The final race on Sunday’s seven-race card at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club belonged to a longtime winning combination of Lyle Magnuson and Larris Allen. Allen, aboard Vernon Cat owned and trained by Magnuson, came charging down the lane to nip the field at the wire. “I believe I was in front most of the race but he hesitated on me a bit and a horse came right up to us, so I switched my stick to my other hand and we beat that horse (Majorca Sun trained by Godfrey Weaselhead) to the wire,” said Allen. Vernon Cat, bred in B.C. by Linda Lytle is by Storm Victory out of Wild Rose Country by Katahaula Country.
Norm Cuthbertson was a happy camper as his on- again off- again four-year-old gelding, Grapes of Wrath, was on again Sunday, with Larris Allen in the irons. “The win was even surprising to me,” Norm said with a laugh. “He seems to run two or three stinkers, then he surprises and comes through like this. Also, Larris is a little more aggressive than some of the other riders.” Owned by Norm and Judy Cuthbertson, the woefully named Grapes of Wrath - you recall the old b/w movie – is by Einstein out of Valpollcella by Honor and Glory and was bred in Albert by Don Gibb of Raymond. Jockey Trevor Simpson said he thought his horse “was running good but was pulling against the bit,” but Brad Mead’s Mitt made it home on top. ”He was kind of lost for a while, but there he was, running pretty good and we won,” said Simpson.
Saturday opened with three speed dashes of 350 yards to determine the top eight for the Finals in the Sport Of Speed Sale Futurity. When the dust settled Buckey Stockwell had three of the horses in the Final, while Allen Goodsell had the fastest entry, Mighty Lucy, who covered the 350 yards in16.418 seconds, with Dwight Anthony Lewis in the saddle. “I was sure Llomars Dream would qualify,” trainer/owner Buckey Stockwell stated. RMTC trainer Lyle Magnuson was in the winner’s circle picture because he broke Llomars Dream a filly by Azoom out of Dazzled by First Down Dash, bred in Alberta by Buckey.
Buckey had four horses in the trials, qualifying three. “It has been very good Spring so far,” said Buckey.
Janice Sather said, after the second 300-yard trial, “second it okay, I’ll take that, especially if it puts me where in want to be, into the Finals.” Be Playing For Keeps, second in its trial, wound up third overall However Janice’s Machete broke her heart – almost - when it finished in the ninth hole, .039 seconds out of the eighth spot held by Les Webb’s JB Uni.
The top eight horses in the Sport of Speed Sale Futurity Trials Saturday at the RMTC were: (horse, time, trainer) – 1. Mighty Lucille, 16.418, Allen Goodsell; 2. Llomars Dream, 16.483, Buckey Stockwell; 3. Be Playing For Keeps, 15.575, Janice Sather; 4. The Western Special, 16.582; 5. Shawnee Cartel, 16.639, Buckey Stockwell; 6. Shezapsparklingtimber, 12.640, Laurie Ferguson; 7. Otimberimfallininlove, 16.731, Donalda Cochrane; 8. JB Uni, 16.776, Les Webb.
For Thoroughbred people the first major race of the year was the five and a half furlong Spring Overnite Sprint, with a full field of eight horses. In the end the winner’s purse of $5,936 went to Rohan Racing Stables’ Carlot Cowboy, trained by Mankumar Mohindee. Those who enjoy night racing and took in Friday’s first show, were rewarded for their experience – provided the bet the right horse.
And the right horse was Jim Depew’s Red Wings, Jose Rocha in the irons, in the fourth race. The sun shone bright on pretty Red Wings at the pay window, to the tune of 61.10, 31.30 and 5.60. However the Exactor only paid $75 teamed with second place Irish Wine.
Jose Rocha remains is the leading Spring Meet rider with 12 wins, two more than Blandford Stewart and Larris Allen while Scott Sterr remains in the hunt with nine wins
As for the trainers, Jacqueline Smith and Laurie Ferguson both have four wins and at least eight other trainers have three wins. Should make for an exciting end to the Spring Meet.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE…
Trainer Jon Poirier took the opening race on the Friday night card with Bellamy’s Song, owned by big Dennis Dorchester... Friday, six separate jockeys shared in the winnings in the six races presented... Friday, Scott Sterr was bucked high into the air – some say 15 feet - and landed squarely on his back, but the 50-year-old was back in the irons Saturday... Speaking of returnees, Freddy Fuentes was back riding Saturday, winning the high-paying Spring Overnite Sprint aboard Carlot Cowboy, despite breaking his wrist last weekend... There were a rash of enquiries Saturday, putting one in mind of the NHL playoffs... reports are that veteran trainer, Stan Marks, 88, is out of the hospital and recovering enough to watch the races along the starting gate chute, from the comfort of his car. . . Allan Brown’s Sir Logan seemed to have surprised a lot of people in the sixth race Saturday, paying 67.00, 19.60 and 10.30 and an Exactor of $170.50 when paired with Nelly Bean from Les Webb... It didn’t take more than a race or two Saturday to get a start on a sunburn... Jim Plume bemoaning the fact he never boxed his Exactor wager and as a result it cost him $800 plus... Next racing at Whoop-Up Downs is this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 9-11, post times 6 p.m. and 1:15 p.m., respectively.