The Inside Track | Issue #28 | May 19, 2022
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLTs, Race Carrels and Tables are sanitized between customer use.
  • Our fully immunized staff will continue to wear masks for the safety of all customers.
Harvey Warner Celebration of Life
Date: Saturday, May 21
Place: Assiniboia Downs, Main Floor
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Everyone welcome. If you are unable to attend, the Celebration of Life will be livestreamed and can be viewed here.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Top Grooms Make a Huge Difference
  • Revised Condition Book #1 Download
  • Snapshot in Time
  • They're back! ASD Live Show!
  • Partner Locations
  • Photo of the Week: Gold Strike
  • NEW! ASD Making Memories
  • Preakness Stakes Notes
  • Gold Strike Daughter in Canada
  • The Best of Bob
  • Summer Job Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
SPIN TO WIN THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS IN THE CLUBWEST GAMING LOUNGE - Enter at the VLT cage every Thursday and Friday for a chance to spin the wheel for up to $100 cash! Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.
MONDAY MADNESS EVERY MONDAY IN MAY - 4% cash back on all eligible wagering Mondays in May. Minimum wagered $100 (each Monday). Maximum deposit $25 (each Monday). Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included.)

PREAKNESS DAY BONUS - 3% cash back on all eligible wagering on Pimlico on Saturday, May 21. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum deposit $25. Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included.)

Please note that ASD opens at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 21. First race post time for Pimlico is 9:30 a.m.
IT'S TIME TO HORSE AROUND AGAIN! Join us at 11:45 a.m. today for the livestream of the 2022 Live Race Season Press Conference. Watch here.
INDIAN HORSE RELAY RACES THIS MONDAY! In partnership with Indian Horse Relay - Elite Indian Relay Association and Manito Ahbee Festival, Assiniboia Downs is pleased to present the Indian Horse Relay Races on Monday, May 23. Doors open at 10 a.m. Races start at 1 p.m. Buy your tickets here.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
2021 fan favourite Mark Ye Well with his groom Susan Crane in trainer Jared Brown's barn on Tuesday morning. Mark Ye Well won five races and finished second twice at ASD last year. Top grooms can make a huge difference. Well done Susan! (George Williams photo)
Top Grooms Make a Huge Difference
Mark Ye Well won five times at ASD for groom Susan Crane last year
Trainer Jared Brown had one of his best years ever at Assiniboia Downs in 2021, and a big part of the reason for that was his partner and longtime groom Susan Crane. The transplanted Newfoundlander has been working for Brown for 12 years now.

Crane grew up in St. John’s. She hasn’t got much of an East coast accent now, but once in a while “it comes back to me,” said Crane. You’ve heard her familiar accent on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It’s even better in person. And the horses must understand it well, as they sure run for her.

Crane is the groom of probable 2021 Claimer of the Year Mark Ye Well, and her chestnut charge might even win Sprinter of the Year for 2021. We’ll find out at at the 38th CTHS/HBPA Annual Manitoba Thoroughbred Awards Banquet on Saturday, June 4.

One of the best-looking horses on the track last spring, Mark Ye Well performed to his looks. He started out the season finishing a fast-closing second for a $5,000 tag and climbed his way up the allowance/optional claiming ladder, winning five of eight starts and finishing second twice. His final victory at the Downs last season came for a $15,000 tag and pushed the 8-year-old gelding over the $100,000 mark in earnings.

Mark Ye Well is back in action locally now after a relaxing winter at Turf Paradise where he ran only twice, finishing second in a $10,000 claiming race in his most recent start. He still looks like a million dollars, but he’s moved up in class now and this season could be tougher.
Susan Crane shares a tender moment with Mark Ye Well in Jared Brown's barn. (George Williams photo)
The 48-year-old Crane has now been grooming horses for 20 years. She used to work in a hospital kitchen, moved on to housekeeping there and later became a switchboard operator. So how did she end up working with horses?

“A friend of mine moved here, and a couple years later I came to visit her, and I liked it,” said Crane. “I went home, signed everything over to my ex and left.”

Crane ended up working at the Maryland Hotel in Winnipeg, where she met trainer Emile Corbel, who invited her to come and work for him at the track.

“I took the job because I’ve always been fascinated by horses,” said Crane, who later ended up working for Brown after he claimed a horse from Corbel. “I remember her walking by crying,” said Brown. “His name was Funtime Freddie,” said Crane. “He was my favourite horse. We called him Freckles.”

Right now Crane has a couple of favourite horses, but she naturally becomes most attached to those that stay in the barn the longest. Horses change hands often in the claiming game, but Mark Ye Well has managed to make a home for himself in the Brown barn.

Crane’s favourite part of the job?

“Spending the time with the horses after their training,” she said. “When it’s not rushed. I like to go in and talk to them. They’re pretty smart. And they know when they win.”

Crane now shares the grooming duties in the Brown barn with recent Groom School graduate Daniela Rang, who also takes riding lessons. The pair were besieged by happy horses play biting for peppermints as we strolled through the barn on Tuesday. Spoiled… nah… just really enjoying life.

The difference between working with people and working with horses?

“It’s a lot harder work, but the horses don't tell me off,” laughed Crane. “Well, some do. They’ll test you if you’re new. If you let them. They know things. Oh my God, when they win they're so proud. They prance and their ears are up and they're just as happy as anything.” 
Trainer Jared Brown with 2019 Rebel Stakes (G2) third-place finisher Market King.
“We don’t enter them unless they’re ready to run,” said Brown, who now has 14 freshly claimed horses at the Downs for 2022. “We took five horses down to Turf Paradise, lost one via a claiming race and came back with 18.”

Brown has been coming to the Downs since 1999. The 54-year-old Vancouver-born, Seattle-raised trainer finished second in the standings at the Downs last year with a record of 40-28-19 from 163 starts for $333,771 in purse earnings. Brown has now won over 500 races during his career. His horses are always beautifully presented in the paddock and post parade, and along with those good looks comes an inherent psychological edge.

Top grooms make a huge difference. 
Revised ASD Condition Book #1 Available for Download
First Condition Book of 2022 for May 31 to June 29
Jockey Stanley Chadee Jr. on a 3-year-old maiden by Going Commando trained by Larry Cizik. Chadee won numerous stakes last year and he might just win a few more on this horse. Watch closely for this big, beautiful chestnut in the paddock and post parade. You'll know him when you see him. (George Williams photo)
Condition Book #1 for ASD has been revised to reflect the new start date of May 31. The new book runs from May 31 to June 29, and includes the 2022 graded purse schedule and all race conditions, a revised stakes schedule, leading jockey and trainer lists, a facility overview and everything else you need to know. It doesn't include the fact that ASD is loved by horsemen throughout North America, but if you're downloading this condition book, you probably already knew that. Download the Revised Condition Book #1 here. More information on the NEW Shipping Incentives for 2022, Revised Stakes Schedule and Stall Applications here. See you in the winner's circle!
A Snapshot in Time
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
Maxwell King Ranch was owned by Max Freed. Max was known as the "King of Shirt-Making in North America," but horse racing was his passion. Freed owned and bred thoroughbreds in a career that spanned seven decades. His Maxwell King Stables was located at 2295 Henderson Highway. In the old days he had runners like Dandy Thought, Fort Garry, Free as Air, Koroway and Light Dust. In the '60s and '70s Max had solid campaigners that included Hal S, Tiny Will, Ruzella, Bert S and my favourite, the speedy mare Spanish Key. 

Max was honoured by Assiniboia Downs for his contributions to horse racing on June 15, 1975 and again on May 31, 1997. He recorded his first win at the Downs on September 1, 1958 with Light Dust, and his final win came with Realadar on August 22, 2008. Max was very loyal and good for the local horse racing scene. (Bob Nokes photo)
They're back!!! ASD Live Show 2022!!!
Watch and wager at one of our partner locations:

  • Canad Inns Windsor Park - 1034 Elizabeth Road
  • Green Brier Inn - 1611 Main Street
  • Rookies at Central Hotel - 201 Melrose Avenue East
  • Quest Inn - 367 Ellice Avenue
  • McPhillips Station Casino - 484 McPhillips Street
  • Club Regent Casino - 1425 Regent Ave W
  • Wager 24/7 at

  • Club 3D - 3317 Portage Avenue
  • Nor-Villa Motor Hotel - 1763 Henderson Hwy
Photo of the Week
Gold Strike, Manitoba-bred dam of 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. Still gorgeous at 20! Story by Steve Haskin at here. Photo courtesy of Tracey Caudill, Watershed Farm.
NEW! ASD Making Memories!
Do you have a memorable winning bet, a favourite horse, a big contest win, a meal/brunch shared with loved ones and friends, something special that endears you to the Downs? If so we’d love to hear from you! Send us your favourite memory of Assiniboia Downs and you might be selected for the new ASD Making Memories section of the Inside Track! If you have a photo to go with it, send that too! We welcome all submissions!
Do you have an interesting photo or memory you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email us at
In The News
Preakness Notes: Secret Oath ‘Has A Devastating Kick,’
Epicenter favoured, Early Voting main speed, Creative Minister draws inside
Skippylongstocking, shown here at Pimlico Race Course, is 20-1 on the morning line for the 147th Preakness Stakes this Saturday. (Maryland Jockey Club photo)
Saturday's 147th Preakness Stakes (G1) will be Epicenter's eighth career start, but Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen views the first seven races as just a warm up for the 6-5 morning-line favorite. He should get a great trip, but he'll still need his best to win. More from the Paulick Report here.
Half-Sister to Kentucky Derby Winner Purchased by Ontario Breeder
Unostrike, a daughter of Manitoba-bred Gold Strike, the dam of 2022 Kentucky Derby winner First Strike, was purchased by Ontario breeder Susan Foreman in January, long before the Kentucky Derby made her mother famous. (Susan Foreman photo)
When Rich Strike won the 2022 Kentucky Derby, it was the victory of a lifetime for the connections of the claiming horse turned 80-1 Derby winner. For Ontario breeder Susan Foreman, who purchased a half-sister to Rich Strike at the 2022 Keeneland January Sale through the Mare Purchase Program, a component of Ontario Racing’s Thoroughbred Improvement Program, the result was beyond her wildest dreams. More from the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
Carryover Watch & Programs
  • Parx (May 21) - Jackpot Pick 5 - $589,609
  • Santa Anita (May 20) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $348,046
  • Gulfstream (May 19) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $240,131
  • Louisiana (May 21) - Pick 4 - $77,567
  • See all carryovers here.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse
This Saturday the group will be focusing on Pimlico with the possibility of some play at Woodbine. Join the discussion this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza. Everyone welcome. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

With the recent passing of Harvey Warner, it seems so appropriate to take another look at the story that pays homage to his many contributions to the industry. A couple of years ago the Jockey Club of Canada honoured Harvey with a Special Sovereign Award. Click here to read more about the late Harvey Warner. From August 2020.
Upcoming events at ASD

  • 2022 Live Race Season Press Conference - Thursday, May 19 - watch here
  • Harvey Warner Celebration of Life - Saturday, May 21 - watch here
  • Indian Horse Relay Races - Monday, May 23 - more info
  • MB Food Truck Battles - Saturday, May 28 & Sunday, May 29 - more info
  • ASD live racing starts Tuesday, May 31 - full schedule
  • Summer of Sound - Friday, June 10 - more info
  • Manitoba Night Markets - Sundays, June 12, July 24 & August 28 - more info
  • Canada Day Fireworks & Festival - Friday, July 1 - 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.