The Inside Track | Issue #80 | May 19, 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?
  • ASD Live with Kirt & Stretch is back
  • 2023 Handicapping Tournaments
  • New! Chase the Ace at ASD
  • Dining at ASD
  • Chef's Specials
  • Brad Ostrove wins Player's Choice Tourney
  • Remembering Charlie Smith
  • Indian Horse Relay Races
  • Snapshot in Time - Clayton Gray
  • Mage Chases Triple Crown Dream
  • Carryover Watch
  • Bob's Blog - New Articles Begin!
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
It's Time to Horse Around Again!
  • Live racing starts this Monday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Free family fun activities from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Bouncy castles, face painting, kid's entertainment and more!
  • New to the races? Be sure to stop by and see Brad and Shannon. They will answer all your questions about racing and wagering.
  • Download the Dark Horse Betting App, open a new account and get $30 in free wagers.
  • Free admission and free parking daily.
  • Can't make it to the track? Watch and wager at
  • See full ASD schedule here.
ASD Live with Kirt & Stretch
Your favourite handicapping duo "Kirt & Stretch" are back with ASD Live every race night at 6:45 p.m. Tune in to get some great handicapping tips and insight from two of the best.
Chase the Ace at Assiniboia Downs
Tickets On Sale Today (Friday) at 12 Noon

Assiniboia Downs is pleased to present our new Chase the Ace game for 2023 with a Guaranteed Accumulator Jackpot of $5,000!

  • Tickets will be available online at, Guest Services or at the VLT cashier’s cage
  • 1 ticket for $5, 3 tickets for $10, 10 tickets for $20, 50 tickets for $50, 200 tickets for $100
  • The weekly draw will be made Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. Tickets are on sale starting Thursdays at 12:00 p.m. through until 10:00 a.m. the following Thursday
  • Full contest rules click here.
  • Proceeds support community charities including Final FurlongWinners Foundation, Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre and Indigenous Languages of Manitoba. By purchasing a ticket, you are helping these charities make a positive difference in the community. Thank you for supporting the Chase the Ace Ticket Program.

Manitoba Jockey Club - LGCA-5630-RF-39799
2023 Las Vegas Challenge Handicapping Tournaments

  • Las Vegas Challenge - Monday, June 19
  • Las Vegas Challenge - Monday, July 10
  • Las Vegas Challenge - Monday, July 31
  • Las Vegas Challenge - Monday, August 21
  • Las Vegas Challenge - Monday, September 18

PRIZES: The tournament winner receives a trip for two to Las Vegas and a trophy (the winner will be provided $3,500 to book their trip to Las Vegas). Second place finisher will receive a $500 deposit to their HPI account, the third place finisher will receive a $250 deposit to their HPI account.

Entry fee into the Las Vegas Challenge is $50 but can be reduced by qualifying on Assiniboia Downs’ race cards leading up to the tournament. To qualify you must select the horse that you think will win each race on an Assiniboia Downs race card. Email your selections for that race night to Sheri at prior to the start of racing. If you select three winners on the race card, your entry fee is reduced to $25. For every other race card that you select three winners on, your entry fee is reduced by another $5. 
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.
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.
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
Ostrove Wins Player's Choice Tourney by 80 Cents
Late bet cancellation turns out to be winning move
Brad Ostrove squeaked out a nail biter in the Player's Choice Tournament last Saturday, and it all came down to a late decision to cancel a bet when he didn't get his price.

The 59-year-old lifetime handicapper won a tournament last year, but he didn't think he'd be in the running this time with a total bankroll of $97.40.

You normally have to double your money to $120 to have a shot to win, and Ostrove thought the best he could do was third or fourth, but his late decision to cancel a wager on a 3-1 horse he thought should have been higher odds turned out to be a winning move.

The 3-1 horse ended up running out of the money and Ostrove's last contest wager finished third, paying $4.90, which was just enough to get him home on top, 80 cents ahead of veteran handicappers Larry Liebrecht ($96.60) and Ron Phelps ($96.50), followed by Darcy Penner ($85.80) and Scott Anderson ($80.10).

It was a tough day for longshots, but Ostrove scored early with Adaline Julia (10-1) in Race 9 at Churchill Downs and later in the day with Boss of All (10-1) in Race 11 at Belmont.

"The horse at Belmont was coming off a layoff but he had some good back form," said Ostrove. "The race looked wide open, and I knew he'd be a price. The horse at Churchill was probably my best bet of the whole day. I loved that horse. I just thought the race would set up perfectly for him. He had tactical speed and he sat right off everybody. The other horse I liked in the race opened up on him in the stretch, and I thought he was going to run away with it, but my horse kept coming to get by late."

Ostrove likes to figure out how a race will set up and then pick a horse that can take advantage of that. He also looks at certain trainers, and he doesen't necessarily look at recent form.

"If a horse has some good races in their lines further back, and the race looks like it might set up for them, that's how I find a lot of my price horses," said Ostrove. "Especially closers. A lot of closers you'll see the last four of five races they were nowhere but before that you can see a few races that would be good enough to win. I look for prices though, 6-1 or better. I'm not a favourites player."

Like so may of us, Ostrove started coming to the track in the 1960s with his dad.

"I think I was 7-8 years old when I started," said Ostrove. "He'd bet $2 a race for us on
whatever horse we wanted. We cashed a few tickets, and we used to pick up tickets off the floor, and find the odd winner that way too. That got me started and I've been going ever since."

Ostrove is also one of the people you'll meet at the Fan Appreciation Booth when you enter the track, answering questions about handicapping, betting, reading the program and now...

How to win a handicapping tournament!
Back-to-back ASD riding champ Jorge Carreno looking good working a horse for trainer Wendy Anderson on Thursday morning. Can he make it three titles in a row? (George Williams photo)
Sincere Condolences: Charles "Charlie" Edwin Smith
January 27, 1949 — April 21, 2023
Charlie Smith and Terry Propps. (Karen Gavis photo)
Local racing fans and horsepeople were saddened to hear that trainer Charlie Smith passed away on April 21. The 74-year-old trainer from Annetta, Texas had many close friends at Assiniboia Downs, won numerous stakes races here, and set a record in the Debutante Stakes that will likely never be broken.

Charlie saddled 332 winners for purse earnings of $4,034,016 for himself and his wife Terry Propps, and much of that came courtesy of stakes winners at Assiniboia Downs including Miss Missile, Portales, Lady Countdown, Morsel, Ruby’s Big Band, Little Widow Maker, Gospel Gal, and Spider’s Alibi.

Charlie set a local record when he won five Debutante Stakes in a row here from 2007 to 2011, and he just missed winning it again in 2012 with Portales, who made up for that loss with a victory in the Winnipeg Futurity.

Growing up in north-central Texas on acreage with cows and saddle ponies, Charlie graduated with a law degree in 1974. He took out his trainer’s license in the late ’80s and credited much of his success to Terry, who selected horses at the sales, organized matings, and set up a nutrition program.

Charlie said he just tried to pay attention to detail and give the horses a good start and a regular exercise program, but it was more than that. It was time spent with the horses, by both him and Terry, and it paid off handsomely with numerous stakes winners both south of the border and at Assiniboia Downs.

Charlie was soft-spoken, but always gave you the impression that he wasn't the kind of person you wanted to mess with. Few know that before he became a lawyer and horse trainer, he was also an all-American swimmer in both high school and university. And if you were in a race against him, you always knew he was the one to beat.

"He loved Winnipeg,” said Terry. “He loved the people, he loved the track, he loved everything about it. He made a lot of close friends there. He and Bruce Stratton would talk 70 times in a night. And he loved Rob Atras to death. If he could have come to Winnipeg in the last few years he would have been there."

Never one to brag about his accomplishments, besides being a stakes-winning trainer, Smith was also an excellent lawyer, and early in his career he won a huge lawsuit against a major firm in a David vs Goliath battle.

He wore a cowboy hat and boots to court, rode motorcycles across Europe, and "did not miss a minute," said Terry. "At his memorial we played My Way by Willie Nelson, Forever Young by Bob Dillon and Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones."

“He did it Charlie's way.”
Indian Horse Relay Races
The Indian Horse Relay races take place at Assiniboia Downs on Monday, May 22 starting at noon. Tickets are $16.50 and available online here or at the door.
39th Annual CTHS/HBPA Awards

  • This 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.
Six-time leading ASD trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr. is looking forward to another great season! (George Williams photo)
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.

  • PREAKNESS DAY BONUS: Earn 2% cash back on all eligible wagers on all tracks Saturday, May 20. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum cash back $25. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) Opt-in at All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.

  • ASD OPENING WEEK BONUS: Earn 3% cash back on all eligible wagers on Assiniboia Downs on Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23. Minimum wagered $40. Maximum cash back $100. ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) Opt-in at Opt-in at All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
Carryover Watch
  • Santa Anita (May 19) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $126,912
  • Parx (May 20) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $95,471

See all carryovers here.
Jockey Shavon Belle is ready for action on opening night, Monday, May 22. (George Williams photo)
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

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 Pimlico and possibly some smaller tickets at Woodbine and Santa Anita. $20 gets you a share in the ticket. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
What can you say about Clayton Gray that hasn’t already been said? The Dominion City native trained horses at the Downs for more than 30 seasons and ranks amongst the Downs Top 10 all-time leading trainers. Gray racked up 600 career wins at ASD and was the Downs leading trainer on seven occasions (1970, 72, 73, 74, 76, 79 and 1980). Quite a distinguished record when you consider his 20-year absence from the local racing scene (1981-2002) when he raced full-time south of the border. The superb judge of horse flesh won the Manitoba Derby in 1976 with Hugh Jackson’s Merry’s Jay. Thanks for the memories, Clayton! (Gerry Hart Photo)
In The News
Kentucky Derby winner meets seven rivals, none of which were in the Derby, in the second jewel of the American Triple Crown.
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage shown during a gallop at Pimlico in Baltimore this week. (Preakness Stakes/Pimlico photo) 
Kentucky Derby hero Mage has been installed as the 8-5 favourite on the morning line for Saturday’s $1.65 million Preakness Stakes after drawing Post 3 at Monday’s Post Position Draw for the 148th running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown at Guinness Open Gate Brewery. More from the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
Bob's Blog
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
Footprints, hoofprints and milestones at ASD. Bob kicks off his brand new series of articles on the blog with a look back over the decades at ASD, and some fond remembrances of those who left us too soon.

Read more here.
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Spin to Win in the Club West Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • 2% cash back Preakness Day Bonus, Monday, May 20 - more info
  • 4% cash back Mondays in May (22 & 29) - 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
  • 3% cash back bonus ASD Opening - Monday, May 22 & Tuesday, May 23 - 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.