Manitobans responded in person by the thousands at the tail end of the Victoria Day long weekend to see the horses leave the gate for the start of the 66th season of thoroughbred racing at Assiniboia Downs.

Jockey Jorge Carreno, the defending back-to-back champion rider, picked up where he left off by heading to the Winner’s Circe in race 1. Former leading rider Antonio Whitehall joined newcomer Damrio Bynoe with doubles in the saddle each.

Wagering on a local and international basis was met with strong enthusiasm when a total of $1,097,520 was bet on the evening. The brand new $1 Super Hi-5 began with a carryover from race 5 when there was no winning combination which led to a race 7 whopping payout of $4,523 for a $1 winning wager.

“We could not be more pleased to start our season by welcoming such a large and enthusiastic crowd to our facility,” said Darren Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of ASD. “Beautiful weather set the stage for the evening that included a family fun night for the kids and wagering and technology upgrades for our more experienced players, resulting in a very satisfied audience.”

The live race season that will see recognition of the 75th Manitoba Derby on August 7 as part of an exciting new Western Canadian Triple Crown Series continue through to September 19.

Racing resumes Tuesday night with the first race off at 7:30 p.m. (central time)