Both Saturday and Sunday featured big-money quarter horse stakes races at RMTC. On Saturday it was the running of the Quarter Horse Stakes Alberta Aged Series. “ First Prize Cruise”, trained by Tom Kenway and ridden by Martin Ortiz was the victor, with, “Dean’s Double Take”, trained by Laurie Ferguson and ridden by J.B. Botello picking up second place. Also, on Saturday, the feature thoroughbred race was a six furlong allowance with Mankumar Mohindee’s “Unstoppable Colby” picked up the victory with jockey, Jose Rocha on board. Lyle Magnuson’s “Doc Radke”, ridden by Laris Allen was a close second.
Sunday’s Quarter Horse feature was another stakes race, the RMTC Bonus Challenge, and William Leech’s reliable, “Toughie”, came through once again, with Ricardo Moreno on board. Tom Kenway nearly went two-for-two in the stakes department, but had to settle for a second place finish in this one with, “Honor The Fast Man”, with Martin Ortiz on board again.
From riding bulls to training horses and loving it all
Calvin Stranquist first became involved with horses at a young age in the Stettler area. His uncle, Orville Strandquist was a horse enthusiast and ran a number of horses in Alberta.
At a young age, Calvin galloped horses for Orville and then eventually starting working as his groom and even headed horses for Orville.
As Calvin grew older, he began to get even more involved in horse racing by training a few of his own horses. Calvin then became involved in riding bulls for fifteen years and was very successful at this endeavor, constantly placing in the finals at various Rodeo events he took part in.
About twenty years ago, Calvin got back into training horses. He has raced horses throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta, and now races primarily at RMTC and Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie.
Calvin currently trains nine head and is looking to add to his stable. You will see Calvin before every race heading to the starting gate, as Calvin also is one of the busiest headers at the track as he is very good at the header job. For those of you who don’t know what a header does, it’s a job that I wouldn’t do for all the money in the world. You stand/straddle a rail in the starting gate and attempt to have the horse ready to run by holding onto the horse’s head gear, keeping the horse’s head straight, so the horse breaks straight.
Calvin has been involved in a few gate wrecks, including once when a quarter horse spun upside down in the gate and had its knees on Calvin, while Calvin was lying on his back. Why any sane person would want to do this, is beyond me, but Calvin relishes the header job. He heads for a number of people and is considered one of the best on the track at heading. I suppose if you ride bulls for fifteen years, heading horses is just another thrill.
So next time you see the horses after the post parade, you will undoubtedly see Calvin with a grin on his face and talking — talking to himself or whoever will listen to him. That’s just Calvin, and we’re glad to have him.
June 16th and 17th mark the return of the famous, “Indian Relay Races”, and tickets are selling fast. Last year was the inaugural running of the event at Rocky Mountain Turf Club. The success of that sold-out event has led to the Indian Relay Races being featured at other tracks in Canada this year. Mark the date on your calendar and pick up your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.