The 88th Alberta Derby took place to great fan fare at Evergreen Park on Sunday and no one was disappointed... well, maybe the boys in the race.
Striders Ring, the gelding trained by Tim Rycroft, owned by Riversedge Racing and ridden by Larris Allen, almost pulled off a gate-to-wire victory. However the filly had other thoughts, as she stalked from second leading to the stretch when Rigo Sarmiento pulled the filly to the outside and she made her power move to pick up the victory.
What makes the victory even more impressive is the fact that she was involved in a trailer scuffle on the way to Grande Prairie from Edmonton when she was shipped along with Lionel Joseph's entry in the same race. The altercation left Its All Good unable to race and was a vet scratch. William Leech, who was looking after Exactly for Elige Bourne (Elige was at Century Mile running a two-year-old in a Stakes Race) went to work with the hose and wrapping and performed a minor miracle on the filly. Even more impressive to Leech was that when the race was over she had barely turned a hair. He truly believes we still haven't seen the best of this filly.
While the pedigree of the filly is respectable — apparently it wasn't at the Keenland Auction as she sold for a paltry two thousand dollars — quite possibly the best auction value since Seattle Slew sold for seventeen thousand back in the seventies. With the twenty-nine thousand plus that she picked up from the Alberta Derby winnings, she is now well over sixty-thousand dollars in lifetime earnings. Who says horse racing isn't a good investment.
Wrapping up Sunday's card at Evergreen Park was the ninth race — the second leg of the fillies and mares sprint stakes — where once again, Lady Amelia showed why she is considered the best mare on the B Circuit. Ridden by Blandford Stewart, she pulled off one of her patented gate-to-wire victories. The Gary Marks trained Alberta bred, has put on a clinic every race out this year. The Len Hambly owned and trained Silent Auction, ridden by Orlando Foster, put up a gallant effort to get within a half length at the wire.
It was a magical day at Evergreen Park and one that was truly enjoyed by all those in attendance.