Vertical Horizon served notice that he’s a stallion to be reckoned with in Alberta on the weekend. Three of the five divisions of the ASHA Colt and ASHA Filly Stakes went to the sons and daughters of the eleven year old stallion. His daughter, Maid in Alberta won a division of the ASHA Filly on Saturday afternoon, and two of his sons, Paradise Hill and Screen Test came through to take divisions of the Colt Stake on Sunday at Century Downs.
The winner of multiple stakes during his racing career, Vertical Horizon earned nearly $574,000 on the track before moving on to the breeding shed. His oldest foals are 2 year olds this year.
There was a good distribution of purse money across a broad cross section of owners. Don Richardson, who’s #2 on the Alberta money list this year, owns Maid in Alberta. At the other end of the spectrum is Derek Stout, who earned a first place cheque thanks to Bearcat Josi’s Saturday win in one division of the ASHA Filly Stake. In between is the partnership of Bill Andrew, the owner of Meridian Farms which stands Vertical Horizon, and trainer Dan Sifert. They own Screen Test which won a division of the ASHA Colt on Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve not had much racing luck this year and too many of my horses have been hit by injuries,” Sifert told me. “So it’s nice to get my first stakes winner in about five years. I think the last one I had was Born With A Grin in 2012. She won a couple of stakes for me. I think Amanda Barron has her now up at Trochu. She’s a broodmare.”
“Bill and I bought Screen Test’s dam, Starring Role, at the Harrisburg sale in 2006. I’ve loved the way Screen Test has come along. He’s an athletic colt who really wants to compete. He showed it Sunday when he won that photo finish with Outlaw Megalodon. And Starring Role is back in foal to Vertical Horizon. So, maybe we’ll get another one like him in a couple of years.”
That other son of Vertical Horizon, Paradise Hill, earned a $5,000 prize for his work in a division of the ASHA Colt on Sunday afternoon. He’s bred by Lorne Duffield of Edmonton and Rod Hennessy of Falun who now share in the ownership of the colt with Diane Harries. Duffield and Hennessy are now sixth on the earnings’ list among Alberta owners, and Duffield is tenth in his own right.
Outlaw True Grit, owned by Rod Starkewsky and Clauzette Byckal needs to be mentioned as well after spotting the leaders fifteen lengths when he broke stride off the gate. He recovered with a tremendous second half of the race. He paced the third quarter in :27.2 and came home in :29.2 to win in 1:57.4. Considering where he was at the start and the fact he’s still learning, he appears to be aptly named.
“I think what happened was he hit the gate with his nose and it scared him a bit,” Clauzette told me. “I was talking to some of my family who were on hand on Sunday and I couldn’t really tell what happened. But I talked to Bill Tainsh who was driving him and that’s what he said. Outlaw True Grit a full brother to my other horse, Outlaw Triggerhappy who’s been a really great horse for me. So, I’m pretty happy.”
I should think so. The 4 year old mare, OutlawTriggerhappy, has earned about $125,000 so far at the races. She too is owned with trainer, Rod Starkewsky. Outlaw True Grit has 2 wins and 3 seconds in five lifetime starts and earnings of just over $21,000.
Other notes from a weekend at the races…
Bobby Clark is still showing the youngsters how it’s done. The part-time pilot, who can only drive weekends because of his regular job, scored three times on the Saturday card with Jet Hot Stuff in the third race, Ludwig Hanover in the fourth, and Sacred Valley in the seventh… Ludwig Hanover and Diva’s Dragonfly gave Meadowlark Farms a first and a second on the Saturday card. Ludwig Hanover is a big animal and had some challenges adjusting to the smaller Century Downs turns after spending his early racing career in Ontario. Trainer Carl Archibald seems to have solved that problem. Diva’s Dragonfly, which had been a terror as a 3 year old, has struggled this year, so a 1:55.4 clocking with regular pilot, Jamie Gray, at the controls was encouraging as well. Gray, by the way, is up to 20 wins from 186 starts as a driver and eight wins from 66 starts as a trainer. He’s hoping those numbers will improve as some of his 2 year olds get to the races.
Owner Norm Kennedy scored a rare double on the Sunday program. He owns Keep On Burning and Kavola which finished one-two in the sixth race of the day.
On the same program, driver Bill Tainsh continued his strong run of late with three consecutive wins. He scored in two divisions of the ASHA Colt Stake with Outlaw True Grit and Screen Test and was at the controls for Keep On Burning as well.
Through Monday, Mike Hennessy continues to lead the Century Downs drivers’ standings with 92 wins from 460 starts. Brandon Campbell is second with 82 wins from 351 starters. Kelly Hoerdt continues with the hot hand among trainers. He has 65 winners from 281 starts. Rod Hennessy is next with 49 wins.
A reminder that racing this Labour Day holiday weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday begins at 1:10 PM each day.