Page 9 - April 2008 The Game
P. 9

Canada’s Thoroughbred Racing Newspaper The Game, April 2008 9
Real Simard savours his victory aboard Footprint at the 2007 Canadian Derby in Edmonton.
ging Stampede Park in Calgary is about to step aside as a brand
if opening night is any indica- tion, Alberta race fans are in for an exciting year.
Other veteran jockeys return-
ing to Alberta in 2008 include Stephan Heiler, Ron Blinston, Jake Baton, Shannon Beauregard and Mike Iammarino who returns to Al- berta after several years in Arizona.
shot Hawkers Gate to victory paying $26.50, $8.80 and $3.70. Staring on the post, Beauregard  red from the starting gate second but quickly gained the lead and was ahead by a nose over Remarkable North heading into the stretch. The two horses waged a battle down the lane, but Beauregard was
new, multi-use facility is completed north of town near Balzac, Alberta, but before moving to the glitzy new complex in the spring of 2009 there is still plenty of work to be done.
The barns at Stampede Park are  lled to capacity with all 1,100 stalls rented out and the jockey community in Alberta is a strong as it’s ever been.
The 2008 Thoroughbred season in Alberta opened in Calgary on Friday, March 21, the earliest start date in history. For the next three months the jockeys, trainers and backstretch staff will be busy with 50 race dates and a number of important stakes races.
not to be outdone and hit the line  rst, winning by a neck.
Although Stampede Park has been much maligned in recent years, there will still be plenty of emotion when the historic facility  nally closes its doors at the end of the year. Despite being
a part of the year-long celebration of Stampede Park, for the professionals in the industry it’s all about winning and
Track Update
2008 Alberta Thoroughbred Season Opens with Optimism
The Spring Thoroughbred meet comes to a conclusion the weekend of June 14/15 with the running of the $125,000 Alberta Derby for the top three-year-olds in the province. The winner will head north to Edmonton for the 60-day Summer Meet as the leading candidate to win the richest race in western Canada this year, the $300,000 Canadian Derby scheduled for August 23 at Northlands Park.
At the head
of the list is the
Leading Jockey
from 2007, Rick-
ey Walcott, who is joined by countrymen Quincy Welch, Desmond Bryan and younger brother Rico Walcott who had an exceptional  rst year in Alberta last season.
The opening
card of the season featured eight races, all at a distance of four furlongs as the horses build their
While Beauregard led the way opening night with over $23,000 in purse money, veteran Rickey Walcott was also at the top of his game after spending the off-season riding in the Barbados. Walcott rode to victory
in the sixth race aboard favourite Controlled Trick and followed up with his second win of the night one race later aboard Call Me Tomorrow.
The jockey ranks also include fan-favourite Real Simard who contemplated retirement this off-sea- son after riding Alberta’s 2007 Horse of the Year, Footprint, to a Canadian Derby victory last August. Looking to go out a winner, Simard told me last September that his future was very much up in the air, but on opening night he was back and in the irons again with mounts in three races.
Alberta race scene is jockey Shannon Beauregard who continues to gain
the con dence of the trainers in the backstretch and had an excellent debut. Beauregard was one of only three jock- eys who had six mounts on the night and she sent notice that she intends
The two are expected to wage
a season long battle of the sexes as Beauregard tries to become the  rst woman jockey to win the award as Alberta’s leading jockey.
stamina prior to the beginning of the stakes season which begins April 12. One of the brightest stars on the
to be in the thick of the race for top jockey honours by piloting two horses to victory while  nishing second in another two races.
The head of Horse Racing Alberta, Dr. David Reid says that construction is on schedule and that the new track just north of the Calgary Airport is expected to be open in time for the start of the 2009 Thoroughbred sched- ule next March.
Her  rst win of the season came in just the second race as she rode long-
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