours, my 49ers will host “Dem boys” from Dallas in what should be the game of the weekend…. or will it? Of course, if you ask Cowboys fans, they will all claim that this is THE year they finally get back to the Super Bowl, but I don’t think they realize how great and how dominant of a team San Fran is right now. This team is much better than the team that played Dallas last year, a better running back in Christian McCaffrey, a better quarterback in Brock Purdy, and a better defense lead by Nick Bosa. Nothing will bring me more pleasure (except maybe a Super Bowl victory) than having the 49ers knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs for the second year in a row. BRING IT ON!
Last week (2-1)
Overall (42-15) 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

This week Bob reflects on one of the special “happenings” of 2020 that got lost in the shuffle of the global pandemic. While it was fantastic that the Downs got its season off the ground and had a memorable year, Bob thought one special event was deserving of some additional coverage in his weekly trip down Assiniboia Downs’ memory lane. 

So where does our ambassador to the past take us this week? Manitoba celebrating its 150th birthday? Polo Park built in 1925? The Winnipeg Futurity and Manitoba Derby having their inaugural runs in 1930? Nope, it wasn’t any of these. 

The only hint Bob would give was that the news came in the form of a January 23, 2020 press release from the Jockey Club of Canada. Without clicking on the link, do you know which news event Bob felt was worthy of some additional ink? Click here to discover the gem Bob he has in store for us this week. (From August 2020)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Spin to Win in the Clubwest Gaming Lounge - Thursdays & Fridays - more info
  • 3% cash back Mondays in January (23 & 30) - more info
  • 2% cash back on Saturday, January 28 - more info
  • Annual Super Flea Market - Saturday, Feb. 4 & Sunday, Feb. 5 - more info
  • Valentine's Dinner & Dance - Tuesday, Feb. 14 - more info
  • Together Again - FROST: Loud Luxury + special guests - Feb. 24 - 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.