The Inside Track | Issue #120 | February 23, 2024

140 VLTS

ASD Hours

  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLT machines are sanitized between use

2024 Live Race Dates

  • Monday, May 20 to Tuesday, September 17 - click here for schedule

In this edition . . .

  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • There's always a Deal at ASD!
  • Trevor Phelps wins Player's Choice
  • Sincere Condolences: Rose Pollock
  • 2024 Shipping Incentive Program
  • Good Neighbours by Tim Cox
  • Road to Kentucky Derby 150
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Carryover Watch
  • Off-Track Betting Locations
  • "I Won Bigg" Wagering Group
  • A Snapshot In Time: Already Dia
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Timberlake the Pick in Rebel Stakes
  • America's Best in $20 Million Saudi Cup
  • Saudi Derby a Stepping Stone to Kentucky
  • Steve Haskin's Derby Rankings Week 5
  • The Best of Bob - An Old Man's Memories from Yesteryear
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!

Upcoming Handicapping Tournaments

Player's Choice Tournaments:

  • Saturday, March 16
  • Saturday, April 13
  • Saturday, May 11

Tournament Winners:

  • Player's Choice - Saturday, January 20 - Winner: Ron Phelps
  • Player's Choice - Saturday, February 17 - Winner: Trevor Phelps

Club West Gaming Lounge

140 VLTs are available daily in our spacious Club West Gaming Lounge from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m. Enjoy complimentary coffee or tea. We also have fantastic deals on daily drink specials, happy hour specials, daily lunch and nightly food features. Please note that our VLTs are sanitized between play.

Free daily draws take place for your chance to win cash!

  • Break Open Bonanza! Draws to win $10 plus 20 break-open tickets! Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Lucky Spins! Draws for $20 in FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

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, chipotle 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

Like Father, Like Son

Trevor Phelps follows in father Ron's footsteps to win February Player's Choice

Trevor Phelps won the February's Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament at ASD to make the first two tournaments of 2024 a family affair. His father Ron won the January tourney.

Like father, like son.

Trevor Phelps followed in the footsteps of his handicapper extraordinaire father last Saturday to win the February Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament, making it a family affair for the first two tournaments of the year.

Trevor's father, Ron, a two-time Handicapper of the Year, won the January tourney with a bankroll of $106.40. Trevor took home all the February bacon with a bankroll of $117.40, which was $4.40 more than runner-up Ken Stewin ($113.00), followed by Bryan Metcalf ($104.30), Nicole Baker ($103.70), and Dan Debreuil ($100.20).

The younger Phelps had won the Player's Choice tourney numerous times in the past, both winter and summer, and had already been to Las Vegas four times to compete in the Championship at The Orleans, courtesy of his big wins at Assiniboia Downs. This time he won with a massive overlay in a quarter horse race at Sunland.

"I got that cap winner on my fifth bet," said Phelps. "It was in the sixth race at Sunland. It was 6-1 on the morning line and ended up going off at 31-1." Baylor paid $65.90, $29.40, $14.50 across the board and even with the cap it put Phelps on the fast track to winning.

"It was a huge overlay," said Phelps. "The horse's first time out was in January, and it was bet right down and stumbled out of the gate. So this time, I'm thinking if he gets out clean, he could win."

And he did, but Phelps needed a little more help to get to the top. That came in the form of second-place finisher Max Track (10-1) in the first race at Sunland, and Newsdley (23-1) in the eighth at Aqueduct. The latter finished a game second after dueling the favourite into submission, opening up a two-length lead in deep stretch and missing by a nostril to a late rallier.

Baylor (#5 outside) rolls to victory in the 6th race at Sunland Park last Saturday at 31-1, giving Trevor Phelps the cap horse he needed to win the Player's Choice tourney.

"That's the way I play," said Phelps, who doesn't normally bet under 10-1 in the tournaments. "I'm either hero or zero. It's worked for me. I've won four trips to Vegas with it, but I haven't won here for a long time. For these tournaments, it's always just longshots for me. I've always done it like that. Even when I'm in the Vegas tournaments, I go long. It's hard to win there.

"It's been a while since I won, so it was nice. I wasn't sure $117 was going to be enough. The competition is tough here. I haven't won for two years, but I had a couple of seconds. That shows how tough it is."

Phelps also enjoyed receiving a few congratulatory texts after the tournament. "Roger Jones sent me one. And I got a few more from the old crew."

Now a project manager for the Northwest Company, the 44-year-old Phelps learned how to handicap from his father, but his job likely helps him pay attention to detail too.

"I manage jobs for new builds," said Phelps. "They do all the northern stores. And I'm doing a hangar in Thunder Bay. There are also lots of jobs in Alaska that I'll be flying out there to do."

You can't miss anything when working in remote areas, as it could potentially take months to get a single part. Similar to handicapping, the devil is in the details.

"Especially when you're building up north," said Phelps. "Start to finish. Right down to the door handles. The main thing about up north is that if you forget something, that's a problem. Especially out in the bush, because these jobs in Alaska, they're all seaports. So if you miss something..."

Phelps doesn't miss much when handicapping, and he also plays weekly with the "I Won Bigg" Group.

"I still go in with them every week," he said. "I don't say much. I just leave it to everyone else. I mean, it's only $20. It's nice to watch and have fun on a Saturday. Once in a while, I put my input, but usually, I just follow along."

Phelps learned how to handicap from his father, but his mom Kathy also plays in the tournaments. "I learned from my dad, basically," he said. "That's who got me into it. And my mom plays too when the live races are on during the summer. I just play for recreation, for fun."

And he's been doing it for a long, long time.

"When I was in Grade 1, I had trouble reading." Said Phelps. "My teacher said to bring something to school that I enjoyed reading."

He brought the racing program.

Sincere Condolences

Rosemarie Pollock

March 13, 1933 - January 31, 2024

Assiniboia Downs is sad to announce the passing of horse racing fan and friend Rose Pollock. Rose grew up in Winnipeg and attended Kelvin High School where she was an energetic and enthusiastic cheerleader. She had many wonderful friends over the years with whom she shared her keen participation in bridge clubs, bowling leagues and horse racing. Rose shared countless happy times at the Downs with former steward, horse owner and good friend Bob Nokes.

“Lovely person,” commented Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn on Rose’s obituary here. “I knew her through the horses with Bob... always so positive and warm when greeting you... my sincere condolences to Bob and the family of Rose.”

Good Neighbours

Original painting by Tim Cox

“There is no wrong way to perform an act of kindness.” ~ Catherine Ryan Hyde. See more original paintings from Tim Cox here.

Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • Rebel (Oaklawn) - Feb. 24 - 50 points
  • Fountain of Youth (GP) - Mar. 2 - 50 points
  • John Battaglia (TP) - Mar. 2 - 20 points
  • San Felipe (SA) - Mar. 2 - 50 points
  • Gotham (Aqu) - Mar. 2 - 50 points

Easter Brunch - Sunday, March 31

We are excited to announce our Easter Brunch on Sunday, March 31 in the Terrace Dining Room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us for a delicious brunch with your family and friends.

Our menu includes a variety of dishes such as:

  • Carved Ham with Grilled Pineapple
  • Scrambled Eggs with Green Onion
  • Sliced Certified Angus Prime Rib in Mushroom Sauce
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Omelette Station
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • French Toast and Syrup
  • Caesar Salad
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Golden Beet Salad
  • Wild Rice Salad
  • Local Cheese, Kolbassa & Pickles
  • Smoked Sockeye Salmon Pizza
  • Rolls, Flatbreads and Butter
  • Croissant
  • Sliced Fruit & Berries
  • Cakes & Pastries. 

Tickets are priced at $39.95 (adults), $22.95 (12 & under), and $9.95 (5 & under). To purchase tickets, please call Samantha at 204-885-3330. 

Looking for a Special Photo of Your Big Horse or...?

Track Photographer Jason Halstead may have just what you're looking for

Apprentice jockey and 2023 Sovereign Award nominee Fraser Aebly receives congrats from trainer Elton Dickey after winning the 5th race aboard Shootin Money on July 18 at ASD. (Jason Halstead / Assiniboia 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 😊

Wager on Top Tracks

Watch and wager on world class racing from the comfort of your private carrel in our race book located on the 2nd level of the grandstand. The race book is open daily at 10 a.m. Can't make it to the track? Visit one of our partner locations listed below or wager at Click here for a list of tracks to wager on during the month of February.

Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream Park (Feb. 23) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $357,877

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

Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (2nd floor plaza)

Join the "I Won Bigg" wagering group this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The wagering group is open to everyone. This week they will be playing Tampa and Santa Anita. $20 per share. If you would like more information please email Larry.

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

Sixty years ago, on July 25, 1964, Already Dia set a new track record for the 1-mile distance at ASD. Dia’s time of 1:37 3/5 bettered the previous mark of Big Berne (1:38) by two fifths of a second. Who knew? Jockey Dick Armstrong rode both of these horses when these records were set. Dia’s mark would stand until July 7, 1972, when Gladiatore II chopped almost two seconds off the record with a time of 1:35 4/5. All told, Dick’s association with the one mile track record spanned almost 14 years! (Bob Barnes Photo)

Timberlake Should Say 'Bye Bye Bye' to Rebel Field

Champagne Stakes winner faces 12 rivals on Saturday at Oaklawn Park

Timberlake, shown winning the Champagne Stakes last October, is Ellis Starr's top pick to win the Rebel Stakes Feb. 24 as he returns from a 3 1/2-month layoff. (Joe Labozzetta/NYRA)

The $1.25 million Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park drew a big field of 13 vying for glory on the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, and it sets the stage for the Arkansas Derby (G1) on March 30. Leading the field is Timberlake, who won the Champagne Stakes (G1) last October before a fourth of nine effort in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) presented by TAA. More from America's Best Racing here.

White Abarrio, National Treasure Set for Saudi Cup

American horses will face some of the world's best in $20 million race

Pegasus World Cup (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner National Treasure gallops over the King Abdulaziz track in Saudi Arabia, prepping for the Saudi Cup (G1). (Saudi Cup photo)

Two of America’s top horses, White Abarrio and National Treasure, take on some of the world’s best this Saturday in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) at King Abdulaziz racecourse in Saudi Arabia. White Abarrio will be making his first start since flying to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita last November. National Treasure just won the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. More from the Canadian Thoroughbred here.

Saudi Derby Could Be a Stepping Stone Toward Louisville

Japan's Forever Young could follow in the footsteps of Derma Sotogake

Forever Young trains February 20 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Neville Hopwood)

The $1.5 million Saudi Derby (G3) is not only a feature on the undercard of the world's richest race, the Feb. 24 Saudi Cup (G1), but also a key piece of the puzzle that eventually will come together in the starting gate for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs May 4. More from the Blood Horse here.

Kentucky Derby Rankings by Steve Haskin

The Road to the Derby, February 20, 2024 – Week 5

"With confusion comes expansion, so we are going with a top 20 this week to include the two Japanese horses of interest, as it may be time to start taking these horses seriously. But we should learn more after the Saudi Derby. As for the American runners, it is pretty much still a mess with more guesswork than anything." ~ Steve Haskin. Read more at here.

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

This week Bob has the story of a race-loving veteran who was usually found sitting alone on a bench in front of the grandstand – thinking of... Not in this year though, because of COVID restrictions. But Bob does a Star Trek mind-meld to find out what his thoughts would have been. Click here to find out what they were. (From August 21, 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
  • Doki-Doki - Saturday, February 24 - more info
  • Frost - Featuring Steve Aoki - Saturday, March 9 - more info
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, March 16 - more info
  • Easter Brunch - Sunday, March 31 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected].
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