The Inside Track | Issue #78 | May 5, 2023
  • 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?
  • 2023 Handicapping Tournaments
  • Dining at ASD
  • Chef's Specials
  • Skinner the Pick in 149th Kentucky Derby
  • Call for Foal Photos
  • New Foal for Trevor Goulet
  • 2023 Shipping Incentives
  • 2023 Live Racing Dates/Purses/Stakes
  • ASD Condition Book #1 Download
  • Derby Favourite Forte Draws Post 15
  • Steve Haskin's Derby Longshots
  • Kentucky Derby Pedigree Analysis
  • Kentucky Derby Workout Analysis
  • Snapshot in Time - Larry Bird
  • Carryover Watch
  • The Best of Bob: Overskate
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
Kentucky Derby - Saturday, May 6

  • First race post time 9:30 a.m. (ASD will open at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 5 & Saturday, May 6)
  • Special ASD Live Kentucky Derby Show featuring Kirt and Stretch. Watch here.
  • 2% Cash Back on all tracks on Saturday, May 6. Opt-in at All eligible wagers must be placed on your HPIbet account to qualify. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum deposit $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible).
  • Kentucky Oaks & Kentucky Derby special wagers click here
  • Free Kentucky Derby programs and DRF are available at ASD, Quest Inn, Canad Inns Windsor Park, Green Brier, Rookies, Nor-Villa and Club 3D
  • Draws for Kentucky Derby merchandise at all locations (casinos excluded.)
  • Buy a Raz Derby Lemonade (Raspberry vodka & fresh lemonade) at Assiniboia Downs on Saturday, May 6th and receive a complimentary Kentucky Derby glass. $9.95 plus applicable taxes.
Club West Gaming Lounge

140 VLTs available daily in our spacious Club West Gaming Lounge from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m. Please note that our VLTs are sanitized between play. Click here for a full list of games available at ASD.

Win CA$H Every Day!

  • Draws to win up to $100 cash on our lucky wheel Monday through Friday from noon until 5 p.m.

  • Draws for $20 FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
2023 Player's Choice Online Handicapping Tournaments

  • Saturday, May 13, 2023

Entry fee: $25. Bankroll: $60. Place 10 ($2 WPS) wagers on any North American 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.
May HPI Cash Back Specials

  • MONDAY MADNESS: Earn 4% cash back every Monday in May on all tracks on all eligible wagers. Minimum wagered $100 (each Monday). Maximum cash back $25 (each Monday). ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) Opt-in at All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
Dining at Assiniboia Downs
Club West Dining Room & Lounge Open Daily

Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks plus Happy Hour food and beverage specials in our Club West Dining Room & Lounge! Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Chef's Weekend Specials
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.

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

Add a starter Caesar salad, tossed salad or soup of the day to any of the above specials for $3.95. Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are not required.
Mother's Day Brunch - SOLD OUT

Sunday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Signature Certified Angus Prime Rib
  • Carved ham with grilled pineapple
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Omelette station
  • Eggs benedict
  • French toast
  • Bacon, sausage and hash browns
  • Assortment of salads
  • Cheese and kolbassa tray
  • Pickle tray
  • Smoked salmon pizza
  • Croissants, rolls, flatbread, butter
  • Sliced fruit and berries, chilled juices, coffee and tea
  • Dessert and pastry table featuring cakes, dainties, warm apple crumble
  • This is a ticketed event. Prices are subject to taxes & gratuities.
  • Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95
  • Please note that there is no live racing on this day.
Live Racing Buffets

Reservations are now open for our all-you-can-eat Certified Angus Prime Rib buffets!

Live racing is right around the corner and that means that our renowned all-you-can-eat Certified Angus Prime Rib buffet is back. Live racing and a prime rib buffet - it doesn't get much better than that!

Buffet highlights include signature Certified Angus prime rib of beef carvery, seafood table featuring jumbo shrimp and salmon, fresh salads and side dishes prepared with locally grown vegetables.

Rotating entree selections of tender grilled chicken, crispy fried fish, sticky BBQ ribs, roasted meats and artisan sausages. Dessert table features warm fresh baked pies and your choice of ice cream plus cheesecakes, tortes and our famous bourbon bacon brownie.

The table is yours for the entire evening and includes racing programs and tip sheets.

Adults - $49.95, Seniors (65+) - $46.95, Kids 12 & under - $29.95, Kids 5 & under - $16.95

Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330. Click here for our 2023 racing schedule.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Quality of performance, class and fitness more important than numbers
Skinner has been galloping strongly at Churchill Downs. (Barbara Livingston photo)
The 149th Kentucky Derby goes this Saturday at Churchill Downs and we’ll be betting on it. Will you?

Of course you will!

The Kentucky Derby offers casual bettors the chance at making a life-changing score. The field is big and bulky, the run to the first turn is almost always complete chaos, and professional handicappers who have covered every angle in excruciating detail can get beat simply because of a bad trip.

Besides the stats and some truly silly angles that everyone else will be looking at, the best way to handicap the Derby is by watching replays. You can find them all in your account and on, and you’ll want to pay special attention to quality of performance.

While numbers are important in a relative sense, class, fitness, and the ability to overcome adversity often trump numbers in the Kentucky Derby. As do horses that are just starting to get good. Look for those attributes when you’re watching the replays and a few horses will stand out for you.

Forte (3-1) is the favourite in the year’s Derby, and he should be. He’s won five graded stakes in a row including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and the Florida Derby (G1) in his last start. If he can work out a good trip from post 15, he has a solid chance to win, and 3-1 would be fair odds on him. He had to work a little to win the Florida Derby, and that should have him tuned up perfectly for Saturday’s race.

Our original pick was Practical Move, but he was scratched due to an elevated temperature on Thursday, so we’ll have to look elsewhere. One interesting horse at a price that may be starting to peak is Mage (15-1), who finished a good second in the Florida Derby to Forte. He’s not as seasoned as many of his rivals and he’s still learning, but there’s something to like about the quality of his performances despite his habit of breaking slow. He may be one or two races away from his best race, but the price will be right.

Another horse to take a serious look at is UAE Derby (G2) winner Derma Sotogake (10-1) of Japan, if he doesn’t get overbet. He’s been working well at Churchill Downs, and he may try to wire the field. Japanese horses have started to win American graded races and this horse might be even better than he looks. He might not be as good as fellow Japanese runner Mandarin Hero, who finished a strong second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) behind Practical Move, but Mandarin Hero is stuck on the also-eligibles. If he draws in, he’s also a play to win and in the exotics.

Rocket Can (30-1) has also been sharp at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and gets blinkers on for the Derby. His numbers are a little low, and he might not be quite good enough, but Mott can never be underestimated in these big races.

Skinner (20-1) finished third in the Santa Anita Derby and is trained by John Shirreffs of Zenyatta fame. He’s been galloping strongly at Churchill Downs and Shirreffs rarely runs his horses in races they don’t belong in. At 20-1 he’ll probably be our main play.

Betting opportunities abound on Derby Day, not just in the Derby, but all day long. It will pay to watch as many replays as you can, in preparation for the multi-race exotics. As for the Derby itself, there are numerous longshots to choose from, and the chances of lower-priced horses besides Forte don’t seem to justify their odds.

So longshots it is! Good luck!
Jockeys Renaldo Cumberbatch (inside) and Neville Stephenson looking good at ASD! (George Williams photo)
Call for Foal Photos
The Jockey Club of Canada wants to showcase your foals and so do we!
The new Manitoba foals will soon be here and we want to see yours! (Manitoba CTHS photo)
The foaling season is upon us and the Jockey Club of Canada is looking for foal photos to share with their membership group. If you have a foal you'd like to show off, please email your photo to and include the province foaled, sire, dam, and photographer, as well as any additional information you wish to provide.

Any photos received will be included in the Jockey Club of Canada Newsletter through to the end of foaling season. And don’t forget to cc us on your email at

We’d love to showcase your foal photos here too.
Hay Listen Up Filly
Furry little filly by Hay Listen Up out of 7-time winner Hollysindependent by Marchfield. Thanks to breeder Trevor Goulet for the photo!
Excellent Purses, Stakes Schedule and Shipping Incentives in Place for 2023 at ASD

Assiniboia Downs offers some of the best shipping incentives in North America, and an excellent purse and stakes schedule to match. If you're looking for a great place to race this summer, you won't find a more friendly and inviting track anywhere. We've also got one of the kindest racing surfaces in North America, complemented by numerous additional amenities.

The 50-day 2023 live race meeting begins on Monday, May 22, and runs through to Tuesday, September 19. We race Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings at ASD, which means you can take the weekends off and enjoy our fabulous Manitoba summer weather with family and friends! Links to the 2023 shipping incentives, racing and graded purse schedules here.
The first ASD Condition Book for 2023 is here! Time to get excited! Click here to download.
39th Annual CTHS/HBPA Awards Banquet

  • Saturday, May 20, 2023
  • Assiniboia Downs
  • Cocktails at 6:00 p.m.
  • Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
  • Price $45 per person

Awards will follow dinner. Table reservations are recommended. Tickets are available from Jill at the CTHS office (204) 832-1702 or Shannon at the HBPA office (204) 832-4949.
Trainer Tiffany Husbands smiling as she returns from a sunny morning gallop at ASD. (George Williams photo)
Can't make it to the track to wager?
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

Two-time ASD riding champ Antonio Whitehall was in great form Thursday morning. (George Williams photo)
"I Won Bigg" Wagering Group

Join veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht as they lead discussions for the "I Won Bigg" betting group every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse.

This week the group will be playing Churchill Downs. Assiniboia Downs will be seeding the group betting pool with $250 as a special Kentucky Derby bonus! $20 gets you a share in the ticket. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
In The News
World's most famous race has a fascinating 20-horse field. 14 in in Kentucky Oaks.
Forte, by Violence, is the 3-to-1 morning line favourite for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs. (Kentucky Derby photo)
Riding a five stakes winning streak, the amazing Forte drew post position 15 for the 149th Kentucky Derby (G1) during the post position draw on May 1. A field of 20 will have 1 1/4-miles of Churchill Downs dirt in front of them when they line up for race 12 just before 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 6. The Derby is worth $3 million and is the first leg of the American Triple Crown. More from Jennifer Morrison at the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
Steve Haskin's 2023 Derby analysis includes interesting longshots
"Well, it’s finally the end of the road and for all the questions to be answered… we hope. Here is an overview of what has happened since January and who is left from the hundreds of Derby hopefuls. We will conclude with a feeble attempt to explain our wagers, knowing we are all grasping for straws when it comes to the wild and wacky world of the Kentucky Derby." ~ Steve Haskin, Read more here.
Which Derby horses are best bred to handle the classic distance?
Medina Spirit secured an easy by the time the Kentucky Derby 147 field rounded the first turn. (Coady Photograph)
Nobody knows how a horse is going to handle everything that comes with the Kentucky Derby. While it's impossible to know how a horse will handle the Derby's crush of humanity and figure out every other angle, we do have a few pedigree hints as to which runners might be best bred to handle the classic distance for the first time. More from the Paulick Report here.
Assessing Derby contenders based on history and sharpest final works
Confidence Game has been workling sharply at Churchill Downs. (Lexington Herald-Leader photo)
A few weeks before the Kentucky Derby (G1) all eyes are on the work tab, monitoring how the leading points-earners are faring since their last prep races. One indicator of how sharp a contender is coming into the Derby surfaced from research the BloodHorse started compiling three years ago. Read more here.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
Larry Bird was born in Madelia, Minnesota and rode at the Downs for 29 seasons. He's one of only seven riders to chalk-up more than 1,000 wins at Assiniboia Downs. Who do you think were the others? (Answer to follow right here, in the first week of May.) Larry was the Downs leading jockey in 1973 with 48 wins. He scored his 1,000th victory (of his career total of 1,191) at the Downs on June 28, 1992. Larry's great delights while competing at ASD were hunting, fishing, riding, and most of all, winning. (Gerry Hart Photo)
Carryover Watch
  • Turf Paradise (May 5) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $495,481. Mandatory payout on Saturday, May 6.
  • Gulfstream (May 5) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $311,432
  • Santa Anita (May 5) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $277,762
  • Woodbine Harness (May 6) - Jackpot Hi-5 carryover $271,267. Mandatory payout on Saturday, May 6.

Please note that Laurel Park will have a mandatory payout of all their jackpot pools on Sunday, May 7th.

See all carryovers here.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Did you know that the Downs grandstand and the old Speers box cars caused more grief for the 1978 Derby winner, Overskate, than any of the 4-legged challengers? They only got to see the business end of Jack Stafford’s little colt and from quite a distance at that! Click here for more. (From July 2018)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Spin to Win in the Clubwest Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • 4% cash back Mondays in May (8, 15, 22 & 29) - more info
  • Great Benjamins Circus - May 4 through May 7 - more info
  • Mother's Day Brunch - Sunday, May 14 - more info
  • MICEC Monster Bingo - Saturday, May 20 - more info
  • Indian Horse Relay Races - Monday, May 22 - more info
  • ASD Live Racing starts - Monday, May 22 - more info
  • MB Food Truck Battles - Saturday, May 27 & Sunday, May 28 - 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.