It was Snowboundbeast's third straight win, coming off a fourth last Fall. The gelding is by Snowbound out of Going Single by Mr. Eye Opener and was bred in California by Anita Bramlette.
"Actually I had trouble getting away today, but once the big grey colt caught his stride he was gone," said personable rider Scott Sterr.
"I like these Quarter horses - its like a drag race in a dragster, zero to 40 just like that." It took Snowbounbeast 17.89 seconds to cover the 350 yards.
Steer isn't riding every race like he used to before leaving for the eastern tracks last year. He's so busy trucking he has little time to gallop horses in the early morning to get in trainers' good graces.
But you can bet Dean Frey will ride Sterr the next time Snowboundbeast runs.
"He's a nice horse, that grey," Sterr noted. "He won last year down in California, and that's not an easy feat." Venerable Ivan Clark whose favoured Churchbridge crossed the line for a show-ticket in the fourth race made up for it in Sunday's sixth with a winner. The ACTRA Award winner watched Valentino McBean grab the win for him in the sixth race aboard Lot A Smoke.
The punters were smokin' as they jammed 24.90, 7.60 and 3.20 into their jeans and four lucky tickets were cashed in the $1 Superfecta, of 6-7-4-2, for a healthy $631.65. Family, a slew of friends, and I'm sure a few lucky punters, filled the winner's circle for a great picture.
Lot A Smoke is by Smokester out of Atriculation by Verbatim and was bred in Alberta by Dallas Haeberle. Churchbridge is by Expelled out of Winmor Miss by Royal Ski and was bred in Kentucky.
"Ivan was the oldest jockey here at the RMTC when he retired about 10 years ago and he's still got some good horses as a trainer," said RMTC CEO Max Gibb. "His horses won a number of Alberta Community Thoroughbred Racing Association Awards the first weekend in May, and few were more deserving. Ivan's wife Shirley is also active here at the RMTC, serving as our Parade Marshal. They're a great couple." Ivan only runs two horses, and they've been earning money for him ever since he came down to Lethbridge.
The 82-year-old says: "both run really well and I couldn't complain about either one." Ivan who race-rode horses throughout Alberta, Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba started riding when he was nine of 10 years of age.
"I quit riding in 1999, so I was 68 years of age. That means I rode horses for about 58 years," he said with a laugh. "I was 90 pounds for a long while but I never went down east. To be a bug-boy you had to be 105 pounds and I couldn't qualify because I was more than that when I was 16." Training has been his life since leaving riding.
"I only have Churchbridge and Lot A Smoke, but both are like me, getting up there in years.
Church is 12 and Smoke 13 and they probably should be retired now. But both of them are sound and I'll keep them in there for a while. I said I was going to quit the last couple of years. But I'm feeling all right, so why not keep going?" This spring, at their Okotoks home, Shirley got the horses into condition on the treadmill. Ivan has also run his horses at times on the near-by Bar None Ranches track, a piece of ground equal in size to the old Calgary rack.
Ivan, who gets around the RMTC complex on a golf cart, enjoys training, adding that he was training even before he quit riding. And like all good trainers he's always looking towards the next race.
"I'll probably try to get both horses in the draw so we can race this coming weekend. I hope to run both . . . both these horses have been darn good to me." You won't see Beau Gris at seven furlongs or beyond. But between five and six furlongs all the other riders will see is his back end.
Running with ease at five furlongs Saturday Beau Gris actually cantered home for his second victory of the RMTC Spring Meet.
"We never go seven, six furlongs is the furthest he goes," said Norm Cuthbertson, who left the chuckwagons a few years ago to make his name as a trainer. "Seven furlongs is fun for him." Saturday the big grey four-year-old seemed to be just out for a romp around the Whoop-Up Downs oval.
"I told him (jockey Blandford Stewart) not to pull the stick until someone took a run a him. They never did," said Cuthbertson.
"He is pretty sharp this Spring. He's Happy. Running like this he's got a good two or three years left." That spells bad news for a whole slew of three-year-olds and upwards horses in the RMTC barns.
"I guess after five straight days of brilliant sunshine - and warm but overcast Saturday - we had to expect a little rain Sunday, especially with a long holiday weekend. But we bounced back Monday with a nice warm day, though a little cloudy,," said Gibb.
"It wasn't too bad Sunday and we ran off our six race card without need of the water wagon on the track, that's for sure." Sunday Stephen Blakeley continued his successful comeback to the track with a winning ride aboard Slews Academy to pay 13.30, 6.60 and 3.70 with a $65.90 $2 Exactor combined with Scott Sterr on Lyon's Growl, a Stan Marks horse.
Gail McConaghie had the win with Blakeley.
"I don't ride every race, I'm still working my way into shape," Blakeley stated with a laugh. He was in shape again Monday, riding Lyle Magnuson's Getrdonegotroid to victory in the fourth race.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATES . . . Former bareback rider and rodeo stock contractor Allen Jones on hand for Saturday's card, renewing old acquaintances, including former Exhibition Park board member Ed Read . . . Dwight Anthony Lewis looked good bringing Pete Dubois' Eisen De Gaul home on top in the fifth race Saturday . . . For those with a sweet tooth the place to be after the fourth race each day is in the midst of Rose Rossi's Candy Scramble . . . Monday's final race sent folks home a little heavier in the pocket book - if they bet the right horses . . .Vincent Alvin Palmer brought home Rusty Smith's Shegret on top to pay 18.80, 10.20 and 9.40 . . . That's nice if you be my favourite, $5 across the board . . .The $2 Triactor made three folks happy, paying $472.20 . . . There were a lot of disappointed punters Saturday when Orb failed to win the Preakness . . . It wasn't so much they had wagered on Orb, but that fact another year will go by without a Triple Crown winner . . . All but one of Sunday's winners came out of the gate on the high-side of the track, where the footing seemed firmer . . . Only John Poirier's KR Streakin Version came out of the one hole in the third race . . . Next race action will be this Saturday and Sunday at the RMTC, post time 1:05 p.m. each day.