It pays to pay attention to this young man


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/06/2017 (2003 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It pays to pay attention — on your computer, mobile device or at the track — to the young man who analyzes the horses and suggests wagers before each race at Assiniboia Downs.

Rob MacLennan, 24, has been creating a bigger buzz than usual because his recent pick-4 tip (picking winners in four consecutive races) won — only thing is, nobody played it, which meant the $4,073 pool was carried over into the next day’s pick-4 pool.

Had you followed his advice on the $36 wager — either at the track or on an internet account (the Downs live-streams its entire race card) — you would have won that amount, plain and simple.

Photo by Ivan Bigg Rob MacLennan’s recent pick paid $4,073 but nobody played it.

“I’m not sure if I should feel good for picking it or bad ’cause no one listens to me,” Rob lamented.
But that’s the nature of horseplayers. Most are contrarians who pride themselves in trying to beat the specialist.

But Rob has won begrudging respect from even the most experienced players for his long-haul success. Consider this remarkable stat: If you had bet $10 to win and $10 to place (a horse to finish second) on Rob’s top pick for every single race on all 50 race days last year, you would have been ahead by $338.

If you had just bet $10 to win, your profit would have been $190. How many other tracks can boast having an analyst with those credentials?

So how does a 24-year-old get so proficient at the game? It started with dad, Keith MacLennan, an insurance company executive, who owned horses at the Downs in the 1980s. Even in Grade 3, Rob’s science fair project was analyzing the effect of post positions on where horses finish in a race.

As a commerce student at the University of Manitoba, Rob also loves numbers and statistics. And he helps out at the race office in the mornings and watches horses work out.

But if you think being around horsemen and the stables would give him an inside edge, he says the reverse is true.

“I have to work hard at disconnecting myself from everything I hear,” he said. “Second-hand information is mostly wrong.” Who knew? Rob knows — and he’s got an enviable record to prove it.

Racing continues on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday 7:15 p.m. basis at the track. Saturday is the Downs’ birthday where a gorgeous historical poster will be given away. Note also that Saturday is Belmont Stakes Day when the third leg of the Triple Crown will be run at Belmont Park in New York.
Sunday, a non-race day, is also special at the Downs: the RCMP Musical Ride and country music star Ray St. Germain will be performing. Tickets are available at

Ivan Bigg

Ivan Bigg
At the Races

Ivan Bigg is a railbird and handicapper at Assiniboia Downs.

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