The Inside Track | Issue #109 | December 8, 2023

140 VLTS
  • 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?
  • New Food & Drink Specials
  • 12 Days of Christmas
  • The Truth About Rules and Angles
  • Sincere Condolences: Iris Jean Wedge
  • Dance Of The Blue Cayuse by Tim Cox
  • Christmas Buffet
  • TravyFootball Week 14
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Snapshot in Time - Sweet Lizanno
  • New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • P. Val Eyeing Comeback
  • Oaklawn Park Cheat Sheet
  • Dornoch Re-Rallies to Win Remsen Thriller
  • The Best of Bob - The Kid from Bellavista Crescent
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!

2023 Player's Choice Online Tournaments

  • Saturday, December 16

PRIZES: 1st place: $1,000 (plus a trophy), 2nd place: $400, 3rd place: $200, 4th place: $100, 5th place: $50

Entry fee is $25. $2 WPS on one horse in any 10 races (harness, thoroughbred or quarter horse) from any North American track on the contest day. Click here for full rules.


Player's Choice Tournaments

  • Saturday, January 21 - Randy Premachuk
  • Saturday, February 18 - Steve Holborn
  • Saturday, March 18 - Nicole Baker
  • Saturday, April 15 - Barry Mymko
  • Saturday, May 13 - Brad Ostrove

Las Vegas Challenge Tournaments

  • Monday, June 19 - Ron Zurba
  • Monday, July 10 - Murray Chaban
  • Monday, July 31 - Tanis Atras
  • Monday, August 21 - Brian McKellar
  • Monday, September 18 - David Blake

Player's Choice Tournaments

  • Saturday, October 14 - George Williams
  • Saturday, November 11 - Cecelia Liebrecht

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.

  • Draws to win 20 break-open tickets! Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

  • Draws for $20 in FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Earn 1 % Cash Back on all eligible wagers made from December 12 through December 23. Play any track! Minimum wagered $1,000. Maximum cash back $100. All wagers must be made on your HPI account.
  • Don't have an HPI account? You can open a free wagering account at All new accounts are eligible for the bet $100 get $100 promotion. Click here for details.
  • Enter at the VLT cage starting Thursday, December 14 through Tuesday, December 26 to pick an ornament from our Christmas tree. Win up to $100. Draws will take place throughout the day and evening.
  • Enjoy complimentary snacks which will be served at various times during our 12 Days of Christmas!

There's Always a Deal at ASD!

$11.95 Daily Lunch Specials

Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks from our Club West Dining Room menu or try our ever changing $11.95 lunch special.

  • Club West Dining Room & Lounge menu
  • Daily Happy Hour specials

Daily Drink Features All Day Long

  • Monday - Margarita $6 (lime, peach or strawberry)
  • Tuesday - Corona $5
  • Wednesday - Wine $4.50 (6 oz. glass of house white or house red)
  • Thursday - Beer $4.75 (house pint of beer)
  • Friday - Trifecta Tea $6 (Absolut peach vodka, lemonade, sweet tea)
  • Saturday - RazDerby Lemonade $6 (Absolut raspberry vodka, lemonade)
  • Sunday - Caesar $6

Daily Evening Chef's Specials

Monday - BBQ Ribs $19.95: Smoky char-broiled ribs with our signature BBQ sauce. Served with french fries and coleslaw.

Tuesday - Tacos $9.95: Two flour tortillas stuffed with taco beef, chicken or fish, lettuce, green onions, cheese and diced tomato. Served with a drizzle of avocado cilantro lime sauce and taco chips.

Wednesday - Two Topping Pizza $14.95: Thin crust pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Choose from pepperoni, bacon, ham, spicy beef, chicken, tomato, mushroom, peppers, black olives or onions.

Thursday - Chipotle Mozza Burger $14.95: Our signature sirloin patty and crispy bacon smothered in melted mozzarella. Topped with fresh sliced tomato, fried onion rings, chipolte mayo and sweet bold barbeque sauce.

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.

Reservations are not required. The above specials are available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Everyone who purchases one of the above specials will receive a coupon to play our free "Pick to Win" game in the VLT lounge for a chance to spin our lucky cash wheel where you can win up to $100 cash!

At The Post with G.S. Thompson

Handicapper’s Corner

The truth about rules and angles. Do they really work? Yes, but…

Longshot Mano Dura ($32.80) wins the 75th running of the Manitoba Derby for trainer Jerry Gourneau and owner Henry S. Witt, Jr. Antonio Whitehall up. What were the angles? (Jason Halstead photo)

Call them what you will in your handicapping, rules or angles, we just want to know if they’ll make us money over the long term, right? For the purpose of this piece, we’ll call them angles.

Every handicapper, especially the crazy ones, can tell you how they made a score or picked a longshot or two or five using a certain angle. What they can’t tell you is whether that angle produced a profit when used on a large number of races over the course of a year. For that, you need real data, and lots of it.

In the book The Skeptical Handicapper by Barry Meadow, which crunched data from 168,227 races run from 2014 through 2017 (compiled by Ken Massa of, numerous angles were analyzed for profitability. While some came close to breaking even, none were profitable on their own.

Now for the good news.

An additional survey conducted on the data covered 12,661 horses who had raced in 2017 that displayed 12 or more positive factors (angles) in their past performance lines. This survey found that while none of the positive factors produced a profit on their own, when there were 12 or more positive factors in a horse’s past performance lines, it helped to boost overall results, as shown below.

12 or More Positive Factors in a Horses’ Past Performance

Example Positive Factor, Win Percentage, ROI (based on $1.00 bet)

  • Top fraction 1 35% 0.89
  • Top pace rating 38% 0.90
  • Top last race 40% 0.90
  • Top jockey rating 38% 0.88
  • Top trainer rating 39% 0.87
  • Top pedigree rating 35% 0.89
  • Morning-line favourite 48% 0.89
  • Morning-line second choice 33% 0.90
  • Blinkers on 35% 0.95
  • Blinkers off 40% 0.99
  • First-time Lasix 30% 0.90
  • Second-time Lasix 37% 0.96
  • Trainer/Jockey combo 30%+ wins 38% 0.88
  • Jockey switch 35% 0.92
  • Jockey won with horse 37% 0.87
  • Won last race 40% 0.91
  • Top earnings per start lifetime 45% 0.86
  • Top earnings per start last 365 days 45% 0.87
  • Loves to win (40% wins with 5 or more starts) 45% 0.97

Also notable was the fact that 12 or more positive factors in a horse’s past performances improved the win percentage and ROI of other positive factors, even if there were negative factors in place, such as a low percentage jockey or trainer. This seems like common sense, but many will shy away from a horse that has negative angles, despite the fact that they can and do win.

There are more angles covered in the Skeptical Handicapper, but one that stood out for improving most of the above results even more was recent workout activity, especially a five-furlong workout within two weeks of the race.

In summary, rather than using just one angle on its own, look for combinations of positive angles. In earlier articles we discussed how to find the speed in a race, and how to figure out how a race will be run, both of which give you an immediate advantage. Add in trainer pattern percentages, replay watching and trip handicapping, and there's a high probability that you can move some of your horses with 12 or more positive angles into the profit zone on a regular basis.

Of course, you’d have to analyze the data to know for sure 😊

Sincere Condolences:

Iris Jean Wedge (February 28, 1930 – November 26, 2023)

Iris Wedge (far left) and her husband Les Wedge, Sr. (third from left) in the winner's circle with record-setting 11-time 1983 winner Navy Days, trained by son Les Wedge, Jr. (far right)

Assiniboia Downs is very sad to announce that Iris Wedge has passed away.

Iris was a much-loved and familiar face at Assiniboia Downs, dedicating her time selflessly to helping people in our local backstretch. A former director of the HBPA, Iris founded and ran the Downs Children Centre, the first childcare centre for backstretch employees at Assiniboia Downs, but her giving nature and dedication to the racing community didn’t stop there.

Iris was active in numerous fundraisers, events and activities for the backstretch community. She was a cherished member of the HBPA, the Assiniboia Racing Club, the Chaplaincy board, a faithful member of Lilyfield United Church and a life member of the United Church Women, where she made many long-lasting friendships.

Born on February 28, 1930, Iris married her late husband Les on July 10, 1948. Les trained horses at the Downs and together they raised four children and formed a loving family circle that sustained Iris throughout her life. Iris embraced farm life on their century farm, and Assiniboia Downs was like a second home to her.

“Iris was truly an incredible human,” wrote Manitoba HBPA office manager Shannon Dawley in a comment on Iris’s obituary page. “Her passion, caring nature and love for the racing community was inspirational and unmatched. The countless acts of kindness and thoughtfulness throughout the years have been appreciated by so many including the kids at ASD. I know my daughter will never forget “Grandma Iris.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. A Service of Remembrance and a reception will be held on Sunday, December 10 at 12:30 p.m. at the Red Barn, Road 75 North and Provincial Road #236, south of Stonewall.

Our sincere condolences to Iris’s family and many friends.

Dance Of The Blue Cayuse

Original painting by Tim Cox

“The horse is a great equalizer. He doesn’t care how good-looking you are, or how rich you are, or how powerful you are – he takes you for how you make him feel.” ~ Buck Brannaman. See more original paintings from Tim Cox here.

Christmas Buffet

Join us for a fabulous Christmas Buffet on Saturday, December 23.

  • Roast Turkey
  • Ham with Dijon Cream Sauce
  • Sweet & Sour Meatballs
  • Apple, Onion & Tarragon Stuffing
  • Turkey Gravy & Cranberry Sauce
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Beans Almondine
  • Caesar Salad
  • Greek Vegetable Salad
  • Broccoli Bacon Salad
  • Kolbassa & Cheddar
  • Pickles, Sweet Mix and Beets
  • Breads, Dinner Rolls with Butter
  • Pumpkin Pie, Dainties, Cakes & Cookies
  • $34.95 per person, Kids 12 & under $29.95, Kids 5 & under $16.95
  • Reservations are required. Available from 4 p.m. through 8:30 p.m.

Reservations for the Christmas Buffet are filling up fast so call today!


Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 14

49ers over Seahawks (Sunday afternoon): Now that the Eagles beatdown is in the rearview mirror (boy did I feel good after it was over!), it’s on to Seattle! These teams played each other two weeks ago and San Fran dismantled Seattle 31-13. Expect similar results here as the 49ers look like the most complete and superior team in the league right now.

It’s hard to imagine that last year at this time Brock Purdy was just getting his feet wet as an unknown third string quarterback. Fast forward to 2023 and he is one of the favourites to win MVP of the league. 


Seattle went toe to toe with Dallas last week but came up just a little bit short losing 41-35. If they want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they have to win this game, but that will certainly be easier said than done. 


Browns over Jags (Sunday afternoon): The Cleveland Browns had to dig up the corpse of Joe Flacco and thrust him into game action last week. Low and behold, he actually played decent. I can’t even explain how hard it is for a player, let alone a quarterback to go from playing backyard football with your kids, to suiting up for an NFL team in the midst of a playoff run.


In his first game since January, Flacco went 23 of 44 for 254 yards and 2 TDs, and although the Browns still got stomped by the Rams, at least they aren’t completely dead in the water like some other teams are having to play their backup QBs. Continuing the trend of starting quarterbacks getting hurt, everyone in the Jaguars organization collectively gasped when Trevor Lawrence got his ankle stepped on. Watching him being carried off the field (why didn’t they have the cart ready?) everyone pretty much thought the worst, but luckily, he only suffered a high ankle sprain.


I can’t imagine Lawrence being able to go this week so that leaves yet another backup QB in CJ Beathard as the starter for now. It also means that Canadian phenom and ex BC Lions QB Nathan Rourke should be activated off the practice roster and placed into the backup role. 


Cowboys over Eagles (Sunday night): In the battle of teams that got smoked by the 49ers, first place in the NFC East will be up for grabs. As much as I hate to praise the Cowboys, they have been playing very well as of late. You could argue they’ve only been beating bad teams (only one victory over a team with a winning record), but you can only play who’s on your schedule.

Dak Prescott has been playing so well that he (along with my man Brock Purdy) is in consideration for MVP this season. Can he continue his hot streak against the Eagles, who will be looking to bounce back and prove they are still the team to beat? Well, the Philly defense will definitely have to have a much better game. This is the second meeting between these two with Philly narrowly pulling out the victory last time 28-23. 


Last week: 2-1

Overall: 23-16

Looking for a Special Photo of Your Big Horse?
Track Photographer Jason Halstead may have just what you're looking for

Burrow Down smiling into the photo finish-line mirror after winning the Miss Sandy Dee Overnight Stakes at ASD on August 28, 2023. Stanley Chadee, Jr. up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Looking for that extra-special photo of your big horse, one you might not find in your win pictures? Track photographer Jason Halstead takes numerous photos during the races, and not all of them can make it into the win photos. If you’re looking for something frameable from your big race, or of your special horse, email Jason at Prices are excellent! Almost as good as his photos 😊

Carryover Watch

  • Woodbine (December 8) - Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover $68,143

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 meet every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the second floor plaza. This week they will be playing Tampa and possibly Los Alamitos RC & Woodbine. $20 a share. Email Larry at for more information.

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

Our Snapshot in Time this week comes from a half-century ago. Sweet Lizanno is seen here winning on June 13, 1973 with Dean Kutz in the irons. It was Dean’s first win at the Downs and what a win it was! The Ralph Kitching owned and bred 6-year-old gelding paid a whopping $161.70 to win. This past year saw Mr. Kitching (who started racing at the Downs in 1970) celebrate his 93rd birthday. He and his bride hail from Birtle, Manitoba and are still regular visitors to the track. (Gerry Hart photo)

New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance

Sunday, December 31

  • Prime Rib buffet served from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Late lunch served
  • Dancing until 1:00 a.m.
  • Door prizes
  • Free coat check
  • Huge dance floor
  • Party favours 
  • Free VLT Game for a chance to win a share of $2,024!
  • DJ Music & Lights
  • Hosted by Kathy Kennedy
  • $79.95 plus taxes & gratuities

This event sells out every year so order your tickets today! Call 204-885-3330.

Star Jockey P. Val Eyeing Comeback

Winner of 7 Breeders' Cup races and a Kentucky Derby feeling great

Patrick Valenzuela and Sunday Silence (left) defeat Easy Goer in the 1989 Preakness Stakes for trainer Charlie Whittingham. (Horsephotos)

He's 61, hasn't ridden since 2016 and recently had a knee replaced. For most, this would be the time to enjoy retirement and look back on a career that carried him to the heights of his profession. Pat Valenzuela doesn't see it that way. More from the Thoroughbred Daily News here.

Oaklawn Park Confidential

Track trends, top trainers and jockeys to help you win at the 2024 meet

Through the stretch at Oaklawn Park. The 2024 meeting begins on Friday Dec. 8. (Coady Photography)

Some of the best winter dirt racing in North America is coming to the Midwest with the opening of the Oaklawn Park meet on Friday, Dec. 8. The 2023-24 season will extend until May 4, when the Oaklawn closes on the same day as the 150th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. Racing at Oaklawn boasts big fields, good betting races for handicappers, an excellent stakes program, and very strong purses fueled by gaming revenue from the Oaklawn casino. More from America's Best Racing here.

Road To Kentucky Derby

Derby winner Mage’s brother Dornoch re-rallies to win Remsen thriller

Dornoch battles back on the inside to win the Remsen stakes last Saturday at Aqueduct. (Joe Labozzetta)

Dornoch came back late to defeat Sierra Leone at the wire in last Saturday's $250,000 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct, and he did it the hard way. Seemingly beaten inside the sixteenth pole when Sierra Leone opened up on him, Dornoch courageously re-rallied on the rail under strong urging from jockey Luis Saez to win a thriller. More from the Paulick Report here. (And you'll definitely want to watch the video of the race below!)

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

It’s not that the story of the Downs CEO is tough to tell, says Bob, but rather the challenge centers on the fact that there’s just so much to tell. From those early days in the backstretch to the ongoing struggle that horse racing faces in these sometimes-turbulent times. Click here to learn just a little bit more about the “corner office” man who calls the shots at the Downs. (From July 7, 2022). 

Upcoming events at ASD

  • Break Open Bonanza - Draws for Break-Open tickets - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 in free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • 12 Days of Christmas HPI Cash Back - Tuesday, December 12 through Saturday, December 23
  • 12 Days of Christmas VLT Draws & Snacks - Thursday, December 14 through Tuesday, December 26
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, December 16 - more info
  • Christmas Buffet - Saturday, December 23 - more info
  • New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance - Sunday, December 31 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to
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