Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:00

Alberta Downs gearing up for an exciting Harness meet!

Written by Orianna Scheck
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Race Action starts May 3rd!

The 2013 O’Brien Award of Horsemanship winner KELLY HOERDT has been busy training his stable full of talented horses for the up-coming Spring meet at Alberta Downs. We hope to see the 2013 2yr-old AB Sired Colt Nominee Ghost Pine line up behind the gate in the Adios Pick June 1st. Joining Ghost Pine will be stable-mate My Boss. Hoerdt will also have another 3yr-old colt named Ideal Cash who was unraced at two. The Western Ideal colt was big and growthy therefore Heordt decided to wait for his 3yr-old campaign. Ideal Cash was purchased from Harrisburg Yearling sale for $5500. On the 3yr-old fillies side Hoerdt has Blue Star Escape and Barona Mercedes hoping to enter the Wild Rose May 31st.

Both Emotions Run Wild and Barona Lilac enjoyed a break and will plan to qualify for the opening weekend. Hoerdt is very happy with how 2013 3yr-old AB Sired Colt Champion Premium Attaction and stable-mate Cowboy Caper are training down. Hoerdt is hopeful that both of his star horses will compete in the Open division this year. Hoerdt is training down eleven 2yr-olds including one Trotter named Rubber Duck. One might think how did a Trotter end up here in Alberta? Well, the story behind Rubber Duck is that Alberta long-time owner Blair Corbeil called Hoerdt from the Harrisburg Yearling sale and asked how he’d feel about having fun with a trotter. Hoerdt replied well we really don’t have any place for a trotter here in Alberta. Corbeil’s response back was...well let me rephrase that! Let’s have fun with a trotter as I have just purchased us one. Rubber Duck is training well and if all the “ducks line up” we just might see this Muscle Mass colt trot behind the gate in a schooling race here in Alberta before heading East to compete.

2013 ASHA Horse of the Year and Champion 3yr-old AB Sired Filly Crackers Hot Shot has enjoyed her break and ready to roll opening weekend for owner/trainer ROD STARKEWSKI. She is sharp as a whistle and just loves her work says Starkewski. We look forward to Crackers lining up with the Open Mares this year. 2013 2yr-old AB Sired Colt Nominee Blue Eyed Cowboy is primed and ready for the Adios Pick June 1st for 3yr-old Colts & Geldings. Cowboy is a lot bigger and stronger this year says Starkewski and he sure hopes his talented pupil will be able to compete with some of the nice colts out there. As for aged horses this year, Starkewski is eager to race Aerial Time and Blistillmyheart. Starkewski is very excited about the future in harness racing here in Alberta and says this gives him added motivation to race.

LANCE WARD hopes his camp will show up to do battle this year. He hopes leading his camp will be 2013 2yr-old AB Sired Colt Champion Comes Home First along with his talented homebred Donttelldaddy and optimistic that both will line up for the Adios Pick June 1st. The highly anticipated now 3yr-old Somebeachsomewhere filly Blue Beach Girl is training well and looking to qualify mid May. Ward speaks proudly of Pedal Steel the full brother to superstar Silver Eagle. Pedal Steel had a great campaign at Northlands with placing 1st or 2nd in his last 8 starts at NP. Ward hopes his prize colt will continue his success at Alberta Downs. Ward is really excited about a 4yr-old colt named Fly on the Wall who showed a great deal of ability as a 3yr-old. Ward is training two 2yr-olds which include a gifted Sportswriter filly named Nostalgia. She certainly shows that she’s well bred with how she acts and by how she travels says Ward. Sitting behind her you’d think she’s an older horse, you’d never know she is only two. Ward also is training three mares Outlaw Terra Gold, Shes A Ladro and Wish I Was.All plan to qualify and be ready for opening weekend. Ward is hopeful that all three mares could step up and mature into nice 4yr-olds. In addition, Ward is always excited for the return of the JJJ Stable horses from BC.

TYLER REDWOOD is chomping at the bit to get back into the swing of things and into action at Alberta Downs this spring. Redwood trains a stable of nine horses which includes his star and pet of the barn Blue Star Charger who will line up behind the gate opening weekend if all goes as planned. Redwood also has nice 3yr-old colt named Power of Will who is training down right now and is gearing towards the Alberta Sires Stakes this season. He has hopes that six of his nine horses will race opening weekend. Although, he enjoys training his horses Redwood’s real passion is driving. The adrenalin and competition is more exciting says Redwood. He feels “patience” is the key to being successful at Alberta Downs. The the mile track suits his style of driving as he prefers to come from behind and close hard. Redwood uses the long stretch that Alberta Downs offers to his advantage.

Driver/Trainer RYAN GRUNDY is hopeful with his prospects for the up-coming Alberta Downs meet. Grundy trains a stable of six horses which includes the 2013 3yr-old Colt Nominee Senga Nanjeing. Grundy is hoping for some big things from this colt this summer and hopes that his star pupil will step right up and compete with some of the better horses. He is thinking positive that stable-mate Cenalta Power will find his way back to form and continue to be a nice 15,000 claimer. In addition, Grundy is training a nice 3yr-old AB colt named Senga Smyre who will be gearing towards the Alberta Sires Stakes. He has one 2yr-old in training Senga Shaganappi who is coming along well and been in around 2:40ish. Grundy is looking forward to spring racing at Alberta Downs and hopes that the weather and the track surface plays in the horseman’s favor this year.

Young female trainer ASHLEY CULLEN is super excited to get back into action at Alberta Downs. Cullen currently trains twelve horses including a 2yr-old filly named Major Terror. Major Terror was entered in the 2013 Yearling sale but her reserved bid was not achieved. After the sale Cullen contacted the owner/breeder Al Neurauter and bought the filly privately. Cullen couldn’t be more pleased with her new purchase and says she was small when she bought her but has grown and paced free legged since her first day on the track. Cullen also has a nice 3yr-old filly Clintons Legacy who will plan to qualify for opening weekend. We are hopeful that she will be a stakes contender this year starting with the Wild Rose May 31st says Cullen. Cullen’s star pupil is a 4yr-old mare named Keystone Maddie. She hopes Maddie will continue to improve and compete with the open mares this summer. In addition, Cullen has added two new aged horses Attack Modes Billy and Daniel Semalu to her camp.

The 2013 O’Brien “Future Star” Award winner TRAVIS CULLEN is ready to roll and excited to get back racing. Cullen was presented Top Trainer and Driver honors on March 15th at Northlands Park. The young driver/trainer had a stellar 2013 and seems to be on target for another great year ahead. Cullen currently trains a stable of 24 including two 2yr-old AB sired colts named Bonnie Boy and Fire Watch. Both are going along well and training in 2:35. Cullen is hoping to have his 3yr-old filly Official Connection line up behind the gate in the Wild Rose stake May 31st. Leading his gifted stable is Who Doesnt a 5yr-old Mach Three gelding who just recently won the Open in 1:52.1 at Northlands Park February 22nd. This sizzling time was the fastest mile at Northlands Park in 2014. On the mares side Cullen has Feelin Flush who has shown her will to win with hitting the winners circle 12 times in 2013 and 5 wins in 2014 thus far.

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