The Downs Unveils 60th Anniversary Logo

WINNIPEG, MB. – On June 10, 2017, when the horses go to the post for Race 1, it will be, officially, the 60th Anniversary of Assiniboia Downs.

On June 10, 1958, the Downs opened at its current location and replaced Polo Park Racetrack which was closed to make way for the Polo Park Shopping Centre.

It’s been a spectacular run for the Downs and this year’s celebration will last from post time on the opening day of racing until the final race crosses the finish line in September.

A special 60th-anniversary logo has been designed to celebrate the season and Downs CEO Darren Dunn and Assiniboia Downs Historian Bob Gates, looked back on the most memorable race days in the 60-year history of our local track.


“There have been so many highlights over the 60 years of racing,” Dunn said. “We have so many to choose from and this is so tough, but here are a few of the most notable…”

  • September 9, 1978: Overskate wins the 30th running of the Manitoba Derby and sets a Canadian record for the distance of 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 3/5 and winning the race by 13 ½ lengths
  • April 23, 1982: Northern Spike with jockey Jack Wash aboard sets a track and world record by covering four furlongs in 0.44 2/5 seconds.
  • May 4, 1984: Jockey Vicki Warhol makes ASD history when she wins five races on the opening day card – the most ever in a single day by a female jockey.
  • September 5, 1988: Legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker visits and rides in races at Assiniboia Downs, one of ultimately two visits he makes to the Downs.
  • September 25, 2009: Tom Gardipy Jr. from Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and Larren Delorme from Spirit Lake in North Dakota became the first indigenous horsemen to win Top Trainer and Top Jockey at any major North American thoroughbred track in the same year. Gardipy, who has won two more trainer’s titles since then, including 2016, was the Trainer’s Champion while Delorme, who has gone on to ride at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. (the Twin Cities), was the Jockey Champion. The feat has not been repeated since.
  • July 8, 2011: Female jockeys establish a record when they win seven-of-eight featured that night, three by Jocelyne Kenny, two by Janine Stianson, one by Jennifer Reid and one by Alyssa Harder.
  • September 23, 2013: Shelley Brown registers win No. 48 and secures the leading trainer title – the first woman in ASD history to do so.
  • September 21, 2014: Ardell Sayler finishes the season by capturing his record 12th leading trainer title at ASD.

Dunn and Gates selected the two greatest single-day individual performances at the Downs:

  • June 23, 1976: 22-year-old jockey Jim Sorenson establishes Downs record for most wins by a single jockey on a race card when he scores seven victories on the nine-race card that night.
  • August 1, 2016: The largest wagering total for a single day in Assiniboia Downs history is established with $1,106,999 bet – crushing the previous mark of $713,756 set on September 5, 1988.

And they also selected the most memorable day in Downs history:

  • July 15, 1970: The Queen of England visits Assiniboia Downs. The Manitoba Derby was run that day and it featured a visit from the Royal family (Queen Elizabeth, husband Prince Phillip and daughter and Olympic horse-woman Princess Anne. The Queen presented a trophy to the winner. That same trophy continues to be presented to this day and is called the Queen’s Cup.

It has been a remarkable 60 years and the Downs will celebrate all 60 this summer during the 2017 meet.

In the meantime, there is a great day of simulcast racing at the Downs right around the corner. On Feb. 20, the Downs will play host to a Louis Riel Day Special. So head out to Downs and take advantage of the following:

  1. The first 50 patrons can enjoy a free breakfast sandwich.
  2. There will be 20 free “Play It Again” draws. Toss your non-winning and cashed winning tickets into a drum for 20 draws that will pay you the face value of your tickets up to $20 each. (Be sure to swipe your Player Rewards card when betting. You must be in attendance to win.)
  3. Get five times the usual Player Rewards on all your wagers.
  4. Come to a special “I won big” workshop in which each $20 share will be bumped up by $5 – 10:30 a.m. on the Clubhouse plaza.
  5. Because it’s also President’s Day in the United States there will be great racing from major tracks in the U.S. First post is 11:15 a.m. (Saratoga harness) followed by Laurel at 11:30 a.m.
  6. The Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas will be the final 10-point Kentucky Derby qualifying race before the championship 50-pointers begin five days later with the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

-Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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