Tuesday, 05 June 2018 09:15

Close finishes highlight weekend of great racing at RMTC

Written by Dale Johnson, RMTC
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Terri Landaker taking a break at RMTC Terri Landaker taking a break at RMTC

The sun was shining and crowds turned out in full force for Saturday and Sunday racing at Rocky Mountain Turf club. Two of the best races on the weekend happened Saturday in a six furlong allowance race when Mankumar Mohindee's "Aly's Last Magic", the longest shot on the board, and ridden by Jose Rocha, pulled off a stunning upset over favourite, "Sparkling Peg", trained by the red hot trainer, Jacqueline Smith. It was less than a half length victory, but Rocha timed it perfectly.

Race eight, the very next race, a six furlong allowance, Nellie Pigeau's recently claimed, "Naomi's Gift", won by a nose over Smith's, "Cantchaco". Blandford Stewart was on board, "Naomi's Gift" and rode the horse perfectly.

On Sunday, the upsets continued, as in race eight, Danny Oberholtzer's, "Ocanera", was ridden to victory from off the pace by Dwight Lewis, knocking off the veteran, "Dubla Gold"

On June 16th and 17th, the Indian Relay Races return to Rocky Mountain Turf Club and there is a buzz in the about the event. In last year's inaugural running the stands were packed and the thrills never stopped. Advance tickets are available at the Bully's Bank. To avoid disappointment, it is recommended you pick up advance tickets as soon as possible.

Terri Landaker — RMTC Parade Marshall

For those of you who have been around RMTC for a few years, you will no doubt remember Terri Landaker, who was the the top rider here from 1999-2003. An outstanding quarter horse rider and one of the best clocks in her head I've ever seen in mastering a thoroughbred win from off the pace.

Terri Landaker was on her first horse at the age of four. She negotiated with her father for a Shetland named "Patches". The deal at the Landaker house was that if you could handle the sometimes cantankerous Patches, you could move up to another horse.

Her father was a Chuckwagon driver who attended the numerous small town rodeos in Northern Alberta where Terri grew up. Her father would bring young Teri and her older sister with him, along with a couple of extra horses and have them flat race them for "Gas Money. Terri says that if you got to the pay window before her father, you got a little cash. If not, you went home empty handed.

Terri flat raced for her father from the age of ten until she graduated from High School. After graduating high school, she went to Grande Prairie College where she was, "Going to try and be a normal person". During the summer she spotted a job as a groom for Polo Horses. She applied to Dr. Lewis for the job and got it.  Dr. Lewis was so impressed with Terri that he also hired her to work on data processing in his office. After the summer, she also landed a job at Keddie's tack shop and managed to juggle both jobs working seven days a week.

A long time trainer by the name of Gerald Bonnette entered Terri's life and things began to change in a big way. Gerald had Terri gallop his horses and getting them legged up for racing. Ultimately Terri, at the age of fifteen, began racing Gerald's horses in Grande Prairie. At first her license was only for Gerald's horses and halfway through the meet she received the okay to ride other horses after she proved herself worthy. The first thoroughbred Terri rode was for Riley Rycroft. The race was a mile long and Terri rode the horse hard every step of the way. When she got off her knees buckled and Terri learned a valuable lesson in thoroughbred riding. Pace. The following year Terri had to make a decision to either go full time in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie, or stick with her guaranteed job with Keddies. She made the choice to go to the track, and the rest is history.

The following year, Terri was thrown into the deep end as there were only eight riders in Lethbridge and she was forced to ride every race, which ultimately taught her how to ride a thoroughbred.

She rode in the Alberta Community tracks until 1997 and then she went to Hastings in Vancouver in 1998 as an apprentice rider. Upon returning to Lethbridge in the spring of 1998, Terri had gained tremendous knowledge in race riding, but didn't know the horses at the track. She talked Colin Reese, who was a farrier at the track to be her agent because she felt he knew all of the horses. The plan worked as Terri began to dominate on the Alberta Community Circuit and won leading rider pretty much every year up to and including 2003, which was her best year ever.. In the fall of 2003 one of Terri's favourite horses to ride was, "Fly on the Run", a horse she rode in a stakes race in Winnipeg, as well as Lethbridge. A few strides out from the starting gate, Terri's life changed forever as the horse went down and took Terri with her. There was a stunned silence in the crowd as Terri lay on the ground motionless on the track. Racing was actually cancelled for the rest of the day, which never happens, but that's how severe the accident was. It was hard to fathom what had just happened.

Terri then spent ten days in induced comma while hospitalized in Calgary. Ultimately after learning how to talk and walk again she returned to the track in Calgary with then husband, Doug McDonald. Doug was training for Max Gibb and had tremendous success. There were so many horses coming Doug's way that he told Terri to get a trainers license and she wrote the exam after studying for a year and passed with flying colours in 2005 and trained at Calgary until the end of the 2008 season.

The following year, Terri's life took another turn as her and Doug McDonald separated. Terri, being the survivor she is, gathered herself and her horses together and moved to Edmonton to train horses. From there she returned to Lethbridge and ultimately found a new mate and bought an acreage in the Magrath area. At the end of 2015, Shirley Clark, the long time parade Marshall retired creating an opening. Dot Stein, RMTC Race Manager, made a brilliant move and called Terri to see if she would be interested in the position. Terri jumped at the opportunity and her life has come full circle and during the journey, Terri has proven that she is a survivor to be reckoned with.

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