The draw for the 2018 Western Regional Driving Championship, which will take place this Saturday (June 23) at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, is now complete. First race post time for Saturday's card of harness racing is 1:15 p.m. local time or 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time. The following drivers will be participating in the Western Regional Driving Championship:
|Paul Davies (BC)
Phil Giesbrecht (AB)
|Jamie Gray (AB)
Kelly Hoerdt (AB)
|Dave Hudon (BC)
David Kelly (AB)
|Jim Marino (BC)
Mitch Rey (MB)
Due to the number of horses entered to race Saturday, the eight drivers will participate in six competition races and the draw was an open draw for all six WRDC races.
“In general we're short of horses, the track had some issues recently and it's a long season. We can only play with the cards that are dealt,” said Jackson Wittup, Race Secretary for Century Downs. “That said, Century Downs is once again very pleased to be part of the World Driving Championship process.”
Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two drivers will join six other drivers at the 2018 National Driving Championship (NDC) at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, September 26.
The winner of the 2018 NDC will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship (WDC), and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 WDC in Sweden.
The Regional Driving Championships and the National Driving Championship will adapt the point system utilized in the World Driving Championship. Points will be awarded on the order of finish as follows:
Number of Starters 8:
15 (1), 10 (2), 7 (3), 5 (4), 4 (5), 3 (6), 2 (7), 1 (8).
Number of Starters 7:
14 (1), 9 (2), 6 (3), 4 (4), 3 (5), 2 (6), 1 (7).
Mississauga, Ont. - The field of eight drivers has been confirmed for the 2018 Western Regional Driving Championship taking place at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino on Saturday, June 23.
Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that the following drivers will take part:
(where they qualified is in brackets)
Invitations were extended to the top three drivers by wins for the Fraser Downs fall meet which kicked off in October and ended on April 14. Michel Rey was extended an invitation as he finished second in the 2017 Manitoba driver standings (the leading driver was not able to attend) while the four Alberta drivers were the leading drivers, by wins, for Century Downs’ current meet through Sunday, June 10.
“Century Downs is once again very pleased to be part of the World Driving Championship process,” said Jackson Wittup, Race Secretary for Century Downs. “I believe these events are special for the smaller tracks across Canada and we know that two drivers will represent Western Canada at the National Driving Championship at Grand River in September. With the new race track (Century Mile) opening next year in the Edmonton area we are hoping we will be more involved with these types of events.”
The eight drivers will participate in eight competition races, driving from every post position. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two drivers will join six other drivers at the 2018 National Driving Championship (NDC) at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, September 26. The winner of the 2018 NDC will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship (WDC), and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 WDC in Sweden.
Here are the locations and dates for the three remaining regional events (in chronological order):
Western Regional (Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
Century Downs -- Saturday, June 23
Atlantic Regional (Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
Truro Raceway -- Friday, June 29
Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional (Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R)
Kawartha Downs -- Saturday, June 30
Trevor Henry and Louis-Philippe Roy finished first and second in the Ontario Regional, hosted on Wednesday, May 16 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, and advance to the NDC.
Fegentri stands for the International Federation of Gentlemen and Lady Riders. In the early years of Thoroughbred racing, many riders were Amateurs, and amateur racing associations are still thriving in Europe. Amateur riders do not get paid a fee for riding, and many do not work in the industry but ride on weekends. Among Fegentri riders there are students, bankers, policemen and even a vicar – they ride for the love of the sport.
Fegentri started in 1955, and today 25 countries are members of the federation. There are about 60 races a year, and riders represent their countries over jumps as well as flat racing. The riders score points for how they finish in the races, and the best attend the World Championships at the end of the year.
The Longines World Fegentri Lady Rider 2018 Series has 26 races around the world including Qatar, Italy, France, Turkey, Germany, and Mauritius, to name a few. Canada has recently been invited to participate in the Fegentri races, largely in part because of efforts by former jockey Stephan Heiler. Stephan has been helpful in establishing ties with the Sheikh Mansoor Festival in Abu Dhabi and is the President of the Canadian Amateur Jockey Association, which was formed in March. “Amateur racing is very popular in Europe, and I would like to see a series of Amateur races in Alberta. It will really help promote the sport to a different group of people, and maybe we can encourage people from other disciplines to come train in the mornings and get involved. Amateur riders can bring a lot of passion and fun to the sport of racing,” says Stephan, “it’s also going to be a great bridge for some exercise riders who want to start race riding, but need to get some experience before they make the leap.”
Canadian Amateur Jockey Association has tested and approved their first amateur riders. Riders had to be tested on their abilities in the paddock, in the gate and working around the turn. Four riders were approved, including Kaylea Richardson-Hepburn, who graduated from the Olds College Exercise Rider program in 2009. Kaylea worked at the track for a few years and she rode as an Apprentice jockey in 2010 and 2011. Kaylea is officially retired from her professional jockey days, but she still loves to ride and loves to race. She’s participated in the past two Racing Under Saddle events on retired Standardbreds and the C Cup Classic against other amateur riders at Century Downs last fall. She was one of the first members of the Canadian Amateur Jockey Association and jumped at the opportunity to represent Canada in the Fegentri races. “I love racing. I love the speed and the adrenaline rush. When you load in the gate, and it’s just you and the horse the world stops. For a moment, time stands still and everything comes down to that moment. When you hear the bell and the gates open and the wind rushes by, your heart starts again. It’s the most amazing feeling!”
Kaylea will be flying to Pennsylvania and riding in her first Fegentri race on Saturday at Parx Racetrack in Bensalem. It’s Race 1, and 1 1/16 on the turf, which will be a totally new experience for Kaylea. She drew post 2 on A Princess She Is, and is 15-1 on the morning line. You can watch the Kaylea in Race 1 from Parx at 10:55 am (MST) on their live stream at https://www.parxracing.com.
The riders then get a day off before they move to Delaware Park outside of Wilmington, Delaware. The Fegentri riders take over the field in Race 5, 1 mile and 70 yards on the turf. Kayley drew post 9 with Classical Art in the 14 horse field. You can watch Kaylea at Delaware Park on Monday, June 11 in Race 5 at 1:15 pm (MST) on their live stream at www.delawarepark.com/racing/race-info.
Stephan Heiler has been working to get CAJA established, and he sees a lot of value for amateur riders to represent Canada in other racing jurisdictions. “Sending riders to other countries to race will expose them to different courses and surfaces, and will open some horizons for young riders.” The CAJA board is also starting to plan for a Canadian stop on the Fegentri line-up at Century Mile Racetrack & Casino and initial discussions have been promising.
We’ll be watching and cheering Kaylea on at Parx on Saturday morning and Delaware Park on Monday!
June 6, 2018 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edmonton, Alta – Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kent Verlik as Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Verlik has extensive senior leadership experience working with government, NGOs and industry stakeholders to create programs and services that improve Albertans' health, safety, and quality of life. Through transformational leadership, he has inspired innovation and lead organizational change.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Verlik was the Director of the Alberta Safety Codes Authority (ASCA). In this role, he was responsible for establishing ASCA and overseeing safety codes permitting and inspections services in unaccredited municipalities on behalf of the Government of Alberta.
Kent also held a variety of Executive roles as at the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), including: Executive Director, Social Responsibility; Executive Director, Corporate Strategy & Social Responsibility; and Vice President, Lottery & Gaming. He participated on various national and provincial committees and presented regularly at both Academic and Industry sponsored conferences.
Mr. Verlik was born and raised in Edmonton where he has worked throughout his career. In 2000, his family moved to St Albert where his son and daughter were raised and graduated high school. Today, his family lives on a 42 acre hobby farm in Lac Ste. Anne County with their dogs and horses.
Active in the community, Kent coached his kids’ soccer teams, was a Parent Council member and President of their school`s fund raising society. Board experience includes: Director, Edmonton Heritage Festival Association; Director, Alberta Special Olympics; and Chairman, Edmonton Special Olympics.
Kent holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Advanced Graduate Diploma in Management from Athabasca University, a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Toronto/St. Michael’s College and Certificates in Executive Leadership Development from UNLV and the Niagara Institute. He is also a 3-time Premier`s Award of Excellence recipient.
Mr. Verlik is excited about his new role, “I look forward to working closely with the HRA Board and all stakeholders to successfully move the Alberta Horse Racing and Breeding Industry into the future.”
Horse Racing Alberta is a private, not-for-profit organization with a mandate to govern, direct, control, regulate, market and promote the Alberta Horse Racing and Breeding Industry.
For further information, please contact:
Horse Racing Alberta
780-415-5432 or toll free 1-888-553-7223
A video flyover of the Century Mile worksite from May 24, 2018.