This past weekend proved extremely lucrative handle-wise for Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie. The six races on Saturday garnered over 32,000 in handle, but on Sunday betters blew the roof off the room with over 81,000 being wagered on the six races featured. This is a huge increase over last year's handle figures. In addition to HPI off track wagering, Xpressbet joined up with Evergreen Park for the first time and the addition was obvious in the handle.
There was also some outstanding races happening at Evergreen Park. One of the eye opening races was the finale on Saturday, where four-year-old filly, "Only One Kiss', trained by veteran trainer Godfrey Weaslehead and ridden by Martin Ortiz, finished 13 lengths in front of her nearest rival. She battled to the first turn and then left them all in the dust. Coming down the lane, she was eased as Ortiz realized he could just hand ride her home. Keep your eye on this filly this year, as she should have a bright future.
The feature race of the weekend was the first leg of the Sprint Stakes Series and the Tracey Burbank trained, "Ihearditallbefore", pulled off a gate-to-wire performance. Veteran jock Andrew Wright was on board for the victory. Nellie Pigeau's, "Why Not Live", was a game second, but couldn't quite get there.
One of the new faces is that of Macynne Packham, a young lady who was on her first horse when she was two years old. Macynne is from Whitecourt originally and came to southern Alberta earlier this year. She worked out of Fort MacLeod, training and breaking horses both for barrel racing and young thoroughbred race horses. She met Travis Robson, a ferrier and race-horse owner from Lethbridge and she came to Lethbridge to help Travis with his horses.
Through that connection, she met veteran trainer Godfrey Weaslehead, who trains for Robson and soon impressed Godfrey enough that he hired her as his primary groom and gallop person. Macynne has developed an absolute passion for horse racing and plans on making it her life's work. She will move up to assistant trainer next year and hopes to be a full-time trainer the year after that.
Live racing action resumes at Evergreen Park this weekend with racing starting at 1:15 both Saturday and Sunday.