Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Titles on the line at Evergreen Park and Indiana Grand.
By Denis Blake and Martha Claussen | August 23, 2017
Racing North of the Border
By Denis Blake
When you think of American Quarter Horse racing, you might visualize horses sprinting somewhere under the bright, hot sun of the Southwest or perhaps under the big-city lights near Los Angeles. But the sport is also popular up north in Canada, even way up north at Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie, Alberta. The Canadian track just might be the most northerly racing venue in North America, and if it’s not, then it’s at least close. To put its location in perspective, it is almost a 700-mile drive from Grande Prairie just to reach the United States border. And if you wanted to go from Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie to Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, it would take you about 35 hours to drive the more-than 2,300 miles.
This weekend is the final one of the meet at Evergreen Park, with racing on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. There will be numerous activities, including a fundraiser for cancer research, giveaways and some great racing with two Bank of America Racing Challenge stakes in the Championship and Merial Distaff divisions.
Wrangler Racing Ace Denis Blake will also be there on Saturday and Sunday to help people learn to handicap and answer any questions about racing. Blake will also have a variety of educational materials and giveaway items from AQHA.
The meet has already been a success with an increase in handle compared to last year, and track officials expect some good crowds on closing weekend. The track is also important to the local economy of Grande Prairie.
“You have 350 horses that need feed, vets and other care for two months and then around 200 jockeys, owners, trainers, groomers, etc. who move to the area for the summer and it adds up to a lot of money spent in this area,” said Don Moon, the track’s marketing and sponsorship manager. “A dozen people rented a bus and drove up from Wetaskiwin for the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park. They spent three days here. Every weekend, we see people from Dawson Creek, Peace River and others from outside the immediate Grande Prairie area.”
Look for photos and postings about Evergreen Park this weekend on AQHA Racing’s social media channels.
Stone Cold Competition Saturday at Indiana Grand
By Martha Claussen
Two Quarter Horse stakes will be contested on Saturday night at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana. Trials on August 12 produced the finalists for the $83,901 Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Derby and $176,578 Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Futurity.
The one to beat in the Futurity will be Patrick Richardson’s Stone Cold Leader. The gelded son of Brookstone Bay made his debut at Remington Park, running second on March 24. However, since arriving at Indiana Grand, he has racked up four wins in a row, including a victory in the $184,000 Gordon Mobley Futurity on June 17. With regular rider Rolando Pina aboard, Stone Cold Leader competed in trials for the QHRAI Stallion Service Auction Futurity two weeks ago, stumbling at the break, but still recovering and crossing the wire of the 350-yard trial in :17.227 seconds. Obviously, he will be the favorite in Saturday night’s final, but he continues to amaze Richardson and trainer Erin Thompson with his speed and determination. To say nothing of his earnings! He was purchased out of the Indiana QHRAI Speed Sale last fall for $10,500 and has already bankrolled $118,630.
All-time leading Indiana Quarter Horse trainer Randy Smith will saddle four finalists in this stakes. His most experienced runner is Dicey Dream, a filly by No Secrets Here. She ran second to SR Shambles in the Heartland Futurity. Jockey Berkley Packer qualified three juveniles, but opted to ride Dicey Dream, who will break from the rail.
Owner and trainer Ronald Brown has the rapidly improving Beach Treat, who won his trial with the third-fastest clocking. Veteran rider Harold Collins will stay aboard the son of Escondido Beach, who will make his fifth start on Saturday night. His speed figures have ascended in each start and he may be peaking at just the right time.
SR Shambles cannot be ignored, but the son of Desirio has been running hard since debuting in futurity trials on March 4 at Louisiana Downs. He will make his 10th start of the year for owner Cynthia Allen and has won four races, including the $109,000 Heartland Futurity at Indiana Grand on July 29. James Flores has the return call for trainer Jeannette Hoover, who also qualified HQH Fancy Pants.
Wrangler Racing Ace Martha Claussen’s Top-Four Selections:
#3 Stone Cold Leader
#1 Dicey Dream
#8 Beach Treat
#4 SR Shambles
Wrangler Racing Aces in August
Wrangler Racing Ace Denis Blake will visit the Evergreen Park in Canada this weekend, offering handicapping seminars on Saturday and Sunday. He will preview the contenders for the two Bank of America Challenge finals and will provide fan education materials and giveaway items, courtesy of AQHA.
Visit the @AQHARacing page on Facebook or follow the Aces on Twitter for timely updates on Quarter Horse racing across North America. The Wrangler Racing Aces are following the horses, jockeys, trainers and milestones at Los Alamitos, Ruidoso Downs, Fair Grounds, Prairie Meadows, The Downs at Albuquerque and Indiana Grand.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.