The Inside Track | Issue #18 | March 10, 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.

It is with profound and deep sadness that Assiniboia Downs is sharing the news of the unexpected passing yesterday of our Board Chair Harvey Warner.

The contributions he made to the horse racing industry in both Manitoba and Canada were immense and will leave a lasting impact on the sport forever.

Harvey was one of the original architects of the non-profit Manitoba Jockey Club (MJC) in 1993, rescuing Assiniboia Downs and the horse racing industry from the bankruptcy situation of the former private owner Jim Wright.

A lifelong lover of horses and participant in the industry, both in a horse ownership and industry leadership capacity, before assuming his role on the MJC Board, Harvey previously led the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association as their President. In 1989, Harvey, along with his stable co-owners, achieved the pinnacle result on the racetrack at Assiniboia Downs by winning the 1989 Manitoba Derby with a horse named Rough Catch.

A recent testament to the contributions that Harvey made to the sport of horse racing was his national recognition in 2020 of a Special Sovereign Award.

Our condolences are with his wife Edie, their daughters Sheri and Michelle, and their families.

A further follow up piece will be featured in the Inside Track next week.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Increased Shipping Incentives!
  • New Stud in Town
  • Snapshot in Time
  • Remembering Maurice
  • Photo of the Week (Cutie!)
  • Value in Derby Futures
  • Oligarch Money Search
  • The Best of Bob
Do the Downs!
SPIN TO WIN FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS IN THE CLUBWEST GAMING LOUNGE - Enter at the VLT cage every Friday & Saturday for a chance to spin the wheel for up to $100 cash! Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY LUCKY SPINS - ASD is the place to be on St. Patrick's Day, Thursday, March 17! Enter for your chance to spin the lucky shamrock wheel for up to $100 cash. Draws start at noon and continue every 30 minutes.
MONDAY MARCH MADNESS - 4% cash back on all eligible wagering Mondays in March. Minimum wagered $100 (each Monday). Maximum deposit $25 (each Monday). Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included).

  • Sunday, March 20 & Sunday, April 10
  • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • 60+ talented local aritsans and vendors will be showcasing their products
  • Free admission and free parking

Our amazing brunches are back! From Certified Angus beef to all of your brunch favourites - we have you covered! Tickets are now on sale for Easter Brunch and Mother's Day Brunch.

EASTER BRUNCH: Sunday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for full menu. Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95. For tickets call 204-885-3330.

MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH: Sunday, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for full menu. Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95. For tickets call 204-885-3330.

Both of these brunches will sell out quickly so get your tickets today! Please note that there is no live racing on either of the above dates as live racing begins Victoria Day, Monday, May 23.

ASD's signature Prime Rib buffet is returning for live race nights starting Monday, May 23. Call 204-885-3330. Adults, $47.95, Seniors (65+), $44.95, 12 & under, $27.95, 5 & under, $14.95. See the buffet highlights at Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330. Click here for full race schedule.

FRIDAYS: 8 oz. top Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. $24.95. Reservations are not required.

SATURDAYS: Smoky charbroiled St. Louis ribs with our signature BBQ sauce. Served with vegetables and choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. $24.95. Reservations are not required.
Look who's here already! Trainer Mike Taphorn (right) with Halfinthewrapper, and groom Jaydean Lamothe, who works for trainer Wendy Anderson, with Two Steps Faster. On July 12, 2021 these two horses ran 1-2, with Halfinthewrapper prevailing by 1 1/2-lengths. They were neck and neck on the way to the Equicizer on Wednesday morning.
Increases in Shipping Incentives! New Zone 1!
Canadian provinces now included
Assiniboia Downs is pleased to announce a NEW shipping incentive Zone 1 as well as increases in the previously announced incentives for Zone 2 and Zone 3. The new Zone 1 offers a $250 shipping incentive and includes Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C. and North Dakota. The Zone 2 incentive been increased from $250 to $500, and the Zone 3 incentive has been increased from $600 to $1,000. Details in the chart below. See you soon!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
New Stallion Cameo Appearance arrives in Manitoba.
Just in time for his date with Purrsistent!
Stallion Cameo Appearance has arrived at Dunroven Farm in Rosser, Manitoba!
Manitoba has a new stallion to add to the Magnificent 7 stallions we mentioned in The Inside Track (#6). Purchased by Dr. Betty Hughes, Cameo Appearance arrived at Dunroven Farm last weekend, just in time for his date with 2021 Astral Moon Stakes winner Purrsistent.

A graded stakes-placed winning son of 2007 Hopeful Stakes winner Majestic Warrior (by A. P. Indy), Cameo Appearance finishing second in the 2013 Oklahoma Derby (G3) and third in the 2013 Super Derby (G2), compiling a record of 4-1-2 in eight starts for earnings of $228,678 USD.

Cameo Appearance is already a proven sire, having fathered a number of winners from limited opportunities, his best so far being Have No Fear (8 wins, $173,210 USD), and he certainly has the pedigree to be a successful sire in Manitoba.

A grandson of 1992 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner A. P. Indy, Cameo Appearance is out of the dam Sweet Beat, who is by back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow. That makes him a half-brother to stakes-placed winner Skyscanner and 15-time winner Fire Alarm ($525,623 USD), Cameo Appearance also has double crosses to thoroughbred royalty in his pedigree in the form of Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Northern Dancer and Buckpasser.

“He’s a handsome devil, “said Hughes. "We were looking for a stallion with good confirmation that would cross well with our daughters of Vengeful Wildcat. Jerry Lambert helped us find him, he’s friends with the breeders who were standing him in Louisiana.

“We bought him to breed to our own mares and for anyone else who wants to breed to him. He’ll stand for $750 plus a $250 booking fee at Dunroven Farm. We’ve kept his stud fee low to encourage breeders. We’ve been looking for a stallion for few years now, and we think he’s worthwhile, otherwise we wouldn’t have bought him.”
Maggie Lawson leading Cameo Appearance into the barn at Dunroven Farm.
Hughes has twice been honoured as the Manitoba Breeder of the Year. Her best horses as a breeder include multiple stakes-winner Gus Again (17 wins, $220,354 USD) and Astral Moon Stakes winner Purrsistent. The latter mare, a daughter of Vengeful Wildcat, was one of the better sprinters on the grounds over the past two years at ASD and should make for a great match with Cameo Appearance.

Hughes and her husband Frank Johnson currently have six yearlings, 11 horses of racing age and too many mares to count on their farm in Woodlands. Elton Dickey and Devon Gittens handle the training duties at the track, and Hughes has given two horses to Gittens, including Mean Money, a winner who also finished second in the 2021 Graduation Stakes.

“It was a gesture of appreciation,” said Hughes. “He’s done a great job developing our horses. And his partner Maddy Derksen works for Dr. Cyndi Kasper and helps out a lot with the breeding."

Hughes and Johnson have invested heavily in thoroughbred racehorses over the past five decades. Johnson does the work on the farm while Hughes owns the St. Francois Xavier Animal Hospital and spends much of her time there. “I’m the cheap labour,” said Johnson. “You’re not that cheap,” said Hughes with a giggle.  

“He’s absolute eye candy,” said Hughes, referring to Cameo Appearance.

And maybe Frank, too.
A Snapshot in Time
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
I’m willing to wager that not many of you out there will recognize the man in this photo, but make no mistake about it, you all know Downs’ patriarch and legendary trainer Mr. Albert Edward "Bert" Blake.

In June 1972, Blake saddled his 100th winner at the Downs, Seaneen Girl, for Harry Currie. In 1974, Governor Wendell Ford of the Commonwealth of Kentucky granted Blake the commission of “Kentucky Colonel." The man most knew as “Bert” won two Manitoba Derbys, with Royal Frolic (1993) and Prime Time TV (2005). He narrowly missed two others in 2004 and 2006 when pre-race favourites, Shanghied and The Max finished third and second respectively.

On June 19, 2012 Mr. Blake succumbed to a heart attack, 10 days short of his 93rd birthday. Two weeks later his bride, Eileen, joined her beloved husband. They were together again, just the way it was always meant to be. Blake family photo.
Handicapper's Corner
5-Time Tournament Winner Maurice Grégoire Dies at 80
Always had a smile and advice for his fellow handicappers
Assiniboia Downs offers our sincere condolences to the family and friends of longtime horseplayer Maurice Grégoire, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 2. A five-time winner of the ASD handicapping tournaments, Maurice was a friend to many at the Downs.

“Maurice was one of the best handicappers I’ve ever known,” said Ivan Bigg. “He developed his own mathematical system of comparing horse performances that really worked.”

Maurice always had a joke and a smile for his fellow handicappers, as well as some excellent handicapping advice, and he will be sadly missed by many.

“He will always be remembered for his corny jokes and constant advice,” said Maurice’s online obituary. “Maurice was a hardworking handyman who started working at CN in 1961 and worked there until he retired at the age of 53. He really enjoyed going for long drives, playing his ponies, renovating, and building his home/cabins. His claim to fame was winning five trips to Las Vegas in Assiniboia Downs competitions, which earned him the tag line ‘Can anyone catch Moe?’"

And they rarely could.
Photo of the Week
This shy little cutie by Nonios out of Turbo Shaft was born a few weeks ago at Dunroven Farm for owner/breeder Violetta Adamczyk. Future stakes winners are being foaled all over Manitoba right now! If you have a favourite foal photo please send it to us. See email below.
Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to
In The News
Value abounds in fourth of five pools for Kentucky Derby Future Wager 
Jockey Juan Hernandez guides Forbidden Kingdom into the winner’s circle after their victory in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) last Saturday at Santa Anita. Paulick Report / Benoit photo.
The fourth of five pools for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) is set for its three-day stand Friday-Sunday with MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm's recent $400,000 San Felipe (G2) winner Forbidden Kingdom tabbed by veteran morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia as the 5-1 favorite in the field of 24 betting interests. Some great value in these pools! Read more from the Paulick Report here.
No connections found yet between French racing and Russian oligarch money
Racing at Chantilly in France. Blood Horse / Matthea Kelley photo.
France Galop is engaged in a two-pronged strategy to ensure that any racehorse owner or their associates with connections to sanctions on Russia has no place in racing. How long will it be before all other racing jurisdictions do the same? More from the Blood Horse here.
Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Mar. 11, 12 & 13 - Derby & Oaks future wager
  • Mar. 12 - Tampa Bay Derby
  • Mar. 26 - UAE Derby (Dubai)
  • Mar. 26 - Louisiana Derby (FG)
  • Mar. 27 - Sunland Derby (Sun)

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here.
Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Carryover Watch & Programs
  • Santa Anita (Mar. 11) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $261,676
  • Turfway (Mar. 10) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $108,513
  • Charles Town (Mar. 10) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $65,022
  • See all carryovers here.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
The "I Won Bigg" betting group meets every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza in the Clubhouse. Leading the discussions are veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht. This week the group will play Tampa Bay and Santa Anita. Everyone welcome. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Did you know that the Downs' leading rider in 1958 spent three years in a prison camp? Read "Hustlin" Hugo's story here. (From May 2018)
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.