Laurie's training skills came to the fore early on Saturday's eight-race card, well before the rain and wind hit.
She saw four of her horses qualify for the eight-horse Bank of America Challenge, to be run May 24-25 weekend.
"I was pleased to have four qualify, and a fifth horse I had in was a first-time starter, so I was just pleased it ran well," she said. "I had veteran rider Randy Cunningham on two of the qualifiers.
He showed up and said he wanted to ride and he's been coming out in the mornings to gallop the horses, so he deserved a chance to ride." Randy had retired about three years ago, but is mounting a comeback this Spring and qualified for the Challenge on two of Ferguson's sprinters.
Laurie has a mixture of Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds in her barn of 23. And like most at the north end of the barns she and her staff were busy irrigating Saturday afternoon despite a truck load of sand being dumped between the barns.
Ferguson's First Prize Beach, Tyler Walker aboard, led the qualifiers with an 18:04 running time over the 350-yard course.
Other qualifiers - with the horse, time, trainer and rider - were Dream Catch Her, 18:08, Kevin Oberholtzer, Scott Sterr; Jessa Merlot, 18:47, Laurie Ferguson, Randy Cunningham; Invisible Wagon, 18:48, Laurie Ferguson, Tyler Walker; Speediac, 18:66, Laurie Ferguson, Randy Cunningham; Perry Famous, 18:71, Bucky Stockwell, Larris Allen; and CR Longmayurun, 18:76, Bill Kinch, Valentino McBean.
There were two horses tied at 18:77, Up Jumped A Monster, trained by John Brown, Vincent Palmer aboard, and Kaolin Separate Ways, trained by William Leech, Dwight Lewis aboard. The tie was broken by a shake for the eighth place and the William Leech horse won and fills the eighth hole.
With the rain pelting down, which showed up for the seventh race Saturday, Caesar's Son romped home in the eighth to give 86-year-old Stan Marks his first win of the spring. Blandford Stewart was the rider. Earlier, in the fourth race, fellow octogenarian Phil Wiest saw Vincent Alvin Palmer bring his Top Kat Miss home on top.
Stan became a double winner Sunday when Blandford Stewart brought Keepanosecrets home on top in the seventh race. Keepanosecrets is a California bred horse by Sea of Secrets out of Choice Plan by Game Plan.
"I was really impressed with both Saturday and Sunday's crowds, especially the Mother's Day fans after the heavy rain and even snow Saturday night," said RMTC CEO Max Gibb. "After that weather I didn't know what to expect Sunday, but there was even blue sky in places. On top of it all the track was in nice shape for the eight races Sunday." When the opening 16 races of the Spring meet were over, Tyler Walker had racked up four wins and fellow riders Blandford Stewart and Larris Allen had three wins apiece. Trainer Laurie Ferguson had three wins over the weekend with Stan Marks, Lyle Magnuson and Kevin Oberholtzer all had two wins apiece.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE . . . A memorial service of the late Dick Aldoff will be held at the RMTC grandstand at 11 a.m., June 12 . . . John Porier, 75, says he's cut back to only two horses this spring . . .Scott Sterr took the weekend off his trucking business up north to tide at the RMTC this weekend . . . As the wind and rain whipped up prior to the seventh race, Dennis Dorchester stated to his fellow pony riders, "You are in Lethbridge now, don't you remember?" .
. . Shirley Clark returned to her role as Parade Marshal . . . both Shirley and another RMTC regular, Anne Buxton, had mixed feelings about returning to the races, as Shirley lost husband Ivan Clark and Anne lost husband Ken Buxton since the 2013 Fall meet . . . But like Shirley said, "These folks here are my family" . . . The RMTC played host to dozens of the Red Hat Ladies, celebrating their 16th anniversary Saturday . . . In the eighth race the No. 1 horse, James, broke loose and charged into the paddock, just as the No. 5 horse, Athlete Gold, broke free and ran onto the track . . . There were some great races Sunday involving many of the RMTC's finest trainers . . . Next race action at Whoop-Up Downs is will be May 17-18.