ASSINIBOIA DOWNS
The Inside Track | Issue #58 | December 16, 2022
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLTs, Race Carrels and Tables are sanitized between customer use.
ASD Gift Cards
Need a last minute Christmas gift?

ASD Gift Cards are available in any demonination and can be used for food and beverage purchases or merchandise from our Gift Shop. Available from the VLT cashier's cage any day from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m.

Get yours today!
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Dining at ASD
  • New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance hosted by CJOB's Kathy Kennedy
  • Ralph Gelardi Crowned Handicapper of the Year
  • Brad Kinnear Hits Early Longshots to Win Player's Choice
  • Off-Track Betting Locations
  • Baffert Goes for 14th Los Alamitos Futurity
  • Jennifer Stein and Thebackstretchdude
  • "I Won Bigg" Betting Group
  • Snapshot in Time: Oscar Award
  • Road to the Kentucky Derby
  • Carryover Watch
  • TravyFootball Week 15 Predictions
  • The Best of Bob - Manitoba Derby Memories
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
NEW VLT MACHINES ARE HERE! Check out our new VLT machines in the Clubwest Gaming Lounge. Open daily from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m.

Special promotions in our Clubwest Gaming Lounge:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 13 through Monday, Dec. 26 - Enter to Pick an Ornament from the Christmas Tree for a chance to win up to $100. Daily draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13 through Monday, Dec. 26 - Complimentary snacks will be served at various times throughout the day.
2023 PLAYER'S CHOICE ONLINE HANDICAPPING TOURNAMENTS:

  • Saturday, January 21, 2023
  • Saturday, February 18, 2023
  • Saturday, March 18, 2023
  • Saturday, April 16, 2023
  • Saturday, May 14, 2023

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 4 p.m. the Friday before the tournament. For complete list of 2023 handicapping tournaments click here.
1% CASH BACK ON ALL TRACKS

  • Monday, Dec. 12 through Friday, Dec. 23

Earn 1% cash back on all eligible wagers during our 12 Days of Christmas Cash Back Special. Wager a minimum of $1,000 during the above time period and receive a maximum of $100 cash back. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) You must opt-in at HPIbet.com to be eligible for the promotion and all wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
Dining at Assiniboia Downs
CHRISTMAS PLATED DINNER SPECIAL!

Friday, Dec. 23: 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 24: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 25: Closed
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.
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.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER & SNACKS
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.
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

This events sells out every year so get your tickets today!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Ralph Gelardi Crowned 2022 Handicapper of the Year
Consistency throughout the year the key for former race horse owner
2022 Handicapper of the Year Ralph Gelardi.
“I went home and told my wife I blew it,” said newly crowned Handicapper of the Year Ralph Gelardi.

"I didn’t think I was going to win," continued Gelardi, who went into the final Player's Choice tourney of the year with only a three-point lead. "I thought I could go in and play some favourites and if I could get to the $90 mark I’d have a shot, but my first horse ran second and my next two horses finished out of the money.

"I only had two seconds and a third on the day. I needed four or five others to falter in order to win and I didn’t think that would happen, so I was surprised when the results came out on Monday. It feels great!”

Gelardi finished the year with 252 points to top the Handicapper of the Year Standings and take home the $3,500 first prize, a trophy and bragging rights forever. His total was based on his top seven tournament scores from the year. Stan Stewin finished second in the standings, only three points back, with a final score of 249, to win $500, and James Werry finished third with 243 points to win $250. Darcy Penner and Geoffrey Metcalf finished in a dead-heat for fourth and fifth with 242 points.

The 55-year-old Gelardi is a semi-retired business owner who used to own and operate the temporary labour office that was once owned by the late cigar-chomping Harvey Lockshin, who many will remember campaigned horses here with trainer Red Johnson.

Gelardi is also a former horse owner at the Downs. His Bald Guy Stable had some excellent years with trainer Jared Brown, with horses that included former claimer turned stakes winner Alpine Luck and classy allowance/high claiming horse Joint Tenant.
Gelardi was first introduced to Assiniboia Downs by an uncle while still a teenager, and he’s been coming back ever since. He’s also a self-taught handicapper.

“I just picked it up over time,” said Gelardi. “My first few years I did terrible, but I figured out a system that just works for me. It uses most of the things the good handicappers here use.

“I’m a big trip handicapper and a Beyer figure fan, but it’s a lot of things, not just one thing, and I adjust my strategies based on the race. Sometimes you look at jockey changes, etc., but my basic strategy always goes back to Beyer figures, and not just one number but a consistent set of figures.”

Gelardi plans to play in the handicapping tournaments again next year, not only because he’s a consistent winner that has a new championship to his credit, but because, “I love the competition.”

Gelardi didn’t have one of his better handicapping days last Saturday, but his consistency in all the tournaments over the course of the year was enough to get him home on top.

“I never finished better than third this year, so I was kind of surprised at how well I did," said Gelardi. "I didn’t think I could gain on the field with a mediocre placing. I think Geoffrey Metcalf was the player that scared me. I thought he was going to win the tournament and pass me.”

He didn’t.

And Gelardi now has his winter vacation money.
Kinnear Finds Longshots Early to Win Player's Choice Tourney
$36.50 winner at Laurel, $22.50 winner at Woodbine, results in big bankroll

December 10 Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament winner Brad Kinnear.
Semi-retired hardwood lumber salesman Brad Kinnear won last Saturday’s Player’s Choice Handicapping Tournament with a better-than-average bankroll, but the winning feeling might have been more important than the $1,000 he won as the tournament champ.

Kinnear built his bankroll to $143.30 to best second-place finisher Alan Twerdochlib by $27.90. Twerdochlib finished the day with a solid $115.40, a score which is often good enough to win, but Kinnear’s two longshots on the day got him home. Myron Fedoruk finished third with $103.00 followed by Doug Evans and Barry Mymko, who dead-heated for fourth and fifth spot with $97.60.

“It's been a while,” said Kinnear. “I’ve won probably won three times and been second or third a few times over the years. I can see a couple of old glass trophies here. But not in the last couple years, and this year I was doing horrible.”

Kinnear normally limits his play to the New York tracks, and occasionally Churchill Downs and Woodbine, but last Saturday he decided to take a look at Laurel and it paid off.
He found a horse named Raise Your Game in the sixth race at Laurel that won and paid $35.60. The angle?

The horse had stumbled at the break in his previous start and unseated a top rider at the track. That jockey was at Aqueduct on Saturday, so the horse had a different rider who was actually even better. But it wasn’t really noticeable at Laurel, only in the jockey’s overall record for the year, which showed over 240 wins. The horse was also cutting back to a distance he had previously run well at in better company.

Around the same time, Kinnear’s pick of the day, Diamond Crush in the sixth race at Woodbine, won and paid $22.50.

“He was 12-1 on the morning line,” said Kinnear. “But at the first click of the odds he was 9/2, so someone liked him. He’d come out of post 11 in his previous race and he had a better post on Saturday. When they turned for home, he opened up five lengths and walked on them. Those were my two big ones and they happened right away. After that I was able to play horses at lower odds and hit a 3-1 shot at Churchill and a 4-1 shot at Woodbine, plus I had a few horses that ran third.”

Kinnear was happy to score with some early winners on tournament day, because it changes your game plan.

“You need to hit something relatively decent early,” said Kinnear. “That allows you to play those 3-1 shots after that, and they’re easier to pick. You have to be lucky. Once you’ve lost on your first four or five picks and you’re sitting at zero, you’re betting on horses that are 10-1 or higher, and the odds of hitting are less.”

Kinnear first went to the track with his father Bob, who was also a handicapper and a horse owner, in 1966.

“I remember me and Larry Reid going as kids,” said Kinnear. “His dad would drive us out there with a couple dollars each in our pocket and we’d bet on a horse like Glorious Pete to place. If it came in and paid $3.20, we’d win 60 cents each and we’d be happier than hell.”

Kinnear still enjoys the camaraderie of going to the track with friends, and it’s carried over to his handicapping.

“I like the human side of the game,” said Kinnear. “I don’t buy into the pace numbers and that sort of thing. I look at every race for what it is, figure out how the race will run and try to find a horse that is going to run his best race that day. I look at the trainer and the jockey and if you get to know them well you can adjust. For example, if a horse is getting a switch to Luis Saez, you know the horse is going to be hustled early.”

Kinnear obviously plays the races and the tournaments to win money, but it’s more than that. “When you pick a winner, it feels like you’ve done something, like you’ve accomplished something,” said Kinnear.

“It feels good.”
CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK TO WAGER?
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

In The News
Practical Move and Tall Boy take on three promising Baffert runners
Arabian Lion breaking his maiden at Santa Anita. (Benoit Photo)
Four of the five horses entered in the Dec. 17 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) are eligible for a non-winners of two and the fifth is a maiden, but their potential is limitless. Three come from the powerful Bob Baffert barn, and Arabian Lion is one of Baffert's top young prospects. More from the BloodHorse here.
Picture-perfect first win for the trainer with racing in her DNA
Jennifer Stein and Thebackstretchdude chillin'
Jennifer Stein was, at least outwardly, far less restrained than those standing behind her, and the jockey aboard the eye-catching chestnut colt. Standing in the owner’s box in the Woodbine grandstand for the first race on November 27, the trainer of Thebackstretchdude, a son of Old Forester, watched intently as the gates opened on a rainy afternoon at the Toronto oval. More from Susan Stafford-Pooley at the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
Join veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza to discuss group betting tickets and handicapping angles. The group will be playing Tampa Bay this week. Everyone is welcome. Can't make it out? Email Larry at larry@ampereelectric.ca.

Please note the following:
  • No group play on Saturday, Dec. 24
  • Special "I Won Bigg" session on Monday, Dec. 26 at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza
  • The group will be on hiatus for the month of January starting up again on Feb. 4
A Snapshot in Time
By Track Historian Bob Gates
Peggy and Norman Anderson’s Pinehurst Farms yuletide card is adorned with their unraced stallion Oscar Award. His name may not be familiar to all, but perhaps some of his offspring will be: Munnie Award, Poco Award, Scott Tyler, Model Oscar, Equis Tee and Peace Night. (Card courtesy of the late Eileen and Bert Blake)
Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • Dec. 17 - Los Alamitos Futurity (LRC)
  • Dec. 17 - Springboard Mile (RP)
  • Dec. 26 - Gun Runner (FG)
  • Jan. 1 - Smarty Jones (OP)
  • Jan. 1 - Jerome (AQU)
  • Jan. 8 - Sham Stakes (SA)
  • Jan. 21 - Lecomte (FG)
  • Jan. 28 - Southwest (OP)
Carryover Watch
  • Parx (December 19) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover - $159,792

See all carryovers here.

MANDATORY PAYOUT ALERT: Woodbine Mohawk will have a mandatory payout of the Jackpot Hi-5 on Friday, December 23. Current carryover is $336,533 and wagering on the Jackpot Hi-5 is suspended until the 23rd.
Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 15
Bills over Dolphins  (Saturday night): Even though the Dolphins were in Los Angeles, inside a dome, with a roof on it, somehow, they still found it so cold that they needed to turn the sideline heaters on their bench. But if they thought LA was chilly, just wait till they get to Buffalo on Saturday. I don’t know what’s going on with Tua Tagovailoa, but he went from one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league, to one of the worst. At halftime in the Dolphins/Chargers game, Tua was only 3 of 15 for 25 yards, that’s definitely not going to get it done. The run game also seems to have disappeared over the last couple weeks, with Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert nowhere to be found, which is putting even more pressure on Tua, and so far, it’s not working out for them. 
 
Lions over Jets (Sunday noon): For years when you mentioned the Lions and Jets, laughter usually ensued, but for now those days are over as these two teams have actually been playing competitive football for the first time in a long while. When the Lions were listed as 3-point favourites over the Vikings last week, a lot of eyebrows were raised, but those eyebrows were quickly set back in place once Detroit pretty easily took care of them. Fighting for their playoff lives, they can’t afford to lose any more games the rest of the way, so they'll have to bring that same intensity to MetLife Stadium to take on New York. Jets QB Mike White took one of the worst beatings I’ve seen in some time courtesy of the Buffalo Bills defense. He was so banged after the game, he was immediately taken to the hospital and had to be checked for internal injuries, yet, he’s in line to start this week, go figure. 
 
Broncos over Cardinals (Sunday afternoon): Toilet Bowl game of the week, this could feature the stellar matchup of backup QBs Colt McCoy vs Ryan Rypien. The Cardinals' starting QB was lost for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL on the third play of the game last week against the Patriots, meanwhile, everybody’s favourite quarterback to hate, Russell “Let’s ride!” Wilson is also questionable for this game after he was knocked out last week with a concussion. The Broncos' defense will probably be the determining factor in this one because I don’t think either teams' offense is going to move the ball very well. 
 
Last week (3-0)
Overall (30-12) 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Who was the only Manitoba Derby winner to run in a Kentucky Derby? How many Queen’s/King’s Plate winners have won our Derby? Any Ideas? Bob has the answers to these questions and more Manitoba Derby facts & figures here. (From July 2018)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • 1% Christmas Cash Back Special - Dec. 12 - Dec. 23 - 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
Feedback
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