This past weekend at Rocky Mountain Turf Club, the weather was awesome and the racing was even better. A large crowd was on hand Saturday and the largest crowd of the year was on hand Sunday.
On Saturday the feature race was a Filly and Mare Allowance Race which was ultimately won by Jacqueline Smith's, "Briana Jean", who beat out Len Hambly's, "Silent Auction". Nicholas Patrick gave everything he had to win going gate-to-wire with "Silent Auction", but in the closing strides, Ruja Lahoe tracked her down for the win in the stretch drive.
On Sunday, Smith was at it again in the Spring Overnite Stakes racing with a distance of five and a half furlongs. She sent out her classy veteran, "Cantchaco", who won more races that any horse in North America in 2017, to take on Lyle Magnuson's reigning champion, "Doc Radke". The two horses had their own match race as they were nearly inseparable throughout the race, but at the end of the day veteran rider, Jose Rocha, cruised to victory with Cantchaco.
A familiar name has resurfaced at Rocky Mountain Turf Club. Tracy Burbank is training her two horses at RMTC this spring, and plans to bring in a couple more from Emerald Downs. Tracy's dad, Harold raced horses at Rocky Mountain Turf Club for years and passed on his wealth of knowledge to Tracy.
Tracy has been involved in horse racing for twenty-five years. Her grandfather raced chariots in the 40's and her father was one of the best at the Indian Relay Racing Circuit in the United States, which used to be called, "Pony Express". As a child, Tracy would help her father and grandfather break horses at their acreage in Washington State.
Eric Turner, Tracy's former husband, originally introduced Tracy and her parents to thoroughbred horse racing. Tracy and Eric are still friends and Tracy actually claimed a horse for him last year. She laughs and says they get along better now than when they were married. Tracy was out of horse racing for a while and then returned when her father got older and needed some help with horses.
When Tracy was out of horse racing she worked at a gold mine in the states and when the mine shut down, she decided to get back to horse racing. Although Tracy likes her home state of Washington, she loves racing in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. She has an arrangement with J.C. Penny in Washington where she works as a manager. She is allowed to leave for horse racing and then return in October, so she says she ultimately has the best of both worlds. One of her favourtie stories to tell is about her veteran, "Just Zoom Will Do". She claimed the horse as a three-year old out of Emerald Downs and a couple of years later the breeder of the horse phoned her and was concerned that she was racing in Lethbridge because she had heard that Canadian's eat horses. After a great deal of conversation, Tracy convinced the woman that no one would eat the horse. "Just Zoom Will Do", as a ten-year old, won his first race of the year in his first start this spring.
Tracy is strongly thinking about expanding her operation and would like to name her stable "Willow Moore", in honour of her grandfather's dairy that he used to run. Family ties run deep with Tracy and she is certainly a trainer to keep an eye on as the years roll on.