There are some horsemen who believe breeding is everything, and in the case of the top qualifier out of the Canada Quarter Horse Cup Futurity Trials Sunday, their theory would be proven hands-down.
Trained by William Leech the speediest horse in the trials, Poutn on the Wagon, has a pedigree that just won’t stop. The Pete Schoeler two-year-old is by the classy Paint Your Wagon out of the champion Poutnlori by the reliable Okey Dokey Dale, bred in Alberta by its owner.
The Sunday top placing for the Leech-trained horse gives the big man a double, as he also came through with the top-placed horse Saturday in the Derby trials, Toughie. It too has solid breeding. Toughie is by Steel Corona out of Hard Lining by Hawkish and was bred in California by Edward Allred
Tom Kenway qualified two speedsters for the Futurity, Honor The Fast Man and One Shameless Secret.
Following are the eight Futurity finalists after the three heats of trials during Sunday’s opening race card, with the horse, time, trainer and rider: 1. Poutn On The Wagon, 19.668, William Leech, Ricardo Moreno; 2. Caraves Waves, 19:909, Randy Cunningham, Trevor Simpson; 3. Cowboy 109, 20.008, Buckey Stockwell, Jose Rocha; 4. Honor The Fast Man, 20.207, Tom Kenway, Martin Ortiz; 5. Ivory Lady League, 20.240, Kevin Oberholtzer, Tyler Walker; 6. One Shameless Secret, 20.269, Tom Kenway, Martin Ortiz; 7. Bringit Like Benny, 20.283, Janice Sather, Jose Rocha; 8. Heza Riot, 20.285, Allen Goodsell, Juan Apango.
Sunday, the second day of the Fall Meet, was a chilly one and started off with an equally chilling episode as jockey Scott Sterr hit the ground hard, coming off Randy Cunningham’s Eagle Quay. Scott was taken to the Regional Hospital with chest injuries and unfortunately Eagle Quay broke its leg and was immediately put down.
Opening day of the Fall Meet, under warm blue skies with a Lethbridge breeze added in, saw Sterr come away with a pair of winners, one in the Quarter Horse Derby Trials and the other closing out the day in the seventh race.
“I think we may be all right in the Derby Final with Separate Jess, but Leech’s Toughie will be tough and Donalda’s ER Café could be right in there too. It’ll be a good race, that’s for sure,” said the 49-year-old rider, who came back this Spring after close to two years off.
“You’ve got to prove yourself again when you take that kind of time off. I had a poor Spring but I was the leading rider at Grande Prairie and I’m starting the Fall the right way.
“In the trials on Separate Jess the header did a good job and that’s a real key in these Quarter horse races.”
It is extremely doubtful Scott will ride again this Fall due to the broken sternum he suffered in his fall Sunday.
Toughie was the fastest horse in the Derby trials and is trained by William Leech.
Following are the eight Derby finalists after the three heats of trials during Saturday’s opening race card, with the horse, time, trainer and rider: 1. Toughie, 19.759, William Leech, Ricardo Moreno; 2. ER Café, 19.883, Donalda Cochrane, Martin Ortiz; 3. Separate Jess, 19.985, Randy Cunningham, Scott Sterr; 4. Shes Gotta Reason, 20.016; Laurie Ferguson, Freddy Fuentes; 5. Experimental Rocket, Allen Goodsell, Juan Apango; 6 .First Prize Sass, 20.107, Les Adams, Larris Allen; 7. Quad Seis, 20.131, Laurie Ferguson, Freddy Fuentes; 8. Go Jessin Beaver, 20.134, William, Leech, Ricardo Moreno.
One of the best races of the weekend was sixth on Sunday, when Alison Clapton’s horse, Want The Facts, trailed the other five horses in the field – by a wide margin - moving onto the backstretch. It was then rider Jose Rocha, riding in place of the injured Scott Sterr, put the pedal to the metal and Want The Facts zoomed past the entire pack, coming to the wire many lengths ahead in the five and a half furlong race.
The mile and 16th Starter Allowance 1st Leg was taken by Regroup, ridden by Jose Rocha and trained by Laurie Ferguson. It marked her fourth win of the opening weekend. Regroup is by Honor And Glory out of Buttercup’s Song by Unbridled’s Song and was bred in Kentucky.
“With its front end speed no one was going to catch Regroup,” said Barb Depew, whose husband Jim saw his P R’s Orphan, Trevor Simpson aboard, win the five furlong fifth race.
“Orphan ran two nice races in Great Falls too. Last summer we ran him in Great Falls and took him to Winnipeg this August,” said Barb. “We bought him last summer in Great Falls.”
P R’s Orphan is by Old Topper out of Bet A Slew by Slewvescent and was bred in California.
BEHIND THE STARTIING GATE…
Separate Jess, winner of the second of the three Trials Saturday saw two longtime RMTC horsemen combine for the win, with rider Scott Sterr and trainer Randy Cunningham, and Dale Zukowski’s horse... Owner Jim Plume (with Charlie Weaselhead) trying to justify his horse’s name, Go Jessin Beaver, by saying at least his granddaughter likes it... Janice Sather, who qualified a horse in the Futurity trials was also pleased her Cruisinfourabruisin will be heading for the super Bank of America Championship Challenge in Los Alimentos after qualifying in the Grande Prairie Regional Trials with a $350,000 purse... William Leech, trainer of Toughie, will also be heading to Los Alimentos to compete in the three-year-old division... Ross Brigden stopped in Saturday for the Trials after being away from the RMTC for about five years... When asked if he missed the sport he replied: “Everyone misses a fast horse”... Jim Depew’s P R’s Orphan has a strange record, winning four of its last six races and finishing sixth in the other two... There was a nice payout Sunday when the combination of 3-4-2 rang up $782.50... Doug King had the three numbers, but in the wrong order! And failed to back-up his wager .. . There were some great Thoroughbred races Saturday with photo finishes in two of the four races . . .While some people were seen in shorts Sunday Kristine Winfield, originally from Arizona and now Salt Lake City, had multiple layers of clothing and was wrapped in a blanket... Harlan Birdrattler saw his horse, Soul De Naskra with Valentino McBean aboard, run away with Sunday’s sixth and final race... the next racing in Lethbridge will be September 9-11.