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Horses Shipping Into Calgary Area

Published: May 4, 2017 1:51 pm ET

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As the calendar turns to May, stalls are filling up very quickly at Century Downs.

Jim Marino and Justin Currie have shipped in from Fraser Downs, bringing more than 20 racehorses with them. Reportedly, John Hudon and Anne Chappell are on their way to stable horses at Olds. Century Downs regulars Brent Bodor and Rene Goulet raced at Fraser Downs all winter and have now returned to Alberta. So, the barns have filled up quickly, which explains why there were enough names in the entry box to fill three cards this past weekend, including a Monday matinee.

“I want to sit down with Paul (Century Downs General Manager Paul Ryneveld) and see if we can find some temporary stalls for the backstretch,” Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Executive Director, Fred Gillis told Horse Racing Alberta. “We’ll need more as the season moves along and we start to get some two-year-olds coming in for gate schooling and works. Right now, it’s a little tight.”

When the original concept of Century Downs was developed, the thought was that training farms scattered around the area would be the preferred stabling option, rather than making a major investment in infrastructure at the racetrack. That proved to be problematic for the northern stables, which wore down people and equipment commuting up and down the QE II. A few trainers like Kelly Hoerdt, and Sam Johnson still ship-in from the Edmonton area for races. The barns at Olds Agriculture Fairgrounds have proven to be a godsend. Sanford Campbell has access to a training track and stabling in Langdon. Others like Cathy Reid and Keith Clark have a more reasonable commute where they can stable at home and provide some outdoor paddocks to give their horses a little break from staying in the backstretch. Carl Archibald has taken over use of a 54-acre property not far from Century Downs for the same reason. Even those trainers who have stabling at Century Downs will be rotating horses in and out of their shed rows throughout the season.

Marino, who runs a public stable, had a strong season at Fraser Downs. He was third in the drivers’ standings with 38 wins from 202 drives, and he led all trainers with 29 wins from 161 starters. His major owner is Rick Mowles of Prince George, BC, racing under the JJJ Stables banner. That stable earned almost $193,000 during the winter campaign at Fraser Downs. One of its current stars is Yoga Pants, a three-year-old BC-bred filly that has won five straight races, including the final of the Penny Bath Memorial Stakes at Fraser Downs in her last start.

“I’ve got 17 stalls here at the moment,” Marino told HRA. “I’m going to have to figure out what to do with some other horses, including the two-year-olds. I must say, I do like the new surface here at Century Downs. It’s much better than last year. I’m looking forward to driving in a few races and seeing how the re-design of the third turn impacts racing strategy.”

(Horse Racing Alberta)

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