At the Rocky Mountain Turf Club this Fall Jose O. Rocha started out quickly in the race for top jockey honours, and stayed there. Rocha closed out the Fall Meet with 21 victories and topped more than $100,000 in earnings. Add this to his 30 wins in the Spring and Jose recorded 51 wins during the 2016 season, and a bushel of money.
Trevor Simpson wound up tied in second with 17 victories with fast-closing Neville Stephenson, who didn’t get his game on track until the final few weekends, including three-straight the closing Sunday. Larris Allen, had 16 victories, to go with his seven wins in the Spring for a total of 23 for the year. Right back of them comes Freddy Fuentes, with 12 wins. Combined with the Spring Meet, Freddy came through with another 22 wins, for a season-long total of 34.
One of the fast-closing riders was Martin Ortiz, whose six wins during the snow-shortened weekend and three more the final weekend gave him 13 for the Fall, ahead of Philip Clunis with eight Martin seemed to enjoy the warm Spring weather better as he recorded 13 wins. Ricardo Moreno rode 10 wins in the Spring and another 11 this Fall. After a great Spring with 20 wins Blandford Stewart dropped off to12 wins in the Fall.
While the jockeys enjoyed a good year, RMTC CEO Max Gibb felt the only blemish on the season was a cancelled day in the Fall due to snow – lots of snow. “We had a great season with some truly terrific races,” said Gibb. “You know I’ve always said the bravest, most athletic people in the world are jockeys, and we had some great riders here this year. We also had some quality trainers at the RMTC this year, and really the number standings don’t speak to the quality of some of the people not on the list. We also have acknowledge our American horsemen who have been solid supporters through the years. As good as 2016 was, we are all looking forward to the 2017 season. Sadly we lost a number of key horsemen during the year, but on the positive side we welcomed a lot of new faces to the RMTC, and I know I’m expecting another great year in 2017. I have to compliment dozens of others for supporting the RMTC through the years. I just can’t name them all, but we do appreciate their participation.”
Big William Leech, with a couple of key wins in the final weekend’s Quarter Horse features, finished 13 wins in the trainer’s derby, topping the $100,000 mark in earnings. In the Spring William recorded 16 wins, to close the entire year with 29. Veteran trainer Lyle Magnuson, with other things on his mind besides horses due to an injury to his life partner Jackie Smith, finished up with 13 victories, one short of his Spring total, for a total of 26 on the year. Laurie Ferguson had 15 wins in the Spring but slowed down come Fall with nine, which was one more than newcomer Maria Stanford with eight wins. Eric Turner guided his horses to six wins this past Fall Meet, to go with eight in the Spring for a season total of 14 in 2016.
Usually its Jockeys getting hurt – as Scott Sterr did in the Spring after two wins – but late in the Fall likeable Jacqueline Smith was kicked when she was back home in Washington and injured her arm and had her spleen removed. But she’s well into her recovery mode and should be back for the 2017 Spring Meet. Solid Jim Depew had six wins this past Fall while Dallas Douglas Birdrattler recorded six as well.
Race fans enjoyed Stan Marks and his win during theThanksgiving long weekend, and the final day of the season, after he had a great Spring season, when the 88-year-old trainer had nine wins.
The top horse on the RMTC roster had to be Poutin On The Wagon, out of the great Poutinlori. Wagon had six starts and six wins. Toughie was 3-0, another William Leech trained horse that is now down in California training for the Challenge Series down south.
- Jose Rocha on post parade Jose Rocha on post parade
- Lyle Magnuson Lyle Magnuson
- Poutn On The Wagon Poutn On The Wagon
- William Leech hot walking William Leech hot walking