Big William Leech was quick to acknowledge Potin On The Wagon, the runaway winner of the second of three Sport of Speed Trials for two-year-olds Sunday, had the breeding to be a winner.
By Paint Your Wagon out of Poutnlori by Okey Dokey Dale and bred in Alberta by Poutn On The Wagon’s owner Pete Schoeler, was the only one of the 19 trial entrants to hit the 17 second mark over the 350 yards, at 17.990.
“He’s a nice colt, probably the fastest two-year-old I’ve ever had, he just loves to run,” said William back at his barn complex. “Pete’s pretty proud of him as well.
“With his win today (Sunday), come the final weekend (Oct. 15-16) I have him in the Futurity, Go Jessin Beaver in the Derby for Jim (Plume) and Charlie (Weaselhead) and their Mal’s First Down in the Aged Classic.
“Jockey Ricardo Moreno has been doing a good job riding these horses and galloping them for us as well.”
Leech will also have Toughie in a big $300,000 two-year-old race at the end of the month in Los Alamitos. Trainers Janice Sather and Rick Aldoff will also have their three-year-olds and up in their age-class races as well at Los Alamitos.
The eight qualifiers for the Sport of Speed Derby at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, with the horse, time and trainer, are: 1. Poutin On the Wagon, 17.990, William Leech; 2. Ivory Lady League, 18.157, Kevin Oberholtzer; 3. Eye on Desirio, 18.251, Allen Goodsell; 4. Munckin, 18.317, Buckey Stockwell; 5. Arrow Of Time, 18.341, Tom Kenway; 6. Dashin By All, 18,378, Tom Kenway; 7. Stupendous 109, 18.412, Buckey Stockwell; 8.Reds On Fire, 18.528, Randy Cunningham.
Winning or losing time trials doesn’t matter, it’s whether you place in the top eight to qualify for the Finals, that’s the key.
Donalda Cochrane and her fine horse ER Café won the All Canadian Quarter Horse Derby Trials Saturday. But .553 seconds slower was Les Adams’ Royal Red Corona who also qualified for the Finals the Oct. 15-16 weekend, finishing in eighth spot.
“”We qualified for the Finals and anything can happen once you’re in the Finals,” said Jim Plume, who along with Charlie Weaselhead owns the fifth-place finisher, Go Jessin Beaver. While Go Jessin Beaver wasn’t first its owners were still smiling.
Charlie Weaselhead, Chief of the Kainai Nation, watched as Randy Cunningham’s Separate Jess won the second heat, just ahead of Beaver, trained by William Leech.
“We knew with our finish we had qualified for the Finals, the last weekend of the Fall meet,” the Chief stated. “Also, the same weekend, we have Mal’s First Down running in the Aged Classic, so it will be a big weekend for us.”
The eight qualifiers for the All Canadian Derby Finals, with the horse, time, and trainer, are: 1. ER Café, 19.905, Donalda Cochrane; 2. She’s Gotta Reason, 19.954, Laurie Ferguson; 3. Separate Jess, 20.188, Randy Cunningham; 4. Fly By Cruise, 20.197, Tom Kenway; 5. Go Jessin Beaver, 20.249, William Leech; 6. Gone Fast, 20.280, Stan Webb; 7. HRH Tres Royale, 20.292, Buckey Stockwell; 8. Royal Red Corona, 20.458, Les Adams.
Trainers William Leech, Randy Cunningham, Buckey Stockwell, and Tom Kenway all have horses in the Futurity and the Derby.
While the focus Saturday was onthe time trials for the Derby, Debbie Cunnington of Kalispell, Montana was concentrating on the seventh race. So nervous before the race she couldn’t decide whether to stay inside and watch the race on TV or go out into the grandstand. Finally, as the horses were loading she rushed outside and saw Dwight Anthony Lewis guide her My Gal Slew over the five and a half furlongs, virtually from start to finish, for Slew’s first win since last October.
Cunnington was so excited she was watery-eyed for the winner’s circle photo.
My Gal Slew is by Mariner out of Came To Play by Personable Joe and was bred in Montana by John Sneesby and can trace her bloodlines back to Seattle Slew.
“My filly was just awesome,” said the excited Cunnington.
Friday night belonged to Neville Stephenson.
The Jamaican jockey, with six wins this Fall, jumped into third place in the jockey standings with five straight wins Friday night, two of them for trainer Kurt Bensmiller, of chuckwagon fame.
Neville got into riding back in Jamaica when “my aunt’s husband was around horses, and he introduced me to them. I was around horses quite a lot, from cleaning stalls to galloping them each morning; this was well before I became a race rider.”
Saturday, Neville picked up another win aboard Nolan Little Bear’s Fun Things, moving his total for the Fall to 12 wins.
The E-Race Cancer Memorial for Melanie Solberg was held Sunday and was taken by Jill West’s Sharis Report, with Blandford Stewart aboard. Melanie died in July of 2015 of Breast cancer. Married to former jokey Howie Solberg, she went into training with her Wyr 2 Wyr Stables, based in Shelby, Montana. She had three children, Tami, Curt and Jessi.
Sunday’s mile and 3/16 Starter Allowance, 3rd Leg, saw Larris Allen pull off a great stretch run aboard Pacific Tsunami to beat out the red-hot Regroup and the rest of the six-horse field.
Leading rider, with five days of racing left, is Trevor Simpson with 17 wins followed by Jose Rocha at 15. William Leech has 10 wins to lead the trainers and Lyle Magnuson is next at nine.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE... Freddy Fuentes stopped Neville Stephenson from making it six straight Friday night with a close win in the sixth race... Trainer-owner Jackie Smith was hospitalized after a horse kicked her in the mid-section, resulting in the removal of her spleen, back home in Washington state... husband Lyle Magnuson says she’s out of hospital and on the road to recovery... Trainer-owner Debbie Cunnington presented a home-made saskatoon-berry pie to Lou and Doug King, popular vendors under the RMTC grandstand... A former saddle bronc champion now a trainer, Marlon Draper, watched Freddy Fuentes ride his Gallant Knight to victory in the final race Saturday... It was like a Grade 9 re-union for me Saturday with Mel Groves and Garth Hughes in attendance (That’s 60 years ago folks!). . . Dozens of horsemen sporting pink T-shirts with E-Race Cancer printed on the back... In attendance Sunday was 80-year-old Pete Bruised Head, who still team ropes and breakaway ropes... Thanksgiving Dinner, Oct. 10, at Bullys will be a special affair for $12.95, including pumpkin pie... Chuckwagon drivers Buddy and Kurt Bensmiller and Dennis Dorchester all winning races this past weekend... Next races at the RMTC will be a four-day affair, Oct. 7-10.