• Friday, Dec. 24 - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 25 - Closed
  • Sunday, Dec. 26 - 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.
  • Wagering available 24/7 at
The Inside Track | Issue #7 | Dec. 23, 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 . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Who was crowned Handicapper of the Year?
  • A Snapshot in Time
  • Photo of The Week
  • Female jockey named BBC World Sport Star
  • Make It Big prevails in Derby Prep
  • NFL Week 16 with TravyFootball
  • A Racetracker's Night Before Christmas
Do the Downs!
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - Enjoy turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, Chef's vegetables, stuffing, gravy and more for only $21.95. Served today (Thursday) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and tomorrow (Christmas Eve) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS VLT DRAWS - Enter your name at the VLT cage through Friday, Dec. 24 for a chance to pick an ornament from the Christmas tree to win up to $100 CASH!
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS CASH BACK - Last day to earn 1% cash back on all eligible wagers on all tracks through Thursday, Dec. 23. Minimum total wagered $1,000 over the 12 days. Maximum deposit $100. ($2.10 payoffs not included.) Wagers must be made on your HPI account to qualify.

SANTA ANITA BOXING DAY BONUS - 5% cash back on all eligible wagering on Santa Anita on Sunday, December 26. Minimum wagered $250. Maximum deposit $25. Wagers must be place on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included). Free Santa Anita programs at
PLAYER REWARDS POINTS EXTENDED - You now have until February 28, 2022 to use up your old Player Rewards points. Points can be used for program and DRF purchases from the kiosks, food and beverage purchases or entry into monthly handicapping contests.
CANCELLED - NEW YEAR'S EVE GALA - Due to the implementation of new Public Health Orders, the New Year's Eve dinner and dance has been cancelled. A full refund will be issued to all ticket holders. See below for exciting New Year's Eve dinner specials that offer incredible value.
NEW YEAR'S EVE PLATED DINNER SPECIAL - Join us New Year's Eve in the Terrace Dining Room for the following served plated specials (Clubhouse menu is also available).
  • Steak Dinner - Certified Angus top sirloin steak with peppercorn au jus. Served with vegetables and choice of fries or mashed potato - $24.95
  • Salmon Dinner - Maple Salmon fillet with dill cream sauce. Served with vegetables and choice of fries or mashed potato - $24.95
  • Clubhouse menu
  • Reservations are required and available from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call 204-885-3330.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Alan Twerdochlib Crowned Handicapper of the Year
Stan Stewin hits 32-1 winner to win December Tourney
2021 Handicapper of the Year Alan Twerdochlib
Congratulations to Handicapper of the Year Alan Twerdochlib and December Player’s Choice Handicapping Tournament winner Stan Stewin! The first big win for both players!
Twerdochlib won the Handicapper of the Year title on Saturday, and the bragging rights that go with it, along with a Trip for Two to Las Vegas or $2,500 cash. Stewin won $500 for finishing second in the Handicapper of the Year standings and took home an additional $1,000 plus a trophy for winning the December tourney.
Consistency was the key for Twerdochlib and Stewin, as both gained a good measure of points in more than half the tournaments they played in this year. Twerdochlib earned 31 points in the December tourney to hold on to his overall lead in the Handicapper of the Year standings with a total of 260 points. Stewin went into Saturday’s tourney in eighth place in the standings and surged up seven spots to finish second overall with 249 points.
Rounding out the top five spots in the Handicapper of the Year standings were Stewart Hayek (246 points), Jeff Rozmus (246), Ralph Gelardi (244) and James Werry (241). See full final standings here.
Twerdochlib is really hoping he can use the Trip for Two to Las Vegas. The 62-year-old retired CN Carman wants to take his 88-year-old father Ron, who introduced him to Assiniboia Downs when he was young, and also taught hm how to handicap. Born and raised in Transcona, Twerdochlib still remembers watching his favourite jockey Bobby Stewart in the ‘60s, and jockeys are a big part of his handicapping success.
“I have a favourite jockey at every track,” said Twerdochlib. “When other handicapping factors aren’t working for me, I’ll focus on my favourite jockeys. I also use HPI, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened. I put notes on horses in there and sometimes they’ll come up and they’ll be longshots.”
Like the horse Stewin (pictured here) scored with on Saturday to win the tournament with his last bet of the day. Stewin played C V’s Powerpak (#4) at 32-1 (capped at 20-1 for the tourney) in the seventh race at Charlestown and got a thriller for his money.
“All the horses were about even on numbers, he was good odds and I needed a longshot,” said Stewin. “I kind of handicap with my brother Ken and son Mack, and we review our bets. We had done about 10 tracks and this was one of my must-bet horses. Then he clipped heels after the start and I thought he was done.”
You’ll want to watch the replay of this race at Not only did C V’s Powerpak clip heels at the start, he made a huge move starting on the final turn that took him from last to first, with Stewin along for the ride. Now that’s what you call racing luck!
Stewin uses Beyer Speed Figures and numbers in his handicapping, but also prefers horses that are familiar with the track they are racing at, rather than shippers.
The 65-year-old is now retired after decades of working in the grain trading industry, including 12 years for the Canadian Grain Commission. Stewin grew up on a farm in Headingley and his Dad introduced him to the track at a young age. His mother also managed one of the restaurants at ASD in the early days.
“Fortunately the track was so close that Dad decided that we should drive there every day,” said Stewin.
It just paid off.
A Snapshot in Time
On July 22, 1986, ASD Track Announcer Ken Miller (pictured here) was “gifted” with a dream stretch call and made the most of it! It went something like this: "Who You Gonna Call, We’re Not Sure!  We’re Not Sure, Who You Gonna Call?! It’s the one-entry, the one–two… We’re Not Sure?!” Race photo courtesy of ASD Track Historian Bob Gates.
Photo of the Week
Maggie Lawson having an intimate moment with Vengeful Wildcat. George Williams photo.
If a horse loves and trusts you, they’ll do anything for you.
That's exactly what happened on Tuesday morning, when Maggie Lawson persuaded Vengeful Wildcat to pose for a few photos. It appeared the 1200-pound stallion was no match for the charms of the veteran horsewoman, but there was more to it than that. He knew what he was doing, and who he was doing it for, with class and manners.

“He’s a sweetheart,” said Lawson. “Really nice, and easy to be around. He’s a beautiful horse with great confirmation and he stamps his foals with similar. Dr. Betty Hughes and Frank Johnson own him. They’ve entrusted him to my care for seven years, and I really appreciate it. He loves his job. He’s very enthusiastic.”

Lawson operates a large breeding program at her Dunroven Farm in Rosser, Manitoba that includes not only thoroughbreds, but also quarter horses, warmbloods and standardbreds. Maddy Derksen helps her with foaling and breeding, and former ASD jockey Jerry Pruitt is a constant right-hand man.

Lawson was a bookkeeper early in her working life, but that all changed when she met her late husband Darrell and started to work full time with horses. “It was a blessing in disguise,” said Lawson. “The bookkeeping work was having an adverse effect on my eyesight, then I met Darrell and got to do what I love to do.”
Forty years later, she’s still doing it.

Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to [email protected].
In The News
Rachael Blackmore crowned 2021 BBC World Sport Star. Racing Post / Naoise Culhane photo.
Jockey Rachael Blackmore's astonishing year has been capped by success in the World Sport Star category at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. The first female jockey ever to win the Grand National at Aintree (2021), Blackmore beat five tough rivals to win the award, including Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, tennis star Novak Djokovic, and NFL football legend Tom Brady. Full story and videos from the Blood Horse here.
Make It Big (#2) prevails over Osbourne in the 2021 Springboard Mile. Dustin Orona Photography / Remington Park.
Make It Big earned 10 qualifying points towards the 2022 Kentucky Derby last Friday night, winning the $401,200 Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds at Remington Park. It was the second straight stakes win for the son of Neolithic, who is now a perfect 3-for-3 in his career, and he has never raced on Lasix. Story and race replay at America's Best Racing here.
Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Dec. 26 - Gun Runner - Fair Grounds
  • Jan. 1 - Smarty Jones - Oaklawn
  • Jan. 1 - Jerome - Aqueduct
  • Jan. 1 - Sham - Santa Anita
  • Jan. 22 - Lecomte - Fair Grounds

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here
Carryover Watch & Programs
  • Gulfstream Jackpot Pick 6 - $286,491 (Dec. 23)
  • Turfway Jackpot Pick 6 - $86,359 (Dec. 23)
  • See all carryovers here
Mandatory Payout Tonight!
Mandatory payout of the Jackpot Hi-5 tonight at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Current carryover $489,248. Post time: 6:00 p.m. Click here for program.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
The "I Won Bigg" will be meeting Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at 10:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse. The group will be playing the pick 6 and/or the pick 5 from Tampa Bay plus the early pick 5 from Santa Anita. Want a share? $20 gets you in! Email Larry at [email protected].
NFL Week 16 with TravyFootball
49ers over Titans (Thursday night): My 49ers are on quite the roll, having won five of their last six outings. They will now travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans, who are coming off a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing his best football of the year over this six-game stretch and has San Francisco looking like a team to watch out for come playoff time. Another player who has really stepped up as of late is George Kittle. Kittle has hauled in 28 passes for 425 yards and three touchdowns over the last three games, which is almost the same number of catches and yards he had through the first eight games of the season (35 catches, 425 yards, and three touchdowns). 
Bucs over Panthers (Sunday noon): It had been 15 years since Tom Brady failed to score any points in a game, but that streak ended on Sunday night with a pitiful 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Now, to be fair Brady did lose his top two receivers (Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin) plus his top running back (Leonard Fournette) to injuries in the game, so it gave him very little to work with. There is a little bit of good news for Brady though, as Antonio Brown should be back in the lineup after serving a three-game suspension.  
Colts over Cardinals (Sunday noon): For the third week in a row, I am picking a Cardinals game, but unlike the previous two times, I’m picking them to lose. I can understand losing to the Rams two weeks ago, that was a fairly even matchup, but it’s inexcusable to get blown out by of all teams, the Detroit Lions, who only have one win this year. Even with the loss of their top receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, they still should have enough weapons on offense to score points and compete, so how they were so easily defeated by Detroit is beyond me. The Colts on the other hand, took down the red-hot New England Patriots with ease, despite the fact their QB, Carson Wentz only completed five passes in the whole game. 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

This week's holiday treat from your "born-on-Christmas-Day" track historian Bob Gates is his take on Clement Clarke Moore's poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas." The result is a Christmas classic with a local horse racing flavour that we can enjoy every holiday season. Click here for Bob's version of A Racetracker's Night Before Christmas -- and Merry Christmas! (From December 2020)
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected]