The Inside Track | Issue #92 | August 11, 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?
  • Manitoba Derby Night
  • ASD Player Portal
  • Chase the Ace at ASD
  • Las Vegas Challenge Tournament
  • Dining at ASD
  • Chef's Specials
  • Mano Dura victorious in 75th Manitoba Derby
  • Gord Gibson wins big in Derby Sweepstakes
  • 2023 Manitoba CTHS Yearling Sale
  • Snapshot in Time - Balooga Bull
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Bob's Blog - The Queen's Cup
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
Live Racing this Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
  • Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $30,003 (last five races)
  • $50,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 (last four races)
  • 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 Family Fun activities every Monday through Sept. 4. Bouncy Castles, face painting, live entertainment. 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Free admission and free parking daily.
  • Can't make it to the track? Watch and wager at
  • See full ASD schedule here.
ASD Player Portal
Get all the information on Assiniboia Downs racing in one convenient place! The ASD Player Portal features the following FREE information:

  • Link to watch ASD Live Racing on our YouTube channel
  • ASD Live with Kirt & Stretch
  • Free ASD programs
  • ASD expert picks
  • Horse Racing Nation power picks
  • Charting Horse Value charts
  • Trust The Prophets Monday handicapping live stream
  • Brisnet premium pps
  • Jockey bios
  • Photo finish photos

All of the above information is free of charge and available on the ASD Player Portal.
Win $5,000 by selecting the Ace of Diamonds!

Tickets for Chase the Ace Week #13 are on sale now with a $5,000 Guaranteed Accumulator Jackpot if someone picks the Ace of Diamonds!

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

  • 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 the 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. 

  • Monday, June 19 - Ron Zurba
  • Monday, July 10 - Murray Chaban
  • Monday, July 31 - Tanis Atras
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.

  • 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.
Live Racing Buffets

Don't wait! Book your Certified Angus all-you-can-eat race night buffet today as they are filling up fast for the remainder of the race season.

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
Longshot Mano Dura Wins 75th Manitoba Derby
First Derby win for Henry S. Witt, Jr., Jerry Gourneau, Antonio Whitehall
Mano Dura wins the 75th $125,000 Manitoba Derby on Monday for owner Henry S. Witt, Jr. and trainer Jerry Gourneau, Antonio Whitehall up. (Jason Halstead photo)
The leading owner-trainer-jockey team of Henry S. Witt, Jr., Jerry Gourneau and Antonio Whitehall won the biggest race of their lives when longshot Mano Dura came driving down the stretch to win the 75th running of the $125,000 Manitoba Derby on Monday, and the best racing fans on the planet helped Assiniboia Downs set a new Derby Day record for wagering.

Sent off as an overlay at 15-1 in the Derby, Mano Dura took advantage of a perfect trip tracking heavily favoured leader Heroic Move from the inside, moved outside that one to challenge in early stretch and dueled his rival into submission, drawing out from the sixteenth pole to win by a widening 4 ¼-lengths.
Antonio Whitehall does his Superman pose in the winner's circle after his victory in the $125,000 Manitoba Derby on Monday. (Danielle Langlois photo)
Heroic Move, from the powerful Robertino Diodoro barn, held second by 5 ¼-lengths over Tshiebwe from leading Alberta trainer Robert Craig Smith’s barn and local hopeful Green Amazon rallied to finish fourth at 77-1 for trainer Steve Gaskin.

Mano Dura rewarded his backers handsomely, including owner Henry S. Witt, Jr., paying $32.80 $5.50 $3.30 across the board. Witt had $100 across on his horse, which was the icing on a cake that included the $76,500 winner’s share of the Derby purse.

Fans wagered $3.7 million on Derby day, including $434,109 on the Derby itself, both new records for the Downs, which were heavily bolstered by $1.86 million in new money wagered into the mandatory payout Jackpot Pick 5 pool, which started the day at $597,000. The Jackpot Pick 5 paid $5,689 for a $1 ticket. Fans also wagered $190,000 in the Derby Day Pick 4, which paid $795.65 for a $1 wager.
Owner Henry S. Witt, Jr. and trainer Jerry Gourneau celebrate in the winner's circle after winning the 75th Manitoba Derby on Monday evening at ASD. (Jason Halstead photo)
Gourneau and Witt had attempted to win the Manitoba Derby four times previously, coming closest with the very game Witt Six, who lost Manitoba’s biggest race by a neck in 2015.

The top owner-trainer team now have the only horse that can win the $100,000 bonus available to any horse that can sweep the Western Canadian Triple Crown, which along with the Manitoba Derby also includes the $200,000 Canadian Derby (G3) at Century Mile on Saturday, August 26, and the $125,000 B.C. Derby at Hastings Racecourse on Saturday September 16.
Mano Dura in the winner's circle after his victory in the 75th Manitoba Derby on Monday, the first leg of the $550,000 Western Canadian Triple Crown. (Jason Halstead photo)
Mano Dura was claimed by Witt for $50,000 on June 17 at Lone Star Park two starts before the Manitoba Derby. In his only start locally prior to the Derby, he came with a long resolute rally to beat older horses in a one-mile allowance race.

The victory felt especially good for Witt, a former champion race car driver from Waco, Texas. Witt has invested heavily in horses to race at Assiniboia Downs, and has led the owner standings in purse earnings here for five consecutive years, but the Manitoba Derby had always escaped him. Until Monday.

“This was sweet,” said Witt. “It felt good.”
Leading rider Antonio Whitehall was all smiles after winning the $50,000 Harvey Warner Manitoba Mile Stakes (above) and the $125,000 Manitoba Derby on Monday. (Jason Halstead photo.)
Big Nick scored an impressive five-length victory in the $50,000 Harvey Warner Manitoba Mile Stakes for trainer Murray Duncan and the ownership team of Roll the Dice Stable and Royce Finley with Antonio Whitehall up.

Whitehall has been on quite the roll this year, and now leads all jockeys with 36 wins, nine more than Jorge Carreno. Gourneau is on the same trajectory in the trainer standings with 30 wins, nine more than Wendy Anderson.

“This was the first time I ever dressed up for a stakes race and won,” said Whitehall, who was dressed to the nines in the clubhouse after his wins in the Manitoba Derby and the Harvey Warner Manitoba Mile Stakes, not only with clothes...

But smiles to match.
Big Stretch wins the $50,000 Escape Clause Stakes on Monday for trainer Mike Nault and owners A2 Thoroughbreds. Chavion Chow up. (Jason Halstead photo)
Groom Olive Johnston leads Big Stretch into the winner's circle with jockey Chavion Chow after their victory in the $50,000 Escape Clause Stakes on Monday night for trainer Mike Nault and A2 Thoroughbreds. (Jason Halstead photo)
Also, on Monday, Big Stretch rallied like she thought she was Zenyatta to win the $50,000 Escape Clause Stakes for trainer Mike Nault and owners A2 Thoroughbreds by 4 ¼-lengths under jockey Chavion Chow.
Canyouhearmerunnin wins the $50,000 Graduation Stakes on Wednesday at ASD for trainer Devon Gittens and ownership partners Pink Cloud Racing and Ron Wiley. Shavon Belle up for his first career stakes victory. (Jason Halstead photo)
In other stakes action this week, Canyouhearmerunnin won the $50,000 Graduation Stakes on Wednesday night by 4 ¼-lengths for trainer Devon Gittens and ownership partners Pink Cloud Racing and Ron Wiley, giving jockey Shavon Belle the first stakes win of his career.
Gord Gibson Wins Big in Derby Sweepstakes!
Gord Gibson, pictured here with his wife Margaret, was matched up with Mano Dura in the Derby Sweepstakes and won $1,640! Congratulations Gord!
Ten names were drawn for the Derby Sweepstakes on Monday and each contestant received an envelope with a Derby runner's name. Each received a $100 wager on their horse plus a $50 ASD gift card. The lucky winner was Gord Gibson who was matched with longshot Mano Dura.
Gord won $1,640 for his $100 win wager and was quite excited about it. See his reaction to the amount he won below, when Shannon Davis put his ticket into the mutuel machine.

Nicely done Gord!
Derby Sweepstakes winner Gord Gibson's reaction to how much he won, after Shannon Davis puts his winning ticket in the mutuel machine. Surprise, surprise!
CTHS Yearling Sale

  • Sunday, August 20th at 2:30 p.m.
  • Red River Ex grounds
  • Click here for full catalogue
  • For more information contact Jill at the CTHS Office. Call 204-832-1702 or email CTHS
Carryover Watch
  • Woodbine (August 11) - Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover $295,553
  • Gulfstream (August 11) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $273,479
  • Del Mar (August 11) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $254,542

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 be playing Assiniboia Downs every Wednesday. $20 per share. Email Larry at for more information.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
Balooga Bull was one of the best horses ever to run at the Downs. In 2012 going into the Derby prep, the Harry Jeffrey Stakes, "The Bull" was undefeated in six lifetime starts, but he had yet to go two turns. His resulting loss in the Jeffrey suggested he might be vulnerable in longer races. On Derby Day he proved his loss in the Derby prep was a one-off, but the betting public was skeptical. The Derby saw him go postward as the second betting choice at odds of 6-1. The Bull proved them all wrong with a thrilling gate to wire performance, drawing away to win by almost 10 lengths and paying a handsome $14.30 to win. (Gerry Hart photo)
Bob's Blog
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
This week the history blog wraps up its coverage of the Manitoba Derby and includes some background on the hardware associated with the race. Then our history guy treats us to some racing trivia from old Polo Park and Assiniboia Downs. Click here for more on the Queen’s Cup, its forerunners and a potpourri of horse racing trivia from over the years.
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
  • ASD Live Racing Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. - more info
  • Free Family Fun Nights Mondays August through Sept. 4 - more info
  • CTHS Yearling Sale (Red River Ex Grounds) - Sunday, August 20 - more info
  • Manitoba Night Market & Festival - Sunday, August 27 - 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.