Thursday, 17 September 2015 13:34

Celebrating the Heart and Soul of Alberta Thoroughbred Racing

Written by Crystal Leriger
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It is a day like no other. The atmosphere is indescribable. Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic Day is an emotional occasion, symbolic of the great heritage of horse racing in our province. There is something to be said for watching a beloved 30 year veteran prevail on Alberta days, or a young up and comer triumph in their first stakes victory. On this day, every Albertan gets a chance to shine.

There is a security in knowing that hard working men and women have prospered for decades doing what they love to do, and a hopefulness that we may have the same opportunity in an era of entirely different circumstance.

Alberta-breds have long been respected for their longevity, heart and strength of character. Long-time horsemen also portray the same attributes. Several conditioners featuring stakes contenders on Saturday afternoon have been turning out champions and advocating for this sport for over forty years.

Dale Saunders is the winningest trainer in the history of the Fall Classic and is on the cusp of another remarkable career milestone of 2000 wins. In addition to his dominance as a trainer, together with his wife Barb, they have been premiere breeders in the industry boasting multiple stakes winning champions. This year, the legendary Colonel will start seven horses from his stable, and four of them are descendants of the prolific producer and super mare Wild Creek.

Donald Gilkyson has forever been one of the most respected horsemen in the industry. His record on Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic Day ranks him as one of the most successful of all time. This year, his lone stakes hope will be in the form of a sprinter named Cafeine Cowboy in the iconic Red Diamond Express.

Joan Petrowski is a two-time Canadian Derby Champion, a perennial leader and a fierce supporter of the industry since the 70’s. Much like the Colonel, many of Joan’s champions have been born and raised at home making victory that much sweeter. One of her all time favorites is Tiny Giant, who will compete for another chance to bring home a trophy on this special day.

Jerry Robertson will send out a record six hopefuls on Saturday afternoon. Last year Barfly’s Survivor brought home a long shot victory for the conditioner and will look to repeat the thrilling feat once again.

Generation after generation the Alberta thoroughbred industry delivers. Top contenders showcase the pride of their stable in the pinnacle event of the season. Representatives will star in stakes action from over 25 different stables, representing countless hopeful connections. Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic Day celebrates the heart and soul of Alberta thoroughbred racing. Saturday afternoon, sentiment will fill the air, our heritage will once again be commemorated and our future hopes renewed.

Join us at Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino Saturday, September 19 at 1pm.

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