The Inside Track | Issue #85 | June 23, 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?
  • Live Racing Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
  • ASD Player Portal
  • Chase the Ace at ASD
  • Las Vegas Challenge Tournament
  • Dining at ASD
  • Chef's Specials
  • Spitten Kitten wins Chantilly Stakes
  • Ron Zurba takes Las Vega Challenge
  • Canada Day Fireworks & Festival
  • RCMP Musical Ride
  • Snapshot in Time - Miss Sandy Dee
  • Equibase Analysis: Ohio Derby
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Bob's Blog - Dean Kutz
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!
Live Racing this Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
  • Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $206,914 (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 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.
Chase the Ace at Assiniboia Downs
Week #6 Tickets on Sale Now!

Tickets for Chase the Ace Week #6 are on sale now with a $5,000 Guaranteed Accumulator Jackpot if 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 now through 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, Indigenous Languages of Manitoba and Manitoba Lung Association.
  • 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.
  • The week 5 winner was Tom, who purchased his ticket as ASD. Tom won $101 with ticket E-2510973. He selected card #44 which was the two of diamonds.

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

  • 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 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. 
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

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.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Spitten Kitten wins 43rd Chantilly Stakes
$2,500 yearling purchase beats best from Alberta, has now earned $58,380 US!
Spitten Kitten defeats Super Caro in the 43rd running of the Chantilly Stakes at ASD on Tuesday for trainer Marvin Buffalo, his wife Deb, and ownership partner Arnold Souster. Sven Balroop up. Jason Halstead photo)
Spitten Kitten beat the best from Alberta in the $50,000 Chantilly Stakes on Tuesday, six-time leading trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr. surged to the lead in the trainer standings with four wins and four jockeys scored hat tricks last week in an effort to make some headway on runaway leader Antonio Whitehall.

Facing heavily favoured four-time Alberta stakes winner Big Hug among six rivals in the Chantilly, Spitten Kitten exploded out of the gate under jockey Sven Balroop, opened up nearing the turn, and smoothly clawed her way home to win the 43rd running of the race for trainer Marvin Buffalo, his wife Deb and ownership partner Arnold Souster.

Alberta shipper Super Caro, trained by Colleen O’Hagan, gave her best in the stretch to get within a length of Spitten Kitten at the wire, while Big Hug rallied mildly to finish third. A four-time winner, Super Caro had been running in $20,000 claiming races on the turf at Tampa Bay before finishing second to Big Hug in the Chariot Chaser Handicap at Century Mile in her start previous to the Chantilly.
Sven Balroop returns on Spitten Kitten after winning the Chantilly Stakes. (Jason Halstead photo)
Purchased for only $2,500 as a yearling by Marvin and Deb Buffalo at a fall mixed sale in Arizona, Spitten Kitten has now earned a whopping $58,380 (US) for her owners and is two-for-two at Assiniboia Downs. The daughter of multiple Group 1 winner Air Force Blue would appear to have a bright future ahead of her, thanks to the excellent development work by Marvin and Deb Buffalo.

The Chantilly took place on the eve of National Indigenous Peoples Day, and it seemed so perfectly fitting that Tom Gardipy, Jr. from Beardy’s Cree Nation in Saskatchewan was on hand to make the presentation to Marvin Buffalo, who hails from Day Star First Nation in the same province.
Trainer Marvin Buffalo (right) is congratulated by trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr. after winning the Chantilly Stakes. (Jason Halstead photo)
Gardipy moved into top spot in the trainer standings with his four wins including Roaming Union ($58.50), the biggest longshot winner of the meeting so far. Gardipy now has 10 wins, one more than trainer Jerry Gourneau, who also continued to roll with three wins on the week.

Four jockeys scored triples on the week including Jorge Carreno, Ronald Ali, Prayven Badrie, and Damario Bynoe, but are still well back of Antonio Whitehall, who has 19 wins. Badrie and Ali are tied for second in the standings with 11 wins apiece, one more than Carreno and Bynoe, who are tied for third in the standings with 10 wins.
Spitten Kitten in the winner's circle after her victory in the Chantilly Stakes on Tuesday. (Jason Halstead photo)
While Whitehall only had one win on the week, he has a number of horses coming back that are sitting on a win, and on the trainer side, Jerry Gourneau apparently has more horses coming from top owner Henry S. Witt, Jr.

Both could prove very tough to beat.
Another reason to come to the races. Beautiful sunset after the sixth race on Wednesday, won by My Noah for trainer Mike Taphorn and Lets Dance Stable. (Jason Halstead photo)
Ron Zurba Wins First Las Vegas Challenge of Season
Longtime horse owner finishes 60 cents in front to win $3,500 and trophy
Ron Zurba is enjoying life at the track! (George Williams photo)
Longtime handicapper and horse owner Ron Zurba squeaked out a narrow victory over Roger Jones in the first monthly Las Vegas Challenge Handicapping Contest of the season on Monday, and it felt great.
"This Ukrainian doesn't win too many things,” laughed Zurba. “I'm pretty pumped about it I'll tell ya. I was sitting on the edge here waiting for the final results. I feel bad for the guy who finished second. Even the guy who finished third wasn't off by much. Wow. But to win or lose by 60 cents, that’s a crime.”

It was the first win in the tourney for the 74-year-old retired air traffic controller, and it came with only 60 cents to spare. Zurba built his bankroll to $109.30 to edge runner up Roger Jones ($108.70) and Geoffrey Gard ($107.50) and win the $3,500 first prize and the trophy. Glen Gray ($106.90) and Brian McKellar ($98.00) rounded out the top five.
Zurba has been handicapping races since he was a kid and has owned horses since the 1980s.

“I have to go back to my days with my dad and his buddies phoning in through the bookies in the North end,” said Zurba. “That’s where it all started. My dad would give me the program and I would fluke a couple wins for him, some exactors and quinellas. And he started taking me out to the track and I learned that way.

“I don't know if I've ever come up with a surefire method for picking winners, I don't think anyone has. I'm always looking for ways to try to find that key that unlocks the horse that nobody else thinks can win.”

Zurba’s biggest winner on Monday was Roaming Union ($58.50) in the sixth race, but that horse was also bet by a number of other players, as evidenced by the close scores. Zurba thinks the horse that really got him the goods was Dot and Dash ($15.60) in the second race.

“I listened to Stretch and Kirt discuss him on the handicapping show,” said Zurba. “And I liked the fact he was getting first-time Lasix, and he was going off at 20-1.”

Zurba has been involved in the Assiniboia Racing Club run by John Field for the last few years. The group claimed a horse at Aqueduct through former ASD trainer Rob Atras, and they’re hoping it will start soon. He’s also been involved in a breeding syndicate with 12 people, but he’s going to try to convince them into buying a horse at the CTHS Manitoba Yearling Sale in August.

The first horse Zurba ever owned was Belle Plaine, who he claimed with a friend and trainer Mike Smith in the 1980s. “We claimed her for $12,500, and that was a lot of money back then. She won the CTHS Matchmaker Stakes, and I thought this was the easiest way to make money in my life.”

Experience has taught him different, but Zurba just keeps going.

“Age is just a number,” laughed Zurba. “Like your bank account, but I don't know. My age is going up, but my bank account is going the other way.” Until Monday.

And he’s not done yet.

“I've probably been retired for almost 15 years now,” said Zurba. “I've done some little stints, like a shuttle driver for a car dealership and I drove some cars for Adesa for sales and things like that. I’m on the HBPA Board of Directors, so I help out there. Besides screwing around at home and doing things around the racetrack, as long as my health holds out…

“I'm a happy little bird.”
Saturday, July 1 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Live musical entertainment
  • Beer gardens
  • 100+ artisans and vendors
  • 15+ food trucks
  • Kid's entertainment
  • A spectacular fireworks display by CanFire Pyrotechnics
  • Tickets $10 (5 & under free). Tickets available at the door or at Showpass.
  • Event parking $5
RCMP Musical Ride
Tickets on sale now!
The 150th Anniversary Tour

The spectacular RCMP Musical Ride will arrive in Winnipeg July 28th and July 29th to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Two performances will take place at Assiniboia Downs. The first one on Friday, July 28th and the second one on Saturday July 29th.

The RCMP Musical Ride is a symbol of tradition, honour, and pride. The Musical Ride is a Canadian icon recognized at home and abroad. The troop of up to 32 riders, who are all police officers, and their horses perform intricate formations and drills set to music, lasting about 30 minutes. These movements demand the utmost control, timing, and coordination.

Friday, July 28
  • Musical Ride starts at 7:00 p.m.
  • Meet and Greet to follow show
  • Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
  • All seating is rush seating.
  • Food and beverage service is available.
  • Tickets $15 (including taxes & fees). Kids 5 & under free.
  • Tickets are available online using the link below or in person at Assiniboia Downs (VLT cage, General Office & Guest Services during live racing).
  • Get your tickets today!!

Saturday, July 29
  • Musical Ride starts at 1:30 p.m.
  • Meet and Greet to follow show
  • Doors open at 12:00 noon
  • All seating is rush seating.
  • Food and beverage service is available.
  • Tickets $15 (including taxes & fees). Kids 5 & under free.
  • Tickets are available online using the link below or in person at Assiniboia Downs (VLT cage, General Office & Guest Services during live racing).
  • Get your tickets today!!
June HPI Cash Back Specials

  • TREMENDOUS TUESDAYS: Earn 3% cash back every Tuesday in June 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.
Carryover Watch
  • Parx (June 26) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $483,946
  • Assiniboia Downs (June 26) - Jackpot Pick 5 carryover $206,914
  • Ellis Park (June 23) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $106,102
  • Gulfstream Park (June 23) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $84,622

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 not be playing a group ticket this week. The next scheduled group wager is on ASD Wednesday, June 28. $20 per share. Email Larry at for more information.
A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates
On August 28th Assiniboia Downs will run the Miss Sandy Dee Overnight Stakes. The multiple stakes-winning Florida-bred mare was a rock-solid distaff force at the Downs. From 2000 to 2003 she compiled a Downs record of 10 wins, six seconds and two thirds from 26 starts. Sandy’s career earnings totaled $183,349 and saw her chalk-up wins in the Matron, Winnipeg Sun, and Victoria Day Stakes. She was owned by the SEL Stable, trained by Patti Ross, and had our own Derek Corbel as her exercise rider. (Gerry Hart Photo)
In The News
Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phil’s takes on Wood Memorial winner Lord Miles
Curlin colt Lord Miles, outside, under Paco Lopez, gets his nose in front of favourite Hit Show to win the Wood Memorial at 59-1 odds. (Chelsea Durand / NYRA photo)
The Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby at JACK Thistledown this Saturday features a battle between Two Phil's, who ran valiantly to finish second in the Kentucky Derby, and Lord Miles, who won the Wood Memorial in game fashion in April. More from the Paulick Report here.
Bob's Blog
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
Jockey Dean Kutz drew one of life’s short straws. Plagued with more than his fair share of health issues, Kutz could have tossed in the towel and given up. But the North Dakota native had a dream of becoming a jockey, and jockeys don’t give up, at least not the good ones. While his time here was short (1973 to 1978), it didn’t prevent him from leaving his mark at our Downs. Click here to learn more about the life of Dean Kutz.  
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
  • ASD Live Racing Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. - more info
  • 3% cash back every Tuesday in June - more info
  • Holi Summer Fest - Saturday, June 24 - more info
  • Canada Day Fireworks & Festival - Saturday, July 1 - more info
  • Free Family Fun Nights every Monday in July & August - more info
  • Manitoba Night Market & Festival - Sunday, July 23 - more info
  • RCMP Musical Ride - Friday, July 28 - more info
  • RCMP Musical Ride - Saturday, July 29 - more info
  • Manitoba Derby Night - Monday, August 7
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.