The $100,000 Manitoba Derby and a guaranteed million-dollar payoff for a single winning ticket holder on the Jackpot Pick 5 will have fans, horseplayers and lottery players alike out in droves both online and offline at Assiniboia Downs on Monday.
Post positions for the full field of 12 evenly matched runners in this year’s Derby were drawn at a virtual press conference Thursday for the 73rd running of Manitoba’s most prestigious race, and it’s the largest field we can remember since Jan Artic led 11 rivals on a merry chase to win the Derby at 50-1 on Aug. 3, 1992. And Jan did it from post 12, which is a perfect example that anything can happen when you load a dozen thousand-pound combos of courage, class, muscle and speed into the gate to chase a $100,000 carrot.
"We couldn’t be more pleased with the field in this race," said Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn. "This has shaped up to be a highly competitive race and one of the largest fields for our signature event."
There will also be a mandatory payout of the Jackpot Pick 5, which will have a minimum $1-million guaranteed payout if there is a single winner. The jackpot pool going into Monday’s program is $327,526 and the pool may exceed $1-million by the time wagering closes.
The Jackpot Pick 5 requires bettors to pick the winners of the last five races on a program and single tickets can be bet for 20-cents. Packed fields are expected for Manitoba’s biggest racing day of the year, which again, means anything can happen. If five longshots win and you’re holding the only winning ticket, you’ll have enough cash for a trip to outer space. And the Jackpot Pick 5 isn’t the only huge pool offered Monday.
The Jackpot Hi 5, which requires the selection of the first five finishers in the last race, has a carryover of $74,759 up for grabs, and the Pick 4 will also carry a $50,000 pool guarantee.
"We wanted to make this an outstanding event this year for fans and horseplayers", said Dunn. "We are thrilled to have some fans in the stands and offer what is set up to be a huge betting event with a potentially life-changing payout for someone with the $1-million guarantee."
The 8/5 morning-line favourite for this year’s Derby is Myopic, who drew post No. 3 for elite trainer Robertino Diodoro and leading Assiniboia Downs jockey Jorge Carreno. A romping winner of his most recent start at Indiana Grand Race Course on June 23 going a 1-1/16 mile, the $200,000 purchase will be trying to give Diodoro his record fourth win in the Derby while stretching out to a 1-1/8 mile.
Always among the leading trainers in North America and currently fifth in the standings with 146 victories, Diodoro won the Manitoba Derby in 2016, 2018 and 2019. In other words, not only does he know how to win — he knows how to win this race.
While the credentials of the Manitoba Derby favourite are as solid as they come, there's a reason they actually run horse races, and all 11 of his Derby rivals have a reason to be here.
From the inside post out:
1. Cozy Bear (4-1) has been testing the best at Century Mile in Alberta
2. Stone Cafe (25-1) is conditioned by leading trainer Jerry Gourneau and won and placed in stakes this winter at Lone Star Park in Texas
4. Witt’s Taquito (15-1) is also conditioned by Gourneau and was beaten only a neck in the local Derby Trial Stakes
5. Uncharacteristic (6-1) has proven himself routing at Hastings Park in Vancouver for 2002 Manitoba Derby-winning trainer Robert VanOverschot
6. Etu Babou (30-1) is a half-brother to 2009 U.A.E. Oaks runner-up Earth Living.
7. Major Shepard (20-1) has finished worse than second only once in seven lifetime starts
8. Yerosilverbiz (30-1) has speed on the stretch-out for up-and-coming trainer Devon Gittens
9. Warriors Hero (10-1) was beaten by only a neck in the Derby Trial Stakes
10. Flash of Glory (8-1) won the Derby Trial Stakes and has two additional victories at a route
11. Mister Snickers (50-1) is a half-brother to 2012 BC Derby-G3 winner Second City and is trained by hot trainer Jared Brown
12. Midnight Salute (25-1) comes off a big win and is conditioned by Shelley Brown, the only female trainer ever to lead the standings outright here in 2012.
There are all kinds of additional angles to consider, and you’ll find a number of them in the Manitoba Derby Media Kit at ASDowns.com and on the Downs Facebook page. Bettors will be looking for any edge they can find on Derby day, and the wagering pools should be massive, with players from Canada betting at HPIBet.com and punters from around the world playing through international partners and sites.
The Downs will continue to keep the wagering train rolling on the Tuesday following the Derby with a $250,000 single-winner payout guarantee on the Jackpot Pick 5, and this will be offered on every race day through the remainder of the meet on Sept. 15, or until it is won.