The Inside Track | Issue #74 | April 7, 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?
  • 2023 Handicapping Tournaments
  • Dining at ASD
  • Chef's Specials Continue
  • Remembering Clint Willson and Kalfaari
  • Call for Foal Photos
  • Two New Foals for Falloon
  • 2023 Shipping Incentives
  • 2023 Live Racing Dates/Purses/Stakes
  • ASD Condition Book #1 Download
  • Practical Move Faces 8 in Santa Anita Derby
  • Blue Grass Stakes Preview and Picks
  • Wood Memorial Could Shake Up Points Race
  • Snapshot in Time
  • Carryover Watch
  • The Best of Bob: The Clare Family
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
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.
2023 Player's Choice Online Handicapping Tournaments

  • Saturday, April 15, 2023
  • Saturday, May 13, 2023

Entry fee: $25. Bankroll: $60. Place 10 ($2 WPS) wagers on any North American race that takes place on the contest day. You must have a Manitoba HPI account to participate. Deadline to enter is 4 p.m. the Friday before the tournament. For complete list of 2023 handicapping tournaments click here.
April HPI Cash Back Specials

  • TREMENDOUS TUESDAYS: Earn 3% cash back every Tuesday in April on all tracks on all eligible wagers. Minimum wagered $100 (each Tuesday). Maximum cash back $25 (each Tuesday). ($2.10 payouts are not eligible.) Opt-in at All wagers must be placed on your HPI account.
Watch for the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny will be making his rounds on Easter weekend with wagering vouchers in his basket!

  • Good Friday, April 7 the Easter Bunny will be at Assiniboia Downs. Enter for your chance to pick an Easter Egg from his basket. Each egg contains a wagering voucher from $5 to $50.
  • The Easter Bunny will also be visiting the off-track locations Friday, April 7, Saturday, April 8 & Sunday, April 9 so be sure to keep an eye out for him!

Please note that Assiniboia Downs is open regular hours from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Good Friday, April 7 & Saturday, April 8. Easter Sunday hours will be 10 a.m. to midnight (due to scheduled maintenance.)
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.

Friday & Saturday Value Added Specials
Friday Steak & Suds $24.95: 8 oz. Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with fresh vegetables and 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 choice of mashed potatoes or french fries, horseradish and Yorkshire pudding au jus. Plus a complimentary 6 oz. glass of house wine.

Served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are not required.
Easter Brunch - Sunday, April 9 - SOLD OUT
Mother's Day Brunch - Sunday, May 14

  • Signature Certified Angus Prime Rib
  • Carved ham with grilled pineapple
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Omelette station
  • Eggs benedict
  • French toast
  • Bacon, sausage and hash browns
  • Assortment of salads
  • Cheese and kolbassa tray
  • Pickle tray
  • Smoked salmon pizza
  • Croissants, rolls, flatbread, butter
  • Sliced fruit and berries, chilled juices, coffee and tea
  • Dessert and pastry table featuring cakes, dainties, warm apple crumble
  • This is a ticketed event. Prices are subject to taxes & gratuities.
  • Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95
  • Tickets are selling fast so get yours today!
  • Please note that there is no live racing on this day.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Remembering Trainer Clint Willson and Kalfaari
Veteran of 7 decades in the backstretch won 191 races, numerous stakes
Kalfaari wins the Wheat City Stakes at Assiniboia Downs on August 6, 2001. (Gerry Hart photo)
We’re sad to announce that veteran stakes-winning trainer Clint Willson passed away at the age of 86 on March 29, 2023.

Our sincere condolences to Clint’s family and friends, many of whom knew Clint for his decades of excellent work with horses in the backstretch.

Clint trained a number of good horses during his career, compiling a record of 191-163-181 in 1,225 starts for purse earnings of $1,849,268 from 1978-2022. His top horses included B.C. Premier's Championship Handicap winner Social Round, Alberta Breeders’ Handicap winner Arthurlooksgood, Derby Trial Stakes winner Mr Exspeedient and Canada Day Stakes winner Preservata, but his best ever was Kalfaari.

Kalfaari first showed up at Assiniboia Downs in a Maiden Special Weight race on May 13, 2001 after breaking his maiden and winning an allowance race at Kamloops. The backstretch rumor mill was blazing before his debut -- suggesting he was something special – but we’d heard that too may times before. Still, it required a trip to look at this “sure thing” in the paddock.

It was worth it. Kalfaari looked like a man against boys, and he ran to his looks, demolishing his field. This horse was the real deal and probably should have never lost a race at Assiniboia Downs.

On any given day, if he felt like running, Kalfaari probably could have beaten any horse in Canada. He went on to compile a record of 15-3-2 from 24 starts for earnings of $232,964, but his record didn’t come close to describing how good he really was.

Kalfaari won eight stakes during his career including the local Free Press and Wheat City Stakes twice, along with the G. Sydney Halter Stakes, the Spangled Jimmy and Klondike Handicaps at Northlands Park and the Hastings Speed Handicap in Vancouver.

One of the marks of a good trainer is the ability to keep a horse at his peak for long periods of time and Clint accomplished that with Kalfaari. On May 11, 2002, Kalfaari went on an eight-race win-streak that started with an allowance win at Assiniboia Downs and culminated with a victory in the aforementioned Klondike Handicap at Northlands Park on July 26, 2003.

“Kalfaari was not only talented, but his personality was so cool,” said Clint’s wife Judy. “He would almost talk to you. Some mornings he’d go out from Barn 5 there and he’d decide which track he was going to. If he decided he was going to the training track that’s where he’d go. Jimmy Smith was galloping him and he’d just sit and wait for Kal to decide what track he wanted to go to.

“It was the same with bridling. When Clint would go away, most times he was really good, but some mornings he just didn’t want the bridle on, so I just didn’t train him. He’d almost talk to you and say, ‘No, I just don’t feel like it today.’ On the next day he’d put his head down and let me put the bridle on and off he’d go. But what I always really admired about Kal was that he won in each western province, against everybody’s good, good horses. We loved coming to Winnipeg. It was really a lot of fun for us there.”

Clint went into the hospital with pneumonia a week prior to his passing, and it was very difficult for him.

“He was pretty sick,” said Judy. “He’d been going downhill for a while. He refused any more treatment. He’d been in a lot of pain and nothing they gave him really worked. We talked about it quite a bit before he went. He just said he was done.

“It’s lonely, I miss him.”
Exercise rider Ciera Pruitt with multiple Manitoba-bred champion Melisandre in trainer Lise Pruitt's barn. Owned by True North Thoroughbreds and Arnason Farms, and bred by Cam Ziprick, Charles Foulliard and Barry Arnason, Melisandre is by Going Commando-High Pioneer by Pioneering. The full sister to multiple champion Hidden Grace has earned over $120,000 from a record of 8-3-0 in 14 starts, including numerous stakes victories. Welcome back Mel! You too Ciera!
Call for Foal Photos
The Jockey Club of Canada wants to showcase your foals and so do we!
The new Manitoba foals will soon be here and we want to see yours! (Manitoba CTHS photo)
The foaling season is upon us and the Jockey Club of Canada is looking for foal photos to share with their membership group. If you have a foal you'd like to show off, please email your photo to and include the province foaled, sire, dam, and photographer, as well as any additional information you wish to provide.

Any photos received will be included in the Jockey Club of Canada Newsletter through to the end of foaling season. And don’t forget to cc us on your email at

We’d love to showcase your foal photos here too.
Mitole Colt for Falloon
The first of two foal photos sent in by longtime Manitoba breeder Larry Falloon. This nicely bred filly is by 2019 US Champion Sprinter Mitole out of the mare Picadilly Line by multiple Grade 1 winner Air Force Blue. Falloon bought Picadilly Line in foal to Mitole at the 2022 Keeneland November sale for $16,000. What a great addition to the Manitoba breeding industry!
Nonios Filly for Falloon and McLaren
The second foal photo sent in by breeder Larry Falloon. Owned by Falloon and Blaine McLaren, this filly is a daughter of Affirmed Handicap (G3) winner and Grade 1 stakes-placed sire Nonios, who is off to a great start as a stallion in Manitoba. Dam Franchesca is by Henrythenavigator, a multiple Group 1 winner who finished second in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) in his only North American start. Another classy pedigree for the Manitoba breeding industry!
ASD 2015 champion jockey Chavion Chow (outside) exercising a youngster by 2015 Sunland Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Firing Line for trainer Mike Nault (inside). (George Williams photo)
Excellent Purses, Stakes Schedule and Shipping Incentives in Place for 2023 at ASD

Assiniboia Downs offers some of the best shipping incentives in North America, and an excellent purse and stakes schedule to match. If you're looking for a great place to race this summer, you won't find a more friendly and inviting track anywhere. We've also got one of the kindest racing surfaces in North America, complemented by numerous additional amenities.

The 50-day 2023 live race meeting begins on Monday, May 22, and runs through to Tuesday, September 19. We race Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings at ASD, which means you can take the weekends off and enjoy our fabulous Manitoba summer weather with family and friends! Links to the 2023 shipping incentives, racing and graded purse schedules here.
The first ASD Condition Book for 2023 is here! Time to get excited! Click here to download.
Can't make it to the track to wager?
Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • April 8 - Wood Memorial (Aqu)
  • April 8 - Blue Grass (Kee)
  • April 8 - Santa Anita Derby (SA)
  • April 15 - Lexington (Kee)
  • May 6 - Kentucky Derby (CD)

See Kentucky Derby prep winners here.

Kentucky Derby Future Wagers

Kentucky Oaks Future Wager
"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.

The group will be playing Santa Anita and Tampa Bay on Saturday. $20 gets you a share in the ticket. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
In The News
100 Kentucky Derby points available in race that has produced 20 Derby winners
Practical Move tunes up for the G1 Santa Anita Derby with a five-furlong work Sunday at the Arcadia, Calif. track. (Ernie Belmonte photo)
Trainer Tim Yakteen's Practical Move, fresh off impressive scores in a pair of graded stakes, heads a field of nine sophomores going a mile and one eighth in this Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby -- a race that has produced 20 Kentucky Derby winners. More from the Paulick Report here.
Tapit Trice draws rail, favouritism for major Kentucky Derby prep
Tapit Trice is the 5-2 morning line choice in a large field of 11 entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 99th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) going 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Keeneland Race Course. A major test for 3-year-olds and a steppingstone for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1), the Blue Grass offers 200 points toward qualification to this year’s Derby. Video preview and picks from the Racing Dudes here.
Cox duo of Hit Show, Slip Mahoney top 200-point Derby prep at Aqueduct
Hit Show wins the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack. (Coglianese Photos)
The complexion of the field of 20 for the Kentucky Derby (G1) will be virtually complete on April 8 after the running of three 200-point qualifying preps across the country. Yet of the Big 3 trio of the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack, Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, and Santa Anita Derby (G1) at Santa Anita Park, it's the Wood that could have the most dramatic impact on the Run for the Roses. More from the Blood Horse here.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
This is the final photo in our remembrance of the old days of horse racing here in Winnipeg. Above we have a shot of the admission gates that we all had to pass through to gain entry to the track. Remember when you had to pay for parking and admission? This photo comes from Derby Day in July 1973. Were you there to see Zaca Spirit take the Derby that day? (Gerry Hart photo)
Carryover Watch
  • Santa Anita (April 7) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $362,841. Mandatory Payout on Saturday, April 8.
  • Turf Paradise (April 8) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $168,830

See all carryovers here.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

In 2019 Bob got to sit down with a man that used to gallop horses at both Whittier Park and Polo Park, who was also an outrider here at the Downs in the 1960s. Vic Clare and his wife Marge ran one of those mom and pop stables at the Downs for 30 plus years and were married for 70. Read more about this wonderful couple here. (From August 2019)
Upcoming events at ASD
  • Spin to Win in the Clubwest Gaming Lounge - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • Good Friday, April 7 - Open regular hours 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Saturday, April 8 - Open regular hours 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Easter Sunday, April 9 - Open from 10 a.m. to midnight (due to scheduled maintenance.)
  • 3% cash back Tuesdays in April (11, 18 & 25) - more info
  • Mother's Day Brunch - Sunday, May 14 - more info
  • MICEC Monster Bingo - Saturday, May 20 - more info
  • ASD Live Racing starts - Monday, May 22 - 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.