The final weekend at Evergreen Park was successful beyond the wildest dreams of those involved. It all began Friday night with three Quarter Horse Stakes races to make up for the rain-out the previous Sunday.
Starting things off was the ARC Distaff Stakes with over 29,000 USD in purse money. The William Leech- trained, "True Copy", broke bad but had enough horse to pick up the victory with Ricardo Moreno on board, over second place, "First Prize Cruise", ridden by D.I. Benitez and trained by Tom Kenway.
The second major Quarter Horse Stakes was the John Deere Juvenile Stakes which was won handily by, "Honeys Painted Pop", ridden by D.I. Benitez and trained by Bucky Stockwell. Leech and Moreno teamed up for second-place money with, "Light Footed".
The Grande Finale was the Bank of America Challenge and it was a dandy. The William Leech-trained, "Stripsteak", showed his dominance with a going-away victory over Bucky Stockwell's, "J.D. Wagon Boss". Leech and Moreno teamed up for two of the three race wins and you couldn't wipe the smile off their faces at the end of the evening.
On Sunday, it was the thoroughbreds' turn to shine in front of a huge crowd at Evergreen Park. Paint The Park Purple is a stakes race for fillies and mares to help raise money for pancreatic Ccancer.
This race is one that is looked forward to by the racing public, and no one was disappointed. The two favourites were the Garry Marks-trained, "Lady Amelia" and Len Hambly's, "Silent Auction", a horse Hambly claimed from Century Downs last fall and has done wonders with. "Lady Amelia", and "Silent Auction", became locked up in a speed duel as soon as the gate opened. Into the final turn the duo began to weaken and drift wide and that's when the cagey Larris Allen, who had been stalking from third, sprung into action with Lyle Magnuson's, "Event of Default", and closed up the rail to pick up the victory with ease.
We must throw out congratulations to the Evergreen Park track crew, who despite rain almost every day in Grande Prairie this summer, only lost one day of racing. Evergreen Park is an amazing race track and the diligence of head track man, Doug Love, and crew kept it that way throughout the summer.