What can you say about Stan Marks? The 87-year-old trainer opened the 2015 season with a win his first time out of the gate with Caesar's Son, ridden to perfection by Ramiro Sanchez Castillo. The horse is by Roman Ruler out of Fortynine Below by Boundary and was bred in Alberta by Pierre Esquiro.
"We went out and won quite easily really," said Stan, fresh from a winner's circle photo that included at least 40 ladies from the Red Hat Society.
"I have nine horses here this year, five are mine, two my nephew's and the other two are Darcy Peterson's (a long-time associate of Stan's.) My nephew, Greg Honiss, has started to help me out, and that's nice." In the featured seventh race Stan lost out to the great combination of Careless Hunter and Dubla Gold. "It was close but we were nailed at the wire, and were out of the money. Our other horse, Herculean, ran fifth.
There's few smiles brighter than that of William Leech, and after Saturday's third race opening day at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club William was just beaming.
Ricardo Moreno had just guided Go Wave Up North, trained by William and owned by W B D Ranch Inc, and Gaylene Drader.
"Yeah, it's nice to get that first win out of the way," William said of the gelded three-year-old.
"He's been training really nice. I thought he was going to win big. He's paid into a couple of derbies down the road so I hope he keeps going strong." Besides the win William qualified Bitterroot Corona for the Bank of America Maiden Challenge May 23. Then on Sunday, William's smile was ever broader as he qualified at pair of speedsters for the All Canadian Open Derby, Goodest and Guttering Wave.
Another happy trainer opening day was Les Adams, with two victories. His Streakin Timber qualified for the 350-yard Bank of America Maiden Challenge finals, finishing second. Then Les came back in the fourth, watching Andrew Wright guide Jess Utellum home. The horse, by Crimson Jess out of Utellum by Ole', was bred in Alberta by its owner Don R. Houlton.
In a pair of Bank of America Maiden Challenge trials, Allen Goodsell, back to the RMTC after a stint in the east last year, qualified a pair, Fantastic Attitude and Witnessing Faith (how's that for the name of a horse?) Here are the eight qualifiers, their time and trainer:
1. MS Red Stilettos, 18.313, Ken Kenway; 2.Streakin Timber, 28.321, Les Adams; 3. Bitterroot Corona, 18.385, William Leech; 4. Fantastic Attitude, 18.386, Allen Goodsell; 5. Shez Double Quick, 18.387, Bucky Stockwell; 6. Sweet Corona Jr., 18.399, Robby Overturf; 7. Witnessing Faith, 18.499, Allen Goodsell; 8. Splashy Mamacitqa, 18.500, Janice Sather.
Rocky Mountain Turf Club CEO Max Gibb was absolutely beside himself after Sunday's fourth race, and he's have to be if the took photos for first and second place. Lyle Magnuson trained both of the RMTC Stables entries, with She's It Again coming in one top of the seven-horse field and Pay To Go Home second over the five-furlong distance.
"They are nice horses. Its been so long since I had two horses finish one-two that I don't remember," Max quipped.
"Really, putting the two in helped fill out the field, but they were ready to run. They needed the start and they were ready for it." Sunday, with 23 horses vying for eight spots to advance to the All Canadian Open Derby, Kurt Calton managed to grab three of the eight spots in the run for the cup.
Hi KG Guy was the fastest qualifier and his horses also filled the third and eighth spots. The speedy KG Guy is owned by Janis D. Calton and is by Sizzlin Red Corona out of Win Thru Traffic by Thru Traffic and was bred in Alberta by Gary Haus. Here are the eight qualifiers for the All Canadian Open Derby, to be run May 24:
1. KG Guy, 18.066, Kurt Calton; 2. Goodest, 18.096, William Leech; 3. Wave Rocker, 18.120, Kurt Calton; 4. Cruisinfourabruisin, 18.125, Janice Sather; 5. Blaines Wagon, 18.168, Allen Goodsell; 6. Big Hoss Rollin, 18.210, Angelle Carter; 7. Glittering Wave, 18.245, William Leech; 8. Stella Wave, 18.251, Kurt Calton.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE . . . The Alberta Community Thoroughbred Racing Association held its annual awards banquet Friday night with horses like Careless Hunter, trainers like Lyle Magnuson and veteran horsemen like Marv Christensen singled out . . . One of the guests at Mayor Chris Spearman's table with RMTC CEO Max Gibb was Anne Buxton, the first licensed female jockeys in the business back in the 1940s. . . A guest of the RMTC Sunday was none other than the Chairman of Horse Racing Alberta, Rick Lelacheur, who had some good things to say about the Lethbridge track . . . A very large, appreciative crowd took advantage of the sunshine for the opening weekend of the RMTC Spring Meet . . . The were problems at the gate in the first race Sunday as the one horse reared up over the side . . . they unloaded, and then reloaded the horses and the race went off without mishap the second time . . . There were 16 jockeys in action on opening day . . . Larris Allen fell off his mount on the backstretch after race, but picked himself up and was well enough to ride the next race . . . Next racing action at the RMTC will be May 16-18, with post time at1:15 p.m.