A few years back Tom Rycroft ruled the roost as far as trainers went at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, and now son Riley is making inroads towards the top of the 2015 trainer's boards.
Saturday, Riley won back-to-back races, including the $9,700 Fillies and Mares Spring Sprint, over a distance of five and a half furlongs.
Last time out Swayze Road, owner by Carole Rycroft, ran third to Smile Lee, but this time around Swayze Road, with Jose Rocha aboard - Riley's preferred jockey - bested the eight-horse field to run its lifetime earnings past the $35,000 mark. Swayze Road is by Storm Wolf out of Oakley's Song by Bertrando and is a California bred.
In the seventh race Riley and Rocha brought Ever Ringing home on top for Timbuktu Thoroughbreds in another tight eight-horse race.
There's little doubt Riley, and father Tom if he was in town, did a bit of "coolin' off" in Bullys after their two nice wins.
"Those two wins were a nice way to close off the day, that's for sure," Riley stated. "I felt if Swayze could get along side that Freshside (trained by Laurie Ferguson with Trevor Simpson in the irons) horse we had a good chance to beat her and win the race. (Freshside finished out of the money.) "Our filly had a bad trip here last time out, running wide all the way, so I felt she had a good race in her.
"There's a seven furlong race here in about two weeks and that's when she'll likely run again, then its back home to Grande Prairie for the summer race meet there." Rycroft had another great day Sunday winning three races, though they were all at the regular payoff level. His Stopped Short, Trevor Simpson in the irons, took the fifth race and in the seventh it was Hope Faith Gold, Larris Allen up, giving Riley his second win of the day.
His third came in the final race as Jose Rocha brought home Loen on top of the heap.
With his big wins Saturday and Sunday, Riley edged closer to this Spring's leading trainer Lyle Magnuson. Lyle has 17 victories and Riley now has 16. It should be a dandy final three weekends at the RMTC for these two men.
The sixth race Saturday kicked off the three-race string of top quality races as the Rocky Mountain Turf's superb Careless Hunter, Trevor Simpson aboard, nipped Megatron Ruler in a classy five furlong affair.
Besides the Rycroft show this past weekend, some of the older Quarter horses stepped into the picture in the 350-yard Old Timer Classic Trials.
"With the Thoroughbreds, we run a lot of three and four-year-old and upwards races," said RMTC CEO Max Gibb. "But Quarter Horse races seem to be mainly two-year-olds and some three-year-olds, when really those horses are reaching their peak as four-year-olds and upwards.
"So, Sunday we ran the Old Timers Classic Trials for the older horses, many of whom the fans know and have their favourites and like to see them run," The Finals are set for Sunday, June 28 and trainer William Leech will have three horses in the sprint, including the time trials winner Tiny Flying Corona, at 17.665. Laurie Ferguson will have take a pair of sprinters to the gate for there the finals Following are the qualifiers, their time and the trainer: 1. Tiny Flying Corona, 17.665, William Leech; 2. Im Hot Ur Not, 17.681, Laurie Ferguson; 3. CR Lil Bit Of Ivory, 17.772, Alison Clayton; 4. Free Thought, 17.795, William Leech; 5. Poutin With Speed, 17.870, Kurt Calton; 6. Mals First Down, 17.897, William Leech; 7. Invisible Wagon, 18.045, Laurie Ferguson; 8.
Hittinonchicks, 18.280, Robby Overturf. For those anxious punters waiting for a big payoff this Spring, it finally burst upon the faithful Friday night.
Trevor Simpson, riding one of his three winners on the six-race program, brought Lost My Auroa home on top in the fourth race, for trainer Rick Wiest and sons Cory and Clayton. Trevor's sparkling win, combined with Larris Allen on Up Your Plan, in second, rewarded the $2 Exactor bettor - with a truly winning aura - a huge $2,360 payout of the 3-6 combination.
You know, anyone would take the $2 Triactor Saturday in the second race of 1-8-6 - General Gabe, Sharper Knight and Rio Novo - which paid $410.50, and think they had the world in the palm of their hand - except for that huge Friday payout, Oh well! And the money elves continued to be generous Sunday. In the third race a $2 Triactor, of 3-6-5, (Thanks Dave, trained by Angelle Carter, C.C.S Orfin Anhey and Manu Manu) paid $780.50 and in the fourth race a $2 Exactor brought $300.80 for a 7-8 combination, but 7-8-1 (Rebel My Man, Blazing Temper, Coconut Joe) paid $708.30 for the $2 Triactor.
Janice Sather's Keepin Good Karma won the 350-yard third race Saturday. The horse is owned by Barry and Janice and bred in Alberta by the Sathers. It is by Promised Class out of the classy Keep On Keepin On by Dash To Chivato.
Jockey Trevor Simpson rode nine winners over the weekend to move into the lead as top rider with 29 trips to the winner's circle, with Larris Allen now second at 25.
BEHIND THE STARTING GATE . . . The paperweight ridders had to have concerns about riding in mid-afternoon Friday as the winds were roaring with enough gusto to tip a horse over, let alone a jockey . . . And speaking of weather. There was rain during the first race and Bruce Ironshirt said it would be no problem, "I turned off the switch" . . . You know, it quit raining . . . Trainer Allen Goodsell back in Whoop-Up Downs after racing in the beautiful 10,000-lake state, Minnesota, last year . . . The rains came Saturday just a few minutes after the last race . . . other than that, it was superb racing weather . . . Janice Sather's Keepin Good Karma paid 31.70, 8.10 and 3.70 . . . Reggie Blackplume, a regular at the RMTC, is holding his farewell dance during Indian Days in July at Standoff . . . He's been on the Pow Wow trail since 1949 . . . Next action at Whoop-Up Downs is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, post time 6 p.m. Friday and 1:15 the other two days.