Downs marks anniversary of giant payout


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/05/2021 (737 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As Assiniboia Downs marks the 40th anniversary of its biggest triactor payout ever, the track also has good news for players. It has increased payouts for winning tickets.

It’s done so by reducing its take-out, the percentage it takes off each wager for purse money and operational costs.

“We are so thankful for such an incredible year last season,” said ASD CEO Darren Dunn.

Supplied photo Errol Bryan recalls the day he sold a $2 triactor ticket that paid a record $40,000.

“Horseplayers made that happen and we wanted to make some changes that were going to positively benefit them.”

The chance for a big score is one of the reasons people go to the races, of course, and it was this month 40 years ago – actually May 18, 1981- that a record was set. A woman in her 30s who had never been to a racetrack left with a cheque for $40,026.60.

That’s right. Never been to a racetrack. Spent $2. Left with $40,026.60. And what a good story it was. The mutual ticket seller at the time, Errol Bryan, described it this way.

“This woman came to my window (on the third floor of the Downs) and said to me: ‘I’ve never been to the races before. What pays the most?’ and I told her ‘the triactor’ (picking three horses in the correct order).

“So she gives me three numbers and asks ‘are they good horses?’ My policy is not to judge people’s choices so, even though I thought they didn’t have a chance I just said to her ‘they have as good a chance as any’.”

The race was off and, when the dust cleared, the tote board posted the three horses she had picked – all longshots – in the order she had picked them: No. 5; Bold N Faithful; No. 10, Dr. John B; and No. 9, Truly Time.

“I knew it was going to pay big,” Bryan told At the Races. “She asked me how much and I sort of saw $4,000 as the price on the board. Then I realized I had missed a zero. It was $40,000 (the whole pool).

“She screamed and a crowd started to gather. She wanted all cash but was persuaded to take a cheque. She kissed me on the forehead, played a few more races for $2 and left. I never saw her again.”

Can you say “lucky”? One can only imagine the phone lines that lit up after that score. Bryan, a native Jamaican, has worked at the Downs since 1979 and, at 72, still works the off-track Pembina Hotel location. Nothing has matched the excitement of that day, he said.

That year, 1981, was the Downs’ longest meet with 134 race days and the $53.4 million in wagering stood as a record until last year, when players from around the world sent wagering soaring to $63.3 million.

Racing continues at the Downs Monday to Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. without spectators, but the races are as close as your phone or computer ( or MTS channels 179-180 and you can wager on them with an account set up at

Will you win a biggie?

Ivan Bigg

Ivan Bigg
At the Races

Ivan Bigg is a railbird and handicapper at Assiniboia Downs.

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