The Inside Track | Issue #20 | March 24, 2022
  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLTs, Race Carrels and Tables are sanitized between customer use.
  • Our fully immunized staff will continue to wear masks for the safety of all customers.
In this edition . . .
  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • Tilston-Jones wins Tourney
  • Snapshot in Time: Rubber Match
  • Dubai World Cup/Derby Preps
  • Photo of the Week
  • Life Is Good vs Hot Rod Charlie
  • Canadians keep winning
  • Mandatory Payout Alert
  • Elias still going strong at 77
  • The Best of Bob
Do the Downs!
SPIN TO WIN FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS IN THE CLUBWEST GAMING LOUNGE - Enter at the VLT cage every Friday & Saturday for a chance to spin the wheel for up to $100 cash! Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.
MONDAY MARCH MADNESS - 4% cash back on all eligible wagering Mondays in March. Minimum wagered $100 (each Monday). Maximum deposit $25 (each Monday). Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included).

DUBAI WORLD CUP CASH BACK - 3% cash back on Dubai World Cup racing on Saturday, March 26. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum deposit $25. Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included). Note: The Dubai World Cup races start at 6:45 a.m. local time and will all be available on Assiniboia Downs will open at 9:45 a.m.

  • Sunday, April 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • 70+ talented local aritsans and vendors will be showcasing their products at our second spring market.
  • Free admission and free parking

Our amazing brunches are back! From Certified Angus beef to all of your brunch favourites - we have you covered! Tickets are now on sale for Easter Brunch and Mother's Day Brunch.

EASTER BRUNCH: Sunday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for full menu. Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95. For tickets call 204-885-3330.

MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH: Sunday, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for full menu. Adults $44.95, 12 & under $21.95, 5 & under $9.95. For tickets call 204-885-3330.

Both of these brunches will sell out quickly so get your tickets today! Please note that there is no live racing on either of the above dates as live racing begins Victoria Day, Monday, May 23.

ASD's signature Prime Rib buffet is returning for live race nights starting Monday, May 23. Call 204-885-3330. Adults, $47.95, Seniors (65+), $44.95, 12 & under, $27.95, 5 & under, $14.95. See the buffet highlights at Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330. Click here for full race schedule.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Player's Choice Handicapping Contest winner Trevor Tilston-Jones. Ivan Bigg photo.
Tilston-Jones Wins Tourney with last-to-first Thriller
Trevor Tilston-Jones has never been shy about voicing his insightful handicapping opinions at the “I Won Bigg” betting group meetings, and he backed up those opinions last Saturday with his second victory in the Player’s Choice Handicapping Tournament.

The 70-something retired manufacturer’s agent built his $60 bankroll to $138.70 to take home $1,000, bragging rights and the trophy. He also moved himself to the top of the leaderboard in the Handicapper of the Year standings with 112 points.

Tilston-Jones scored early in the contest with Backwoods Boogie (8-1) in the fifth race at Gulfstream Park and Azure Sky (9-1) in the sixth at Tampa Bay. He bolstered his early winnings with Shake Em Loose (5-1) in the tenth at Laurel Park and brought it all home with Liberal (8-1) in the ninth race at Santa Anita.

Liberal’s win was a last-to-first thriller and turned out to be just enough to hold off second-place finisher Earl Grantham ($130.80 bankroll, $400 winnings), who was followed by Kevin Arnst ($100.00, $250), Jeff Rozmus ($91.30, $100) and Greg Earl ($90.60, $50.00).

Tilston-Jones has a number of angles he uses to smoke out winners, but video and trainer intent are two of his favourites.

“I watch the replays,” said Tilston-Jones. “That’s my main angle. I make a plan based on what I see in the video replays. And you can mark the horses you see in previous weeks on, so when they come back to run you can give them an extra look. And if I see something that bothers me about a horse in the past performances or the replays, it’s a no.”

Tilston-Jones also looks for trainer intent, and likes to play races on the turf, which is where he found his final winner of the day at Santa Anita. He also makes a list of horses the night before and looks for horses at odds of 4-1 or better.

“You have to make a plan,” he said. “And you have to make all your bets count. But you also need a lot of luck. As you go through the years you learn what to look for. And you have to figure why a jockey is riding this horse today instead of that one. Richard Migliore had it right when he said these top jockeys don’t tie themselves to an empty wagon. And when a jockey shows up on a certain horse, you have to look at trainer intent.”

Tilston-Jones learned how to handicap from his father and started going to the track at Polo Park and Assiniboia Downs in the late 1950s. Interestingly, one of the days he remembers most was the one he missed -- opening day at Assiniboia Downs on June 10, 1958. There would be many more days with Dad at the track however, and ample fond memories. Like September 4, 1982, when he was part of a group of six who won a Pick 6 at Assiniboia Downs that paid $62,000.

Tilston-Jones fits the mold of all top handicappers, including many of the locals who play in the tournaments. Almost all of them learned the game from their fathers and built up their handicapping knowledge over decades. That level of experience means anyone can win the Player’s Choice Tournament on any given day, but when you do win, you have the satisfaction of knowing you beat some of the best players in the game.

“It’s tough,” said Tilston-Jones. “But I like it that way.”
A Snapshot in Time
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
On September 13, 2014 fans were treated to one of the finest races ever held at the Downs. The 58th running of the Gold Cup featured Magic D’ Oro and Balooga Bull. The arch rivals had split the season with two wins each before the Gold Cup. Magic D' Oro had defeated Balooga Bull in the Free Press Stakes and an allowance race. Balooga Bull had come back to beat Magic D' Oro in the Wheat City Stakes and the R.J. Speers. The Gold Cup was the rubber match, and bragging rights for the season were on the line.
The early fractions for the 1 1/8-mile classic were lightning fast: 22 2/5, 46 2/5 and 1:10 2/5. After giving away the early lead to Magic D' Oro, Balooga Bull fired and Paul Nolan let him go. At the top of the stretch, Balooga Bull had a one-length advantage on Magic D' Oro, who in turn was 12 lengths ahead of their nearest rival. This was a match race and the two went at each other all the way. 

Balooga Bull finally opened up passing the 1/8th pole, getting the mile in a rapid 1: 36 4/5 and gradually drawing out to win by 3 1/2-lengths, stopping the timer in 1:51. It was a battle for the ages and all in attendance were treated to a true contest of champions. George Williams photo.
Handicapper's Corner
Dubai World Cup, Kentucky Derby Preps Highlight Weekend
32 Graded/Group winners on stakes-filled Dubai World Cup card
The highlight of this weekend for handicappers will be the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1), which features budding superstar Life Is Good and fan favourite Hot Rod Charlie against nine additional classy rivals.
Life Is Good looks like the lone speed and he’s got the class to go with it, but he’s never gone 1 ¼-miles. Hot Rod Charlie is as game as they come, and if you like him, you’ll probably get your price, as there are a few more runners in this race that will also take some serious money.
The Dubai World Cup card will feature 32 group/graded winners over nine races including the $1 million UAE Derby (G2). The UAE Derby includes 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the winner and is expected to be headed by Del Mar Futurity (G1) and recent Saudi Derby (G3) winner Pinehurst, as well as Argentinian star Irwin, who won two group one races last year. Get the rundown on the UAE Derby field from here.
The Dubai World Cup races start at 6:45 a.m. local time and will all be available on Assiniboia Downs will open at 9:45 a.m. There will be a 3% Cash Back bonus on the Dubai races when wagered on
Also on tap for Saturday is the Louisiana Derby (G2), which offers 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner. Four horses have used the Louisiana Derby as a prep before winning the Kentucky Derby. This year’s rendition features a rematch between heavy morning-line favourite Epicenter, who won the Risen Star Stakes (G2) in his last start, and Call Me Midnight, who defeated Epicenter in the Lecomte Stakes (G3).

See the Louisiana Derby Cheat Sheet from America’s Best Racing here.
Good Luck!
Photo of the Week
Trainer Devon Gittens (outside) educating a few of his youngsters on the training track with jockeys Kayla Pizarro and Nirone Austin (inside). The surface looked a little muddy due to the spring melt, but the horses didn't seem to mind one bit. And all were enjoying the warm weather!
Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to
In The News
Hot Rod Charlie, Country Grammar and Midnight Bourbon in tough field of 11
Life Is Good looks ready for action in Dubai. Dubai Racing Club photo.
Likely post-time favourite Life Is Good drew the inside post for Saturday's $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan Racecourse, where he'll face 10 rivals including recent Al Maktoum Challenge (G2) winner Hot Rod Charlie, and the second and third place-finishers from the Saudi Cup (G1), Country Grammar and Midnight Bourbon. Life Is Good is class speed, but he'll be stretching out to 1 1/4-miles for the first time, which should make this one of the best races of the year. All have been training well according to the Paulick Report and the Blood Horse. More from Marcus Hersh at the DRF here.
Day Phillips’ Filly "Makes a Point", Marty Drexler wins two more
She Makes a Point after winning her career debut at 27-1 at Tampa Bay Downs.
She Makes a Point certainly made one in her career debut at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer and co-owner Catherine Day Phillips. The 4-year-old daughter of Point of Entry scored at 27-1! And former local trainer Marty Drexler won two more races at Gulfstream Park to bring his total southern scores for the year to nine. More from Jennifer Morrison at the Canadian Thoroughbred here.
Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Mar. 26 - UAE Derby (Dubai)
  • Mar. 26 - Louisiana Derby (FG)
  • Mar. 27 - Sunland Derby (Sun)
  • Apr. 2 - Florida Derby (GP)
  • Apr. 2 - Arkansas Derby (OP)
  • Apr. 2 - Jeff Ruby Steaks (TP)

Full list of Kentucky Derby prep races here.
Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Carryover Watch & Programs
  • Gulfstream (Mar. 24) - Rainbow Pick 6 - $210,472
  • Charles Town (Mar. 24) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $114,278
  • Fonner (Mar. 25) - Jackpot Pick 5 - $72,257
  • See all carryovers here.

MANDATORY PAYOUT ALERT: A mandatory payout will be offered on the Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 this Saturday (March 26) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With the Jackpot Hi-5 wager now frozen until Saturday’s card, the carryover for the mandatory payout is set at $526,417. Previous Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payouts have generated pools well over $1 million and this Saturday’s opportunity will feature one of the highest carryovers for a mandatory payout at Woodbine. Free Woodbine Mohawk Park programs are available for every race card at
Elias still going strong at 77! The smile says it all!
Horse trainer and blacksmith extraordinaire Wayne Elias. Still going strong at 77! How does he do it? The smile probably has a lot to do with it. He loves horses, and his work.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
The "I Won Bigg" betting group meets every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza in the Clubhouse. This week the group be playing Santa Anita, Tampa Bay and Dubai. Everyone welcome. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Sometimes good things happen to nice people. If you're looking for a feel good story, my Manitoba Derby blog from July 2018 is just what the doctor ordered. You'll love the storybook ending - click here (From July 2018)
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.