Six Alberta Bred Stakes races stole the show this past weekend at Rocky Mountain Turf Club
Starting things off was the Fillies & Mares sprint at five and a half furlongs and the results were predictable. It was a two-horse battle between Garry Marks', "Lady Amelia", and John Poirier's, "She's It Again". Andrew Wright had, "She's It Again", out front all the way until the very end when Blandford Stewart just nipped her by a head with, "Lady Amelia", to pick up the victory.
In the five and a half-furlong dash for the boys, Blandford Stewart once again pulled off a stretch drive on, "He's Italian", trained by Norm Cuthbertson, to overtake the favourite, "Stripling Warrior", trained by Laurie Ferguson and ridden by Larris Allen.
The three-year old filly race saw Blandford Stewart continue with the hot hand as he rode the Les-Adams trained, "Thorns n' Roses", to victory over Ely Rutherford's, "Crafty Can Do It".
The amazing roll of Blandford Stewart continues in the Two-Year Old Stakes, as he teamed up with trainer Les Adams once again to pick up the victory with, "Rock Steady", while Vincent Palmer brought Ron Scott's longshot, "C.C. Corbourundum", in for second-place money.
The seven furlong Stakes for Colts & Geldings was another Blandford Stewart special when he came from off the pace with Norm Cuthertson's, "Special Kiss", to edge out Ron Scott's, "Captain Will" at the wire.
After winning the first five Stakes races on the day, Blandford had to settle for second on the last stakes race with Brad Mead's, "Ma's Miracle Run". Larris Allen launched a huge stretch rally to pick up the victory on Lyle Magnuson's, "Miss Moochie".
While at the track, you will hear the name Mankumar Mohindee. Mankumar Mohindee is a soft-spoken man who has a twinkle in his eye every time he talks about his horses. Mohindee is also probably the only owner/trainer with a Master's Degree in Business Administration and taught post secondary for ten years at a University level. Mankumark came to Canada from his home of Mauritius, an island off the Indian Ocean with a population of 1.2 million people. Horse racing is a major industry there and Mauritius boasts the third oldest race track in the world. Mankumar always enjoyed going to the races there as a spectator and would marvel at the beauty of the horses that were racing. Mankumar arrived in Canada with his wife and son eight years ago. He found that in order to continue teaching he would have to take some more courses in Canada. Instead, he signed a contract with Maple Leaf and worked for them two and a half years. After that, he moved on to a chicken plant and then moved to the Agro Fuel cheese factory where he works as a receiver on the night shift, while his wife works there during the day in the front office. Mankumar began his horse racing journey five years ago when he enrolled in the grooming course at Olds College. He credits Theresa Sealy, who works for H.R.A. and is an instructor at the College, as being a huge help to him.
Upon graduation, Mankumar had to apprentice and he came to Lethbridge to train under trainer Laurie Ferguson for over two years. Mankumar then took out a trainer's license and bought one horse, who he had great success with. After that, he went to Phoenix and bought two more horses and turned them into winners. Last winter he went back to Phoenix and bought two more horses and has again had tremendous success. He now has a stable of five horses. One of Mankumar's biggest thrills came last year when one of his horses. "Carlot Cowboy" had a leg injury and he spent four weeks nursing him back to health. Upon his return, he won his first race and then his second time out won the Sprint Stakes Race.
Mankumar plans on taking some time off work in November and December and going to Phoenix with his horses, plus he plans on buying some more. Mankumar's ultimate goal is to work full time with race horses year round.
One can't help but notice the spark in the eye of Mankumar Mohindee when he talks of his love and respect of horses. There is no doubt that Mankumar will fulfill his dream. Do yourself a favour when you're betting and don't leave a Mohindee horse out of your triactor box.