Dec 232015

Twas the Day after Christmas

And all through town

Horse players are rushing

To get their bets down.

Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out any quicker than the Christmas spirit.

Kin Hubbard

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

FiveThirtyEight – Lewis and Djupe – Where To Say ‘Merry Christmas’ vs. ‘Happy Holidays’

The great ones have a language all their own. We can guess at what made American Pharoah the racehorse of this generation, but we probably would be wrong. At that particular moment, late on a warm August afternoon, I only could feel how privileged I was to be allowed inside such holy ropes. At that moment, it was just me and the champ, breathing the same dusty air, savoring the quiet, and wondering what might come next.

DRF – Hovdey: Nine memorable moments and one quiet hour

The man who has no imagination has no wings.
Muhammad Ali

Edmonton Journal – Elford – Occupational, health issues plague Santa this Christmas

In case you were wandering how Santa can get all those presents under all those trees in just one night he has a secret helper.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

LA Times – Peltz – Have gift cards become the modern day sweater? An expert weighs in

Horse Race Insider – Pricci – Campo To Discuss Harlan’s Holiday Incident with Gulfstream Stewards

TwinSpires Blog – Hanson – Beau Purple and other retrospectives in a year of blogging

TDN – Ferguson To Focus On Godolphin

Bloodhorse – Mitchell – Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin, Darley to Merge

Racing Post – Kerr – Boxing Day: what’s on TV and who to watch

Horse Racing Insider – Pricci – Tis the Season…to Open Santa Anita

Bloodhorse – Johnson – Will Shippers Dominate Opening Day at Santa Anita?

DRF -Illman: Santa Anita pick four for Saturday, Dec. 26

DRF – Hovdey: Santa Anita builds, hoping people will come

DRF – Privman – Santa Anita: Peering into the crystal ball

DRF – Free – New voices usher in Santa Anita winter-spring meet

Celebrate the Grand Slam Champion!

December 26 – Boxing Day

Opening Day Trackside Package



The Guest Chef Series in the Chandelier Room

Bloodhorse – Bloodhorse’s 12 Days of Christmas

TwinSpires Blog – Pugh – Is Another American Pharoah Too Much to Ask for Christmas?

National Post – Don Braid: Wildrose leader wants Santa to bring him a pause in the dismantling of Alberta

Phil has a question:

Is a new CEO and Chair at Horse Racing Alberta too much to ask for Christmas.

Lie, Lie, Lie


Perhaps in future horses should be considered as teams, including the trainer, owner, work rider and jockey, so that equine champions don’t find themselves at a disadvantage. Or perhaps awards should be clearer in their criteria, or simply put it to the public vote.

But that’s all for the future. We’re unlikely to find another American Pharoah for a while, so let’s take a moment to honour him for what he was. A horse, yes. But also the most accomplished athlete in America in 2015.

Racing Post – Walker – Pharoah class on the track and loved off it

Southern Living – The Grumpy Gardener – Bender – Five Truly Awful Garden Gifts

TwinSpires Blog – Caldwell – Woodchopper, Pago Hop on tap for Fair Grounds’ post-Christmas card

NY Times – The Upshot – Carroll – Drink to Your Health (in Moderation), the Science Says


Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – The brilliant filly they called The Queen of Queens

Bloodhorse – Johnson – Bill Hartack: A Kentucky Derby Master

TDN – Thornton – Winningest Honor Twice as Nice for Sullivan


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fair Grounds
Pick 5 Jackpot    $3,146.00
Gulfstream Park
Pick 6 Jackpot    $8,187.00
Super High Five Jackpot    $271,214.00
Pick 6 Jackpot    $6,923.00
Laurel Park
Pick 6 Jackpot    $91,337.00
Sunland Park
Super High Five     $2,067.00
Pick 6 Jackpot    $820.00
Tampa Bay Downs
Super High Five     $3,129.00
Turf Paradise
Pick 6    $856.00
Turfway Park
Super High Five     $3,804.00

Guaranteed Pools

Equibase Carryovers and Guaranteed Pools

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – Haigh – The American and the extraordinary Twitter initiative hitting Hong Kong

Bloodhorse – American Pharoah’s Crown Top Sports Story

Lousville Courier-Journal – Lintner – Pharoah finalist for AP’s top male athlete

Southern Living Barnes – Barnes – Sister Schubert’s Tips for Making the Holidays Easy

Phil’s Tip for Making the Holidays Easy:

Just don’t get too tipsy.

Christmas in Dixie

LA Times – Viribila – Why you should be making glühwein, Austria’s warm, spiced wine for the holidays

DRF – Grening – $100,000 races for juveniles offered in spring

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – Sexton – The world’s 10 most expensive stallions for 2016

TDN – Finley – Velazquez Headed to Australia to Ride, Promote Animal Kingdom

This Weekend’s Stakes

Dec 26
Damon Runyon stake $100,000 2yo State/Prov 8.32f Dirt
Gravesend Handicap (Listed) $100,000 3&up 6f Dirt
Fair Grounds
Pago Hop stake $75,000 3yo Fillies abt 8f Turf
Pan Zareta stake $60,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 6f Turf
Woodchopper stake $75,000 3yo abt 8f Turf
Gulfstream Park
La Prevoyante Handicap GIII $100,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 12f Turf
Sugar Swirl Stake GIII $100,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 6f Dirt
W.L. McKnight Handicap GIII $100,000 3&up 12f Turf
Japan Racing Association
Hanshin Cup GII $1,173,000 3&up 7f Turf
Laurel Park
Dave’s Friend stake $100,000 3&up 6f Dirt
Jennings handicap $50,000 3&up State/Prov 8f Dirt
Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship $50,000 2yo Fillies State/Prov 7f Dirt
Maryland Juvenile Futurity $50,000 2yo State/Prov 7f Dirt
Thirty-Eight Go Go stake $100,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 8f Dirt
Santa Anita Park
Daytona Stake GIII $100,000 3&up abt 6.5f Turf
La Brea Stake GI $300,000 3yo Fillies 7f Dirt
Malibu Stake GI $300,000 3yo 7f Dirt
Mathis Brothers Mile GII $200,000 3yo 8f Turf
Sunland Park
La Senora stake $85,000 2yo Fillies State/Prov 6f Dirt
Turf Paradise
Arizona Juvenile Fillies stake $35,000 2yo Fillies 6.5f Dirt
Lost in the Fog Juvenile stake $35,000 2yo 6.5f Dirt

Dec 27
East View stake $100,000 2yo Fillies State/Prov 8.32f Dirt
New York Stallion Series (Great White Way Div.) $150,000 2yo Colts & Geldings R 6f Dirt
Gulfstream Park
Windley Key stake $75,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 5f Turf
Japan Racing Association
Arima Kinen GI $4,530,000 3&up 12.5f Turf
Hopeful Stake GII $1,173,000 2yo 10f Turf
Portland Meadows
Bill Wineberg stake $15,000 2yo Colts & Geldings State/Prov 6f Dirt
Janet Wineberg stake $15,000 2yo Fillies State/Prov 6f Dirt
Lethal Grande Oregon Sprint Championship $12,000 3&up State/Prov 6f Dirt
Oregon Distaff Starter handicap $7,500 3&up Fillies & Mares State/Prov 6f Dirt
Oregon Fall Starter handicap $7,500 3&up State/Prov 6f Dirt
Oregon Hers stake $12,000 3yo Fillies State/Prov 8f Dirt
Oregon His stake $12,000 3yo Colts & Geldings State/Prov 8.5f Dirt
Santa Anita Park
Blue Norther Stake (Listed) $75,000 2yo Fillies 8f Turf
Robert J. Frankel Stake GIII $100,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 9f Turf

Dec 30
Santa Anita Park
Kalookan Queen Stake (Listed) $75,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 6.5f Dirt

Dec 31
Alex M. Robb stake $100,000 3&up State/Prov 8.5f Dirt
Fair Grounds
Louisiana Futurity $100,000 2yo Colts & Geldings State/Prov 6f Dirt
Louisiana Futurity $100,000 2yo Fillies State/Prov 6f Dirt
Santa Anita Park
Eddie Logan Stake (Listed) $75,000 2yo 8f Turf

Jan 1
Lost in the Fog stake $125,000 3yo 6f Dirt

Jan 2
Jerome Stake GIII $200,000 3yo 8.32f Dirt
Fair Grounds
Bonapaw stake $60,000 4&up abt 5.5f Turf
Gulfstream Park
Dania Beach Stake GIII $100,000 3yo 7.5f Turf
Ginger Brew Stake (Listed) $100,000 3yo Fillies 7.5f Turf
Hutcheson Stake GIII $100,000 3yo 6f Dirt
Mucho Macho Man Stake (Listed) $100,000 3yo 8f Dirt
Old Hat Stake GIII $100,000 3yo Fillies 6f Dirt
Laurel Park
Native Dancer stake $75,000 4&up 8.5f Dirt
Nellie Morse stake $75,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 8.5f Dirt
What a Summer stake $75,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 6f Dirt
Santa Anita Park
Midnight Lute Stake GIII $100,000 4&up 6.5f Dirt
San Gabriel Stake GII $200,000 4&up 9f Turf
Santa Ynez Stake GII $200,000 3yo Fillies 6.5f Dirt
Sunland Park
Bold Ego handicap $65,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 5.5f Dirt
Turfway Park
Wintergreen stake $50,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 8f AW

Jan 3
Santa Anita Park
Monrovia Stake GII $200,000 4&up Fillies & Mares abt 6.5f Turf

Jan 5
Portland Meadows
Crater Lake handicap $9,000 4&up 8f Dirt
Crescent Lake handicap $9,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 8f Dirt
East Lake handicap $9,000 3yo 8f Dirt
Mary Goldblatt Starter handicap $9,000 3&up Fillies & Mares 6f Dirt
McFadden Starter handicap $9,000 3&up 8f Dirt

Jan 8
Delta Downs
By the Light $75,000 3yo Fillies 7f Dirt

Jan 9
Interborough Stake (Listed) $100,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 6f Dirt
Delta Downs
Big Drama $75,000 3yo 7f Dirt
Gulfstream Park
Fort Lauderdale Stake GII $200,000 4&up 8.5f Turf
Hal’s Hope Stake GIII $150,000 4&up 8f Dirt
Marshua’s River Stake GIII $150,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 8.5f Turf
Santa Anita Park
San Pasqual Stake GII $200,000 4&up 8.5f Dirt
Sham Stake GIII $100,000 3yo 8f Dirt
Tampa Bay Downs
Turf Dash (Listed) $100,000 4&up 5f Turf

January 10

Ladies Handicap (Listed) $100,000 4&up Fillies & Mares 8.32f Dirt
Sunland Park
Pepsi Cola stake $85,000 3yo State/Prov 6f Dirt

Supreme Court of Canada – R. v. Riesberry, 2015 SCC 65

Bloodhorse – Novak – Stormy Lucy, Rusty Slipper Meet in Frankel

Swift Thoroughbreds and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Goldy Espony will have to overcome a start from the outside post in a field of 12  in the $100,000 La Prevoyante Handicap GIIIT on Boxing Day Saturday, Dec. 26 over the Gulfstream Park turf as she’ll again try to lull the other eleven to sleep with pedantic fractions leaving them too much to do too late.

Bloodhorse – Goldy Espony Starts Outside in La Prevoyante

TwinSpires Blog – Scully – Da Big Hoss, Goldy Espony & Stonetastic highlight Gulfstream stakes

Lady and the Track – Laughter – Mor Spirit Hopes for More on Road to Kentucky Derby

Louisville Courier-Journal – Baffert’s Mor Spirit new co-Derby favorite

TDN – Pedigree Insights: Mor Spirit

2016 Road to the Kentucky Derby

The 142nd running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) will be run Saturday, May 7, 2016, and for the fourth consecutive year, a tiered point system in select races will determine who qualifies to America’s greatest race.
Race    Track    Date    Points
Jerome Aqueduct Jan 2, 2016 10-4-2-1
Sham Santa Anita Park Jan 9, 2016 10-4-2-1
Lecomte Fair Grounds Jan 16, 2016 10-4-2-1
Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park Jan 18, 2016 10-4-2-1
Holy Bull Gulfstream Park Jan 30, 2016 10-4-2-1
Withers Aqueduct Jan 30, 2016 10-4-2-1
Robert B. Lewis Santa Anita Park Feb 6, 2016 10-4-2-1
El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate Fields Feb 13, 2016 10-4-2-1
Southwest Oaklawn Park Feb 15, 2016 10-4-2-1
Risen Star Fair Grounds Feb 20, 2016 50-20-10-5
Fountain of Youth Gulfstream Park Feb 27, 2016 50-20-10-5
Gotham Aqueduct Mar 5, 2016 50-20-10-5
Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs Mar 12, 2016 50-20-10-5
San Felipe Santa Anita Park Mar 12, 2016 50-20-10-5
Rebel Oaklawn Park Mar 19, 2016 50-20-10-5
Sunland Derby Sunland Park Mar 20, 2016 50-20-10-5
Spiral Turfway Park Mar 26, 2016 50-20-10-5
UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse Mar 26, 2016 100-40-20-10
Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds Mar 26, 2016 100-40-20-10
Florida Derby Gulfstream Park Apr 2, 2016 100-40-20-10
Wood Memorial Aqueduct Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Blue Grass Keeneland Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita Park Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park Apr 16, 2016 100-40-20-10
Lexington Keeneland Apr 16, 2016 10-4-2-1

ESPN – West – And let the party go on

ESPN – Ehalt – Bob Baffert merely reloads

TwinSpires Blog – Five Kentucky Derby Horses DeJulio Is Watching

ESPN – Cronley – A good year-end read

TwinSpires Blog – Mucciolo – Awesome Gent, Adventist, Clipthecouponannie & Katniss the Victor all post nice 2-year-old maiden wins at Aqueduct

2016 Road to the Kentucky Oaks

Race    Track    Date      Points
Santa Ynez Santa Anita Park Jan 2, 2016 10-4-2-1
Silverbulletday Fair Grounds Jan 16, 2016 10-4-2-1
Busanda Aqueduct Jan 23, 2016 10-4-2-1
Forward Gal Gulfstream Park Jan 30, 2016 10-4-2-1
Martha Washington Oaklawn Park Feb 6, 2016 10-4-2-1
Las Virgenes Santa Anita Park Feb 6, 2016 10-4-2-1
Rachel Alexandra Fair Grounds Feb 20, 2016 50-20-10-5
UAE Oaks Meydan Racecourse Feb 25, 2016 50-20-10-5
Busher Aqueduct Feb 27, 2016 50-20-10-5
Davona Dale Gulfstream Park Feb 27, 2016 50-20-10-5
Santa Ysabel Santa Anita Park Mar 5, 2016 50-20-10-5
Honeybee Oaklawn Park Mar 12, 2016 50-20-10-5
Sunland Park Oaks Sunland Park Mar 20, 2016 50-20-10-5
Fair Grounds Oaks Fair Grounds Mar 26, 2016 100-40-20-10
Bourbonette Oaks Turfway Park Apr 2, 2016 50-20-10-5
Gulfstream Park Oaks Gulfstream Park Apr 2, 2016 100-40-20-10
Santa Anita Oaks Santa Anita Park Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Gazelle Aqueduct Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Ashland Keeneland Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Fantasy Oaklawn Park Apr 9, 2016 100-40-20-10
Beaumont Keeneland Apr 17, 2016 10-4-2-1

TwinSpires Blog – Handicapping Insights – Powell – Borell picks up a major new client; Runhappy & Cavorting favored as Santa Anita opens with pair of Grade 1 stakes 

Louisville Courier-Journal – Lintner – Borell lands training job at Gulfstream Park

TDN – Borell to Train for Drawing Away Stable

Borell saddled Runhappy to a track-record victory in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint – only for the little-known trainer to be sacked the morning after the race by the horse’s mercurial owner, furniture magnate James ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale.

Racing Post – Godfrey – Runhappy back with controversial new trainer

Bloodhorse – Hammonds – McLaughlin, Godolphin Take Two for Malibu

TDN – Rising Stars Take on Runhappy in Malibu

TDN – Lord Nelson Works for Malibu

Lady and the Track – Macatangay – Marking Can Upset Runhappy in Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita

Bloodhorse – Hammonds – Runhappy Center Stage for Malibu

TwinSpires Blog – Hanson – Champion-in-waiting Runhappy tops seven-horse Malibu

DRF – Free – Runhappy the boss of Malibu Stakes

From the Derby Bar and Grill Newsletter





Hastings News by Greg Douglas

ESPN – Finley – Refusing to lose

LA Times – Sondheimer – Jockey Flavien Prat prepares to return as Santa Anita meeting begins

TDN – Om Eyes Mathis Brothers Mile

Bloodhorse – Mitchell – Om Looks to Rebound in Mathis Brothers Mile

DRF – Privman – Mister Brightside gets another shot at Om

Racing Post – Dietz – Noseda looks on as Mister Brightside returns

Mr. Brightside

Lady and the Track – Macatangay – Hot City Girl a Theft Candidate in La Brea at Santa Anita

TDN – Cavorting Headlines La Brea

DRF – Privman – Cavorting makes final Eclipse push

Bloodhorse – Shulman – Cavorting Heads La Brea Cast


TwinSpires – Caldwell – Sudden Surprise highlights Damon Runyon; Fall Highweight top three square off in Gravesend

Bloodhorse – Novak – Palace Heads Gravesend for Curtain Call

TDN – Finley – Slots Money Gone, But Woodbine Fights Back

Racing Post – Scargill – British racing reveals price to become an ABP

TDN – Street Sense Filly Debuts a Winner at Gulfstream

INDIAN CHARLIE WORLDWIDE - We Never Let the Truth Get In The Way Of A Good Story


Bloodhorse – Kaigun Stretches Out Again in McKnight

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – Shea – Call to owners: do your racehorse a big favor – retire him while he’s still sound


January 15 – 17 2016

Sheraton Red Deer

3310 – 50 Avenue
Red Deer, Alberta, T4N 3X9 Canada

TDN – Uncle Mo New York-bred Filly Sharp in Big A Debut

Bloodhorse – Mitchell – Kentucky Trainer Flint Fined, Suspended

Bloodhorse – Lady Shipman to Kiaran McLaughlin

Giving horseplayers a voice.

TwinSpires Blog – Old Friends announces arrival of Belmont winner Touch Gold

With A Little Help From My Friends

The Guardian – Ross – ‘Don’t call me grandma’: jockey Chantal Sutherland readies for return to saddle

Bloodhorse – Sutherland-Kruse Reunites With Agent

Little Old Lady From Pasedena

TDN – Ultimate Accolade For McCoy

NOTE:  This is your TWO WEEK Insider.  The next issue is Jan. 7.
(Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 9 AM – 2 AM)
When Assiniboia Downs experimented last year with limited hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Club West Gaming Lounge was packed and the kitchen sold out of turkey.  So this year, the hours have been extended to regular hours and there will be plenty of turkey.  And plenty of other perks, too:
$12 turkey dinner

• Pick up your DRF and racing programs for Boxing Day

• Sign up for Saturday’s Player’s Choice horseplayer tourney
to share in $850 in prize money (Go to the VLT cage)
• Get a lucky streak going on 140 VLTs
• Enjoy complementary hot apple cider and snacks
• Get into the draw in the Club West Gaming Lounge to Spin
the Wheel for Christmas cash!
• Enjoy a $12 turkey dinner (roast turkey, stuffing, mashed
potatoes, gravy, veggies, cranberry sauce, dinner roll and butter)
Holiday gifts available at the VLT cage:
• Gorgeous 2016-2017 ASD calendars ($15)
Alyssa Selman sterling silver horseshoe necklace ($45)
• ASD gift card with whatever amount you wish to put on the card
• Get tickets for the New Year’s Eve casual buffet in the Clubhouse ($15.75 plus
taxes/gratuities = $20.15)

Bullet briefs . . .
Cash back continues for your wagers!
• Great new Insider feature:  Marshall answers your HPI questions
• The Great Announcer War begins: Who will fill Denman’s shoes?
• Must-see videos of race-calls by Denman wannabes
• Choose between two specials on New Year’s Eve.  See Do the Downs
• Wanna wear shorts to January’s tropical-touch prime rib buffets?  Do it!
DENMAN WANNABES:  Former Oaklawn announcer (and hilarious imitator) Frank Mirahmadi (left) will call Santa Anita’s races from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3 and alternate with Golden Gate’s Michael Wrona (middle) who will call Santa’s races from Jan. 7 to 24.  Meanwhile, the track is conducting a “worldwide search.”
Race-callers fight for Denman’s job at the Great Race Place
Trevor Denman
Will only call at Del Mar

How do you replace a racing legend?  That’s the task facing Santa Anita following Trevor Denman’s sudden announcement that he will no longer call the races at Santa Anita so he can spend more time at his Minnesota ranch and travel.  He will only call races at Del Mar.

So the Great Announcer War is on — although I’m not sure why there has to be one. After all, one of the newly-appointed part-time announcers, Frank Mirahmadi, who left Oaklawn Park, does a great imitation of Trevor Denman which you can listen to below.  Santa Anita shouldn’t even have said Denman was leaving and simply had Mirahmadi imitate his voice when he calls Santa’s races from Boxing Day to Jan. 3.  I’ll bet few listeners would have known the difference.
Mirahmadi, in fact, will alternate with Golden Gate caller Michael Wrona who will call the races at Santa from Jan. 7 to 24 as the track conducts what it calls “a worldwide search” for a full-time caller.  Expect to hear other announcers auditioning during the race meet.
Wrona and Mirahmadi have been around race tracks forever.  If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you even might have heard Wrona’s call of a fictitious race when Kramer overheard a race tip on a program entitled “The Subway.” Mirahmadi was the Santa Anita race caller in the Seabiscuit movie.
Wrona called races at Hollywood Park, Bay Meadows, Arlington Park, Fair Grounds, Turf Paradise, Lone Star Park and Retama Park.  Mirahmadi was the voice of Hialeah Park, Louisiana Downs, Ruidoso Downs and Turf Paradise before working at Oaklawn Park since 2011.
Watch Frank Mirahmadi’s hilarious race-call imitating celebrity voices here.
Watch Michael Wrona’s call of Hollywood Park’s very last race here.
*       *       *
FREE $5,000 SHOWVIVOR CONTEST BEGINS BOXING DAY:  Be the last person standing in Santa Anita’s online ShowVivor contest and share in $5,000 U.S.  Sign up now here to be ready to make your Boxing Day picks. Remember, ASD has the rare distinction of having a local player win a similar contest at Hollywood Park about eight years ago.


Click for schedule
Have you booked New Year’s Eve Gala yet?
FABulous New Year’s Eve Gala from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. which includes eight lavish food
stations, dancing and light show by NuFrequency, door prizes, party favours and a chance
to win $1,000, all hosted by FAB 94.3’s Alix Michaels.  Tickets $49.95.  Phone 204-885-3330.
Casual buffet in the Clubhouse from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Cabbage rolls, honey mesquite
chicken, beef bourgignon, lemon-baked basa, various salads, chef’s cake and dainties
and more — all for just $15.75 ($20.15 including taxes and gratuity). Tickets available at the
VLT cage.
A touch of the tropics each Thursday

THURSDAY BUFFETS TO FEATURE  A TROPICAL TOUCH:  You already are enjoying the best prime rib money can buy (certified Angus) and pasta station at Thursday prime rib buffets.  For January, add a touch of the tropics — dishes with a tropical flair to warm up your January experience. (Example:  Pineapple chicken.)  No one will mind if you get into the mood by wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.  All you can eat, as usual, for $26.95.  Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28.  Book your tropical flight of fancy now at 204-885-3330.

Official stations of horse racing.
Click to listen

Woodbine’s new
Tapeta track

GOOD WEATHER AIDS TRACK-SWITCH:  With temperatures in the double digits, Woodbine is able to move quickly in removing Polytrack and installing Tapeta, a different synthetic mix.  The Toronto track has become the only track to buck the trend of returning to dirt after experimenting with a synthetic surface.  CEO Jim Lawson sees it as the “next generation of racing surfaces.”  Woodbine wants to have an all-weather surface that will withstand early spring and late fall rain. It will be particularly interesting to see how Polytrack horses perform on Tapeta.  Every synthetic surface is different.

A “BIG” MOVE TO TAMPA:  With Aqueduct’s inner track continuing to bamboozle handicappers (last Saturday’s pick-4 paid $25,000 and nobody had the pick-6), Saturday’s “I won big” group will now turn its attention to the pick-5 in the last five races at Tampa Bay.  That will be this Boxing Day Saturday and the following Saturday as well.  Group D & E can combine their handicapping smarts to tackle the second-last race.  See you this Saturday at 10:30 a.m.!
Where are they now?
by Rob MacLennan
Winnipeg Futurity winner to race on Boxing Day at Turf Paradise

Watch for Don Schnell’s Heber in the Lost in the Fog juvenile stakes, the eighth race at Turf Paradise Saturday. It’s a tough wide-open field and the Winnipeg Futurilty winner has been assigned a morning line of 15/1.  Also in the field, at 5/1, is Ready Intaglio who made a couple starts at ASD for trainer Eurico Martens.

Also at the desert track, Jared Brown had a nice win with Believe Too running in the colours of Tom Payne. The recently-claimed gelding upset a first level allowance field and just hung on to get the victory. He paid $17.80 to win. Brown also notched on-the-board finishes with Two Bucks to Win, Destiny Knocks and Kathy’s Lil Secret. This weekend, look for Jack No, Scene Queen and Tom Kha.
At Fair Grounds, Jerry Gourneau’s talented gelding Witt Six missed the board but ran a very creditable race against a top-notch field including 2014 Preakness runner-up Ride on Curlin. At Delta Downs Gourneau had more luck recently with a pair of third-place finishes.
YOU NAMED ME WHAT?   D’bunnyphone.  This name for a 2-year-old chestnut filly racing at Aqueduct strikes a reader as curious.  Until one looks at her father’s name.  It’s D’Funnybone — and the “f” and “b” were merely switched.  Ha-ha-ha.  Or, for this time of year, ho-ho-ho. It’s a classic.
with Marshall Posner
Q: How do I check the Pool Totals to see if there are any good betting opportunities–such as “bridgejumper” races where there’s an inordinate amount of money in the show pool?
A: Select the POOL TOTALS tab to the right of the RACE ENTRIES tab directly above the list of horses here (outlined in red). Now you can see all money in Win, Place and Show pools and percentage of the pool each represents. If you scroll down further on the Pool Totals page, you’ll also have access to all of the Exotic Pool Totals for that race.  Purpose: You can see how much money was bet on a pick-4 or superfecta you played.
BONUS TIP – If you haven’t taken the multimedia tour of the new HPIbet system, you can access it anytime in the text links at the bottom of every page. Under the SUPPORT menu, just select the Take The Tour option.  See illustration here.
Send your questions for Marshall to

HISTORY ON THE HOOF: The best of Bob
Did you know . . .   the late Eileen Blake (wife of deceased Downs’ patriarch Bert Blake) won the first running of the Powder Puff Derby in 1960 although her horse, Present Day, froze in the post parade almost necessitating a scratch?  Read “Women who rocked the Powder Puff Derby” here.

Bloodhorse – Dogwood Trail Geared Up for Sugar Swirl

Horse Race Insider – Pricci – Expect Many Hotly Contested Eclipse Categories

Bloodhorse – LaMarra – All Eyes on Showalter in Laurel Park Stakes

Bloodhorse – No Silent Aims to Make Some Noise in Daytona

Sydney Morning Herald – Bartley – and Nicholson – Trainers Mark Kavanagh, Danny O’Brien guilty of cobalt charges

Racing Post – Scargill – Moody faces bankruptcy as hearing adjourned

TwinSpires Blog -Top 10 “Nail Biters” of 2015 in American racing

Ledger Independent – The Latest: Woman bombed in bed feels for man arrested

DRF – Privman – Year in review: American Pharoah becomes the one

National Post – Rex Murphy: So why aren’t we celebrating saving the planet?

NY Times – OpEd – Weiner – The Year of the Toilet

National Post – Tucker – Sugar – We know sugar is bad for us, now it’s time to do something about it


Brown Sugar

National Post – The Telegraph – Donnelly – Fat but fit worse than slim and lazy: Study demolishes myth that exercise makes up for obesity, scientists say

NY Times – Schonburn and Barbaro – N.B.A. Lends Its Name and Its Stars to Campaign Against Gun Violence

NY Times – Sandomir – Ruling Could Help Washington Redskins in Trademark Case

FiveThirtyEight – Hickey – Enter The Christmas Special Thunderdome

The Globe and Mail – Sufrin – Anything but turkey: 26 ways to shake up your holiday dinner

FiveThirtyEight – Libresco – All The Ways Christmas Tries To Kill You

NY Times – The Upshot – Darlin – Why It Feels as if Christmas Began at Halloween

Phil’s Drink and a Flick

Blue Angel

Chain Of Fools

Roses are reddish
Violets are bluish
If it weren’t for Christmas
We’d all be Jewish.
Benny Hill

The Globe and Mail – Berger – I’m Jewish, but I love the warmth of Christmas

Phil’s Christmas Riddle:

What would call it if the entertainers Brynner and Burnett played a trivia game and finished with identical scores.

Yul Tied Carol.

Enjoy a few of Phil’s favourite Carols, Christmas and other songs.


O Holy Night

Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minnesota

Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want – and their kids pay for it.
Richard Lamm

Solitary Man

So This Is Christmas

Cold As Christmas

What Christmas is All About

Christmas Medley


The Sound Of Winter

O Holy Night

Fairytale of New York

Little Drummer Boy

Orange Crush

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
Dylan Thomas

God Rest ye Merry gentlemen

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

Blue Christmas

Red Hill Mining Town

O Holy Night

Blue Christmas

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.

Bernard Manning

Mohammed’s Radio

Driving Home For Christmas

You Think You’re a Man

What Child Is This

Tiny Dancer

Silent Night

Christmas gift suggestions:  To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold

The Little Drummer Boy

Do They Know it’s Christmas

Losing My religion

Thank God it’s Christmas

Rebel, Rebel

Little Drummer Boy

Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live.
Dennis Miller


O Holy Night

Can I Go Nowhere with you

I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Man On The Moon

Last Christmas

Sometime Around Midnight

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas

Christmas Day

You’re My best Friend

Santa Claus has the right idea – visit people only once a year.
Victor Borge

All I Want For Christmas

Down at The Water’s End


It’s All Over Now

Christmas Tribute

Wicked Game

O Holy Night

Pretty paper

Father Christmas

Tiny Dancer

Ho Ho Ho

Stand By Me

Rain On Christmas

Phil M Stockmen

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