The Inside Track | Issue #56 | December 2, 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
  • Handicapper of the Year Title on the line
  • ASD Backstretch Memories
  • Off-Track Betting Locations
  • Cigar Mile Handicap Contenders
  • Roses on the Bucket List for Dettori
  • Clarendon, Shady Well Stakes at Woodbine
  • "I Won Bigg" Betting Group
  • Snapshot in Time
  • Carryover Watch
  • TravyFootball Week 13 Predictions
  • The Best of Bob - Derby Trial 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.
THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS CASH - Don't miss your chance to win up to $100 cash from Tuesday, Dec. 13 through Monday, Dec. 26. Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon. If your name is drawn you get to pick an ornament from the Christmas tree for up to $100 cash. Complimentary snacks will also be served throughout the day.

  • 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.

  • 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 to be eligible for the promotion and all wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
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.
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.
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
Handicapper of the Year Title On the Line
Upset possibilities abound among top Manitoba handicappers
Myopic on his way to winning the 2022 Gold Cup at ASD for trainer Robertino Diodoro. Jorge Carreno up. Connections are important when handicapping. (Jason Halstead photo)
The Handicapper of the Year title is on the line in just over a week and the battle for top spot is wide open. Will you be in it?

The final Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament of the year takes place December 10 and there are more than 10 players in the running for Handicapper of the Year Title, $3,500 cash, a trophy and bragging rights forever.

The latter allows you to always repeat the lyrics from the Toby Keith hit song, "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was." That song has now been played 123 million times on YouTube. You only need to pull that memory from the cobwebs once to win the December tourney, and maybe even the year-end title.

The points system for Handicapper of the Year in the contest not only rewards the winners of the monthly tourneys, but also those who have consistently finished well. The top seven of 12 monthly scores in the tourney are used to calculate points towards the Handicapper of the Year title.

And just to drive that point home, the ultra consistent Ralph Gelardi has a slim lead in the standings going into the final tourney, despite not having won the monthly contest this year.

Gelardi is totally capable of winning, and he may have saved his best for last. He currently has 252 points and maintains a razor thin lead in the Handicapper of the Year standings over October winner Stan Stewin (249 points).

Rounding out the top 10 are June contest winner Darcy Penner (242), Geoffrey Metcalf (238), February winner Cecelia Liebrecht (233), Nicole Baker (224), July (dead-heat) winner Jane Baxter (219), James Werry (217), Alan Hampton (210), Barry Mymko (210) and Ken Stewin (210). Others close enough to win should the leaders falter include Janet Gray (208), and March winner Trevor Tilston Jones (204).

A win in the December contest is worth 51 points, and anyone of the above could win, but so could anyone else among the 50-plus handicappers that enter the tournament regularly.

Angles abound among the winners and include everything from favourite jockeys to lone speed in turf sprints, horses with poor trips and our all-time favourite, horses with nice names. And people do win contests using the latter, once to the tune of over $100,000 in Las Vegas.

Of course you want to take your shot at upsetting the milk cart, and you're likely going to need more than names. Our tough local handicappers are almost all printing out the pasts performances as soon as they're available and hammering through the races looking for longshots.

You'll likely have to do the same to win, but you could take a few short cuts as follows.
Handicapping Tournament Shortcuts

1. Quickly figure out the pace scenario of each race using the system we detailed here.

2. Throw out races in which you can't decipher a clear pace scenario. Any horse could win.

3. From the remaining races, look for races where the pace scenario will work against the favourite.

4. Look for horses that will be able to take advantage of the pace scenario with their preferred running style.

5. Look for combinations of positives including but not limited to:
  • Top 1st call fraction
  • Top pace rating
  • Top trainer rating
  • Top jockey rating
  • Top pedigree rating
  • Blinkers on
  • Blinkers off
  • First-time Lasix
  • Second-time Lasix
  • Trainer-Jockey Combo 30%+ wins
  • Jockey switch
  • Jockey won with horse

6. Make sure to check 3-4 races back for a good race under similar race conditions and class level.

7. Watch the replays of the previous races for your contenders, this will help you separate

8. If you find what might be a lone speed horse, always make sure to watch its replays to determine whether it is a tryer or a non-tryer. Some horses quit without even being pressured.

The good ones, win or lose, always give their best.

Like our local handicappers.
Assiniboia Downs Backstretch Memories on Facebook
"Barney Penny, my brother Dan and me around 1966. Barney was part of the gate crew at Assiniboia Downs and a wonderful man." ~ Patti Ragen Schwisow. Thanks for posting and sharing Patti! See more on Facebook at Assiniboia Downs Backstretch Memories.
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

In The News
Grade 1-winning 3-year-olds among six in NYRA's final grade 1 of 2022
Cigar Mile high weight Mind Control battles to the wire in the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. (Bill Denver / EQUI-PHOTO)
Three-year-olds will be the center of attention in Saturday's edition of the one-turn Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct, with Grade 1 winners Zandon and White Abarrio among a field of six that also includes the older Grade 1 winner Mind Control, who will be making his final career start. More from the BloodHorse here
Frankie Dettori to ride full time at Santa Anita beginning December 26
Frankie Dettori is considered to be one of the best jockeys in history. (Ascot Racecourse photo)
Long considered the greatest European-based jockey since Lester Piggot, Italian-born Lanfranco (Frankie) Dettori is returning to Santa Anita to ride full-time for the first time in more than 30 years on the track's Classic Meet opening day, Monday, Dec. 26. More from the Paulick Report here.
Saturday card at Woodbine features Clarendon, Shady Well Stakes
New owner Mike Langlois (third from right) and family with their impressive debut winner Paramount Prince, who is in the Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday. (Will Wong Photo)
Saturday, December 3, will be an exciting day at Woodbine for Michael and Charmaine Langlois of Brampton, as their 2-year-old Paramount Prince tackles four rivals in the $150,000 Clarendon Stakes. Also on tap is the $150,000 Shady Well Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. More from Jennifer Morrison at the Canadian Thoroughbred 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
A Snapshot in Time
By Track Historian Bob Gates
Our time tunnel trip this week features owner/trainer Milo Monroe from Minnesota and his fine runner Yankee Captain. The ‘Captain’ broke his maiden at ASD on May 22, 1972. Left of Milo is wife, Lois who is holding son, Trevor, while son Todd looks on. The horseman on the far left is Elery Scherbenske, owner of My Game, a horse I’m sure some of you will remember!
Carryover Watch
  • Del Mar (December 2) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $398,403. Mandatory payout on Sunday, December 4 (closing day of their meet.)

See all carryovers here.
Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 13
Niners over Dolphins (Sunday afternoon): I think most Niners fans have had this game circled on the calendar for a while now, as it will see our former offensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel return to San Fran for the first time as Head Coach of the Dolphins. McDaniel and Niners' head coach Kyle Shanahan are really close friends and have worked together everywhere they have been (Broncos, Browns, Falcons, Commanders, and San Fran of course). McDaniel has done a remarkable job in his first season with the Dolphins and currently has them in first place atop the AFC East. It will be a classic student vs teacher and offense vs defense matchup in what should definitely be the game of the week. There's already been some back-and-forth banter between the two teams this week with several Dolphins players who used to play in the bay area. 
Bengals over Chiefs (Sunday afternoon): The Chiefs will be looking to avenge their 2021 AFC Championship loss when they take on the suddenly charging Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. I have to imagine Mahomes (who just became a father for the second time! Congrats!) has had this game circled on his calendar since the schedule was released. The game could end up being a shootout despite the fact the Chiefs don’t really have the weapons on offense that we are accustomed to, but as long as Travis Kelce is out there, the Chiefs will put up points. This should also mark the return of Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase after being out since the end of October with a hip injury. Tee Higgins has filled in nicely for Chase, but having them both on the field at the same time will be opening this up a lot more for Joe Burrow, as opposing defenses now can’t just double team Higgins on every play.  
Titans over Eagles (Sunday noon): I’m going to try for my second upset in as many weeks after correctly picking the Jags to beat the Ravens last week. There is a blueprint to beat the Eagles and it’s really not that complicated, get some pressure on Jalen Hurts, keep him in the pocket, and control the clock with a strong run game. The Commanders did it, and they won, the Colts did it, and they almost won. There’s no reason why the Titans can’t do the same thing. They have one of the best running backs in the league AND their defense against the run is top three in the league as well. I think it’s the perfect combination to get the victory over the Eagles and position themselves as a contender in the AFC.  
Last week (3-0)
Overall (25-11) 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Today Bob looks back at the $25,000 Derby Trial that ran on Monday July 13, 2020. The race had not been a part of the Downs stakes race calendar since 2008. Bob takes a look back at the Derby Trials that were run from 1979 to 2008, as well as four other “prep” races that previewed the likely talent fans could expect to see in the Manitoba Derby. How many of these “prep” races can you name? Hint: The Harry Jeffrey was the most recent and the name “Assiniboia” is in the name two others. More on the history of the Derby Trial here. (From July 2020)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, Dec. 10 - more info
  • 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
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to
The Inside Track Archives
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