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.
The waiting is over!
Evergreen Park Racing Club 2019 members will be able to watch both of their horses compete this weekend at The Horses At Evergreen Park.
Mon Mousse hits the track on Friday and Why Frank is out of the gates on Saturday.
Four other horses will be trying to out-run Mon Mousse when they leave the gates at 8:10 p.m. in race No. 5 on Friday.
The race is over seven furlongs with a purse of $4,050 and a claiming price of $2,000.
Mon Mousse, with Carl Hebert in the saddle, leaves out of gate No. 2 while He's Big Time leaves from No. 1; Esteem's Dream from No. 3; We Taught Ed from No. 4; and Zar's Star from No. 5.
Hebert is also in the saddle over Why Frank on Saturday.
There are eight horses in that race. Starting from gate No. 1 they are Master's Bluff, Wood Machine, Herculan, Klondike Ike, Red Wings, Endless Courage, Prairie Plan and then Why Frank on the outside in No. 8.
The race is over seven furlongs with a purse of $4,500.
It is race No. 3 at 7:20 p.m.
Grande Prairie's Nellie Pigeau walked off with the Top Trainer award after The Horses At Evergreen Park's two-month summer run in 2018.
After the first weekend of racing for 2019 - Saturday and Sunday at J.D.A. Raceway - Pigeau is on track for back-to-back awards.
The veteran trainer had seven horses entered on the weekend and left Gordon Badger Stadium with three wins, a second, third and two fourths. There were 12 races over the two days at Evergreen Park.
Two of those Pigeau wins came on Saturday - Swift Sally Swift and Olddogs N Children in six furlong races.
On Sunday, Awesomeagainagain got her a win in a 5 1/2 furlong run.
Local trainer/owner Jack Bolin also did well on the opening weekend.
He had two wins, a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth.
Both wins came on Sunday - Uncle Kimo in a 6 1/2 furlong race and Major Magic over four furlongs.
Pigeau's main competition for the award last year was Lyle Magnuson, who also had three wins, including a victory in the biggest race of the weekend.
A horse he trains and owns, Doc Radke, won the $7,210 Sprint Series opener in the last race of the weekend on Sunday. Pigeau's horse Naomi's Gift was fourth in that race.
Racing continues this weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - with the feature race being the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby on Sunday. Opening post Friday and Saturday is 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Fans are invited to bid on horse-related artwork created by local artists. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Grande Prairie Injured Jockey Foundation.
There is no admission fee and the Pines Restaurant & Casino and Pines Family Restaurant are open before and after the races.
If you’re a horse owner looking for a place to run your quarter horses or thoroughbreds this summer look no further north than J.D.A. Raceway at Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie.
The Horses At Evergreen Park is a 20-day smorgasbord of events, racing and other, held on weekends for the months of July and August in a picturesque setting of pines just south of a city of almost 70,000 people. First race is Saturday, July 6.
You can view the Stakes Program here .
J.D.A. Raceway has a clay base and sand surface and is considered one of the safest, and horse-friendly, tracks in North America.
“Over 37 years ago the board members of the Grande Prairie, Agricultural and Exhibition Society built Evergreen Park in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” says long-time track manager Doug Love. “They acquired the proper equipment to maintain the track. With the proper equipment, and a commitment from board members and management, it makes my job easier to make this track what it is today.”
This spring work, including hundreds of loads of new material, was completed on the track. It will be the second time the track has undergone a revamp since Love took over in 2008.
“Evergreen Park has invested in its race track to make sure it is kind to horses,” says Love, whose work is so cherished he was at one time the World Professional Chuckwagon Association main man making sure tracks where the WPCA performed could be the best they could be.
Evergreen Park is considered a jewel in the forest and sits on 1,200 sandy acres. Besides a 2,700-seat stadium that includes a family restaurant, it also has an adults-only restaurant and a casino – the Pines Restaurant & Casino – which is open daily 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Evergreen Park has the largest convention centre, the TARA Centre, in northern Alberta and hosts over 600 large and small events annually.
Horse owners can cater to their animals while housing them in modern covered barns/stalls. Hundreds of horses can be housed comfortably. There is also camping facilities for those involved in racing with electricity and water and a dumping station.
The area offers all the amenities of a mid-sized city including art gallery, museum, indoor and outdoor pools, dozens of restaurants and bars, a movie theatre with 10 screens, fitness centres, paved trails winding through the centre of the city, two championship golf courses within minutes of the Park, lakes and rivers and lots of outdoor activities including walking and riding trails throughout the Park.
The newest dinosaur museum in the world, the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, is just minutes west of the city in Wembley.
One of the highlights of the racing season is the Alberta Derby – being held on Sunday, July 28 this year. Four horses from last year’s Derby competed in the Canadian Derby in Edmonton.
The Grande Prairie Derby, like the Alberta Derby a longer race for thoroughbreds, is being held on July 14 this year while the Mr. Mike’s Paint The Park Purple – Race For The Cure goes on the final day of racing August 25.
Evergreen Park will be hosting the Bank of America Evergreen Park Championship Challenge (440 yards); Adequan Evergreen Park Derby Challenge (400 yards); John Deere Evergreen Park Juvenile Challenge (350 yards); Evergreen Park Distaff Challenge (400 yards); and the Evergreen Park Distance Challenge (870 yards) this summer.
“The Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association and the American Quarter Horse Association have worked in conjunction with Evergreen Park for many, many years, bringing the Challenge races to the Evergreen Park each season,” said Evergreen Park Racing Manager Pat Hill.
The Challenge races at Evergreen Park are used as a regional qualifier with the winners advancing to the Bank of America Challenge Championship at The Downs in Albuquerque, NM on October 26. Over $100,000 in purse money comes along with the five races with the biggest being the Bank of America Championship at $35,000 American.
Altogether, between trials and finals, there are 28 stakes-related races this year.
There is no admission fee to watch The Horses At Evergreen Park. Except for Friday, July 5, racing goes Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Sunday, August 4. It then switches to Saturdays and Sundays only until the finale on August 25. All Sunday post times are 1 p.m. while Friday and Saturday first post times in July are 6:30 p.m. and then 6 p.m. in August. There are no lights at the track, but in the summer northern Alberta days are very long.
Spring “training” for the Evergreen Park Racing Club 2019 continued on the Circuit A track at Edmonton’s Century Mile Race Track & Casino on Thursday as the three Club horses prepare for their Circuit B season at The Horses At Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie in July and August.
For the second time in two weeks Club horse Why Frank hit the track and for the second time there was no win, place or show for the Kentucky-born 10-year-old.
On Thursday in an eight-horse field over seven furlongs Why Frank ended up fifth – 6 ¾ lengths behind winner Stockwatcher. On June 1 Why Frank was fourth in his first race in Edmonton.
On Thursday, Why Frank chased through the final turn within striking distance of the leaders, but then faded into the stretch. He had moved up to as close as fourth halfway through the race five lengths from the lead.
Jockey Prayven Badrie was on board, helping the Club earn $178 for the fifth place finish.
It was Why Frank’s eighth start of the season (six of them in Arizona including a fifth for the Club on April 22) and 78th of his career.
A couple of local owners had better luck.
Owner/trainer Tom Rycroft was second with Factored In while a horse co-owned by local chuckwagon driver Mitch Sutherland, called Maggie’s Day, was third.
The only local win on Thursday was a horse named Proud and Loud, trained by Tim Rycroft, in the sixth race of the day over 6 ½ furlongs.
On Sunday the Club looks to get back in the winner’s circle when Club horse My Samurai Warrior leaves the gates at 3:37 p.m. in a one mile race for a purse of $11,500. You can watch and bet on that race, at many others from around North America, at the Pines Restaurant & Casino. The Pines is open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
The first time My Samurai Warrior stepped onto the track in Edmonton the 10-year-old Kentucky-born gelding was a winner, earning the Club $5,340 in a six furlongs battle against five other horses.
On Sunday he is again up against five other horses – with two local connections.
Local owner Jack Bolin has Empire Ruler entered in the race while owner/trainer Tom Rycroft is hoping Dare To Enter will finish first.
It will be My Samurai Warrior’s 54th start of his career and fourth of the season, with three of those in Arizona. He has won $237,670. Badrie is again in the saddle for the Club horse this weekend.
Local owners/trainers are entered in races both at Century Mile and at Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge this weekend.
To check out when they race visit the Equibase site here.
All the Century Mile and Lethbridge races will be shown on the screens at the Pines. There are two betting machines and programs available for all the tracks featured.