Problem is Wanda Halerewich and husband John won't be racing at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club this Spring or Fall season. Wanda is awaiting eye surgery, and even after all is right with the world she'll still have to wait six or eight weeks before doing any strenuous labour, like wrestling with horses.
In 2012 she and husband John decided to try something new in their lives, to keep them working together. Their choice was horse racing. And to prove they did a good job, not only were they the trainers of the year but their booty Saturday night included a racing saddle, two silver belt buckles, two bridles and a halter.
"We may return to training sometime after my eye operations, to correct multiple cataracts, but not with that many horses," she added with a laugh. "We hired an awful lot of people last year, including a steady pony girl, Alison Clapton, and Dexter Day Chief and Nolan Little Bear, both of whom are training their own horses this year. Wanda and John also had the Alberta Bred Claiming Male of the year, Again and Gone. As well, Wanda was the leading trainer at the Grande Prairie meet. Along with all those awards Wanda's Pacific Storm Cat was the top Claiming Male of 2012. Wanda wound up with 34 wins, 39 seconds and 33 thirds in 2012.
One of the happiest people, and one the audience really appreciated to see in the winner's circle no less than five times, was Nellie Pigeau. Nellie was the trainer of Needlestick in 2012.
"You only get a horse like this one once in a long while," said a beaming Nellie, still recovering from a car wreck that left her with a shattered shoulder and breast bone.
Needlestick was named the top Alberta Bred Female; the leading Alberta Bred Claiming Female; the 2012 Alberta Bred Champion Female; the 2012 Sprint Female; and the 2012 High Point Female.
Another dominant horse was Dubla Gold, owned and trained by Pete and Erna Dubois. Dulba Gold was the 2012 Sprint Male of the year; 2012 High Pont Male; and 2012 ACTRA Champion of 2012. Dulba Gold earned $25,983 in 2012 for the Dubois family.
Allen Goodsell, at the ACTRA Awards night with new bride jockey Teagan Oulton, had another reason to smile. Allen's Little Einstein was the 2012 Alberta Bred Three Year Old Male and the 2012 Alberta Bred Champion Male.
Dennis Dorchester's Starpone was the 2012 ACTRA Distance Horse of the year ad well as the Alberta Bred Older Male. As well, Dorchester's Lynn's Lily was named the 2012 Claiming Female.
Veteran trainer Ivan Clark made a number of trips to the winner's circle. First for his 12-year-old Lot A Smoke as the Alberta Bred Aged Mare of 2012 and again for the 2012 Older Female on the Community circuit. As well the Clark-trained Churchbridge was the top Older Male.
The majestic Bar None Ranches near Okotoks was selected as the Breeder of the Year with $87,125 in earnings.
The RMTC Spring Meet's leading trainer was Lyle Magnuson with a 16, 9 and 10 record. Lyle was also selected the ACTRA's Most Supportive Trainer of 2012.
Rick Wiest recorded 8, 10 and 2 to top the Fall Meet standings at the RMTC.
Larris Allen was the 2012 Jockey of the Year, racking up 35 wins, 19 seconds and 17 thirds at the RMTC Spring Meet and then 35, 19 and 17 at the Fall Meet for total purse money of $237,061. Allen racked up 88 wins on the RMTC, Millarville and Grande Prairie tracks in 2012.
Teagan Oulton, with 54 wins, second 43 times and third 35 times was next in line.
It was with great appreciation and a bundle of humility that I accepted the ACTRA Special Award for support of the Thoroughbred racing program on Community tracks. I've always loved horse racing and this award really made me feel great.
The first award of the night went to Jason Coney's Dipper's Appeal, trained by Elaine Edwards, as the 2012 Alberta Bred Three Year Old Filly. JCL Stable's Supreme Reign was selected the Alberta Bred Aged Male for 2012.
In 2012 the ACTRA members raced for more than $1,305,322 in purse money, with 75 three- year-olds coming out of the starting gates. There were 116 four-year-olds and 95 five-year-olds on the track. There were 67 six-year-olds and 50 seven year-olds or older.