The Inside Track | Volume 2 | Nov. 18, 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?
  • Christmas Special
  • Winning a Million Dollars
  • A Snapshot in Time
  • Find the Speed in 5 Seconds
  • Photo of The Week
  • NFL Week 11 with TravyFootball
  • A Look Back at Question Mark Farm
Do the Downs!
Upcoming Tournaments
  • Saturday, Nov. 27 - $1,750
  • Saturday, Dec. 18 - $1,750

NEXT ONLINE PLAYER’S CHOICE TOURNEY GOES NOV. 27: We’re one week from the next Player’s Choice handicapping tournament -- on Saturday, Nov. 27. Bet $2 win/place/show on 10 horses at any track(s) until 10 p.m. Win up to $1,000. More details here. See who's on the lead for Handicapper of the Year here.
ASD Sunday Markets
  • Sunday, Nov. 28
  • Sunday, Dec. 5
  • Sunday, Dec. 12
  • Sunday, Dec. 19

Assiniboia Downs is excited to announce our new Sunday markets starting Nov. 28. Featuring 60 local vendors. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. FREE admission and parking!
Christmas Special
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Chef's Vegetables
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Dinner Roll & Butter
  • $21.95 per person

Reservations are required. Call 204-885-3330.
The plated special will be served Dec. 22 & 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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 light show. Tickets $75. Call 204-885-3330.

This event is a sell-out every year so get your tickets today!
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Winning a Million Dollars
The Cost of Winning the Breeders' Cup Pick 6
Space Blues (#3) and jockey William Buick power to victory in the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile Presented by PDJF -- Casey Phillips / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos
We’re not quite done with the 2021 Breeders’ Cup yet. We need to know why we didn’t win the Breeders' Cup Pick 6, which paid $954,639 for a $2 ticket.

If you won it, you’re probably soaking up the sun somewhere or on your way to the moon. If not, let’s try to snatch a few nuggets of knowledge from this windfall bet.

The Breeders’ Cup Pick 6 provides an excellent series of races to learn from. If your horses didn't win, you need to know why. You also have to dig into the past performances of the winners to figure out why they won.

Discovering new angles is one of the most enjoyable parts of the game, it adds to your handicapping arsenal, and it keeps your mind sharp! But really... we just want to know how we could have won a million dollars.

So let’s get started!

Pick 6 Leg 1 -- Race 7
The Filly & Mare Turf was won by third choice Loves Only You (4-1). Many handicappers thought the multiple Grade 1 winner was the class of the race, based on the fact that she had finished third beaten only a half-length in the Dubai Sheema Classic-G1 by Mishriff, one of the best turf horses in the world. Loves Only You proved she truly was the class of the race, thanks to a brilliant late ride. Favourite War Like Goddess was wide and moved too early but Loves Only You might have won regardless. Leaning towards European-based runners on the turf, Loves Only You should have been a solid key in the Pick 6. One horse.

Pick 6 Leg 2 -- Race 8
Favourite Jackie’s Warrior figured to get pressure from at least one horse in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, most likely Special Reserve (10-1), and that’s exactly what happened. Japanese shipper Matera Sky also showed early speed between horses to keep the pace hot early. Jackie’s Warrior had proven he could duel with good horses and still win, but an early battle would still compromise his chances. Our first choice to upset if a duel developed was tough California campaigner Dr. Schivel (4-1), with Aloha West (11-1) as a longshot if there was a complete pace meltdown. There was. Aloha West won a photo over Dr. Schivel. You probably needed those two horses plus Jackie's Warrior on your Pick 6 ticket. Three horses.

Pick 6 Leg 3 -- Race 9
Favourite Space Blues looked solid based on numerous angles. European shippers generally have a class edge on their North American counterparts in the Breeders’ Cup and Space Blues was a multiple Grade 1 winner in Europe with a top jockey/trainer combo. Second choice Mo Forza (3-1) got sandwiched early, but Space Blues was never going to lose this race. Definite key. One horse.

Pick 6 Leg 4 -- Race 10
We found the Distaff to be the toughest race on the card to figure out. When morning-line favourite Letruska received a negative review in Mike Welsh’s DRF Clocker Report (3:36 of video) for October 30, any thought of keying her in the Pick 6 vanished. Additionally, Letruska is a horse that wins on the lead, and she was going to be facing tougher speed horses and more of them in the Breeders’ Cup. There was almost certain to be a duel or at least a fast pace that would set the race up for a closer.

We ended up going with closers Malathaat (7/2) and Dunbar Road (12-1), and just missed when Dunbar Road found minor trouble and Japanese-based Marche Lorraine parlayed a perfect trip into a 50-1 upset. In hindsight, Malathaat was moving up in class slightly and facing the toughest field of her life, but still ran well to finish third. You had to have both Malathaat and Dunbar Road on your tickets, but how could you use Japanese-based Marche Lorraine, who had no graded stakes wins in Japan and zero North American experience?

We did catch a brief positive mention of Marche Lorraine on a DRF Clocker Report, but that was it. You could have used her in the late Pick 3 based on the angle that her trainer had won the Filly & Mare Turf three races earlier, but you wouldn’t have had that information before the Pick 6. This probably should have been an ALL race on Pick 6 tickets. Eleven horses.

Pick 6 Leg 5 -- Race 11
Tarnawa was the favourite in the Breeders’ Cup Turf for good reason. She won this race the year before and was shipping in off a narrow loss in the toughest turf race in the world, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (watch her move on the rail late). The only knock against Tarnawa was the fact that she had two tough races in a row against the best in Europe over good and heavy turf. The majority thought Tarnawa was a solid key in the Pick 6. A few thought she might be a tired horse. It turned out to be the latter.

Tarnawa failed to fire, but European-based runners ran 1-2-3, with Yibir (8-1) taking over from Broome (9-1) in the stretch and Teona (10-1) rallying for third. Looking back, the right play in this race would have been to use most if not all of the European-based runners in the Pick 6. Six horses.

Pick 6 Leg 6 -- Race 12
If you were a lone speed player you would have been all over winner Knicks Go (3-1) in the Classic, but knowing that the only way to beat him was to head him early, we thought Medina Spirit would at least give it a shot. That would have set the race up for Essential Quality or Hot Rod Charlie. Instead, Medina Spirit rated from the gate and the race was over. Hot Rod Charlie was the only horse to take a run at the winner in the stretch and Medina Spirit galloped by tired horses late to finish second. We thought there were two ways to play the Classic in the Pick 6. Key Knicks Go or take the four major contenders including Knicks Go, Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality and Medina Spirit. One horse or four horses.

What We Learned
European-based runners are becoming even more dominant in the Breeders' Cup turf races and Japan-based horses, trainers and jockeys should be analyzed in more detail. Japanese trainer Yoshito Yahagi knows how to prepare a horse to win, and Japanese jockey Yuga Kawada's winning late move on Loves Only You was exceptional. Breeders’ Cup DRF Clocker Reports must be listened to. They pointed out both the cracks in Letruska’s armour and the positive vibes from Marche Lorraine.

Winning a Million Dollars. How much?
Based on our after-the-fact handicapping and the horses mentioned above, we probably should have partnered with a few of our handicapper friends and played one of the following $2 Pick 6 tickets:

1 x 3 x 1 x 11 x 6 x 1 = 198 x $2 = $396
1 x 3 x 1 x 11 x 6 x 4 = 792 x $2 = $1,584
$2 Pick 6 Payoff: $954,639

A million dollars. Well, almost a million. For $396. We'll take that.

Next year!
A Snapshot in Time
Now that's a photo! Fair Knackered (#10), second from right, wins a six-horse photo at ASD on August 7, 1987. Count 'em. Five noses on the wire and another horse a half-length back on the rail! Photo submitted by ASD Track Historian Bob Gates.
Capper's Corner
Find the Speed in 5 Seconds
Know How the Race Will Run
Ce Ce (outside) makes her winning move to take on duelers Gamine (inside) and Bella Sofia in the 2021 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint -- Carlos Calo / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos
Speed Wins in Horse Racing, and it’s Profitable

In a study that included 1,671,627 horses, those able to secure the lead at the first call (first quarter-mile in sprints, first half-mile in routes) won 28.4% of the time with an average return on investment (ROI) of $3.12. This was without any other handicapping factors considered.

The ROI of first-call leaders in lower class races was better than in higher class races and increased with field size. Additionally, while the win percentage on first-call leaders declined as odds rose, the ROI increased steadily. For horses in the odds range of 15-1 to 60-1 the ROI was over $4.00.

Lone speed horses are the best bets in racing, and if you can consistently predict the first-call leader in a race, particularly in cheaper claiming races with large fields, you have a very good chance of making a profit at the races.
How to Find the Speed of a Race in 5 Seconds

The quickest and easiest way to find the speed in any race is to quickly scan the running lines looking for horses with “1s” in their racing lines, as indicated in Gamine’s past performance lines above. Even with no handicapping skills or knowledge of horse racing, you can scan an entire race and spot the horses with 1s in their lines in less than five seconds.

If there is only one horse with 1s in their racing lines, you’ve probably found the speed of the race. If there is more than one horse in the race with 1s in their lines, you can try to determine if one is faster than the other using the pace figures found in the Equibase program and/or the first-call fractions found in both the Equibase program and the Daily Racing Form.

Regardless of pace figures and early fractions, horses are creatures of habit, they do not conform to numbers. Once they’ve established a preferred running style, they tend to keep it for life.

Horses in every race fit mainly into one of three running-style categories: Early Pace Runners (E), Pressers (P) and Stalkers (S). E horses, as identified mainly by 1s and 2s in their running lines, like to be on or close to the lead in their races. P horses, as identified by 3s, 4s and 5s in their running lines, like to sit 1-4 lengths off the early pace. S horses, as identified by 6s and up in their running lines, are generally found in the rear third of the field in the early part their races, and don’t make their move until the stretch.

How Will the Race be Run?

When analyzing a race, you have to try to predict how it will be run. The reason you must identify the speed of the race, or the E horse(s), is the fact that they figure into every possible pace scenario and ALWAYS have an influence on the outcome of a race.

If there is one E horse that figures to open up early, they almost always have a chance to win, unless they are a proven quitter. If there are other E horses in the race that are relegated to chasing a dominant lone E horse, they will be unable to engage in their preferred running style and will likely not run their best race. If there are two evenly matched E horses in a race, they may or may not duel, but if there are three or more E horses in a race, a pace battle almost always ensues, which sets the race up for pressers and closers.

The simplest way to visualize a race is to take a red pen and mark up the past performances. For E horses (horses with 1s and 2s dominant in their running lines), draw a straight line with an arrow on it over their running lines. For P horses, draw a semi curved line with an arrow on it over their running lines. For stalkers, draw an upside-down horseshoe with an arrow over their running lines.
Analyzing the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint

As an example of the red pen markup technique, take a look at this PDF of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Both Gamine and Bella Sofia are clearly E horses and are labelled with straight arrows. We thought Bella Sofia might be slightly faster, so we labelled her E1, but because she was outside her older rival Gamine (E2), we thought these two would be about even on pace.

Edgeway likes to sit close to the pace, press and pounce, so she was labelled a P horse and given the curved arrow. Ce Ce’s running lines indicated she could win with either a pressing or a stalking trip, so we labelled her a P/S for presser/stalker and also gave her a curved arrow. Proud Emma was in the back half of the field in her previous races and was moving into tougher company for this race. Definitely a stalker in this field, she was given an S and an upside-down horseshoe.

The race ran exactly as predicted by the arrows. Watch it here. Gamine and Bella Sofia dueled on the lead, Edgeway pressed and pounced from the rail, and Ce Ce sat just back of those three and rallied by in the stretch to win. Proud Emma was outclassed and was never a factor.

You might be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to visualize a race using the red pen markup technique, and at how accurate it can be. You’ll also know if a horse was prevented from utilizing their preferred running style, allowing you to give them additional consideration the next time they run.

You’ll understand the races better and you’ll be armed with uncommon information that will give you an edge on your competition.

You might even be the lone speed.
Photo of the Week
Hanna Dilts cuddles with Debutante Stakes winner Bankin On Betty. Tom Johnston photo.
Do horses run faster on love? Bankin On Betty does.

Shown here with Mike Nault’s assistant trainer Hanna Dilts, Bankin On Betty won the Debutante Stakes at Assiniboia Downs in 2021 and was a perfect 2-for-2 on the season for her owners, True North Thoroughbreds.

The 2-year-old Manitoba-bred filly by Vengeful Wildcat was bred by Dr. Betty Hughes, conditioned by Nault and groomed and exercised by Dilts, who described Bankin On Betty as all business on the track, but a kind soul when not at work.

“When you put the tack on her and swing your leg over, she can be a feisty fireball, but she’s also sensitive. When you take the time to sit with her and listen to her, she’s pretty trusting. If she likes you, she likes you.”

Dilts has played a large part in the success of the Nault runners according to the trainer, who won at a 29% clip this past summer. “The horses just love her,” said Nault.

The 35-year-old Dilts is originally from Ratheim, Germany. A lifetime of work around the world with Icelandic horses brought her to Canada in 2009 and she decided to stay. On October 16, 2021, Dilts was excited and thankful to officially become a Canadian citizen, and she knows she made the right decision.

Dilts has spent the past two years working as an assistant to Nault and really enjoying her time with horses like Bankin On Betty. “I got lucky,” said Dilts.

“She picked me to be her best friend.”

Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to [email protected].
Tarnawa and jockey Colin Keane in the post parade before the 2021 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf -- Shamela Hanley / Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders' Cup Photos / CSM
In The News
"She's been wonderful" -- Trainer Weld praises Tarnawa after mare is retired

Tarnawa, the classy 5-year-old mare who won the 2020 Breeders' Cup Turf, but who failed to fire in this year's rendition after a grueling second-place run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, has been retired from racing. The chestnut daughter of French Derby winner Shamardal won nine of her 18 career races while competing at the highest levels and earned $4,508,464. “She's right up there with the very best I've ever trained," trainer Dermot Weld told the Racing Post on Thursday.

More on Tarnawa's retirement from the Paulick Report here and the Racing Post here.
Single bettor wins over $71,500 in Woodbine's Jackpot Hi-5  

On Thursday, Nov. 11, a simulcast bettor at Arlington Park hit the Jackpot Hi-5 at Woodbine and won $71,530. The Jackpot Hi-5 requires bettors to pick the top five finishers in a race in exact order and the jackpot is only paid out in full when there is a single winning ticket, which this was. The winning bettor keyed one horse to win and another to finish fourth on their 20-cent ticket, which was purchased for $57.60. Not a bad profit on the day!

Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022
  • Nov. 27 - Kentucky Jockey Club - Churchill
  • 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
  • Gulfstream - Jackpot Pick 6 - $405,484
  • Del Mar - Jackpot Pick 6 - $245,885
  • Churchill Downs - Jackpot Pick 6 - $93,808
  • Parx Racing - Jackpot Pick 5 - $71,700
  • Lone Star - Super Hi 5 Jackpot - $36,024
  • See all carryovers here
"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 play the early Pick 5 at Woodbine and possibly the early Pick 5 at Del Mar. Always lively, friendly and informative. Learn more about handicapping, find some winners, pick some winners! Everyone welcome!
NFL Week 11 with TravyFootball
Panthers over WFT (Sunday noon): Cam Newton let everyone in Carolina know "I'M BACK!” accounting for two touchdowns last week. It felt like I was watching the old MVP Cam Newton with his classic running into the end zone from the one-yard line. As if that storyline wasn’t good enough on its own, Newton will be facing his former head coach, Ron Rivera, when the Washington Football Team comes to town. Rivera was the Panthers coach from 2011 to 2019, and he and Cam made a trip to the Super Bowl in 2016, but came up short against the Denver Broncos. Asked by a reporter earlier this week if he had a “secret” file of plays just in case he ever had to face off against Newton, Rivera replied, “Yes actually, I do, to be honest with you."
Bills over Colts (Sunday afternoon): After a disappointing loss to the Jaguars a couple weeks ago, the Bills stormed back with a vengeance against the Jets (not Winnipeg, New York) last week. I guess when you face the worst ranked defense in the league, scoring 45 points isn’t exactly tough to do. The Colts are coming off an unimpressive win against the Jaguars last week, and the up-and-down play of QB Carson Wentz continued, leaving people wondering if he is this team's franchise QB or not. Lucky for him, and Colts fans (like ASD’s very own Derek Corbel), Jonathan Taylor is emerging as the NFL’s next great running back. Taylor has racked up 821 yards through 10 games, putting him second in the league for rushing. When Wentz is having a bad game, he can turn around and handoff to number 28 in the backfield to get the job done. 
Chiefs over Cowboys (Sunday afternoon): The Chiefs -- after nine weeks of mediocre football -- finally looked like the Chiefs of old against the Raiders last Sunday night. The big three of Patrick Mahomes (406 yards, 5 TDs), Travis Kelce (119 receiving yards), and Tyreek Hill (2 receiving touchdowns) all found whatever mojo they were missing, and just in time to make the matchup against the Cowboys one of the more exciting games of the year. Dallas didn’t even have to break a sweat against the Falcons last week. That game was pretty much over after the first quarter. 
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

Mr. Question, Mrs. Question, Question Me Not, Never A Question, No Questions Asked, Skip The Question and What A Question. This week I look back at the Question Mark Farm Stable and the man who built it from the ground up. Click here to read about the father and son team behind Question Mark Farm. (Original story published August 2021).
A young Wayne Elias with Question Mark Farm's Charming Blue
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected]