The Inside Track | Issue #4 | Dec. 2, 2021
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Full immunization and government issued I.D. required to attend Assiniboia Downs.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • How the Handicapping Contest was Won
  • A Snapshot in Time
  • Taking Speed to the Next Level
  • Photo of The Week
  • NFL Week 13 with TravyFootball
  • A Trainer 7 Decades in the Making
Do the Downs!
  • Earn 2% cash back when you wager $500 or more on Woodbine thoroughbred Thursday, Dec. 2 through Sunday, Dec. 5. Maximum deposit $100. Opt-in at
  • Earn 5% cash back when you wager $100 or more on Gulfstream Park Saturday, Dec. 4. Maximum deposit $25. Opt-in at
PLAYER'S CHOICE HANDICAPPING TOURNAMENT - More than 50 handicappers vied for top spot in Saturday's Player's Choice tournament. Who came out on top? See below. Just a reminder that the final tournament of the year goes Saturday, Dec. 18 when the 2021 Handicapper of the Year will be crowned and earn a trip for two to Las Vegas and entry into the Horseplayer World Series.

PHOTOS WITH SANTA AT ASD SUNDAY MARKET - Support more than 60 local vendors at this Sunday's ASD Market from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This Sunday features a FREE photo with Santa! Free admission and free parking.
  • Sunday, Dec. 5
  • Sunday, Dec. 12
  • Sunday, Dec. 19

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - Enjoy turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, Chef's vegetables, stuffing, gravy and more for only $21.95. The plated special will be served in the Clubhouse Wednesday, Dec. 22 and Thursday, Dec. 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330.

NEW YEAR'S EVE GALA - Join us on Friday, December 31 at ASD for our fabulous New Year's Eve Gala hosted by Jeff Molnar from QX104 FM (a variety of music will be played.) Enjoy a delicious buffet, prize draws, party favours, late night snack and free coat check. DJ music and dance lights. Tickets $75. Call 204-885-3330. Tickets are selling fast and limited tickets remain. Purchase your tickets today!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
His Best Bet of the Day was a CAP Horse
How Ralph Gelardi won the Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament
Ralph Gelardi (pictured here) won Saturday’s Player’s Choice Handicapping Tournament with the biggest bankroll we’ve seen since the CAP (20-1 win, 10-1 place and 5-1 show) was implemented in 2017, and he did it the hard way.

The local horse owner and handicapper built his $60 bankroll into a whopping $164.90, starting slow and finishing with a rush. “To be honest, my day did not start well,” said Gelardi.

Gelardi’s first pick of the day finished second at 8-1 and his next three picks ran out of the money, giving him only $12.50 for his early efforts. Then he started to roll, winning with his next three picks to build his bankroll to $68.40.

“I thought that might put me back in contention for maybe third, depending on how the next three races went,” said Gelardi. His eighth pick finished out of the money.

Bomber time.

“My best bet of the day was in Race 4 at Churchill,” said Gelardi. “Studying the night before I landed on Cocktail Moments (#11), a first-time starter. She had a bunch of steady works and a good trainer, but what I really found interesting was that the jockey on another horse I really liked in the race, that had already started twice, was jumping aboard my horse. I thought the horse would be 8-1. At 25-1 it was a no brainer what I had to do, and it worked out.”

Cocktail Moments steamrolled her opposition with a huge move on the turn. She was a rare CAP horse, the kind that wins tournaments, and immediately made Gelardi a major contender. Just to make sure, Gelardi also won with his tenth and last bet of the day in the next race at Churchill at 6-1. He’d picked five winners and one runner-up from 10 selections.

We grow excellent handicappers in Manitoba, and Gelardi defeated 52 tough rivals including more than one multiple champion, while also setting a new bankroll record. And his best bet of the day was a CAP horse! Now that’s, a deserving winner.

Congratulations Ralph!

See Saturday's full results and Handicapper of the Year Standings here.
A Snapshot in Time
On January 15, 1987, Rick Hansen and his “Man in Motion Tour” made a stop at the Downs. Glenn Pearson (left) presented Hansen with a souvenir calendar signed by Downs patrons who donated $2 each for a great cause, while harness driver Chuck Fraleigh and Racing Secretary Wendy Kell supervised the horse in the background. Assiniboia Downs donated $1,000 and horse-drawn sulkies provided an escort as Hansen’s tour proceeded west on the Trans Canada Highway. Photo courtesy of ASD Track Historian Bob Gates.
Capper's Corner
Taking Speed to the Next Level of Profitability
Game Manitoba-bred speedster Langara wins the 2021 Phil Kives Stakes at ASD. Jason Halstead photo.

7 Different Types of Speed
A few weeks ago, we wrote about how to find the speed of a race in five seconds and how profitable it could be. But what if you could make it even more lucrative?

As a quick recap, lone speed horses are among the best bets in racing. Horses able to secure the lead at the first call win at a 28.4% clip with an average ROI of $3.12, no other handicapping factors considered. You can quickly find the speed of a race using the 1s in the lines and use early pace numbers and first call fractions for further analysis if there is more than one speed horse in the race.

You can take it a step further by understanding the different types of speed.

Cheap Speed vs Class Speed
Cheap speed refers to a horse that pops and stops. Every time the horse runs it zips to the lead or close to it, runs as far and as fast as it can and stops, fading in the stretch. Cheap speed might also be used to refer to a horse that won't try at all unless it gets the lead.

Cheap speed also refers to horses that have a lower-class level of speed than their rivals, despite being able to run faster fractions at their own class level. A $2,500 claimer that consistently makes the lead with a quarter mile fraction of 23 seconds would be no match for a $10,000 claimer that runs a quarter mile in the exact same time. The $2,500 claimer will almost always bow out when dueling with a classier rival, regardless of what the fractions say on paper.

Game Speed
Game speed refers to horses that love to battle on the front end. These horses will give their best on the front end regardless of fractions, unless they are dramatically outclassed. Interestingly, some very game speed horses won’t give their best if they are unable to get near the lead. They want a battle and they won’t perform without it.

Grade 1 Speed
Grade 1 speed refers to the highest class of speed in the horse racing game. Grade 1 speed will beat Grade 2 speed 7/10 times and Grade 3 speed 9/10 times. Think of it as NHL speed vs AHL speed vs college hockey speed. And just imagine what would happen if you put NHL speed up against high school hockey speed. That would be akin to running a Grade 1 speed horse against a $5,000 claimer. No contest.

Quickness refers to a horse’s ability to get out of the gate in front of their rivals on a consistent basis and open up. They may not be able to run a quarter mile as fast as some of their rivals, but many of those rivals won’t perform if unable to contend for the early lead, leaving the quick horse on the lead by themselves. Quickness is an edge and you won’t know for sure if a horse has it unless you watch replays of the horse’s previous races.

Physical Limitations and the Inability to Dig In
Sometimes you will see a lone speed horse get challenged in the stretch and try to fight back to no avail. These types of speed horses are not to be confused with cheap speed horses or quitters that wilt under pressure, they are just physically incapable of digging in when challenged. They try but nothing happens. They can physically only go one speed.

When a speed horse that is incapable of digging in doesn’t get the lead, they will generally not perform well, not because they don’t want to, but rather because they are physically incapable of mounting a rally. These types of speed horses can still win if unchallenged on the lead and can also win when dueling from the outset of a race, as long as they don’t have to physically dig in to win.

The Ultimate Speed Horse
We would argue that the best bet in racing is not the lone speed horse, but rather a speed horse that can duel or rate just off fast fractions, that also has the will to win and the physical ability to accelerate when asked. They can out-duel a rival, put them away and accelerate again when the ralliers come to them in the stretch.

Watch a few of Hot Rod Charlie’s races this year on YouTube for a great example of the ultimate speed horse. If he’d been sent to the lead in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he might have put away Knicks Go and given himself a much better chance to win.

The next time you’re trying to figure out whether you should bet a speed horse, or who the speed of the speed is in a race, watch a few replays. They’ll tell you which speed horses not to bet on and which are the perfect plays. You might even find the ultimate speed horse.

At a price.
Photo of the Week
Mr Bengy, a son of Nonios-Turbo Charger, gives owner Violetta Adamczyk a playful nip.
The last time we saw former model Violetta Adamczyk she was in trainer Jared Brown’s barn talking to her horses and feeding them carrots and apples.

Fast forward six months and look who we ran into again on a random visit to Maggie Lawson’s Dunroven Farm in Rosser, Manitoba!

Feed tub and treats in hand, Adamczyk was visiting Mr Bengy, her handsome young son of Affirmed Handicap-G3 winner and Manitoba stallion Nonios, out of Adamczyk’s classy mare Turbo Shaft, who is again in foal to Nonios.

Horses can sense when people genuinely want to be around them, and while Turbo Shaft was in a cuddly mood, Mr Bengy was a little more playful, doing soft bites and bounces off his owner. He liked the apples and carrots, but it was the kindness and conversation he enjoyed most. The time spent together.

With a friend.

Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to
1996 Breeders' Cup winner, 30-year-old Alphabet Soup, enjoying some grass with his best friend, Gorgeous George the donkey, at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. Laura Battles / Paulick Report photo.
In The News

Remember Alphabet Soup, the gorgeous grey ghost that posted a shocking upset in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic at Woodbine? He turned 30 this year at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm, a hybrid living history museum and horsey petting zoo, in Georgetown, Kentucky, and what a life he has had! The retired sire of 18 crops lives on, thanks to a lifetime of extraordinary care and perhaps because of his bromance with a different kind of equid. His best friend and protector, Gorgeous George, is a donkey. More from writer Liane Crossley and the Paulick Report here.
Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Dec. 4 - Remsen - Aqueduct
  • Dec. 17 - Springboard Mile - Remington
  • Dec. 18 - Los Alamitos Futurity
  • Dec. 26 - Gun Runner - Fair Grounds

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here
Carryover Watch & Programs
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group - Saturdays at ASD
The "I Won Bigg" betting group meets every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the ASD Clubhouse. Leading the discussions are veteran handicappers Ivan Bigg and Larry Liebrecht. This week the group will focus their efforts on Woodbine and Tampa Bay. $20 buys you a share in this week's ticket. Email Larry at for more information.
NFL Week 13 with TravyFootball
Cowboys over Saints (tonight): Both of these teams are currently on losing streaks, so something has to give here. It sounds like the Saints will give Taysom Hill the start at QB over Trevor Siemian, who has failed to impress ever since Jameis Winston was injured. Dallas, on the other hand, will head into this game without the services of their head coach, Mike McCarthy, plus several other assistant coaches who are out due to COVID protocol. Some GOOD news for the Cowboys is that their top two receivers, Cee Dee Lamb and Amari Cooper, should return after missing the previous two games. 
Chiefs over Broncos (Sunday night): The Chiefs should be well rested and ready to make their second-half push to lockdown a playoff spot against the Broncos, who have been the most inconsistent team over the past month. They destroyed the Cowboys in Week 9, then got destroyed by the Eagles in Week 10, then destroyed the Chargers in Week 12. I don’t know which version of the Broncos will show up against the Chiefs, but it better be the good one. The winner of this one will take over the AFC West Division lead. 
Bills over Patriots (Monday night): Snow is in the forecast for this one, which always makes games more fun to watch. This is easily the game of the week and will answer many questions that are on the minds of fans. Are the Patriots back? Is Buffalo the new team to beat in the AFC East? Will rookie QB Mac Jones be able to handle the pressure of a prime time matchup against a division rival? Will Josh Allen have another poor performance against a good quality team? So many questions, and they will all be answered on Monday night. 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Trainer Bob Watt was around a racetrack in seven different decades and conditioned the likes of equine stars Fort Garry, Victory Gift and Light Dust. This week's "Best of Bob" is a must-read as he recounts the life of Bob "Boo Boo" Watt here. (from May 2018)
Light Dust wins Tweeworth Plate on June 15, 1957. Trainer Bob Watt accepts the trophy platter for his favourite horse.
Coming Soon . . .
Where are they now? We will regulary check-in on ASD trainers and horses as they race south of the border this winter.
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to