It was an action-packed weekend again at Rocky Mountain Turf Club. Saturday featured the seven-furlong running of the Open Stakes. Once again, trainer/owner Jacqueline Smith, was the big winner with, " Cantchaco", who just happens to be the holder of most victories in the United States by a race horse in 2017. "Cantchaco", ridden by Juan Apango, took over the lead early in the race and cruised to a five and a half length victory over, "Unstoppable Colby", who is trained by Mankumar Mohindee and ridden by Trevor Simpson.
On Sunday, it was the quarter horses' turn to shine with two stakes races on the card. The first was the Alberta Aged Stakes and William Leech, who has dominated the quarter horse circles this spring, came up with another victory as, "Toughie" romped to victory over, "Cruisinfourabruisin", trained by Janice Sather and ridden by Alejandro Hernandez. A few races later it was the All Canadian Derby, which Leech had qualified four horse for the trials. Leech went on to be victorious again with, "True Copy", ridden by Moreno. Long shot, "Atomic Blondie", trained by Deanne Davies and ridden by Andrew Wright came up for second place money.
Two familiar faces at Rocky Mountain Turf Club are Dennis and Sylvia Speaks. Sylvia is originally from northern Alberta and Dennis is from Washington State. They currently race three head and are looking to add to their stable. Dennis, who started in horse racing at the age of nine with his grandfather in Washington State, has now been involved in horse racing for over sixty years as a gallop boy, ferrier, owner and trainer.
Dennis fondly remembers a number of years ago at a small track in the U.S. when Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffert, was his gallop boy. Luckily for Baffert, he turned his horse-racing talents to the training end of things and has never looked back. Sylvia can be seen ponying almost every race at Rocky Mountain Turf Club. She says she tries to give her horse a couple of races off each day, as he's getting up there.
Once again this past weekend, handles were on the rise at Rocky Mountain Turf Club and it is anticipated they will be up again for the final weekend of horse racing coming up at RMTC before the horses head off to Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie.