The Inside Track | Issue #81 | May 26, 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
  • Million Dollar Handles
  • 2022 CTHS Award Winners
  • 2022 HBPA Award Winners
  • Food Truck Battles
  • Pink Cloud Charity Night
  • Snapshot in Time - One and Only
  • Remembering Irwin Driedger
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Bob's Blog - Heartwarming Fred
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
Live Racing this Monday & Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
  • Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $23,180
  • 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
Week #2 Tickets on Sale Now!

Tickets for Chase the Ace Week #2 are on sale now with a $5,000 Guaranteed Accumulator Jackpot is someone picks the Ace of Diamonds!

  • Tickets are 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 nowthrough 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

Book your table for our Certified Angus Prime Rib Buffet! It's available every race night in the Terrace Dining Room.

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.
$10 OFF
This coupon is valid on Monday, May 29 & Tuesday, May 30 only.
Call for your reservation today!
Use promo code LIVE10
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Awards Celebration a Great Sign of Healthy Industry
Live race meeting kicks off with two straight million-dollar-plus handles!
True North Thoroughbreds and trainer Mike Nault and crew celebrate winning the HBPA 2022 Horse of the Year Award with Itsthattime. (Jason Halstead photo)
One of the largest crowds we’ve ever seen showed up for the annual HBPA/CTHS Awards celebration last Saturday night -- a very positive testament to the health of the local horse racing and breeding industry – which is in great shape!

The food was fabulous, courtesy of ASD Director of Food Services Manley Chan and Head Chef Mike Jones, and the service was excellent.

Everyone dressed up fancy for the occasion, and there were some outstanding cheers for the award winners, with HBPA Horse of the Year Itsthattime and HBPA of Manitoba Award of Distinction winner Gary Danelson receiving the loudest rounds of applause from the appreciative crowd.

Horse people have an unmatched work ethic -- a throwback to the 1950s -- and it was great to see so many recognized for their efforts.
Trainer Gary Danelson was honoured with the 2022 Manitoba HBPA Award of Distinction. (Jason Halstead photo)
2022 leading rider Jorge Carreno picked up where he left off on opening Monday night in front of a large and happy crowd, winning the first race of the meeting, the Don Gray Memorial, aboard Market King, for trainer Jared Brown and owners Ira J. Donald and Kane Kachur.

Two-time leading rider Antonio Whitehall won two races on Monday and scored a hat trick on Tuesday to vault to the early lead in the jockey standings, and trainer Lise Pruitt scored a natural hat trick on Tuesday to do the same in the trainer standings.

New jockeys Damario Bynoe (2 wins) and Sven Balroop also won their first races ever at Assiniboia Downs and look like they’re going to fit right in with this year’s competitive jockey colony.
2021-2022 leading rider Jorge Carreno picked up where he left off, winning the first race of the 2023 season, the Don Gray Memorial, with Market King, for owners Ira J. Donald and Kane Kachur, trainer Jared Brown, and assistant trainer Susan Crane, shown here leading her first winner of the meeting into the winner's circle.
A big thanks goes out to ASD CEO Darren Dunn and VP of Finance and Gaming Sharon Gulyas and their team for all their hard work over the years, which has resulted in one of the best places to race, and to bet, in North America. Fans wagered $1,097,520 on ASD on Monday and topped that by putting another $1,265,765 through the windows on Tuesday. These are incredible numbers.

It takes a ton of work behind the scenes to produce million-dollar wagering handles, and we kicked off the season with two in a row! Well done! And a big thanks to our local fans and worldwide partners too.

We couldn’t do it without you!
2022 CTHS Manitoba-bred Horse of the Year Hidden Grace (#6) and jockey Renaldo Cumberbatch on their way to winning the Escape Clause Stakes at ASD last year. Bred by Barry Arnason, Cam Ziprick and Charles Fouillard, Hidden Grace retired with a record of 18-4-4 from 27 starts for earnings of $309,671 (US). (Jason Halstead photo)
Winners! CTHS Category: Breeder - Horses

  •  2-Year-Old Filly: Dr. Betty Hughes – Lady Cop
  • 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Dr. Betty Hughes - Prairie Drifter
  • 3-Year-Old Filly: Kelly Halliday - Meabear
  • 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Jean McEwen - Bettermakethattwo
  • Older Mare: Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason – Hidden Grace
  • Older Horse: Nearco Ltd. - McKague
  • Broodmare Award of Excellence: Dr. Betty Hughes – Agolo Bynoe
  • Stallion of the Year: Dr. Betty Hughes – Vengeful Wildcat
  • Breeder of the Year: Dr. Betty Hughes
  • Horse of the Year: Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard & Barry Arnason - Hidden Grace
  • CTHS 50-Year Member: Barry Arnason
2022 HBPA Horse of the Year Itsthattime and Chavion Chow hold off Monstrodamous and Jorge Carreno to win the Elite Mercedes Stakes last year at ASD. (Jason Halstead photo)
Winners! HBPA Category: Horse – Owner - Trainer

  • 2-Year-Old Filly: Lady Cop – A2 Thoroughbreds & True North Thoroughbreds – Mike Nault
  •  2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Prairie Drifter - Dr. Betty Hughes - Devon Gittens
  • 3-Year-Old Filly: Burrow Down - Gerald Babchishin – Murray Duncan
  • 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Brody’s Streak - Larry S. Henry – Tom Gardipy, Jr.
  •  Older Mare: Hidden Grace - Barry Arnason, Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard – Lise Pruitt
  • Older Horse: Itsthattime - True North Thoroughbreds - Mike Nault
  • Sprinter: Meabear- Dunworken Stables - Fred Rawson
  • Most Astute Claim: Dixie Mo – A2 Thoroughbreds – Mike Nault
  • Harry Crane Memorial Claiming Horse of the Year: House Limit – Avery Erfle – Jerry Gourneau
  • Leading Trainer: Jerry Gourneau (40 wins)
  • Leading Regional Owner: Henry S. Witt, Jr.
  • Leading Money Earning Trainer: Jerry Gourneau ($431,888)
  • Leading Jockey: Jorge Carreno (65 wins)
  •  High Percentage Trainer: Steve Keplin Jr. (33%)
  • HBPA of Manitoba Award of Distinction: Gary Danelson
  • OTTB (Retired Thoroughbred) of the Year: Wouf de Douf – Prairie Strides

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!
Dr. Betty Hughes was honoured with numerous awards on Saturday night including Breeder of the Year and Stallion of the Year (Vengeful Wildcat). (Jason Halstead photo)
MB Food Truck Battles this Saturday & Sunday!

  • Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.

30 of the best food trucks Manitoba has to offer will be here this weekend. And if that isn't enough, add some kid's activities, beer gardens and live music. It's an event you won't want to miss!

Admission is $5 (5 & under free). Buy tickets here or at the door. Free parking.
Owner/Breeder Barry Arnason and trainer Lise Pruitt (left) accept the CTHS Horse of the Year Award for Hidden Grace from CTHS President Pat Wallace. (Jason Halstead 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.
Carryover Watch
  • Pimlico (Friday, May 26) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $385.700.
  • Pimlico (Friday, May 26) - Super Hi-5 carryover $359,602
  • Santa Anita (Friday, May 26) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $201,326. $1 Million Payout guarantee if there is a single winner on Saturday, May 27 or Sunday, May 28. Mandatory Payout of the Jackpot Pick 6 on Monday, May 29.

See all carryovers here.
Manitoba HBPA Office manager Shannon Dawley speaks to a beautiful and happy crowd at the annual CTHS/HBPA awards ceremony last Saturday. (Jason Halstead 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 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
On May 30th Assiniboia Downs kicks off its 2023 Overnight Stakes series and the first honouree is Manitoba-bred One and Only. The dark bay mare dominated her distaff rivals in 1982 and 1983. At two, she won six of her seven starts at the Downs. In her 3-year-old season, One and Only won her first three starts at the local oval. Among her many achievements, this multiple stakes winner was victorious in the La Verendrye, Futurity Trial, Buffalo, Golden Boy, and Chantilly. 1982’s top Manitoba-bred 2-year-old was owned by Mrs. June Sifton, trained by Harry Kube, and had Irwin Driedger as her regular rider. (Gerry Hart Photo)
In The News
Sincere Condolences: Irwin Driedger
Record-setting Sovereign Award-winner, Hall of Fame Manitoba jockey dies at 66
Record-setting Assiniboia Downs jockey Driedger shown here with stakes winner Astral Moon after winning four races on his way to his first of three local riding titles on October 17, 1979.
Assiniboia Downs offers our sincere condolences to the family and friends of jockey Irwin Driedger, who passed away last Saturday at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto at the age of 66.

One of the best jockeys ever to ride at Assinboia Downs, the Russell, Manitoba native won three riding titles here from 1979 to 1981 and set a new record in each season. In 1979 he set the new ASD mark with 161 victories and was honoured with the Chris McCance Memorial Trophy as Manitoba's Male Athlete of the Year.

In 1980 Driedger bettered his previous record at the Downs with 180 wins, and in 1981 he set a record that will never be broken at Assiniboia Downs with 214 wins. He was honoured with the Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding jockey the same year.

Driedger went on to ride at Woodbine, Greenwood and Fort Erie in Ontario, winning 1,633 races and over $14 million in purses during his career aboard some of the best horses in the country including Sovereign Award winners Liz’s Pride, Phoenix Factor, Classy ‘n Smart, In My Cap, Grey Classic and Imperial Choice.

Driedger retired from riding in 1990 and went on to become prominent in other areas of Ontario racing as the secretary-manager of the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada twice, and the Director of Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces at Woodbine. It was under his watch that Canadian jockeys became the first in North America to wear safety vests. He also played a major part in the installation of safety rails at Woodbine.

Driedger was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame for 2023.
Bob's Blog
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Not every horse our history guy writes about was a record breaker or star of the stakes’ races. This go around Bob delights in telling the story of a modest claimer with bragging rights of his own. Does anyone remember Don Keyes and his horse, Fred? While Fred didn’t run under that name, he spent his entire career at the Downs from 1976 to 1987 and could boast of having Native Dancer as his great granddaddy. Click here to learn more about the heart-warming tale of Fred and the love of his life, Mother.
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
  • MB Food Truck Battles - Saturday, May 27 & Sunday, May 28 - more info
  • 4% cash back Mondays in May (29) - more info
  • ASD Live Racing Monday, May 29 & Tuesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. - more info
  • Manitoba Night Market & Festival - Saturday, June 11 - more info
  • Summer of Sound - Saturday, June 17 & Sunday, June 18 - more info
  • Holi Summer Fest - Saturday, June 24 - more info
  • Canada Day Fireworks & Festival - Saturday, July 1 - 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.