While the big stables were making regular trips to the winner’s circle over the holiday weekend, let’s not lose track of three smaller stables which are enjoying some success at Century Downs.
Veteran conditioner, Rod Starkewsky, hadn’t won a race in more than a year and was making only his fifth start of the season as a driver in Monday’s 7th race. But Starkewsky hasn’t forgotten what to do at the controls as he guided Classy Artist to a 16-1 win in a non-winners of 2 event.
“I haven’t won in so long, I thought the guys were going to throw a pail of water on me,” he said with a grin back at the barns after the race. “We’ve been trying some different things with Classy Artist this year to try and get him going. He won a couple of Alberta Sire Stakes events last year as a 2 year old. But we’ve had to change his diet, his shoes, and some equipment this year. Maybe now, we’ve got it right.”
The 3 year old son of Trust the Artist from the As Promised mare, Ding Gua Gua, only had a third place finish and $1,451 on his card in 9 starts this season. You can add a win and $2,900 to those totals after Monday’s 1:59.2 effort on a cool breezy afternoon over a track rated as good.
Then there’s Brad Watt’s 2-horse stable, consisting of Prairie Mystic and the filly, Whisper Well. Both were winners on the weekend. Whisper Well is a 3 year old Pennsylvania-bred who had been racing for a friend of Watt’s in Ontario.
“I’d been looking for a 3 year old filly and a 3 year old colt with which to compete in the Open stakes events here,” said Watt, who’s returned to the racetrack this spring after taking a year off. I knew a trainer in Ontario from my five years there, so I made some inquiries and wound up with Whisper Well. She wasn’t eligible for much there and so we were able to pick her up, although it wasn’t cheap. But she made a couple of starts in Ontario before we could get her on a truck heading west. And she picked up a win for us, so that helped with the price.”
Now she’s got another win and Watt has an entry into the Wild Rose stake which goes to the post on June 11th at Century Downs. And after failing to find what he was looking for in Ontario, Watt turned his eye on Prairie Mystic and claimed the 3 year old son of Mystery Chase from Keith Clark. In his second start under Watt’s guidance, Prairie Mystic won a non-winners of 2 in a photo finish with Broadview Bridge on Monday afternoon.
Also showing some promise with a small stable is trainer, Mona Roy. The Quebec native has been working on a number of different farms in Alberta over the last decade. Two years ago, she claimed Total Rhythm and raced her in 4 events before losing her in a claim. But the experience gave her some confidence. Earlier this month, she got her trainer’s license and now she’s got a couple of horses, both of which have earned cheques. You Name It was third in the final of the Bev Sears on May 14th. Heart N Hustle was an excellent second in a non-winners of 2 last Saturday afternoon.
“Heart & Hustle is now 5 and hasn’t raced for a couple of years.” Roy told me. “He’s a good size, though, and I think the time off did him some good. You Name It is just the opposite: small but mighty. I bought her from Rod Starkewsky.”
“I’ve got hopes of growing my stable and I might even take out a driver’s license. We’ll see.”
Briefly noted… Travis Cullen added 9 wins over the three-day holiday weekend and now has 111 winning drives in 2016… Ed Hensley has made a fine return from a 4 week absence after breaking 3 ribs in an accident. He had 7 wins, 3 seconds, and a third over the weekend… racing returns to its regular schedule in the coming week with Friday’s card beginning at 5:45 and the Saturday and Sunday programs starting at 1:10 PM.