The Inside Track | Issue #108 | December 1, 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
  • Top Manitoba-bred Trainers
  • Christmas Buffet
  • TravyFootball Week 13
  • Green Apples by Tim Cox
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Snapshot in Time - Sal's Imp
  • New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance
  • Carryover Watch
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Equinox: World's Best Racehorse
  • $500,000 Cigar Mile Top Stellar AQU Card
  • Could Full Brothers Win the Kentucky Derby?
  • The Best of Bob - 100 Years of Milestones
  • 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. One recent lucky draw winner turned their $20 into $1,604!

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

Top Manitoba-Bred Trainers

Manitoba Strong program recognizes and rewards the best of 2023

Manitoba-bred mare Melisandre (#3) found some of the best form of her career in 2023 for trainer Lise Pruitt. Shown here on her way to winning the Distaff Stakes. Antonio Whitehall up. (Jason Halstead photo)

Have you got yourself a Manitoba-bred for 2024 yet?

No? Time to get out to some of the local farms and see what’s for sale. The CTHS Manitoba-bred bonuses are just too lucrative to miss out on.

Okay, that was quick. So now that you’ve got yourself a Manitoba-bred, who are you going to get to train it? We’ve certainly got some capable young trainers in Manitoba, and we’ll start with those that won the four legs of the new Manitoba Strong program that was created by the CTHS, HBPA and Manitoba Jockey Club in 2023.

The new monthly program was designed to recognize racing performance by Manitoba-breds and their respective trainers, and there is a good chance the program will be in place for 2024.

Each time a Manitoba-bred ran, points were awarded on a first through fifth basis, regardless of the class or purse of the race. The four legs of the program in 2023 were May 22-June 20, June 21-July 18, July 19-August 15 and August 16-September 12, and a number of trainers showed up more than once. Points were calculated and the winning trainers were presented with $500 cash plus a $200 Gift Card to ASD.

The top five trainers from May 22-June 20 were Lise Pruitt, Devon Gittens, Mike Nault, Tom Gardipy, Jr. and Carl Anderson. From June 21-July 18 the top five trainers were Mike Nault, Devon Gittens, Lise Pruitt, Shelly Brown and Tom Gardipy, Jr. The top five trainers in the third leg from July 19-August 15 were Mike Nault, Devon Gittens, Lise Pruitt, Blair Miller and Shelley Brown, and the leaders in the fourth leg from August 16-September 12 were Mike Nault, Devon Gittens, Carl Anderson, Lise Pruitt and Tom Gardipy, Jr.

Trainer Devon Gittens developed Manitoba-bred Russian Pearl into one of the gamest fillies on the grounds in 2023. Shown here after winning the R. C. Anderson Memorial with that 3-year-old filly. (Jason Halstead photo)

Notable repeaters among the top three were Mike Nault, Devon Gittens and Lise Pruitt, with more than honourable mentions to Carl Anderson, Tom Gardipy, Jr. and Shelley Brown. All are more than capable of developing a good horse.

Mike Nault’s top Manitoba-bred earner in 2023 was 2-year-old filly Commandoslastdance (Going Commando-Sweet Tizzy Lizzy by Tiznow), who won both the Debutante Stakes and the Buffalo Stakes and earned $47,155 (US). Gittens’ top Manitoba-bred runner was 3-year-old filly Russian Pearl (Nonios-Russian Jewel by Wildcat Heir), who won the R. C. Anderson Memorial Stakes and earned $43,057 (US). Both fillies were beautifully developed by their trainers.

Lise Pruitt made her biggest mark in 2023 with 5-year-old Manitoba-bred mare Melisandre (Going Commando-High Pioneer by Pioneering), who found some of the best form of her life again to win the Cool Excellence Overnight Stakes and the Distaff Stakes on her way to earning $46,049 (US). Tom Gardipy, Jr. did some of his best career work with Manitoba-bred 3-year-old gelding Private Frank (Going Commando-Inspeightofsuccess by Speightsown), who went on a four-race winning streak that included the Frank Arnason Memorial Stakes and earned $46,077 (US).

Shelley Brown won three of her eight starts with 4-year-old Manitoba-bred gelding Lucky Chuckee (Bird Song-Blazing Shasha by Langfuhr) for earnings of $28,741 (US) and Carl Anderson wowed everyone by winning the J. Sifton Stakes off the claim with 3-year-old gelding Sugar Daddy Jack (Nonios-Nickel Candy by Silver Deputy).

All the above trainers have proven themselves year in and year out with Manitoba-breds, often developing their charges from youngsters into stakes winners. The question is, who will you get along with best?

Time to start the conversations!

Manitoba-bred Private Frank won four in a row in 2023 for trainer Tom Gardipy, Jr. Shown here winning the Frank Arnason Memorial Sire Stakes. Ronald Ali up. (Jason Halstead photo)

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 available from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Call 204-885-3330 today!

Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Week 13

49ers over Eagles (Sunday afternoon): The rematch I have personally been waiting for since the end of January. First of all, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the spread on this game which opened at 2.5 in favour of San Fran. It’s very rare that a 10-1 ends up being an underdog, let alone on their home field, but I guess the odds makers really think Philly is beatable this week. Everyone knows how it ended last time these two teams played. It was over before it even got started after Brock Purdy tore his UCL two plays into the NFC Championship. Now assuming that doesn’t happen again, this will be a much more competitive game. The trash talk has been going back and forth between players all week and I even expect a few tempers to flare during the pre-game warmups. I think both offensive lines are going to be in for a long day as both teams possess elite pass rushers on the defensive line. I’m counting on my guy Purdy to come through for me though! 

Bucs over Panthers (Sunday afternoon): There’s a theory that when a coach gets fired, the team wins the next game for the new coach. But I don’t think that will be happening in this one. The Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich earlier in the week and I don’t believe it’s going to make any sort of a difference. Carolina is severely lacking any sort of skill players on offense to help out their rookie QB Bryce Young, who pretty much gets pummelled by opposing defenses every week. The Bucs are in a little funk of their own too. After starting out the season 3-1, they have gone 1-6 since then, which has left QB Baker Mayfield feeling a little frustrated. He called out some players saying not everyone is giving their maximum effort, which as a QB you SHOULD say since you are the leader of the team. But this could also have a negative effect on the players that think it’s them he’s speaking about. 

Steelers over Cardinals (Sunday noon): The Steelers look much improved on offense after the coaching change last week. For the first time all season, Pittsburgh actually out gained their opponent in total yardage, and won the game. Now, their new and improved offense didn’t exactly lead to more points being scored (they still only put up 16), so they're going to have to find a way to get in the end zone more often because come playoff time, 16 points is not going to get it done. Coming off a game that saw them get dismantled by the Rams last week, the Cardinals will be in tough again against Pittsburgh's defense. Kyler Murray has been average since he’s comeback from injury and his future in Arizona might depend on what happens in these next few games to end the year. 


Last week: 2-1

Overall: 21-15

Green Apples

Original painting by Tim Cox

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Keonig. Original "Green Apples" painting courtesy of Tim Cox. More here.

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 [email protected]. Prices are excellent! Almost as good as his photos 😊

Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream (December 1) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $76,954. Mandatory payout on Saturday, December 2.

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 Gulfstream and Tampa. $20 a share. Email Larry at [email protected] for more information.

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

With 2023 quickly coming to a close, let’s look back over the years starting with 1963. It should come as no surprise that 60 years ago Downs all-time leading trainer, Gary Danelson had a “bargain buy” gelding called Sal’s Imp that was running all over his competition in lower-level claiming races. Gary bought the brown gelding at the close of the 1961 meet for the asking price of $250. 


In the mid-1960s the gritty gelding had the distinction of winning more races at Assiniboia Downs than any other horse. The son of Impel, out of Saladina graced the Winner's Circle 13 times from 1961 to 1966. His best year came in 1963, when he won 7 of his 10 starts, with 5 of those wins coming at the Downs. (Bob Barnes 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.

Equinox, World’s Top-Rated Horse

Winner of 8 of 10 races slated to be retired after scintillating score in Japan Cup

Equinox cruises to an easy win in the Japan Cup, confirming his status as the world's top-rated horse. (JRA photo)

Equinox, the world’s top-rated racehorse, coasted to victory in this year’s $8,282,443 Japan Cup (G1) on Nov. 26. easily beating a stellar field that included eight Grade 1 winners from Japan and abroad at Tokyo Racecourse. Following in the footsteps of his sire Kitasan Black, who won the 2016 Japan Cup, Equinox becomes the first horse ever to exceed 2-billion yen in earnings (JPY 2,215,446,100). Video and more from the Canadian Thoroughbred here.

$500,000 Cigar Mile Caps Stellar Saturday Card at Aqueduct Favourite Senor Buscador ‘smarter than people think,’ says trainer Todd Fincher

Senor Buscador and jockey Geovanni Franco, centre, winning the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. (Benoit Photo)

Dual graded stakes-winner Senor Buscador will cut back sharply in distance as he headlines a talented 12-horse field in the $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on a stellar Aqueduct card this Saturday.

“The problem with this horse is he's smarter than people think,” trainer Todd Fincher said. “When you line him up in a one-turn race, he will lay closer even though it's a shorter race. I think he knows the difference. When you line them up at the quarter-pole, he knows he has to go a mile and a quarter and he just drops himself way back." More from the Paulick Report here.

Mage's Full Brother Dornoch Tops 10 in Remsen

Could full brothers win the Kentucky Derby for the first time in history? Odds 19-1.

Dornoch breaks his maiden at Keeneland. (Coady photo)

Considering it has yet to happen in the first 149 runnings of the Kentucky Derby (G1), the odds that full brothers can win the Run for the Roses are astronomical in one regard.

Then again, this past weekend the odds of it happening in 2024 were placed at 19-1 and they could drop even lower by the time next week rolls around. In Saturday's $250,000 Remsen Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds, Aqueduct Racetrack will shine a spotlight on what could be a historic bid for Triple Crown glory. More from the Blood Horse here.

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

With the kick-off of Season 63, ASD track historian Bob Gates looks back at 100 years of milestones. He also provides an off-season update about the passing of a couple of equine local legends. Read all about it here (From May 20, 2020).

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 [email protected].
The Inside Track Archives
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