The 2014 Evergreen Park race season comes to an end this weekend, with the running of the $15,000 plus Centennial Stakes on Sunday, as part of Grande Prairie’s year-long 100th birthday celebration.
Some of the best horses at the track will compete at one mile.
Fan favorite Dubla Gold is expected to lead the field. The race will be the center piece of a day of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the city of Grande Prairie, on closing day at Evergreen Park.
There will be prizes – including 100 McDonalds cheeseburger coupons buried in the kids sand pile each day of racing – as well as free draws (one being 10 copies of the new book Northern Dancer) and other fun stuff. Troyer Town will more than double in size for the weekend with bouncy castles and other fun interactive events for children.
It should be fun for the whole family as the track wraps up 2014. First post time is 1 p.m. Also on Sunday some of the best quarter horses meet in the $20,000 Bonus Challenge at 400 yards.
The final weekend of action gets underway on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s races start at 6:30 p.m. with the highlight being the $8,400 John McLeod Memorial at 870 yards for marathon quarter horses.
This race always produces excitement, and this year should be no exception.
Also on Saturday the yearly edition of the Bruce McAleney Memorial will be run.
Hard to believe just three more race days remain for 2014. If you have not had the pleasure to get out to the track this year, I highly suggest you get out there. It would be a shame to have to wait until next summer to get to see the beauty, majesty, and spectacle that is live racing at Evergreen Park.
Last weekend’s races were highlighted by the Bonnett & Brodon Futurity on Sunday.
In that race Janis Carlton's' fastest qualifier Stella Wave put on a furious late charge to capture the glory. Trained by Janis' husband Kurt, and ridden by Larris Allen, the filly covered the 300 yards in 15.62 seconds to record her second career victory, and push her earnings over the $25,000 mark. Red Armor took second, and Hawks Ammo was third.
Also on Sunday, Jessa Merlot and Tyler Walker took the Maiden Challenge Final.
On Saturday, Jaqueline Smith’s nine-year-old mare Button Em Up took Leg 3 of the Distaff Series. Trained by Lyle Magnuson, and Ridden by Larris Allen, Button Em Up won for the 18th time in her career. She also won Leg 2 of the series, but was not eligible for the $1,000 bonus that goes to the horse that accumulates the most points in the series because she did not run Leg 1. The bonus is only eligible to horses that run in all three legs.
Of the horses eligible, Ray Nikiforuks' Smile Lee took top honors on the virtue of her two second place finishes, and her fourth place finish on Saturday.
With just three race cards to go the race for leading jockey at the meet is heating up. Larris Allen - by winning four on Sunday and three on Saturday - pushed his total for the season to 27, and just one win shy of the lead, which has been held all season by Tyler Walker.
Always a crowd favorite, Walker, a native of British Columbia, has been able to stay healthy this season and I have never seen him riding better than he ever has.
The last weekend should be exciting and it will probably come down to the last day if not the last race before it is decided. The trainers’ race is a little less tight with Lyle Magnuson holding a 14 to 11 win edge over Angelle Carter, who is having a tremendous season, winning races with quarter horses as well as thoroughbreds, and paints.
This being my last column of the season I want to take this opportunity to give a heartfelt thanks to the management, horsemen, and fans of Evergreen Park, for making me feel so welcome every time I come up here to work the race season.
Everyone is so friendly, and shows me such hospitality, and I am deeply grateful for that. Like I mentioned last week, the people of Grande Prairie have a jewel of a race facility in their backyard with Evergreen Park, and should support it whenever they can.
It may be a quote/unquote “B “ track, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better setting, or a better facility for racing anywhere. I beg the fans, and horsemen of Evergreen Park to not take this wonderful track for granted, but to support it wholeheartedly.
There is no admission and children are always welcome.
HORSE RACING (July 11...
Who: Horses from all over
What: The Horses At Evergreen Park
When: Starts Friday, July 11 and continues every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and holiday Monday, Aug. 4) until Sunday, Aug. 24. Fridays and Saturdays 6:30 p.m. and Sunday and holiday Monday 1 p.m. post time.
Where: Badger Stadium
Why: To allow you to bet on the horses and to provide some great entertainment for the summer.