Northlands’ loss is Westerner’s gain

A decades-old tradition has been broken with the migration of a major horse sale from Edmonton to Red Deer.

Ringman John Perlich attempts to entice another bid from the crowd attending the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Alberta Division 2009 Summer Yearling Sale on the Westerner Grounds

Ringman John Perlich attempts to entice another bid from the crowd attending the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Alberta Division 2009 Summer Yearling Sale on the Westerner Grounds

A decades-old tradition has been broken with the migration of a major horse sale from Edmonton to Red Deer.

Unable to hold its annual yearling sale at Northlands because of renovations there, the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s Alberta division brought 140 racing prospects to Westerner Park on Tuesday.

It was a temporary move that could become long term in light of the service, facilities and access Westerner Park has to offer, say people involved in the event.

Thoroughbred breeder Tina Stone brought four horses up from her family’s ranch near Madden, 55 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

Some people in the industry had felt the buyers wouldn’t come to the sale if it were moved out of Edmonton, said Stone.

But people will drive a long way when they’re shopping for horses, and Red Deer is more convenient to people who live in the southern areas of the province.

“They’re horse and agriculture oriented here, and our most important thing at a horse sale is safety for our horses, and they can actually walk on this footing. You go somewhere else, and they fall down.”

While she was pleased with the venue, Stone was disappointed, but not surprised, to see a significant drop in prices this year.

She had anticipated that people would be holding tight to their money this year for two reasons.

First, the economy is in a slump and secondly, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of race days available since Stampede Park at Calgary was closed.

The result has been a dramatic reduction in the number of race days.

“We need a race track in Southern Alberta,” said Stone.

Horse racers have been hanging their hopes on the new track that has been promised for Balzac, but so far failed to materialize, she said.

Previously, there were A-circuit races in both Edmonton and Calgary.

The A circuit offers bigger purses and better horses than the other tracks. While there are typically 140 race days a year between the two tracks, there are now only 75, she said.

Gordon Wilson, president of the CTHS Alberta Division, said Edmonton Northlands is not capable of filling in the void left since Calgary’s track closed down.

He was enthusiastic, however, about the possibility of bringing the yearling sale back to Red Deer in the future.

The level of service offered at Westerner Park would be the biggest attraction, with the facilities also in the running, said Wilson.

The yearling sale is a huge event in the racing industry, because that’s where people go to find their future race horses.

Alumni from previous sales include famous names like Switch an’ Win, Teagues Fight and Artic Laur. Artic Laur’s career earnings have reached nearly $635,000, while Teagues Fight has brought home just under $560,000.

As part of Horseracing Alberta’s incentive program, all horses sold at the sale are automatically eligible for a $60,000-stakes race as 2-year-olds and a $50,000 stakes race when they turn three, said Wilson.

Horse racers Perry Pellerin of Calgary and Ron Wiley of Regina said they definitely found a buyers’ market at Red Deer. By 2:30 p.m., they had purchased three prospects, including a filly and a gelding from Tina Stone and her crew and another filly from Esquirol Farms, located at Ryley.

Tuesday purchases increased their stable, the Dark Cloud Racing syndicate, to 11 horses and counting. Next week, they’re off to Kentucky to look for more horses.

Dark Cloud has actually made money at the races in the past year, said Wiley. So, he and Pellerin decided to reinvest those profits by buying more horses.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canopy Growth Corp. will deepen its U.S. presence by launching four sparkling cannabidiol waters, shown in a handout photo, there before possible federal legalization. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canopy Growth
Canopy Growth launches first CBD drinks in U.S. as legalization talk intensifies

Quatreau sparkling waters will be sold through e-commerce

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andre Penner
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 needs better promotion: experts

National Advisory Committee on Immunization makes recommendations

A man receives his COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Olympic Stadium marking the beginning of mass vaccination in the Province of Quebec based on age in Montreal, on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Most Canadians confident federal vaccine rollout is back on track: poll

Fifty-six per cent of respondents confident in vaccine supply

Air Transat and Air Canada aircraft are seen on the tarmac at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
International air travel a fraction of pre-pandemic times

International air travel during pandemic less than a 10th of what it was before COVID-19

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, former NBA player Shaquille O’ Neal is interviewed on the red carpet for Shaq’s Fun House in Miami. O’Neal is set to perform in his first competitive match when he teams in All Elite Wrestling with Jade Cargill in a mixed tag to take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet at Daily’s Place on an episode of “Dynamite,” Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Shaq Attack: O’Neal ready to rumble in tag match for AEW

O’Neal’s first competitive match with All Elite Wrestling

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, center, speaks during a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, Pool)
Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board to reach 42 per cent

Board will now have 19 women among its 45 members

The Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre is shown in Stratford, Ont., on May 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Stratford Festival plans next stages with two outdoor summer venues

Ontario festival productions set for between late June and the end of September

Treena Mielke
From record player to CD

When I first began dating my husband, he drove a little old… Continue reading

Opinion
Ottawa banks on Big Pharma making Canada pandemic-proof

Liberal fireball François-Philippe Champagne may be brand new to his portfolio as… Continue reading

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones
Health: Keep blood pressure under control

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Most Read