The Inside Track | Issue #122 | March 8, 2024

140 VLTS

ASD Hours

  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLT machines are sanitized between use

2024 Live Race Dates

  • Monday, May 20 to Tuesday, September 17 - click here for schedule

In this edition . . .

  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • There's always a Deal at ASD!
  • The Horses are Back!
  • LGCA Hiring for Horse Racing
  • 2024 Condition Book #1
  • 2024 Shipping Incentive Program
  • Bad Weather Buddies by Tim Cox
  • Road to Kentucky Derby 150
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Carryover Watch
  • Bella The (Dog) Bettor
  • Off-Track Betting Locations
  • "I Won Bigg" Wagering Group
  • A Snapshot In Time: Spanish Key
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Oscar Worthy Horse Movies
  • Tampa Bay Derby Preview
  • $4.5 Million National Horseplayers Championship
  • Steve Haskin's Derby Rankings Week 7
  • The Best of Bob - Racehorses, Forever Homes & Final Furlong
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!

Upcoming Handicapping Tournaments

Player's Choice Tournaments:

  • Saturday, March 16
  • Saturday, April 13
  • Saturday, May 11

Tournament Winners:

  • Player's Choice - Saturday, January 20 - Winner: Ron Phelps
  • Player's Choice - Saturday, February 17 - Winner: Trevor Phelps

Club West Gaming Lounge

140 VLTs are available daily in our spacious Club West Gaming Lounge from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m. Enjoy complimentary coffee or tea. We also have fantastic deals on daily drink specials, happy hour specials, daily lunch and nightly food features. Please note that our VLTs are sanitized between play.

Free daily draws take place for your chance to win cash!

  • Break Open Bonanza! Draws to win $10 plus 20 break-open tickets! Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Lucky Spins! Draws for $20 in FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

There's Always a Deal at ASD!

$11.95 Daily Lunch Specials

Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks from our Club West Dining Room menu or try our ever changing $11.95 lunch special.

  • Club West Dining Room & Lounge menu
  • Daily Happy Hour specials

Daily Drink Features All Day Long

  • Monday - Margarita $6 (lime, peach or strawberry)
  • Tuesday - Corona $5
  • Wednesday - Wine $4.50 (6 oz. glass of house white or house red)
  • Thursday - Beer $4.75 (house pint of beer)
  • Friday - Trifecta Tea $6 (Absolut peach vodka, lemonade, sweet tea)
  • Saturday - RazDerby Lemonade $6 (Absolut raspberry vodka, lemonade)
  • Sunday - Caesar $6

Daily Evening Chef's Specials

Monday - BBQ Ribs $19.95: Smoky char-broiled ribs with our signature BBQ sauce. Served with french fries and coleslaw.

Tuesday - Tacos $9.95: Two flour tortillas stuffed with taco beef, chicken or fish, lettuce, green onions, cheese and diced tomato. Served with a drizzle of avocado cilantro lime sauce and taco chips.

Wednesday - Two Topping Pizza $14.95: Thin crust pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Choose from pepperoni, bacon, ham, spicy beef, chicken, tomato, mushroom, peppers, black olives or onions.

Thursday - Chipotle Mozza Burger $14.95: Our signature sirloin patty and crispy bacon smothered in melted mozzarella. Topped with fresh sliced tomato, fried onion rings, chipotle mayo and sweet bold barbeque sauce.

Friday - Steak & Suds $24.95: 8 oz. Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with fresh vegetables and a choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Plus a complimentary pint of ASD Lucky Lager.

Saturday - Prime & Wine $29.95: Certified Angus Prime Rib (8 oz. cut.) Served with fresh vegetables and a choice of mashed potatoes or french fries, horseradish, and Yorkshire pudding au jus. Plus a complimentary 6 oz. glass of house wine.

Sunday - Fish & Chips $14.95: Two pieces of beer battered cod with tartar sauce and lemon. Served with french fries and coleslaw.

Reservations are not required. The above specials are available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Everyone who purchases one of the above specials will receive a coupon to play our free "Pick to Win" game in the VLT lounge for a chance to spin our lucky cash wheel where you can win up to $100 cash!

At The Post with G.S. Thompson

Horses, Frozen Fingers Brigade, Return to Backstretch

Devon Gittens, Steven Gaskin, Wendy Anderson first to arrive before snowstorm

Devon Gittens on the way to the ASD Equicizer on a snowy Thursday morning. (George Williams)

Top Assiniboia Downs trainers Devon Gittens, Wendy Anderson and Steven Gaskin were among the first to arrive in the backstretch, and while they might be freezing their fingers due to the latest snowstorm, the horses are loving it.

Gittens has 22 horses at the track right now while Anderson and Gaskin have 15 apiece bedded down in their barns waiting for the training track to open on March 16. In the meantime, all the horses are going to the Equicizer for daily jogs, adding to the bottom some of them already have in them in preparation for galloping next week.

The 39-year-old Gittens is entering his sixth year as a trainer at the Downs and looking to build upon his best year ever in 2023, in which he compiled a record of 25-34-23 from 164 starts for purse earnings of $363,920. Gittens has really made his mark at the Downs as a developer of young horses and Manitoba-bred champions, and he took it to yet another level in 2023 with the perfect Canyouhearmerunninn (Reload-Joaquina by Holy Bull), who went 4-for-4 and won the Graduation Stakes, Osiris and Winnipeg Futurity for owners Pink Cloud Racing and Ron Wiley.

Grooms Marco Difonte and Skyla Blanchard are back in action at ASD. (George Williams)

First Year Groom of the Year (2022) winner Skyla Blanchard and Marco Difonte were in the barn tending to the horses, and Gittens will have more excellent hands arriving soon. You can’t win races without top grooms, and all the best trainers know it. You could also ask the horses what they think 😊

Gittens travelled to Woodbine after the meet here last year and it didn’t take long for his talent to get noticed by top owners. They could have stolen him away from us but they haven’t yet and we’re certainly glad to have him here. Gittens will have 30 or more horses in training at the Downs again this year, including purchases from Ontario and Florida.

And if past success is an indicator of the future, he’ll once again be the one to beat in the Manitoba-bred 2-year-old races and beyond.

Trainer Steven Gaskin offers a treat to one of his new charges. (George Williams)

Gaskin, always one of the first trainers to arrive in the spring, also shored up his stable with some new purchases from Florida and Ontario, and he’s got a few beauties in the barn that could be any kind, but he’s not telling, at least not yet. The Gold Cup-winning trainer is going to let his horses do the talking, and there’s definitely a chance of that. 

Trainer Wendy Anderson will have more horses coming, and we spotted her top hand and former Groom of the Year Jaydean Lamothe smiling at the Equicizer Thursday morning. Anderson had another stellar year in 2023 at the Downs highlighted by triple stakes winner Magic Tiger, who won the Bocage Overnight Stakes, the R. J. Speers and the Gold Cup for Wind Dancer Stable and Bill Meikle. Anderson compiled a record of 36-32-25 from 173 starts in 2023 and her horses earned $443,652.

It pays to have top grooms.

Former Groom of the Year Jaydean Lamothe at the ASD Equicizer on Thursday morning. (George Williams)

LGCA Hiring for Horse Racing

The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA) regulates the province’s liquor, gaming, cannabis, and horse racing industries. We license liquor sales, service and manufacturing, gaming employees, products, and operations; retail cannabis stores; and horse racing. We strive to serve the public interest by regulating these industries in a respectful, impartial, and balanced manner.


The LGCA is seeking highly motivated individuals to work within the Social Occasions and Horse Racing Department, which is part of the Operations Unit. The Race Administration Official / Race Administration Official-In-Training positions provide reasonable assurance that all horse racing activities licensed or authorized by the Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA) are conducted safely, honestly, with integrity and in the public interest, and are operated in accordance with legislated requirements.


Apply to:

Advertisement #42575 / #42576 / #42577

Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba

Human Resources

1055 Milt Stegall Drive

Winnipeg MB R3G 0Z6

Fax: 204-927-5384

Email: [email protected]

Download a copy of Condition Book #1 here or click on the image above.

Bad Weather Buddies

Original painting by Tim Cox

“I believe that true friends talk without intention, give without reason, care without expectation, love without condition, and will be there through thick and thin.”~ Nishan Panwar. "Bad Weather Buddies" painted by Tim Cox. See more original paintings from Tim Cox here.

Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • Tampa Bay Derby - Mar. 9 - 50 points
  • Jeff Ruby Steaks (TP) - Mar. 23 - 100 points
  • Louisiana Derby (FG) - Mar. 23 - 100 points
  • UAE Derby (Mey) - Mar. 30 - 100 points
  • Florida Derby (GP) - Mar. 30 - 100 points
  • Arkansas Derby (OP) - Mar. 30 - 100 points
  • Wood Memorial (Bel) - Apr. 6 - 100 points
  • Blue Grass (Kee) - Apr. 6 - 100 points
  • Santa Anita Derby - Apr. 6 - 100 points
  • Lexington (Kee) - Apr. 13 - 20 points

2024 Kentucky Derby points standings - here

Easter Brunch - Sunday, March 31

We are excited to announce our Easter Brunch on Sunday, March 31 in the Terrace Dining Room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us for a delicious brunch with your family and friends.

Our menu includes a variety of dishes such as:

  • Sliced Certified Angus Prime Rib in Mushroom Sauce
  • Carved Ham with Grilled Pineapple
  • Scrambled Eggs with Green Onion
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Omelette Station
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • French Toast
  • Caesar Salad
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Golden Beet Salad
  • Wild Rice Salad
  • Cheddar Cheese, Kolbassa & Pickles
  • Smoked Sockeye Salmon Pizza
  • Rolls, Flatbreads and Butter
  • Croissants
  • Sliced Fruit & Berries
  • Cakes & Pastries

Tickets are priced at $39.95 (adults), $22.95 (12 & under), and $9.95 (5 & under). To purchase tickets, please call Samantha at 204-885-3330. 

This event sells out every year so order your tickets today!

Looking for a Special Photo of Your Big Horse or...?

Track Photographer Jason Halstead may have just what you're looking for

Hey! That's my horse! A five-horse battle for the lead in the third race on August 22, 2023. (Jason Halstead / Assiniboia Photo)

Looking for that extra-special photo of your big horse, one you might not find in your win pictures? Track photographer Jason Halstead takes numerous photos during the races, and not all of them can make it into the win photos. If you’re looking for something frameable from your big race, or of your special horse, email Jason at [email protected]. Prices are excellent! Almost as good as his photos 😊

Wager on Top Tracks

Watch and wager on world class racing from the comfort of your private carrel in our race book located on the 2nd level of the grandstand. The race book is open daily at 10 a.m. Can't make it to the track? Visit one of our partner locations listed below or wager at Click here for a list of tracks to wager on during the month of March.

HPI Wagering Bonus

Wager a minimum of $100 on Tampa Bay Saturday, March 9 and get 4% cash back! Minimum wagered $100. Maximum cash back $50. All wagers must be place on your HPIbet account. Opt-in at ($2.10 payouts not included).

Carryover Watch
  • Tampa Bay (March 8) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $29,275
  • Gulfstream Park (March 8) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $38,842
  • Parx Racing (March 11) - Jackpot Pick 5 - $90,288

See all carryovers here.

Bella The (Dog) Bettor

Rumor has it that Bella had $20 WPS on the #5

Is this your dog? Click here to watch Bella cheer on her horse.

Can't make it to the track to wager?

Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

"I Won Bigg" Wagering Group

Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (2nd floor plaza)

Join the "I Won Bigg" wagering group this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The wagering group is open to everyone. This week they will be playing Tampa and Santa Anita. $20 per share. If you would like more information please email Larry.

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

Well, it’s been a long winter, but the thoroughbreds have started to move in, and life is returning to the backside. Is there a better time to remember some heart-horses of the past? Let’s kick-start this with an original fave of mine. 


Here is Spanish Key at Maxwell King Stables located at 2295 Henderson Highway. This is a post racing shot (having lost her girlish figure) with a foal in tow. Max Freed’s Alhambra mare was a multiple stakes-placed speedball who would routinely open a five- or six-length lead and try to get home before her competition could catch her. (Maxwell King Stable photo)

Oscar-Worthy Achievements in Horse Movies

As the Oscars approach, a look back at some of the best horse movies ever made

War Horse, Seabiscuit and The Horse Whisperer are among the best horse movies ever made.

The 96th Academy Awards are this Sunday, and horse racing aficionados can revel in the implicit recognition the sport of kings annually receives when journalists and film buffs adopt racing’s handicapping lingo to forecast the night’s winners. Actual awards for horse movies have been harder to come by, despite some exceptional performances. America’s Best Racing takes a look back at some of the best horse movies ever made here.

No More Time, Domestic Product Vie in Tampa Bay Derby

Trainer Todd Pletcher aims for a seventh Tampa Bay Derby (G3) with Heartened

No More Time wins the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. (SV Photography)

No More Time, the front-running winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) on Feb. 10 at Tampa Bay Downs, seeks a second Kentucky Derby prep victory at that track this Saturday, when he battles Domestic Product  and eight other 3-year-old rivals in the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3). With 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points going to the winner, a win in this race virtually assures a horse of qualifying for the Derby. More from the Blood Horse here.

$4.5 Million in Prizes at National Horseplayers Championship

$800,000 grand prize and Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year to be awarded

The 25th Annual NTRA National Horseplayers Championship begins on March 15. Are you in?

The 25th National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) presented by Caesars Entertainment, Horseshoe Las Vegas, and Racetrack Television Network (RTN) kicks off Friday, March 15, running through Sunday, March 17, at the Horseshoe Las Vegas. The field of an estimated 750 entries will yield one ultimate winner, who will go home with $800,000 and an Eclipse Award as the Horseplayer of the Year. More from the Paulick Report here.

Kentucky Derby Rankings by Steve Haskin

The Road to the Derby, March 4, 2024 – Week 7

"What was supposed to be a revealing weekend of Kentucky Derby preps went down the proverbial drain with a rash of scratches, most of them favourites and contenders in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, and a continuation of this year’s slopfest, all of which just added to the confusion in finding a legitimate Derby favourite." ~ Steve Haskin. Read more at here.

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Bob says this week’s piece about thoroughbreds and their quest to find their “forever home” was produced “through a cold-capsule induced delirium.” Find out whether that’s good news or bad news here (from July 18, 2017).

Upcoming events at ASD

  • Break Open Bonanza - Draws for Break-Open tickets - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 in free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • Frost - Featuring Steve Aoki - Saturday, March 9 - more info
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, March 16 - more info
  • Good Friday, Friday, March 29 - VLTs open regular hours 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Easter Sunday, Sunday, March 31 - VLTs open regular hours 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Easter Brunch - Sunday, March 31 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected].
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.
LinkedIn Share This Email
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube  
Visit our website