The Inside Track | Issue #66 | February 10, 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
  • Groom School Paid Training
  • Call for Foal Photos - First has arrived!
  • 2023 Shipping Incentives
  • 2023 Live Racing Dates/Purses/Stakes
  • ASD Condition Book #1 Download
  • Road to the Kentucky Derby
  • Arctic Arrogance tops Withers
  • Dubyuhnell takes on 11 in Sam F. Davis
  • New Netflix Documentary: Kentucky Derby
  • Snapshot in Time: Bobby Stewart
  • Carryover Watch
  • TravyFootball Super Bowl LVII
  • The Best of Bob: The Queen's Cup
  • 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 sanitized between play. Click here for a full list of games available at ASD.

Win CA$H every day in February!

  • Draws to win up to $100 cash on our lucky wheel Monday through Friday from noon until 5 p.m.

  • Draws for $20 FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. One lucky person turned their free $20 into $252 last Friday!
2023 Player's Choice Online Handicapping Tournaments

  • 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.
February HPI Cash Back Specials

  • TREMENDOUS TUESDAYS: Earn 4% cash back on all eligible wagers Tuesdays during the month of February (7, 14, 21 & 28). Minimum wagered $100. Maximum cash back $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
  • HOLIDAY MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 BONUS: Earn 3% cash back on all eligible wagers on Monday, February 20. Minimum wagered $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
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

Need some last minute Valentine's plans! 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. Get your tickets today!

  • See full menu here
  • $49.95 per person (plus taxes & gratuities). Call 204-885-3330
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Groom School now Taking Applications for Paid Training
Looking for a summer job? Love horses? Learn how to groom racehorses!
HBPA Office Manager Shannon Dawley (right) presents the First Year Groom of the Year Award to HBPA Groom School graduate Skyla Blanchard. (Jason Halstead photo)
If you’re a horse lover, you already know that grooming horses is one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences in life. And if you’re an animal lover looking for a job, but you lack experience with horses, the Manitoba HBPA may have just what you’re looking for.
A paid training program to learn how to groom racehorses! 

The HBPA is now accepting applications for its second annual Groom School, a paid training program that prepares you to work with horses at the racetrack. They’re looking for motivated, reliable, hardworking horse lovers who would like to train to become a racehorse groom. No experience is required, but a positive attitude and a willingness to learn are a must. 

“Anyone can apply for the four weeks of paid training,” said Manitoba HBPA office manager Shannon Dawley. “We’re giving people an opportunity to step inside the racetrack and learn what it is we do, we’re going to pay them for it, and we’re going to find you a job at the end of it.

"Horses are the driving force behind everything we do. A love and respect for the animal, and a desire to want to learn and work with them everyday is what keeps us all going.
Instructors have a wealth of knowledge and are looking forward to passing that along, as well as helping participants get their start in a new vocation. Grooming horses is one step towards numerous careers in the racing industry."
Applicants for the program must be 15-29 years old, but if you're 15, you must be turning 16 this year. Sponsored by the Manitoba government’s First Jobs Fund, last year the program had 19 graduates.
“It’s hard for me to really single anyone out from last year,” said Dawley. “But the program resulted in some phenomenal grooms. Meadow McLean was great with trainer Wendy Anderson. Skyla Blanchard turned out wonderful for trainer Devon Gittens. And Megan Gale worked out beautifully for trainer Jennifer Jordan. And all three were nominated for the First Year Groom of the Year Award." (See The Inside Track #48)
2022 Groom of the Year Richie Ricketts with Manitoba-bred multiple champion and stakes winner Hidden Grace. (Jason Halstead photo)
“Any groom who goes anywhere that has to do with horses, who has worked at the racetrack, is more employable with this kind of experience," said Dawley. "And if you love horses, there’s probably nowhere else you’d rather be.”

The hours for the groom school training are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Once the grooms enter the barn area to work with trainers, grooms are expected to work five hours a day for six days a week.

“Some of the students choose that they want a Friday or Saturday off, but we leave that up to the instructors in the barn,” said Dawley. “Full time at the track is often considered to be six days a week. If you’re looking at four or five days a week, you need to be honest with us when we’re looking for employment for you, so we can relay that information to the trainers. Will it affect your employability, probably, but are you still employable? Yes.”

The first class of Groom School training begins on March 20. There are five people per class and there are 25 spots available. The deadline for applications is March 10, but the earlier the submission the better based on the limited number of spots.
“Parents should tell their kids about this,” said Dawley. “If your kids love horses and you need to get them out of the house, this is the perfect way to do it. We love our grooms. And it’s definitely a rewarding job.
“Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s hard work that pays off. Spending time one-on-one with the horses is so rewarding, and to look down the shedrow and see all your horses nickering at you because they realize you’re the one that feeds them and looks after them -- it just feels good. You’ve accomplished something that is very satisfying. You look at your clean barn and your freshly groomed and fed horses and say, 'I did that.’
“It’s something to be proud of.”
For more information, or to apply, please email a resume along with a cover letter or summary to the attention of Shannon Dawley at Deadline for applications is March 10, 2023. And if you know someone who might be looking for a summer job working with horses, please share! Thank you!
Call for Foal Photos
The Jockey Club of Canada wants to showcase your foals and so do we!
The new Manitoba foals will soon be here and we want to see yours! (Manitoba CTHS photo)
The foaling season is upon us and the Jockey Club of Canada is looking for foal photos to share with their membership group. If you have a foal you'd like to show off, please email your photo to and include the province foaled, sire, dam, and photographer, as well as any additional information you wish to provide.

Any photos received will be included in the Jockey Club of Canada Newsletter through to the end of foaling season. And don’t forget to cc us on your email at

We’d love to showcase your foal photos here too, starting with the first one below!
Congratulations! The First of our Foal Photos!
Manitoba-bred foal by Vengeful Wildcat-Qu' Appelle. Born on Feb. 2, 2023. The foal is owned by Gerald Babchishin. Thanks to breeder Frank Johnson for sending!
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

  • Feb. 11 - Withers (AQU)
  • Feb. 11 - Sam F. Davis (TAM)
  • Feb. 11 - El Camino Real (GG)
  • Feb. 18 - Risen Star (FG)
  • Feb. 25 - Rebel (OP)
  • Feb. 25 - John Battaglia Memorial (TP)

See Kentucky Derby prep winners here.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Dates
  • Pool #3 - Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 - final odds
  • Pool #4 - Feb. 10 to Feb. 12 - odds & pps
  • Pool #5 - Mar. 10 to Mar. 12
  • Pool #6 - Mar. 30 to Apr. 1
"I Won Bigg" Wagering Group

The "I Won Bigg" wagering group is back at it this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse Plaza. Veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht lead the group discussions.

This week the group will be focusing on Santa Anita and Tampa Bay. $20 gets you a share in the ticket. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
In The News
Looks to break through after valiant runner-up efforts in Remsen and Jerome
Arctic Arrogance winning at Belmont Park. (Chelsea Durand photo)
Arctic Arrogance will contest graded stakes company for the second time and face six rivals in Saturday’s $250,000 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct. The Withers, which was rescheduled from last Saturday when live racing was canceled at the Big A due to high winds and extreme cold, is a prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and awards the top-five finishers 20-8-6-4-2 qualifying points towards the Derby. More from NYRA here.
Gargan, Spieth look to take step toward Derby in Sam F. Davis Likely favourite Dubyuhnell, trained by Danny Gargan, faces packed field of 11
Dubyuhnell wins the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct last December. He is the likely favourite in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday. (Barbara Livingston photo)
Morning-line Sam F. Davis favourite Dubyuhnell has won two of three starts, with his most notable win being a last-out triumph in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct. Trainer Danny Gargan is firm in his belief that Dubyuhnell has tremendous upside and that the fun might just be starting on the road to the Kentucky Derby. More from the Daily Racing Form here.
Series aims to tell stories behind owners, trainers, breeders, and jockeys involved
Longshot Rich Strike, out of the Manitoba-bred mare Gold Strike, wins 2022 Kentucky Derby. (Jonathan Palmer/TeamCoyle photo)
Horse racing is set to join Netflix's stable of sports documentaries. The streaming service has commissioned a series based on this year's Kentucky Derby (G1). Filming on what is understood to be a four-part series on the "Race to the Kentucky Derby" is set to start next month and the casting process has begun, with the series looking to tell the stories behind the owners, trainers, breeders, and jockeys involved. More from the Blood Horse here.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
This week’s Snapshot in Time begins a four-part series in which we remember Downs’ record-holding jockey Robert Roy Stewart. "Bobby" Stewart won six-riding titles at Assiniboia Downs (1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972, when he finished in a tie with Bobbie Dimma). Today’s memory features Bobby as a 15-year-old winning his first career race aboard the family horse Royal Ghost. 

Three of Bobby’s six wins in 1960 came aboard the roan gelding, who paid $22.50, $33.80 and $37.60 respectively in his three victories. You have to wonder how bettors would let that happen? Marking the occasion of his first win from left to right is the late Milo Monroe, who just passed this last winter, brother Wayne who died a couple of years ago and father Glen at the head of Royal Ghost. With Bob’s passing in 1985, all are now gone. (Assiniboia Downs archive)
Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream Park (February 10) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $245,061
  • Parx (February 13) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $156,585

See all carryovers here.
Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Super Bowl LVII
Chiefs over Eagles (Sunday evening): After a long and grinding season it has finally come down to this. Super Bowl LVII will take place at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday evening.

A familiar face will represent the AFC as the Kansas City Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes make their third Super Bowl appearance in four years, which is pretty remarkable in its itself. They are 1-1 in the big game, having defeated the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, and losing to the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2021. I don’t think this task will be as tough as either of those prior games were, and I feel that the Eagles really had an easy pathway to the Super Bowl, as opposed to how the Chiefs got there. Philadelphia has not faced a quarterback of Patrick Mahomes calibre and this will be the ultimate test for the Eagles defense.

Speaking of the Eagles, they will be making their second Super Bowl appearance in five years, previously defeating the New England Patriots back in 2017. They will be led this time by quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has had quite the up-and-down football career going back to his days at Alabama. Depending on who you ask, Hurts very well could end up as the NFL MVP, but I think the fact that he got injured and missed a couple of games during the season will cost him that award.

The task for Hurts and the Eagles' offense will be to keep pace with the Chiefs' offense, which knows how to score. Hurts will also be hoping the defense that held San Francisco to only seven points (with no healthy Quarterback!) can do something similar against Kansas City, but like I said earlier, this will be their toughest task to date against arguably the best team of the last five years. 
Overall (44-18) 
Watch the Super Bowl at ASD and enjoy Happy Hour food and beverage specials Super Bowl Sunday from 2 p.m. until close.

  • 6 oz. House Wine $4.50
  • House Highballs $4.50
  • Domestic Beer $4.50
  • Fireball $4.50
  • Downs Caesar $5.50
  • Pint of ASD Longshot Lager $5.50
  • Poutine $8.00
  • Onion Rings $8.00
  • Chicken Fingers $9.00
  • Cheese Nachos $9.00

Sunday NFL Special - Regular Wings $10 (all day)
All of the above specials are dine-in only and are subject to applicable taxes.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Did you know that the 2019 Derby will mark the 50th time the Queen’s Cup is being presented to the Manitoba Derby champion? In this week’s trip down memory lane, Bob takes a historical look at the Queen’s Cup highlight reel. Read Bob's take here. (From July 2019)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Spin to Win in the Clubwest Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • 4% cash back on Tuesdays in February (14, 21 & 28) - 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.