The final race of the Fall Meet, and the RMTC season, was the seven furlong “Keep On, Keepin’ On” – a saying which could apply to the wind as well. In high winds Thanksgiving Monday Neville Stephenson aboard Hotrod Hailey blew past Larris Allen on Hey Italian Lady to win the seven furlong feature.
The winning horse is trained by Henry Keshane and owned by Sid Keshane, Eugene Fleury and Jeff Langan.
As well Monday, the popular Thanksgiving Day Sprint, with a $12,500 purse for the five and a half furlong dash, was somehow as it should be – Larris Allen, aboard a Lyle Magnuson owned and trained horse, General Day.
The General is by For Really out of Galpin Appeal by Skip Trial and was bred in Oregon.
Rocky Mountain Turf Club CEO Max Gibb said the riders and the fans could have done without the wind but all things considered it was a great final weekend.
“I think we wrapped up our RMTC season in final style, with some big purses, some moving Memorial races, and some great feature races Saturday and Sunday. Also the Keep On, Keepin’ On Memorial to close out the meet in memory of all the horsemen we lost, particularly late last season and this year was real special.”
Saturday saw the annual running of the Rufus Goodstriker Memorial, remembering one of Whoop-Up Downs’ great horsemen, covering a distance of seven furlongs.
The stewards entered into the final decision, disqualifying the race winner, Lord Henry, Trevor Simpson up, and moving Dale and Brenda Johnson’s Again And Gone, Tyler Walker aboard, into first place. The move meant the Johnsons enjoyed a turkey dinner and received Goodstriker Memorial jackets and hardware.
Again And Gone is bred in Alberta by Don Gilkyson and is by Smile Again out of Loretta by No Louder.
The most colourful race Saturday was a special celebration day of Paint Racing with the pageantry and colour of First Nations people. The 400 yard Canadian Paint Championship sprint, with a purse of $10,500, was a Stakes Graded sprint for three year olds and up.
“This was a special celebration of a day of racing these colourful Paint horses,” said Gibb, himself a Paint owner. “Part of the celebration was a performance later in the card by native dancers (jingle dress, women’s fancy dance, and men’s grass dancers and Buckskin dance).”
The Paint championship was won by Splashy Mamacita, Ramiro Sanchez Castillo in the irons.
Owner/trainer Janice Sather couldn’t be more proud of her filly.
“We had her momma and grandmother too,” Janice bubbled. “This horse is just coming into her own and is out of a Stakes winner. She has double registration, as a Quarter Horse and a Paint, so she’s at home in both worlds.”
Splashy Mamacita is by Volcom out of Splashy Pizazzy by Splash Bac and was bred in Alberta by Janice and Barry Sather, a couple who give so much to Alberta racing.
Also Saturday, there was a six furlong run, the Bully’s Futurity, with a $12,400 purse, taken by Larris Allen aboard RMTC Stables Georgi Girl’s Kiss, trained by Lyle Magnuson. The winning horse is by Kissin Kris out of California Cheyenne by Deerhoud and was bred in Alberta by Pierre Esquirol.
“My trainer had three horses in this race and I just sat back and then moved my horse at the end. I just didn’t want to get into trouble or cause any trouble for the others,” Larris stated.
Owner Max Gibb said : “It was nice to have the winning horse, but I wanted our other horse, the No. 2, Mr. C’s Envy to win, and he came in fourth. But it was only his third start.”
Gibb then went through the pedigree of Mr. C’s Envy, by Schramsberg out of Wildly Ruth by Pole Position and was bred by Gibb on his Alberta Ranch. “He’s a fifth generation horse to run here at Whoop-Up Downs. Lynn Chouinard (of Bar None Ranches) saw him as a baby and wanted to buy him, and I said no,” Gibb added with a laugh.
Saturday, the Cup Classic, with a $15,100 purse, an Alberta Aged Series sprint for three year olds and upwards, over a distance of four hundred yards, was taken by Bugs Lil Magic, owned by Ralph Danard, G. Wills and S. Jeffrey. The mare is by Jess Magic, out of Paulina Bug by Shasoom and bred in Alberta by Ralph Danard. Trainer Laurie Ferguson has been relegated to crutches after a horse kicked her and smashed her pelvis.
It was somewhat fitting the Ivan Clark Memorial was won by an owner who used to be a jockey, Teagan Oulton. Teagan’s horse Hope Faith Gold, trained by husband Allen Goodsell, was ridden by Trevor Simpson, and won in memory of the former RMTC jockey.
The B.C. Bred horse is by Amaruk out of Software by Southern Halo.
There were two more key races Saturday, first the Fillies Oakes for three year old fillies, over a distance of six furlongs with a purse of $12,250, and won by She’s It Again of the RMTC Stables, trained by Lyle Magnuson and ridden by Larris Allen.
Fans also took in the Farewell Stakes, for three year olds and upwards, covering seven furlongs with a purse of $12,250. This was taken by Brudda Clyde, trained by owner Cory Rumsey and ridden by Blandford Stewart.
Brudda Clyde was bred in Virginia by Political Force out of Flying Kitty by Lord Cardson.
There was a bevy of Memorial races Sunday: the Tom and Arlene Baldrey Memorial covering five furlongs; the Peggy Cummins Memorial, also five furlongs; the five and a half furlong Wanda Halerewich Memorial; and the mile and sixteenth Edmund Wolfchild Memorial with a $7,100 purse.
The mile and 16th Wolfchild Memorial was a race to behold. Literally the entire eight-horse field was in contention at the turn for home. In the end it took a photo to give Ocanera the win, with Philip Clunis aboard the Daniel Oberholtzer gelding by Langfuhr out of Her Eminence by Cyptolearance, bred in Ontario. And to top it off, when the race was over the Wolfchild family served cake to everyone.
Native drummers led family and friends from the wagering area out to the winners circle for the Halerewich Memorial. Owner/trainer Bill Schmitt saw his Autumn Trip take the $2 bettors by surprize when the Blandford Stewart-ridden horse paid 119.90, 74.50 and 7.00. Imagine that with my favourite $5 across the board. The 4-3 (Gabe’s Pride) Exactor paid $484.20.
“Tom and Arlene (Baldry) had the Hammer and Nail business here in town and I thanked the whole family,” said winning owner Cecil Wiest after the Baldry Memorial.
“Larris (Allen) ran a super race on Dailydblnotrouble. They were seventh going into the last turn, It was a good win, our last this year. I’ll keep him now, though I told him (the horse) if he lost he might got to Fort Macleod.”
Neville Stephenson rode P R’s Orphan to victory for owner/trainer Jim Depew in the Cummins Memorial. It was a win that capped off a slow Fall season for the Raymond trainer.
Sunday, the RMTC featured the Amtote Open Derby, sponsored by Amtote, with a $14,900 added purse for three year olds covering a mile and a sixteenth. This marathon went to Valentino McBean astride Lone Warrior, trainer by Maria Stanford,
As well there was the seven furlong Dating Game for Fillies and Mares, three years old and upwards, with a $12,700 purse, won by Angelle Carter’s fine horse Smile Lee. Angele’s husband Ramiro Sanchez Castillo handled the jockey chores for the Raymond Nikiforuk-owned horse.
Sunday also included two featured Quarter Horse races, the 400 yard Horseman’s Open Division 1 sprint and the 400 yard Horseman’s Open Division 2 race.
The Division 1 sprint went to Tequila Tuesday, Juan Ramon Gonzalez aboard the Janice Sather-trained horse. This is another Sather bred horse here in Alberta by Coronas Fast Dash out of Keep On Keepin On by Dash To Chivato.
The Division 2 sprint was taken by Laurie Ferguson’s Pros Rockstar, Neville Stephenson in the irons. This is also an Alberta-Bred by Promised Class out of Streakin Cc by Streakin La Jolla.
Friday night Rusty Smith, easily recognizable by his almost fluorescent T-shirts, saw his Eighty-Eight come through with a win for jockey Kaylan McCarty – her first of the Fall Meet.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE. . . Friday saw Eighty-Eight, Dr. MacKee and Maputo combine for a $2 Triactor of $284.20 . . . the show price for both the second and third horse was a surprising $46.30 . . . The Goodstriker family presented guests with a superb turkey supper and a wide assortment of gifts . . . Debbie Cunnington paying off a $2 bet Doug King placed on her horse . . . In the ninth race Saturday Valentino McBean fell off Lucky Brew, just out of the starting gate, likely due to the wind . . . The famous Lethbridge winds were howling Sunday and Monday, causing riders, and fans, problems . . . There were a lot of families out through the weekend for the various Memorial races . . . The 6th race Sunday featured a 2-1-4 Triactor of $498.80 . . . There were some great payouts the final weekend, the last one a 1-3-5 Tri of $564 in the fifth race . . . Next racing action at the RMTC will be next May . . . Have a great Christmas!