The young 21 year old Manitoba native continues to have great success here in Alberta and contributes his success to hard work. He says hard work always pays off and keeping his horses happy has been the key. But also gives credit for his achievements to his Uncle Greg Manning. Two years ago he came out with his Uncle from Manitoba and was given an opportunity to drive five really nice horses that his Uncle trained.
Cullen then went back to Manitoba to start his own stable of horses. During this time he ventured to Ontario to work for six months. When leaving Ontario he asked some close connections to watch for some horses for him to buy. He ended up buying a few cheaper horses from there and brought those horses back here to race in the west. They have done very well for the young driver/trainer.
Cullen says he enjoys the big track at Alberta Downs as opposed to other tracks. Growing up on a half mile track taught him how to drive but says now he much prefers the bigger tracks which allow more flow and movement.
Cullen speaks very highly of his top mare Feelin Flush whom he is very proud of. Claiming her back in January for 4000 from the Glenn Lutz barn she now has turned into a top competitor for him. Before claiming her he really liked what he saw in her. First of all she was a mare out of As Promised which he really likes due to their toughness and her lines showed she was a hard finisher which he also looks for. The 5yr-old now has 17 wins and earnings of $137,494 on her pedigree. Cullen shares ownership with Ken Hanson of Manitoba.
For the moment Cullen plans are to stay here in Alberta but will be open to opportunities that may arise in the future which just might include crossing the border and going down south to the United States.
Shirley Girl Rebounds
Gerry Hudon turned in a driving/training triple starting in the seventh race Saturday afternoon with Shirley Girl in 1:57. Shirley Girl rebounded from a miscue last week and has now has won 2 of her 3 starts this year for her owners Kurt & Kathy Schmidt, Michelle Winter and Peter Mikoljczyk. Hudon hit the winners circle once again on the day with Hollywood Monroe in the thirteenth. On Sunday Hudon kicked the day off with a win in the first with Shade of Pale.
Cowboy Caper stepped up with a huge win on Sunday’s eleventh race for driver/trainer Kelly Hoerdt. The talented 4y-old gelding came from off the pace to win in 1:55 paying $18.40 8:00 5:10. Playbook finished two lengths back for Keith Clark and No Fear came up for third.
Hoerdt enjoyed a driving double and training triple on the weekend with stable mates Emotions Run Wild and Masada Rocks.
Other winners included Ryan Grundy with a driving/training double on Sunday. Both Western Shoot Out and Senga Nanjeing came out victorious for his stable.
We saw a total 30 races over the weekend at Alberta Downs with the track rated “Good”. Saturday’s handle was $33,364 and a super Sunday at $41,441.
Alberta Owner clinches birth in the Million Dollar North America Cup
Diane Bertrand, long time Alberta Standarbred owner has a chance for glory with her colt Sunshine Beach in this Saturday’s final of the North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack. Diane shares ownership with Hudson Standardbred Stables and Hudson-Conrad Leber. The son of Somebeachsomewhere was purchased for 85,000 at the 2011 Harrisburg Yearling sale. Sunshine Beach finished third in last Saturday’s eliminations which earned him a spot in the $1,000,000 final. The colt has a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $88,406. He is trained by Mark Steacy and driven by Chris Christoforou. Sunshine Beach drew the seven post position for Saturday.
The Alberta Standardbred Association would like to wish Diane and all the connections of Sunshine Beach the best of luck!