And they’re off and running.
The Alberta Derby Stakes race goes off Sunday afternoon at Evergreen Park, with an expected post time of 3:55 p.m.
The race is a $50,000 purse and runs at one mile and a sixteenth on the dirt. Eleven horses were originally entered in the race but five will compete in the 88th edition of the race for three-year olds.
“This is our fifth running of the Alberta Derby (at Evergreen Park) so people are excited about it and more and more people are starting to come out because they know about it and it’s a fun day,” Evergreen Park Racing and Gaming Manager Pat Hill said. “They make mimosas at the bar, mint juleps. It’s like Kentucky Derby day.”
Heading into the eighth race of the day, Exactly is tops in money won with $31,166. The Kentucky-born horse is owned by Alexandre Dion and trained by Elige Bourne.
The Hybrid—owned by Kelsey and Jason Coney and trained by Jason Coney—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 Evergreen Park, Hastings in Vancouver and Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz. The Hybrid should be familiar to local racing fans as the three-year-old won the J.D.A. Grande Prairie Derby.
Kentucky-bred Proud And Loud—owned by Riverside and trained by former Teepee Creek resident Tim Rycroft—has earned $21,178. The gelding has five career starts–two of them at Century Mile in Edmonton with the last being seventh at the Count Lathum Handicap at Northlands in Edmonton—with two wins.
Striders Ring has earned $18,093 in prize money. The Alberta-bred gelding has raced five times—earning a win and a place—while competing at Century Mile and Century Downs in Balzac, northeast of Calgary.
It’s All Good has put $6,079 in the pockets of owner Robbin Martens. The gelding is trained by Lionel Joseph and has just three starts to its name with a win and a third. The gelding races at Century Mile.
“They’re going to run a mile and a sixteenth (and) that’s a fairly long (distance) so they have to be quality horses,” Hill said.
Last year, Regal Max won the Alberta Derby, coming out of post position seven. The three-year-old led wire to wire, beating out Shimshine by a length and three-quarters. Regal Max crossed the line in 1:44.23, a track record. Regal Max picked up $31,111 for trainer Rick Hedge and owner Almac Racing Stable and Kerredge Farm.
According to Hill, the race is a solid get for the local track south of town.
“In my opinion, (Evergreen is) the best track in North America, so it’s the best place to have the Alberta Derby,” Hill said. “And that’s the honest to god truth because we have one of the best tracks in North America.”
Races 6 and 7 on Sunday will see two quarterhorse stakes races.
Race 6 is the Evergreen Distance Challenge at 870 yards with six horses competing for a total purse of $21,879. The Adequan Derby Challenge will follow at 400 yards long, with seven horses running for a total purse of $36,465.
There is also a brunch scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. by the VIP tents next to the grandstand.
“You can purchase (brunch tickets) at the door but it depends on what we have left for tickets,” Hill said.
All in all, Hill noted it’s a great day for racing enthusiasts and families alike. Racing action starts at 1 p.m., for the nine race card.
“Some are here because they are so attuned to the quarterhorse races and some are here for the thoroughbred races,” Hill said. “Families like to come too because there is no charge, it’s free admission. Families can make a day of it.”