It was appropriate that age and experience kicked off the opening of the Rocky Mountain Turf Club Spring Meet. In this, the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada, a jockey chasing his 50th birthday this year and in his 35th year of riding, won the opening thoroughbred race of the spring.
Scott Sterr, aboard Totally Suave, by Schramsberg out of Pages Lane by Chester House, and bred at Bar None Ranches – and owned by the same ranch near Okotoks, Alberta – took the opening five furlong run of the meet. Totally Suave is trained by former rider Randy Cunningham and gave Sterr and opportunity for somewhat of a comeback after a wineless Spring Meet last year.
“I got the monkey off my back early, now lookout!” exclaimed Sterr. “Randy and I had a good summer up in Grande Prairie — we go way back together. “I’m slim and trim this Spring and ready to ride.”
As many years as Sterr has been ridingis just a splash in the bucket when you consider sanctioned racing in Lethbridge itself dates back to the early 1890s, when special trains would be laid-on to carry race fans to the track, in an area across from the present Lethbridge jail.
As pleasing to fans as Scott’s initial victory of 2017 was, the first win of the RMTC Spring Meet went to Freddy Fuentes aboard Pink Power in a 350-yard Quarter Horse sprint, the first race on the card. Race fans received a nice payout after the first race with a $66.10 Quinella, with Pink Power combined with Eye On Desirio. Pink Power is owned and trained by Donalda Cochrane.
Scott almost closed out the day with a win but Juan Apango beat him out on Deputy Lass, owned and trained by Gary Marks with his Arkansas-bred Deputy Lass by Badge of Silver out of Hastenby by Terby. Scott was next in line aboard Goodhumorgirl owned by Jody Jackson and trained by James Christianson. The winning pair paid an Exactor of $103.50.
While Scott Sterr exorcized his demons the weekend belonged to Jose O. Rocha with three wins. Rocha, the leading ACTRA rider for 2016, came through with four victories opening weekend at the RMTC. His first came Saturday on Just Zoom Will Do, owned and trained by Harold Burbank. His second was also Saturday astride Megatron Ruler by Roman Ruler out of Argyle Pink by Sea Mesa and trained and owned by Jacqueline Smith.
Then Sunday Rocha opened the card with a winning ride aboard Alan Clapton’s CR Crusin For Chics in a 350-yard AQHA Maiden Challenge Trial. Rocha’s fourth win of the 14-race weekend came aboard Heber. The winner is owned by Rollingson Racing Stable and Laurie Ferguson, who also trains Heber. Heber was bred in Arizona and is by Mirage, our of Cave Springs by In Excess.
Behind the starting gate...
Veteran Stan Marks is hospitalized but is said to be doing well... Monty Kelman thoroughly enjoyed his initial Rocky Mountain Turf Club day on Saturday... He even won a race, with a place wager... There were ladies with red and then white hats throughout the grounds Saturday, in the Lethbridge wind... Larris Allen, Martin Ortiz and Branford Stewart all had two wins each opening weekend... The Preakness runs off this May 20, on the RMTC screens , direct from Baltimore... The Metis Nation, Local 2003, were part of the race scene Saturday... Next racing will be this coming Saturday, Sunday and Monday - post time 1:10 p.m.