"These final two days have capped off a great Spring Meet for the Rocky Mountain Turf Club," said RMTC CEO Max Gibb after Sunday's seventh race.
"You know, we had almost perfect weather the entire Spring - except for a bit of a sloppy track Sunday - and we had great crowds virtually every weekend. This Spring just underlines how popular horse racing is here in southern Alberta. Along with the weather we had almost perfect racing, thanks to our Race Manager Dot Stein and Racing Secretary Jim Ralph, with uncountable photo finishes and often half the field still vying for the lead coming down the stretch.
"I've said it many times, but it is a fact, the RMTC, besides bringing great entertainment value impacts the southern Alberta economic scene to the tune of about $40 million a year and that includes our strong economic influence on the Lethbridge Exhibition. As well, our employment figures move into the four figure range, with a wide variety of employable people, from bartenders, games people and waitresses in Bullys, to our accountants, pari-mutuel people, horse owners, trainers, grooms and on and on.
"Its great to be part of a sport like this . . . especially when we won a few races this year, including the sixth race Sunday, backed up by that great trainer, Lyle Magnuson." With the highly-touted Fillies and Mares Stake Sunday, covering seven furlongs with a $9,550 purse, smiles were the order of the day. Angelle Carter's Smile Lee bested the field with Ramiro Sanchez Castillo in the irons aboard the ACTRA-award winning horse.
And smiles on Angelle look better than even on Max Gibb and Lyle Magnuson.
Smile Lee is by Zuppardo's Future out of Sunny Treasure by Jalaajel and was bred in Alberta by owner Raymond Nikiforuk.
In the fifth race Sunday Angelle Carter racked up her eighth training victory of 2015. She was delighted as Ramiro Sanchez Castillo drove Angelle's Everydayimhustlin in on top spot to pay 33.20, 10.60 and 4.20. A $2 Exactor paid $615, a great way to start the summer.
Sunday, Larris Allen wrapped up the riding title with three wins. First, in the third race, Allen brought in Raymond trainer/owner Jim Depew's Pure Vertical, for its first win of the meet.
Larris came right back in the fourth race giving owner/trainer Barbara Norlander and JR The Creeps its first win of the Spring.
Then, for the Rocky Mountain Turf Club Stables and trainer Lyle Magnuson, Allen brought in Italian By Marriage, also pleasing owner Max Gibb.
Saturday belonged to Pete Dubois as his two entries for the day thundered home in the lead.
Pete, a former leading trainer at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, was having a slow Spring until Saturday, led by Sassy Silver in the second race.
Bred by its owner, Bar None Ranches, Sassy Silver is by the great Saint Stephen out of Silver Seven by Silver Deputy.
Running at Northlands in May and June, Sassy wasn't having much success until teamed with Blandford Stewart Saturday in the six Furlong run.
In the seventh race, Pete and wife Erna's classy gelding Dubla Gold, a Kentucky bred, finally came through after four starts in tough races. He was ridden by Tyler Walker, who had Dubla second at Lethbridge in May in his only other time aboard the once unbeatable eight-year-old.
In the fourth race a former RMTC leading jockey, Terri Landaker looked to Tyler Walker to bring her Master's Bluff home on top. It was Terri's fourth shot with Master's Bluff this Spring, after two fourths and a second last time out.
Laurina Bugeaud, riding husband Mike's Singleinthelast, was single in first on the opening race of the card. Laurina followed up with her second win in a row on the California-bred filly.
Sunday, Kaylan McCarty recorded a win the final day of the Spring Meet, riding octogenarian Phil Wiest's Top Kat Miss home on top in the first to pay 30.40, 7.30 and 3.80. It was Top Kat's second win of the meet.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE . . . Misinformation can go a long way to causing a problem . . . Canada Day, the $2 Triactor for the seventh race at Millarville was reported as paying $24,550 for the winning $2 Triactor of 5 (Real Heart) - 7 (Dr. Mackle) - and 1 (Scarpitta) . . . That's right, $24,550! Well, it turned out to be a case of a straying decimal. It was still a nice piece of change, but the payout was really $245.50 . . . Well, no matter what the weather next Canada Day, you can bet Lyle Magnuson and Larris Allen, four-time winners Wednesday, and the guy with the $245.50 in his jeans will be back for 20 16 . . . A pair of riders, missing during the early part of the Spring Meet, Blandford Stewart and Tyler Walker, recorded three and two wins respectively . . . Horses, trainers and riders now head to Grande Prairie for the Community circuit's Summer Meet . . . Next racing in Lethbridge is September 5-7 as the Fall Meet gets under way.