PURPLE DAY ENDS RACE SEASON
It was appropriate that Awesomeagainnagain won the final big race of the season at The Horses At Evergreen Park at JDA Raceway on Sunday.
Appropriate because the horse’s trainer, Nellie Pigeau, is a huge supporter of Alberta B Tracks and a local. And, as it turned out when the 14-day meet ended after the next race, winner of the Top Trainer award at The Horses At Evergreen Park again this year.
The race was the Mr. Mike’s Paint The Park Purple – Race For The Cure Stakes and the horse was awesome again after starting the summer race meet with a victory (followed by a fifth and a second) on July 19. The horse is owned by John Halerewich.
What would have been even more awesome was if Blandford Stewart, who was Pigeau’s go-to jockey this year, had been on the back of Awesomeagainnagain in the Mr. Mike’s race. Stewart, again, ended up being the Top Jockey at Evergreen Park this summer. He was in the saddle for Lady Amelia in the purple race and finished last.
Stewart did finish up the season in style winning the eighth and final race on Sunday on the back of Parker’s Prince – trained by Pigeau and owned by Lynette Braun.
That made it convenient because the Top Trainer and Top Jockey awards were handed out behind the winner’s circle and Pigeau and Stewart were both right there after obligatory winner’s photo.
There were two other feature races on Sunday – the Marathon Series Third Leg and the Fred Drysdale Memorial Feature.
Dare To Enter – owned by Tom Rycroft, trained by Clinton Rycroft and ridden by Juan Apango – won the 1 1/8 mile run while Master’s Bluff, owned by Darcy Ralph, trained by Pigeau and ridden by Stewart, took the Drysdale race over six furlongs.
Saturday was also a big day of racing – especially for local businessman Chuck Stojan.
He will be returning to some familiar territory in October - pending the opening of the American border to Canadians.
For the second year in a row the Grande Prairie businessman has earned the right to participate in the Bank of America Challenge Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
And again this year, just like in 2019, Stojan has qualified three horses to compete in the most prestigious quarter horse championship in North America.
On August 15 his horse Stripsteak won the Bank of America Regional Championship Challenge at The Horses At Evergreen Park. The race was over 440 yards. The win was worth $29,418 for Stojan along with the entry in the New Mexico event.
BIG DAY AGAIN FOR STOJAN
On Saturday at JDA Racing during The Horses At Evergreen Park Stojan, named the top quarter horse owner in North America last year, came up a winner twice.
The first victory came in the Bank of America John Deere Juvenile Regional Challenge. Fight Club finished in 18.438 to win that 350-yarder along with $24,394 and the trip south.
Later Saturday, in a 400-yard race, Light Footed crossed the finish line first and netted Stojan $23,181, and the berth in the U.S. event, in the Bank of America Adequan Derby Regional Challenge.
All three horses were ridden by jockey Ricardo Moreno and trained by William Leech.
Four Bank of America Regional Championship races were held at The Horses At Evergreen Park this summer - the only horse racing facility in Canada that hosts B of A quarter horse regionals.
Earlier this year, in the Bank of America Distaff Challenge over 400 yards, Lovely Cuvee, owned by Beckham Ranch and trained by Allen Goodsell, was the winner earning a visit to Albuquerque the last weekend in October.
Many of the horses that spent the summer at Evergreen Park will be moving on to Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge for racing in September and October. Others will give A Tracks a shot, including Stojan. His horse Free Thought – the world record holder for quarter horses with 18 wins in a row – is scheduled to compete at Century Mile in Edmonton this fall before being retired.
Racing fans can continue to visit Evergreen Park and continue to play the ponies.
Evergreen Park Casino features a bank of screens showing racings from across North America. There are programs available for all races on the screens and two betting kiosks.
The Casino, which also has a restaurant, is open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.