Chuck Stojan, after this weekend, may have a full load of quarter horses to take down to Albuquerque, New Mexico in October.
The long-time local owner already has one horse that has qualified for the Bank of America Challenge Championships – the most prestigious quarter horse championship in North America - in the American city after two B of A finales at The Horses At Evergreen Park and this Friday (Aug. 23) he has horses entered in the final three of five Challenge regional championships at J.D.A. Raceway this summer.
On July 28 on J.D.A. Raceway his horse, Getit Hot, won $23,521 of a $48,003 purse with a first-place finish in the 400-yard Adequan Derby Challenge. The same day a horse named Gone To Be Bright, owned by Gonetothebrightside Syndicate, captured the other B of A regional championship race – the 875-yard Evergreen Park Distance Challenge. Both horses are trained by William Leech.
Those two races started the five-event Bank of America regional finals at Evergreen Park.
On Friday the regionals, with the trips to Albuquerque up for grabs for all winners, start with the ARC Distaff Challenge over 400 yards. Stojan's True Copy is entered and leaves from Gate 3.
Others involved include High Gloss Black (1), First Prize Cruise (2), Knotty Knita (4), Shez My Hero (5), Blink And Shes Gone (6) and Atomic Blondie (7). Purse money is $22,253 and it is for three-year-old and older fillies and mares.
On paper the four-year-old True copy is the favorite with 10 wins, five seconds and a third in 18 lifetime starts and $88,585 in career earnings. First Prize Cruise, also four, is next at 17-4-1-7 and $25,760 and four-year-old Atomic Blonde has won $24,693 after 21 races with two wins, two seconds and six third.
Next up in the B of A regional is the John Deere Juvenile Challenge with a purse of $34,595.
Stojan’s horse, Clear To See (out of Gate 7), is in tough in this one. Clear To See has a win and third in two lifetime races and earnings of $3,838 while Double Cruise (Gate 6) has two
wins and a second in three career races and $21,134 in earnings; and Suits (Gate 8) has won $7,891 with a win and third in six races.
Others in the race, which is over 350 yards and for two-year-olds, include Allthespeedyouneed (Gate 1), Quarter Sawn (2), Honeys Painted Pop (3), Eyesa Cruiser (4) and Light Footed (5).
The Bank of America Challenge finishes up the high-profile regionals at Evergreen Park.
Stojan’s entries in that race are Stripsteak, gate No. 3, and Good Kiddy, out of gate No. 4. The race is over 440 yards with a purse of $39,457 and is four three-year-olds and up.
Stripsteak has nine wins, two seconds and a third after seven career races and $44,926 in earnings while Good Kiddy is 10-1-0-4 and $7,801.
All of the horses may be chasing JD Wagon Boss, out of Gate 1. The Boss has won $62,632 in 18 career starts with seven of them wins, three seconds and three thirds.
Gone to Be Bright, the Distan
ce Challenge winner, has a 19-4-5-0 record and $27,736 in earnings and is out of No. 2 while Walters Cartel (10-1-0-5 and $5,430) leaves from No. 5 in the five-horse field.
Leech, who filled in as the trainer for the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park winner Exactly last month, has his hands full on Friday. Besides Gone to Be Bright, he trains True Copy, Blink And Shes Gone, Light Footed (which he also owns), Clear To See, Stripsteak and Good Kiddy.
The Bank of America Challenge Championships go October 26 at The Downs in Albuquerque.
The Horses At Evergreen Park go Friday and Saturday with a 6 p.m. post and Sunday starting at 1 p.m. Sunday is Mr. Mike's Paint The Park Purple - Race For The cure! The annual pancreatic cancer awareness day at the track. There is a silent auction, Frisbee toss for a $1,000 Marlin Travel gift certificate, 50/50 and purple cookies, bracelets and drinks for sale. The day also includes a Dino Derby, sponsored by the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum.
There is no admission fee.
The Alberta Derby thoroughbred race at Evergreen Park was a big event last Sunday, but also making as much noise at J.D.A. Raceway were some top-end quarter horses.
And they were running for a lot of money!
Veteran local owner Chuck Stojan knows that because he grabbed $23,521 from one of those races.
Stojan’s horse Getit Hot (photo right) won the $48,003 Adequan Derby Challenge on Sunday.
It was a regional final that earned Stojan the right to take Getit Hot to the Bank of America Challenge Championship Oct. 26 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“These are some of the best quarter horses in Western Canada,” said Stojan, who is delighted the Bank of America has sponsored five big quarter horse races at Evergreen Park this year.
The second B of A race held on Sunday was the $28,802 Evergreen Park Distance Challenge – won by Gone To Be Bright (photo below) for owner Gonetothebrightside Syndicate. Gone To Be Bright, as a regional winner, also has the option of going to Albuquerque in October.
The Adequan Derby Challenge was over four-hundred yards and featured seven horses. Ricardo Moreno was in the saddle for Stojan in that race and William Leech, who filled in as trainer for Alberta Derby winner Exactly, is Getit Hot’s trainer. Leech also trains You Have No Equal, who finished seventh for owners Kathy McNiven and Luis Alvarez in the Adequan.
Papas Coleen, owned by Fort St. John’s Donalda Cochrane and trained by local trainer Darcy Hawkes, was second in the Adequan Derby Challenge race followed by Chasin Harm.
Leech kept the streak going as trainer of Gone To Be Bright (winner of $14,978 for first) in the Evergreen Park Distance Challenge – over 875 yards – with Moreno in the saddle again. He also trains Blink And Shes Gone (owned by Gonetothebrightside), the fifth place finisher, while Grande Prairie’s Nellie Pigeau looks after fourth place finisher Its Official for Bruce Fenton.
Cruisin For Chicks finished second in the EP Challenge while Glittering Blue was third.
If the winners of the two big quarter horse races can’t make it to Albuquerque the second-place finishers will be eligible.
Regional races for the right to attend the championships in Albuquerque have been going on since early in the year across the United States and into Mexico and Brazil. Evergreen Park is the only race track in Canada that hosts regional Bank of America competitions.
The remaining three of the five regional finales will be held on Sunday, Aug. 18 at The Horses At Evergreen Park.
They are the Bank of America Championship Challenge ($35,00 US purse over 440 yards for three-year-olds and older); John Deere Juvenile Challenge ($25,000 purse over 350 yards for two-year-olds); and the ARC Distaff Challenge ($15,00 purse for three-year-olds and older fillies/mares).
Racing at J.D.A. continues this weekend, with a now opening post time. First race Friday and Saturday will be at 6 p.m. and Sunday they’re off at 1 p.m. This weekend is the last that includes a Friday. All remaining races will be Saturday and Sunday starting August 10.
Admission to racing is free and the Pines Family Restaurant and Pines Restaurant & Casino are open before and after racing.
For the first time in PBR (Professional Bull Riders) history, Grande Prairie will welcome the toughest sport on dirt’s Canadian Touring Pro Division for one-night of edge-of-the-seat action on Saturday, Oct. 5 for the Grande Prairie BuckWild PBR in the Drysdale Centre at Evergreen Park.
The Touring Pro Division regularly features Canada’s elite, alongside some of the league’s top international athletes, squaring off against the rankest bucking bulls in the nation. Fans will witness exhilarating 8-second rides and wrecks throughout the action-packed event as the PBR’s courageous riders face off against their 2,000-pound opponents.
The stop will mark one of the final four Canadian events prior to the season-culminating PBR Monster Energy Canadian Finals, presented by Dakota Dunes Casino, on Nov. 22-23 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where the 2019 PBR Canada Champion will be crowned and presented with a $50,000 bonus.
The newly-announced event comes amidst one of the tightest races for the national title in league history, with the all-Canadian Top 4 separated by fewer than 530 points.
As the top-ranked rider in Canada for the majority of the 2019 season Jared Parsonage (Maple Creek, Saskatchewan) currently sits atop the national standings. Regarded as one of the most consistent bull riders in the Great White North, Parsonage’s season has been highlighted by two event wins on the Monster Energy Tour, a runner-up finish at the Calgary Stampede and 11 additional Top 10 efforts.
Close behind Parsonage are No. 2 Shay Marks, No. 3 Dakota Buttar and No. 4 Jordan Hansen.
From Sunnybrook, Alberta, Marks quickly climbed the national standings after his career-first event win on the Monster Energy Tour in January at the Winnipeg Classic. Adding significance to the victory, the event was Marks’ first since undergoing reconstructive shoulder surgery in 2017. Since, he has recorded 13 additional Top 10 efforts across all levels of PBR competition in both Canada and the United States.
Competing for the first time in 2019 on home soil in June, two-time Glen Keeley Award winner Buttar has made a quick leap up the national standings. In addition to three Touring Pro Division event wins, the 26-year-old has an additional seven Top-10 efforts across all levels of PBR competition in Canada.
Rounding out the powerhouse contingent of the all-Canadian Top 4 is Okotoks, Alberta’s Hansen. In addition to a win on the Monster Energy Tour in Calgary, the 25-year-old has also ridden to two Touring Pro Division victories in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan,
Also expected to ride in Grande Prairie are the lone two multi-time PBR Canada Champions: Aaron Roy (2008, 2010, 2012) and Zane Lambert (2013, 2017).
The bull riding action at Evergreen Park begins at 7 p.m. on,
All riders will attempt one bull each in Round 1. The Top 10 will then advance to the championship round for one more out and a chance at the event title. In addition to competing for points towards the Canadian national standings, riders will also have the opportunity to earn world points in an effort to earn a berth onto the elite PBR Unleash The Beast.
Tickets for the one-day event go on sale Friday, August 2 at 10 a.m. MDT.
VIP Packages including a behind-the-scenes chute tour, autograph session with some of the sport’s top riders and entry into the drawing for a premium shark cage experience will also be available for purchase.
Both can be purchased at buckwildgp.com.
PBR, which has events in five countries, has competed in Canada since 1996 where it operates two tours. Joining the Touring Pro Division (TPD), the Monster Energy Tour (MET) debuted in 2016 as the nation’s first cross-country, nationally televised series. At PBR Canada events riders have the opportunity to earn points towards both the Canadian and world standings.
Exactly became the first female to win the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park, as the chestnut filly crossed the line in a time of 1:44.46 to win the 88th edition of the Derby at J.D.A. Raceway on Sunday afternoon. It was held at Evergreen Park for the fifth year in a row.
Striders Ring was second while Proud and Loud came third. Grande Prairie Derby winner, The Hybrid, finished third but was dropped to fourth following an inquiry. Its All Good was scratched by the vet. Exactly paid $4.40 to win to run the one mile and a sixteenth race on dirt.
“It’s awesome a female can outrun these boys for that kind of money, in this calibre,” trainer William H. Leech said, full of superlatives. “That’s awesome. That’s amazing. That is an amazing feat in thoroughbred racing for a female to out-run the boys.”
Exactly’s normal trainer Elige Bourne couldn’t make the trip to Grande Prairie so he asked Leech to handle the filly. The Lethbridge resident was in town because he had five horses sprinkled throughout the nine-race card on Sunday.
Previously, Leech witnessed the three-year-old’s prowess from a distance at Century Mile in Edmonton, but he never got a chance to handle her until the last few days. Leech said the filly was “just a dream to work with.”
“This mare is awesome, she cruised around (the track on Sunday),” Leech said. “Honest to God, the way she came back (to the barn), I thought she ran at 85 per cent. She’s that much horse. She wasn’t overly tired. The jockey (Rigo Sarmiento) did an excellent job. He picked his spot and asked her to run and no problem. It looked really good.”
Exactly, owned by Alexandre Dion, has five total races under her belt this year and has been in the money every time, with three wins and two second-place finishes. Adding the $29,362 purse from the $55,400 Alberta Derby, she’s now earned $60,528 this season so far. Not bad for a horse that cost $2,000 at auction.
Exactly did the run Sunday in 1:44.46, just off the track record of 1:44.23 set by Derby winner Regal Max in 2018.
“A filly really needs to have a big heart and a lot of grit to outrun the boys,” Leech said. “The boys are a little tougher, a little stronger and for a filly to go in against them - especially running a mile and a sixteenth - you have to have a lot of grit and power. It’s a great filly.”
Bourne was made available post-race from Edmonton and the former jockey was immediately struck by her presence when he first laid eyes on her.
“The first time I watched her work I went, ‘This is a machine,’ and she is,” Bourne said. “Even the races where she ran second she got bad trips that cost her the races. Did she have a clean trip on Sunday? I hoping she did because she hasn’t had one yet.”
Exactly ran second at the Sonoma Handicap and finished runner-up in the Chariot Chaser Handicap, both races were run at Century Mile.
“She’s a nice filly and I liked her when I started working with her,” Bourne said. “She was miserable to get along with, but now she likes the attention she gets. She’s done an about-face with her attitude. She got hurt getting shipped (to Grande Prairie), but she overcame that. She’s never had a chance to show her true potential.”
Fight in the trailer
As Bourne mentioned, Exactly got into a trailer disagreement with at least one of her stall mates on the way up to Evergreen Park.
“She’s a filly with some geldings,” Leech said, perhaps providing part of an explanation. “Maybe, she got horsing a little bit.”
Lucky, the dust-up didn’t cost Exactly too much in terms of injuries.
“(She) skinned up her knees and her legs a little bit,” Leech added. “When she got here, we had to do a lot of cold water hosing and wrapping legs and hand-walking her, just a lot of extra care. Thank God nothing swelled up or was real deep - just ripped the skin and hair off, but it could have been terrible.”
Good return so far
As previously noted, Exactly has earned over $60,528 for owner Alexandre Dion. The filly was purchased in April 2016. The breeder of record was Gary and Marie West Stables, Inc. in Lexington, Ky.
“That’s a hell of a return on your money,” Bourne said of the money earned so far by Exactly. “(When it comes to buying horses), a lot of it’s luck. You can spend a lot of money and get nothing. It’s a crapshoot when you buy. (Exactly’s) got a pedigree in her, but the stud was unproven and the mare was unproven.”
The Horses At Evergreen Park continue weekends in August.. Racing goes Friday and Saturday this weekend with 6 p.m. posts and Sunday at 1 p.m. Next weekend it reverts to just Saturdays (6 p.m. post) and Sundays (1 p.m. post) until the finale – Mr. Mike’s Paint The Park Purple – Race For The Cure day on Sunday, August 25.
- By Gordon Anderson, Daily Herald-Tribune
Five horses will leave the starting gate on Sunday hoping to trot off J.D.A. Raceway at Evergreen Park with one of the most prestigious titles in horse racing in Western Canada - Alberta Derby champion.
They will be running for a purse of over $50,000. The race, over 1 1/16 miles, is for three-year-olds and Evergreen Park is hosting it for the fifth year in a row.
The lineup includes Hybrid, Exactly, Proud & Loud, Its All Good and Striders Ring.
The Hybrid, owned by Grande Prairie's Jason and Kelsey Coney and trained by Jason, is one of the five.
Winner of the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby July 14 at Evergreen Park, Hybrid has earned $25,743 in its career. The Kentucky-bred has 17 career starts with three wins, two seconds and a third while racing at The Horses At Evergreen Park, Hastings in Vancouver and Turf Paradise in Phoenix.
Hybrid leaves from gate No. 1.
Exactly, leaving from gate No. 2, has $31,166 in winnings since its first race in 2018.
The Kentucky-born is owned by Alexandre Dion and trained by Elige Bourne. After four starts, all at Century Mile in Edmonton, Exactly has two wins and two seconds.
Proud & Loud leaves from gate No. 3.
Trained by local Tim Rycroft, Proud & Loud is owned by Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd.
The Kentucky-bred has career winnings of $21,178 and five career starts – two of them at Century Mile - with two wins.
Its All Good is out of gate No. 4.
Born in Kentucky = owned by Robbin Martens and trained by Lionel Joseph - Its All Good has just three starts to its name with a win and a third and $6,079 in earnings. All its racing has been done at Century Mile.
Rycroft trains, and Riversedge owns, Striders Ring out of gate No. 5.
The Alberta-bred, with $18,093 in career earnings, has raced five times with a first and a second competing at Century Mile and Century Downs in Balzac.
All five horses will be chasing the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park track record of 1:44.23 set by 2018 winner Regal Max last year.
Eleven horses had been nominated for the Derby. The owners of three of them - Sharp Dressed Beau, Parking Permit, Zicatela and Hill Top Wonder - opted to race at Century Mile this weekend while Call It A Wrap and Hawkwood aren't on any entry sheets.
The Alberta Derby is the eighth of nine races on Sunday and post time is 3:55 p.m.
It's a big day of racing that also includes the Evergreen Park Distance Challenge Final, Adequan Derby Challenge Final and the Distaff Series Race 2.
The day starts with a VIP Brunch at 10:30 a.m. Tickets for that are available online at www.evergreenpark.ca until 6 p.m. Saturday; at the Evergreen Park administration offices in the TARA Centre 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at The Horses at Evergreen Park Friday and Saturday nights.
There will be three days of racing this weekend. It goes 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and then wraps up with the Derby Day starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
How do you like coffee-rubbed cab striploin served with a cabernet wine au jus?
Or seared pineapple and pomegranate salad with cilantro roasted red pepper cream dressing?
Never tried it?
Well, it’s time to get your fancy on at the annual Alberta Derby VIP Brunch at The Horses At Evergreen Park on Sunday, July 28.
And in fancy we don’t just mean the food.
Get yourself upscale with a big floppy hat, or fascinator, if you’re a lady and wear your best Sunday-go-to-derby hat, tie and outfit if you’re a guy.
There will be prizes for best-dressed woman and man … and child, too.
The Alberta Derby on J.D.A. Raceway at Gordon Badger Stadium at Evergreen Park is one of the most prestigious horse racing events in Western Canada.
In 2018, four of the eight horses that competed at the Alberta Derby went on to take part in the Canadian Derby. It is the highest quality race of the season at The Horses At Evergreen Park attracting some of the top horses from Western Canada.
The Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park has become THE place to be, and be seen, during the summertime in the Peace Country. It’s the Kentucky Derby North!
The VIP Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. and racing begins at 1 p.m. There is limited seating so everyone is encouraged to order their tickets ASAP. There is no gate admission!
VIP Brunch tickets are available online here; at the Evergreen Park offices in the TARA Centre Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and at the live races this Friday, Saturday (both 6:30 p.m. first post) and Sunday (1 p.m. first post) and again Friday, July 26.
For more information call the Evergreen Park office at 780-532-3279.
There are 11 horses that have been nominated for the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park on Sunday, July 28 at The Horses At Evergreen Park
Eight of them will appear in the $50,000-plus 1 1/16 mile run for three-year-olds and up. (Click here for list.)
If none of the horses pull out before the Derby entry is created by the race secretary early next week, three of the horses will be dropped.
It’s all based on career earnings with the top earners getting the nod.
Top career earner, according to statistics provided by Equibase, is a horse called Sharp Dressed Beau.
The Oregon-bred thoroughbred, owned by Empire Equestrian and trained by Rick Hedge, has $66,475 in career earnings after nine starts with four firsts, two seconds and a third with its last four starts at Century Mile in Edmonton.
Sharp Dressed Beau, who ran at Northlands Park in Edmonton and at Turf Paradise in Arizona last year, is on a three-race winning streak including capturing the Count Lathum Handicap and the Western Canada Handicap in its last two races.
Second on the career winning list is Call It A Wrap – owned by Riverside Racing Stables Ltd. and trained by Tim Rycroft.
The BC-bred horse has won $57,773 after seven starts with two wins, two seconds and two thirds.
After starting its career at Hastings in Vancouver, Call It A Wrap moved to Edmonton where it finished second to Sharp Dressed Beau in both the Count Lathum Handicap and Western Canada Handicap.
With $36,557 in career winnings, Parking Permit – owned by Mohamad K. Khan and trained by James R. Brown – is third.
The California-bred was third in the Count Latham Handicap in Edmonton and has a win, four seconds and four thirds in 15 career starts, with most of those coming at Turf Paradise.
At $31,166, Exactly is fourth among the current list of nominees. The Kentucky-born is owned by Alexandre Dion and trained by Elige Bourne.
After four starts, all at Century Mile, Exactly has two wins and two seconds.
Winner of the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby last Sunday, unless withdrawn, will be competing in the Alberta Derby based on money winnings.
The Hybrid – owned by Kelsey and Jason Coney and trained by Jason Coney – has earned $25,743 in its career – fifth best among nominees.
The Kentucky-bred has 17 career starts with three wins, two seconds and a third while racing at The Horses At Evergreen Park, Hastings and Turf Paradise.
With two wins in just three starts, Zicatela (born in Alberta) has pretty good winning record, but not a lot of racing under its belt.
Rated sixth in career winnings among the nominees at $21,421, Zicatela – owned by Crystal Meadows and trained by Dale Saunders - was fourth at the Count Lathum handicap at Century Mile after winning twice there in June.
Kentucky-bred Proud And Loud, owned by Riverside and trained by Rycroft, is seventh among the nominees in career winnings with $21,178.
Proud And Loud has five career starts – two of them were at Century Mile with the last being a seventh at the Count Lathum Handicap – with two wins.
Striders Ring (a third entry by the Riverside-Rycroft combo) will be in if not withdrawn as it sits eighth with $18,093 in career earnings.
The Alberta-bred has raced five times with a first and a second competing at Century Mile and Century Downs in Balzac.
The three horses on the bubble hoping one or more horses pull out are – Hawkwood, Its All Good and Hill Top Wonder.
The Kentucky-born Hawkwood ($13,997 in career earnings) is owned by Highfield Investment Group and trained by Greg Tracy.
Hawkwood has five starts with a first and a second with its last three at Century Mile.
Its All Good is ranked 10th among the 11 nominees with $6,079 in the pockets of the owner.
Born in Kentucky, Its All Good – owned by Robbin Martens and trained by Lionel Joseph - has just three starts to its name with a win and a third. It its races have been at Century Mile.
Grande Prairie’s Al Side owns and Ernie Keller trains Hill Top Wonder – another Alberta-bred.
Hill Top Wonder also has just three starts with two thirds and $3,220 in career winnings, which puts it 11th among the nominees in career winnings.
Evergreen Park is hosting the Alberta Derby for the fifth time.
The day includes a VIP Brunch. That gets underway at 10:30 a.m. and tickets are available here; at the Evergreen Park office in the TARA Centre; and at the information table on race days.
Why Frank's debut at The Horses Of Evergreen Park was somewhat of a struggle.
The Evergreen Park Racing Club 2019 horse finished sixth among eight horses Saturday.
Leaving the gate last on the far outside from No. 8, the Club steed moved to seventh in front of the grandstand for the first time and slowly crept up after the first turn putting push on to battle for fourth down the backstretch, but then faded a tad in the homestretch finishing about nine lengths behind winner Master's Bluff, trained by Grande Prairie's Nellie Pigeau.
Hurculean was second, Klondike Ike third, Red Wings fourth and Wood Machine fifth. Prairie Plan finished behind Why Frank in seventh and Endless Courage was last.
The race was over seven furlongs with a purse of $4,500. Carl Hebert, who also rode Club horse Mon Mousse to second on Friday, was in the saddle on Saturday.
The Club horses will likely be off until the weekend of July 26-28, but there is lots of racing between now and then.
The weekend wraps up on Sunday (1 p.m.) and is highlighted by the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby.
Racing goes next weekend with 6:30 p.m. first posts Friday and Saturday and then again 1 p.m. Sunday. On the 21st both the Weiner Dog Derby and Hot Dog Eating contest will be held.
It was a weekend of stakes races, trials and a big derby day at The Horses At Evergreen Park.
Biggest race of the weekend was the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby on Sunday.
And it stayed Grande Prairie!
The Hybrid, co-owned by locals Jason and Kelsey Coney and trained by Jason, out-raced four others in the one mile run taking home $7,287 of the $13,750 purse, a trophy and a nice blanket presented by sponsor Jarvis Dawson of J.D.A. Oilfield Hauling.
Azee Rules was initially named runner-up after battling The Hybrid to the wire, but a complaint was laid and upheld. Anello was placed second with Azee Rules third followed by Irish Era and Pretalk. Pretalk is owned and trained by Beaverlodge's Jack Bolin.
Trevor Smith, the third leading jockey heading into the weekend, was in the saddle on the winner.
While the biggest, the JDA Grande Prairie Derby wasn't the only important race on the weekend.
And jockey Blanford Stewart was in the saddle for three of them on Saturday.
He rode Lady Amelia to a win in the ACTRA Alberta Bred Stakes for fillies and mares and then saddled up again to win on Why Not Live in the ACTRA Alberta Bred Takes for colts and geldings. Grande Prairie's Nellie Pigeau is trainer of Why Not Live. Both races were over six furlongs.
He finished up the night guiding Teague Eleven to first in the first race of the mile-long Marathon Series. That horse is trained by Nellie Pigeau and owned by Payton Pigeau. Second of three Marathon Series races is July 27.
Sunday started with two Adequan Derby Challenge Trials races.
Papas Coleen won the first one with Trevor Simpson in the saddle. The horse is trained by Grande Prairie's Darcy Hawkes and owned by Donalda Cochrane of Fort St. John.
Singles Cruise, owned by Janice and Barry Sather of Beaverlodge, was favored in that race, but was scratched with a foot abscess.
In the second Adequan Derby Challenge Trials race You Have No Equals was the winner with Dwight Lewis in the saddle. Both races were over 400 yards with a purse of $4,000.
The Adequan Derby Challenge final is on July 28.
Race 1 of the Distaff Series was held Sunday with Silent Auction and jockey Orlando Foster, taking first in the 5 1/2 furlongs run for $7,000 in prize money. Race 2 goes July 28 and finale August 18.
This coming weekend ishighlight with the first Weiner Dog Derby and a hot dog eating contest on Sunday the 21st.
The following weekend (Sunday, July 28) the Alberta Derby is being held. Last year four horses from the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park advanced to compete in the Canadian Derby in Edmonton. VIP Brunch tickets for the Alberta Derby are available at www.evergreenpark.ca or at the Evergreen Park office in the TARA Centre.
The Horses At Evergreen Park continues weekend until August 25.
So far, so good.
A second place finish by Evergreen Park Racing Club horse Mon Mousse at The Horses At Evergreen Park on J.D.A. Raceway on Friday has gotten the group off to a good start at The Horses At Evergreen Park.
The eight-year-old California-born was in it from the start over seven furlongs in what ended up being a two-horse race in a four-horse field (with one scratch).
Both Mon Mousse, trained by Kathy McNally, and eventual winner Zar's Star broke from the pack earlier with Mon Mousse doing the chasing.
First time past the grandstand Zar's Star had a length lead, which turned into about five lengths by the time they had completed the first turn. Mon Mousse, with jockey Carl Hebert on board, chased and narrowed the gap enough to make it interesting coming down the stretch, but Zar's Star held on at the finish winning by about three lengths.
Zar's Star is owned by Grande Prairie's Lois McAleney and is trained by GP's Nellie Pigeau.
He's Big Time, also trained by Pigeau, was third two lengths back of Mon Mousse and We Taught Ed finished fourth well off the pace.
The Club's second horse, Why Frank, gets his chance to impress the group when he hits the track on Saturday.
He's entered in a seven furlongs race against seven others. That race is No. 3 on the card and leaves the gates at 7:20 p.m.
First post goes at 6:30 p.m. and there are seven races on the card.
Sunday is one of the biggest days of the season and includes the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby with over $13,000 up for grabs in purse money.
The Pines Family Restaurant and Pines Restaurant & Casino are open before and after racing.