ASSINIBOIA DOWNS
The Inside Track | Issue #25 | April 28, 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?
  • Huh? You Do What for a Living?
  • Four Spots Open in Groom School
  • Snapshot in Time
  • Handicapping Contest / Picks Page
  • Partner Locations
  • Lukas says "They'll be Bob's."
  • Cyberknife on the Move
  • Derby Specials / ASD Live Show
  • Horse Models Needed
  • The Best of Bob
Do the Downs!
SPIN TO WIN THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS IN THE CLUBWEST GAMING LOUNGE - Enter at the VLT cage every Thursday and Friday for a chance to spin the wheel for up to $100 cash! Draws will be made every 30 minutes starting at noon.
MONDAY MADNESS EVERY MONDAY IN MAY - 4% cash back on all eligible wagering Mondays in May. Minimum wagered $100 (each Monday). Maximum deposit $25 (each Monday). Wagers must be placed on HPI account to qualify. ($2.10 payoffs not included.
MOTHER'S DAY BRUNCH: Treat Mom to brunch on her special day! 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. Tickets are selling fast so call 204-885-3330 today!

Please note that there is no live racing on Mother's Day as racing begins Victoria Day, Monday, May 23.
WELCOME BACK SPECIAL FOR MAY

Returning for live racing after a long-awaited pandemic hiatus is our delectable all-you-can-eat Certified Angus Prime Rib buffet filled with lots of amazing options including signature classics and what's sure to be your new favourites!

To celebrate the return of our buffets and live racing, we are offering a "May Welcome Back Special" buffet price of $39.95 per person (regular $47.95).

This special price is only valid on Monday, May 23, Tuesday, May 24, Monday, May 30 & Tuesday, May 31. Reservations must be made by Friday, May 6 to take advantage of this special pricing. Call 204-885-3330 today!

  • Buffet highlights include signature certified Angus prime rib of beef carvery, seafood table featuring jumbo shrimp and salmon, fresh salads and side dishes prepared with locally grown vegetables.
  • Rotating entree selections of tender grilled chicken, crispy fried fish, sticky BBQ ribs, roasted meats and artisan sausages.
  • Dessert table features warm fresh baked pies and your choice of ice cream plus cheesecakes, tortes and our famous bourbon bacon brownie.
  • Live racing programs and tip sheets are included with your reservation.
  • See our complete schedule here.
At The Post with G.S. Thompson
Allie Brook talks to Mr. Dazzle in trainer Mike Taphorn's barn. (George Williams photo)
Huh? You Do What for a Living?
Allie Brook enjoying life as part of the starting gate crew
When Allie Brook tells people what she does for a living she gets some strange looks, and even stranger responses.

The 40-year-old from St. Rose du Lac has been working with horses for over 20 years, but she is currently the only female working as part of the local starting gate crew -- the people who climb into the gate with the thousand-pound horses and ready them for action before a race. Then the bell rings and bam!

“I love it!” said Brook.

You have to be cool under pressure to handle the pure adrenalin rush, but Brook is up to the task. She grew up on a farm with cattle and horses. Her grandparents John and Julie Brook had horses at the track with trainer Emile Corbel for 25 years. The horses came home for the winter and Brook started going to the track to work as a groom for Corbel in 2000.

The racetrack was a male-dominated world until the 1970s, when a team of exercise riders nicknamed “Charlie’s Angels” showed the guys they could exercise horses just as well as they could. And they were doing it for the best trainer in the history of California racing, Hall of Famer Charlie Whittingham.

That opened the floodgates for women in the backstretch and it wasn’t long before trainers figured out that women had an excellent rapport with horses. Female exercise riders, grooms and trainers began to increase in number, but working on the starting gate remained a male-dominated world.

Until now.

Brook replied to a Facebook post looking for people to work on the gate crew, from Assistant Director of Racing Derek Corbel, as a lark, and Corbel replied, “Why not?” Brook started working on the starting gate last year.

“I got the quiet horses at first,” said Brook. “And we progressed from there. You have to be firm but have a feeling for the horses. You need some muscle, and you can’t be scared. You can’t be a softie, but it’s more about being able to feel what they’re thinking.”

Brook’s favourite part of the job is busy mornings, which allows her to learn the personalities and behaviours of the horses she’ll be handling in the starting gate during the live races. Right now she’s biding her time working as a groom for trainer Mike Taphorn while waiting for the gate to go up, and she can’t wait to get started again. She also said she’s been very well accepted by her fellow gate crew members.

“I have more testosterone than some of them anyways,” said Brook.
Groom School Rocking with Nine Graduates!
Four Spots Left in Next Class. Apply Now.
Allie and Amy. Recent Groom School graduate Allie Lapointe enjoying a happy moment with "Amy" in trainer Steve Gaskin's barn while getting her charge all shined up. Well done Allie!
The Groom School at Assiniboia Downs is rocking! Nine new grooms have graduated from the program so far and there are four spots left in the next wave of training, which is ready to start now.

Operated by the Manitoba HBPA and sponsored by the Province of Manitoba First Jobs Fund, the Groom School offers paid on-the-job training for students between the ages of 16 and 29. The main requirement for participation in the program is a love of horses.
 
Recent graduates are already working in the barns of trainer Wendy Anderson, Mike Nault, Tiffany Husbands, Devon Gittens and Steve Gaskin.
 
Allie Lapointe, shown above, enrolled in the school because she wanted to learn more about horses. Lapointe saw the opportunity posted on the Final Furlong Facebook page and decided to give it a try. The 21-year-old Winnipegger has been taking pleasure riding lessons since the age of seven and is now enjoying her new job in the Steve Gaskin barn.

“I still ride horses when I can,” said Lapointe. “But lessons are costly.” In contrast, grooming horses makes her money. Including her time spent in the Groom School, Lapointe has now been working as a groom for 3 1/2 weeks. It’s hard work said Lapointe, but she’s enjoying it!

Applications are now being taken for the final four spots in the next class. For more information on the program please contact HBA Office Manager Shannon Dawley at (204) 226-8486 or email hpbamanitoba@mymts.net.
A Snapshot in Time
by ASD Historian Bob Gates
You’ll have to look long and hard to find a finer photo than the one we have for you this week. For this "Snapshot in Time" we go back 80 years. This is Joey and the photo was taken at old Whittier Park Racetrack circa 1940. Joey was known as the “Toytown Express” and was said to have been the most popular horse ever to run in Western Canada. 
 
Joey was a champion racehorse whose career spanned 10 years from 1932 to 1941. He was a little horse who won 22% of his races and finished in the money a whopping 58% of the time. He won the Winnipeg Futurity, the Speers Handicap and the much heralded Western Canada Handicap twice. He also finished second in the 1933 Manitoba (Derby) Stakes. 
 
Joey was a fan-favourite and drew enormous crowds whenever he raced. He made his mark on racing during the Great Depression, when people longed for a symbol of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel as it were, and Joey was it! The "Man o' War" of Western Canada passed away on August 15, 1941, a true champion. (Trevenen Family photo)
Handicapper's Corner
Handicapping Contest This Weekend
Get help with new RACING PICKS page from the Canadian Thoroughbred!
Fort Langley, a winner at Hastings Racecourse in 2021. The Canadian Thoroughbred will have picks for that track too! (Photo courtesy Hastings Racing Club Facebook)
The monthly Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament goes this Saturday, April 30 and if you need some help picking winners the Canadian Thoroughbred has a new all-Canadian RACING PICKS page. Selections will be available for Woodbine, Century Mile, Hastings Racecourse, and Assiniboia Downs. See the tab at the top of the Canadian Thoroughbred website.

Handicapper Jennifer Morrison, whose Woodbine selections have appeared in the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Daily Racing Form, and Ontario Racing, will offer selections for each race with commentary on some of the races.

Nicole Baker currently leads the local Handicapper of the Year standings with 76 points, followed by Ken Stewin (73 points), James Werry (70), Terry Pagee (68) and David Smook (68). One win can put you into the heat of the battle for the title and the year-end prize of a trip for two to Las Vegas plus a trophy or $2,500 cash.

Enter this weekend's Player's Choice Tourney by Friday, April 29, at 4 p.m. for your chance at the $1,750 prize money that's up for grabs. Click here for the entry form. See rules here.

Good Luck!
CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK TO WAGER?
Watch and wager at one of our partner locations:

  • Canad Inns Windsor Park - 1034 Elizabeth Road
  • Green Brier Inn - 1611 Main Street
  • Rookies at Central Hotel - 201 Melrose Avenue East
  • Quest Inn - 367 Ellice Avenue
  • McPhillips Station Casino - 484 McPhillips Street
  • Club Regent Casino - 1425 Regent Ave W
  • Wager 24/7 at HPIbet.com

OPENING SOON!
  • Club 3D - 3317 Portage Avenue
  • Nor-Villa Motor Hotel - 1763 Henderson Hwy
Photo of the Week
L to R: Jockeys Chavion Chow, Nirone Austin and Stanley Chadee Jr. return from the training track on a sunny Wednesday morning. We've got a great jockey colony shaping up for you this year! Chavion Chow, who led the standings here in 2015, is back after a two year absence. Welcome back Chavion!
Do you have an interesting photo you would like showcased in an upcoming newsletter? Email your photos to theinsidetrack@ASDowns.com.
In The News
Taiba defeats Messier to win the Santa Anita Derby. (Benoit Photo)
Trainer Bob Baffert has been excluded from this year's Triple Crown series by virtue of a 90-day suspension (stemming from the 2021 edition Kentucky Derby), but his longtime friend and fellow Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas believes that fact won't change horsemen's perceptions of Derby hopefuls Taiba and Messier. More from the Paulick Report here.
Top 12 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, presented by Spendthrift Farm
Cyberknife wins the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. (Coady Photography / Blood Horse)
Arkansas Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful Cyberknife has been turning heads for trainer Brad Cox, who also has Zozos and Tawny Port on the Derby trail. Cyberknife followed an April 16 workout at Churchill that Cox called "off the charts" with a perhaps even better six-furlong breeze in 1:12 1/5 on Saturday, in which he accelerated away from an outclassed workmate. More from the BloodHorse here.
Kentucky Derby - Saturday, May 7
  • First race post time at Churchill Downs is 9:30 a.m. Please note that Assiniboia Downs will open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 7.
  • 3% cash back on all eligible wagering on Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7. Minimum wagered $100. Maximum deposit $25. Wagers must be made on you HPI account. ($2.10 payoffs not included).
  • Free Churchill programs and DRF on-track and at off-track locations (Quest Inn, Canad Inns Windsor Park, Green Brier and Rookies). The free Churchill programs and DRF will be available the afternoon of Thursday, May 5.
  • Draws for Kentucky Derby glasses on-track and at the above off-track locations
  • Buy a Raz Derby lemonade at Assiniboia Downs on Saturday, May 7 for $9.95 and receive a complimentary Kentucky Derby glass (while supplies last).
Special ASD Live Kentucky Derby Show
Kirt and Stretch are back for a special Kentucky Derby ASD Live Handicapping Show on Friday, May 6th. Watch on our Youtube channel here.
Carryover Watch & Programs
  • Parx (May 2) - Jackpot Pick 5 - $402,888
  • Fonner (Apr. 29) - Jackpot Pick 5 - $197,698
  • Gulfstream (Apr. 28) - Jackpot Pick 6 - $130,033
  • See all carryovers here.
"I Won Bigg" Betting Group
Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse
The group will be playing Santa Anita and Woodbine this Saturday. Join the conversation at 10:30 a.m. on the plaza! Everyone welcome. Can't make it to the track? Email Larry for a share.
THE CALENDAR IS BACK! The 2023 Final Furlong Calendar is now in the planning stage and they are looking for 2023 Calendar Models. If you have a horse that was listed on Final Furlong, please email two photos of your FF Alumnus depicting their best life away from the track along with their racing name, year listed (if known) and what they are up to. Send the email to info@finalfurlongcanada.com All photos must be 300 dpi resolution.
The Best of Bob
by ASD Historian Bob Gates

In June 2020 I came down with a bug. The good news is it wasn't the virus. Nope, I developed nostalgic-like symptoms brought on courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press front page coverage of 2020 opening day at the Downs. How did this affect me and where does my trip down memory lane take us? I explain here.
Feedback
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