The Inside Track | Issue #100 | October 6, 2023

140 VLTS
  • 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?
  • Chase the Ace at ASD
  • ASD Handicapping Tournaments
  • Dining at ASD
  • Thanksgiving Buffet - SOLD OUT
  • Manitoba-Bred Showcase - Top 5 Earners
  • TravyFootball Week 5
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Largest Payoffs of 2023 at ASD
  • Snapshot in Time - Monsoon Rain
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Weather Looms Factor in Canadian International
  • Fierceness Faces Tough Test in Champagne
  • The Best of Bob - It all began with a "Fling"
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!

Win $5,000 by selecting the Ace of Diamonds!

Tickets for Chase the Ace Week #21 are on sale now and you could win $5,000 if you pick the Ace of Diamonds!

Manitoba Jockey Club - LGCA-5630-RF-39799

2023 Player's Choice Online Tournaments

  • Saturday, October 14
  • Saturday, November 11
  • Saturday, December 16

PRIZES: 1st place: $1,000 (plus a trophy), 2nd place: $400, 3rd place: $200, 4th place: $100, 5th place: $50

Entry fee is $25. $2 WPS on one horse in any 10 races (harness, thoroughbred or quarter horse) from any North American track on the contest day. Click here for full rules.


Player's Choice Tournaments

  • Saturday, January 21 - Randy Premachuk
  • Saturday, February 18 - Steve Holborn
  • Saturday, March 18 - Nicole Baker
  • Saturday, April 15 - Barry Mymko
  • Saturday, May 13 - Brad Ostrove

Las Vegas Challenge Tournaments

  • Monday, June 19 - Ron Zurba
  • Monday, July 10 - Murray Chaban
  • Monday, July 31 - Tanis Atras
  • Monday, August 21 - Brian McKellar
  • Monday, September 18 - David Blake
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 in 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.

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

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.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson

Manitoba-Bred Showcase – Top 5 Earners of 2023

Homebreds continued to outperform their purchase prices once again in 2023

Commandoslastdance is led into the winner's circle by groom Olive Johnston and trainer Mike Nault after her victory in the Buffalo Stakes. Chavion Chow up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Manitoba-breds once again continued to outperform their Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale purchase prices in 2023.

While all were eligible for the lucrative Manitoba-bred bonus programs, they also held their own in open company, which is a credit to all their connections including the breeders, trainers, grooms and owners. All have stepped up their game in synch with the higher quality pedigrees seen in Manitoba over the past decade.

Below are the top five Manitoba-bred earners of 2023 at Assiniboia Downs, with more homebred highlights to follow in the next issue of The Inside Track.

Commandoslastdance ($47,155)

Commandoslastdance on the lead early en route to winning the Buffalo Stakes. Chavion Chow up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Commandoslastdance won two of her five starts in 2023 including the $50,000 Debutante Stakes over open company and the $40,000 Buffalo Stakes for trainer Mike Nault and ownership partners A2 Thoroughbreds and True North Thoroughbreds. She also finished third in the $50,000 Osiris Stakes. Bred by Keaton and Aiden Ziprick, the 2-year-old filly by Going Commando-Sweet Tizzy Lizzy by Tiznow was a $17,000 purchase at the 2021 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale and looks like she has a bright future as the leading earner among Manitoba-breds in 2023!

Private Frank ($46,077)

Private Frank all alone at the wire winning the Frank Arnason Memorial Sire Stakes. Ronald Ali up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Private Frank won four of his seven starts and $46,077 in 2023 for trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr. and owner-breeders Jerry Lambert and Lynn Mathews. The 3-year-old gelding by Going Commando-Inspeightofsuccess by Speightstown put together an exceptional four-race winning streak over the summer that included a win in the $40,000 Frank Arnason Memorial Sire Stakes. And he was only bid up to $1,000 at the 2021 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale before being bought back by his owners!

Melisandre ($46,049)

Melisandre (#3) wires her field in the Distaff Stakes. Antonio Whitehall up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Former local champion Melisandre won two of her six starts in 2023 including the $25,000 Cool Excellence Overnight Stakes and the $40,000 Distaff Stakes. She also finished second in the $50,000 La Verendrye Stakes and the $50,000 Canada Stakes. Trained by Lise Pruitt for True North Thoroughbreds and Arnason Farms, the 5-year-old mare by Going Commando-High Pioneer by Pioneering was bred by Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard and Barry Arnason, and ran some of the best races of her career in 2023, improving her lifetime record to 10-5-1 from 20 starts for earnings of $172,228. 

Russian Pearl ($43,057)

Russian Pearl (#1) on her way to victory in the R. C. Anderson Memorial Stakes. Damario Bynoe up. (Jason Halstead photo)

One of the hardest trying horses on the grounds in 2023, Russian Pearl won two of her nine starts in 2023 including the $40,000 R. C. Anderson Memorial Stakes. She also counted a runner up finish in the $40,000 Hazel Wright Sire Stakes among four second-place finishes. Trained by Devon Gittens for owners Larry Falloon and Ron Wiley, the 3-year-old filly by Nonios-Russian Jewel by Wildcat Heir was bred by Falloon and partner Denis Huberdeau and sold for the bargain price of $1,000 at the 2021 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale.

Justlemmeatem ($42,407)

Justlemmeatem wins the $40,000 CTHS Sales Stakes. Renaldo Cumberbatch up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Like his stablemate Russian Pearl, Justlemmeatem gave it everything he had in every race in 2023, winning two of his five starts including the $40,000 CTHS Sales Stakes, and finishing second in the $50,000 Osiris Stakes and the $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity. Trained by Devon Gittens for owner-breeder Dr. Betty Hughes, the 2-year-old gelding by Vengeful Wildcat-Siphon Vice by Siphon was bid up to only $3,500 in the 2022 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale before being bought back by his owner, and proved to be yet another in a long list of bargains purchased at the local yearling sale.

Congratulations to all! 

Melisandre with groom Richie Ricketts after winning the Distaff Stakes. (Jason Halstead photo)

Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 5

Texans over Falcons (Sunday noon): Don’t look now, but the Houston Texans might actually be a decent football team! Sitting at 2-2 and in a four-way tie with the other three teams in the AFC south, the Texans put a beatdown on the Pittsburgh Steelers in very convincing fashion. Rookie QB CJ Stroud, who is only the third player in history with at least 900 passing yards in his first three games, has gained the confidence of Houston fans, and more importantly, his teammates, and has yet to throw an interception. If he can continue to limit his turnovers, the Texans might have a chance to win the division and clinch a playoff spot. The Falcons are doing exactly what I said they would do a couple weeks back. They would get off to a hot start (2-0), and then come crashing back down to earth because they don’t have a suitable quarterback. There are already rumblings about making a switch, and they could put in backup Taylor Heinicke to try and jumpstart the offense. Falcons coach Arthur Smith says they are sticking with Desmond Ridder, but if I have learned one thing about NFL coaches, it's that when they say they’re sticking to a quarterback despite his struggles, that usually means a change is coming.  


Broncos over Jets (Sunday afternoon): Well, this game meant a whole lot more at the beginning of the season as opposed to what it means now. In an alternate universe, Aaron Rodgers and former Broncos head coach Nate Hackett (now the Jets OC) would be leading the 4-0 Jets into Denver to take on the resurgent Broncos under new head coach Sean Payton. But in reality, this will be a matchup of two teams with a combined record of 2-6. Jets incumbent QB Zach Wilson played what was easily his best game of the season against the Chiefs last Sunday night. He didn’t get the win and still had his terrible moments (fumbled a snap near the end of the game) but, you have to take the small victories when you can. The Broncos came back from being down 28-7, albeit against the Chicago Bears, but a win is a win. This game will be ugly, and expect the defenses to shine. 

49ers over Cowboys (Sunday night): I’m sure Dallas Cowboys fans have had this game circled on their calendars for a while now. The last time these two teams got together was in the NFC divisional playoff round last year. The lasting image of Ezekiel Elliott getting bulldozed on the last play of the game will forever bring me joy, but enough about the past. My 49ers are one of two teams that are still undefeated this year (the other being the Eagles) and have dominated each one of their opponents by scoring at least 30 points in all four of their games. Brock Purdy has yet to lose a regular season game since taking over the starting job at the end of last season, and has put to rest any doubt about his abilities to lead this high powered offensive team. I shouldn't say EVERYONE believes Purdy is the real deal, there's one stubborn Cowboys fan that I know who still thinks Purdy has been extremely lucky. I won't use REAL names, so let's just call him "Boger Mones", but after Sunday night, he too will think Brock is "Purdy" good. 

Last week: 3-0

Overall: 10-2

Looking for a Special Photo of Your Big Horse?
Track Photographer Jason Halstead may have just what you're looking for

Special moment with Not Afraid after his fourth victory of the season in Race 5 on Aug. 7, for trainer Carl Anderson. (Jason Halstead 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 😊

Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream (October 6) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $178,604. Mandatory payout on Saturday, October 7.
  • Parx (October 9) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $147,676

See all carryovers here.

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

The "I Won Bigg" wagering group will meet every Saturday at 10:30 p.m. on the plaza. This week the group will be playing Woodbine and Santa Anita. $20 per share. Email Larry at [email protected] for more information.

Did you have it!? Largest Payoffs at Assiniboia Downs

8-year-old mare Hey Hey Run Away was part of 7 of the 11 largest payoffs in 2023

Hey Hey Run Away (#9 inside) wins the 7th race on August 22 for trainer Jared Brown and jockey Arthur Budhu. The 8-year-old mare was part of 7 of the 11 largest payoffs at ASD in 2023. (Jason Halstead photo)

$2 Win - $164.40 Hey Hey Run Away (08/22/23, 7th race)

$2 Place - $68.10 Hey Hey Run Away (08/22/23, 7th race)

$2 Show - $28.70 Green Amazon (07/17/23, 5th race)

$.20 Pick 3 - $670.10 (08/22/23, 8th race) Rough Customer-Hey Hey Run Away-Hezadoozie

$1 Pick 4 - $8,533.40 (08/22/23, 8th race) Phantom Drop-Cato's Lady-Rough Customer-Hey Hey Run Away-Hezadoozie

$.20 Pick 5 Jackpot - $69,859.67 (08/22/23, 8th race) Prayforpeace-Phantom Drop-Cato's Lady-Rough Customer-Hey Hey Run Away-Hezadoozie

$.20 Triactor - $644.01 (06/19/23, 2nd race) Dot and Dash-Shotgun One-Keystone Cash

$1 Daily Double - $1,194.25 (08/22/23, 8th race) Hey Hey Run Away-Hezadoozie)

$1 Exactor - $607.30 (08/22/23, 7th race) Hey Hey Run Away-Living Sky

$.20 Superfecta - $10,150.81 (08/22/23, 7th race) Hey Hey Run Away-Living Sky-Know What I Mina-Enjay's Brass

$1 Classic Hi-5 - $18,442.45 (06/13/23, 7th race) Lady Creative-Just for Charlotte-Living Sky-Victoriaville-Miami Souvenirs

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

We’re on a real roll with our memories of Gold Cup winners past, so let’s look at a few more. In 2008 Larry Carter’s stakes winner Monsoon Rain was a one-horse wonder. In addition to winning the Gold Cup, he accomplished the remarkable feat of winning the Wheat City Stakes and the R.J. Speers Memorial in the same year for trainer Martin Drexler and jockey Carlos Marquez. Larry and wife Sue lost Monsoon in 2014 and offered this, "Our family will never be the same, we will never forget him and are better for having him in our life". (Gerry Hart photo)

Weather Looms Factor in Sunday's Canadian International

In Secretariat fashion: Rain, wind and cold expected for three major turf stakes

Palazzi, purchased by Gary Barber last fall for $35,000 as a horse of racing age, is a contender for the Grade 1 Canadian International this Sunday. (Michael Burns photo)

The images are some of the most famous in Canadian racing history, the great Secretariat charging through the rain, cold, and the dark at Woodbine on his way to winning the 1973 Canadian International (G1) in his final career race. The 84th International goes Sunday, October 8 along with the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1) and Nearctic Stakes (G2), all turf events. And while it's early yet, the forecast for Saturday through Monday is for rain, wind and cool temperatures. More from Jennifer Morrison at the Canadian Thoroughbred here.

Fierceness Faces Tough Test in Champagne at Aqueduct

Grade 1 test for 2-year-olds is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" stakes

Fierceness breaking his maiden at Saratoga. (Coglianese photos)

Making his debut on Aug. 25 at Saratoga, Fierceness produced an electrifying 11 1/4-length victory for trainer Todd Pletcher while covering six furlongs in a speedy 1:09.52. Now, six weeks later, Fierceness receives a major class test on Saturday, Oct. 7 in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) for 2-year-olds at Belmont at the Big A, a Breeders' Cup Challenge series race that will award the winner a guaranteed, fees-paid spot in the Nov. 3 BC Juvenile (G1). More from the Blood Horse here.

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

This week Bob has the story of a horse that was responsible for helping build a racing empire at the Downs. Don Gray gets the credit for finding this champion and putting in a timely claim for a horse that ran for a tag only once! Of this same horse, Downs all-time leading jockey Ken Hendricks once said, "They’ve got to pack 130 pounds on him… that’s the only way we’ll beat him!" Hint: The horse conducted his reign of terror at ASD from 1977 to 1979. Find out who he was here. (From June 2020)

Upcoming events at ASD

  • Spin to Win in the Club West Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 in free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • Thanksgiving Buffet - SOLD OUT - Sunday, October 8 - more info
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, October 14 - more info
  • MICEC Monster Bingo - Saturday, October 21 - more info
  • Naughty Halloween Social - Friday, October 27 - more info
  • Wpg 19+ Adult Expo - Friday, October 27 & Saturday, October 28 - more info
  • Breeders' Cup - Friday, November 3 & Saturday, November 4
  • Inspirations Market - Saturday, November 11 & Sunday, November 12 - 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.
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