"The jockey has been riding for me and some of my friends in the barn in the mornings. We're all in the same barn. "Its nice to win a few races. I had six in today. I have 15 horse in all and it keeps me busy." The likeable trainer always has loads of help, both at race time and in the mornings.
One of Stan's horses, P.S. Bravo, ran third in the third race, with Stephen Blakeley in the irons. But in the second race the 50-year-old Blakeley won astride Alta Jane, owned by Allan Brown.
"Stan's Bravo is a classy old horse," said Blakeley, who came back to racing a few seasons ago after a 20 year layoff. "I think he just got the time he needed with this race. He'll be back with a vengeance now." Stephen admitted all the horses he rides are his favourites, and he's often whooping with glee, whether he won or chased the field home. "I won on Alta Jane (his win in race two) and she's real awesome. She tracks real good and is a nice little filly.
"Last week Alta Jane was stuck in the deep stuff, but this week the track was no problem at all down by the rail. But she always has a big heart." Alta Jane is trained by Allan Brown and owned by Alberta Downs Stable. It is by Cape Canaveral out of Valatra by Delineator, bred in Alberta by Bob Allen.
Blakeley is riding hard this Spring, "determined to get that jacket," at year's end going to the leading rider. "People tell me I'm riding better than ever in my career. I've come a long way these past three years. "This is my passion, I'm not in this for the money. Its something special to win a race and put a smile on peoples faces." Stephen prides himself in riding hard every time out, no matter what horse he is on.
"That's why I'm known Longshot," he says with a laugh with a flash of Longshot written on his saddle foam. "You do your job out there and the horse will do his." Stephen who used to run stairs to keep his legs in shape is now galloping a lot more horses every morning, when he's able to. Live conditioning is a great thing he says.
"I enjoy myself out there - its like they say, you got to make hay while the sun shines and the sun is shining this Spring." Lyle Magnuson, last year's leading trainer, recorded three wins on Saturday's eight-race card, and another Sunday, solidifying his hold on this year's leading trainer standings.
Larris Allen brought At The Bada Bing home in the third race and Blandford Stewart rode Lyle's Leolas Girl in the fourth. Allen picked up his second win of the day with Magnuson's La Midnite Special to close out the card. Sunday, Blandford Stewart guided Tiz I Is home on top.
Tiz I Is also won last time out and is by Cee's Tizzy out of Princess Yi by Sunny's Halo and was bred in Washington. The horse has close to $30,000 in lifetime earnings. Blandford came right back in the sixth race, giving Nellie Pigeau a three-furlong win with Box Top TB for its first win.
Jockey Ramiro Sanchez Castillo, new this season to the RMTC track came through with four wins on the weekend, two Saturday and two again Sunday. He opened the Sunday card with a victory astride Buckey Stockwell's Hi On Cash and in the third race brought the William Leech-trained Madam Goldilocks home on top.
Certainly one of the featured races this past weekend had to be the seventh, a six furlong for three year olds and upwards. It marked the first time in a long while Chick Power was running against the boys, and it also featured some of the RMTC's long-serving trainers, like Stan Marks, Phil Wiest and Tom Reed.
In the end veteran jockey Scott Sterr, with his second win of the day, gave octogenarian Phil Wiest his first win of the Spring. Scott brought home Rocky Ice to beat out Want The Facts and Chick Power, coming off four wins in her last five starts. Another veteran trainer, Pete Dubois, was kidding Chick Power's owner Tom Reed his horse would be in tough against the boys, instead of just an all-girl race. Things proved Pete was right.
Spanish Brown made it three firsts and a second in her last four races, giving Larris Allen another win and Rick Wiest his fourth win as a trainer this Spring.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE . . . Reg Black Plume recalling the days on the Kainai Reserve when they used to run match races on the east end of the reserve after the grass was cut in the Spring . . . Teagan Oulton rode new hubby Allen Goodsell's Chicks Bullseye to a win in the opening 220- yard Quarter horse maiden sprint Saturday in 12.68 . . . It was the horse's first race . . . Bullseye is by Fast Moon Chic out of Hot Increase by Profit Increase and was bred in Alberta by Mark Cassell . . . A veteran campaigner, Wisewood Bobbie, trained by Tom Alcott and ridden by another veteran, Scott Sterr, came through his first victory since 2011 at the RMTC under the whip of Nate Smith . . . Phil Wiest promised to shave his beard after his first win, and he got that in Sunday's seventh race . . . Leading rider Tyler Walker was shut out this past weekend, leaving him with seven wins allowing Larris Allen to pass him with eight victories . . .next racing action at Whoop-Up Downs is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.