May 30th, 2024

Rocky Mountain Turf Club set to open gates on new season


By Lethbridge Herald on May 1, 2024.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Rocky Mountain Turf Club will open the gates to a new horse racing season on Saturday.

RMTC held a press conference on Wednesday to give some details on what the season will look like.

“We’re really enthused,” said Max Gibb, RMTC CEO.

“We open on Kentucky Derby day, we’re having a full day of racing, we’re really excited, we’ll tie it in with the Kentucky Derby. People will be encouraged to come and dress and act and behave like they’re at the biggest race meet in the world.”

Gibb says purses this year will be the biggest ever in history.

The lowest purse will be $6,200 and the highest purse will be $25,000.

“Horsemen have an opportunity to make a little money and everybody can win a little money if they take my advice,” said Gibb.

“I’ll be around to tell them which horse to bet.”

New this year is the Doggy Derby which will see dogs races on May 18-19.

“Currently, we have around 29 dogs and our main event is going to be our Dachshund race,” said Aideen Garnett, RMTC administration office assistant.

“We’re super excited to be launching this event and we are looking forward to everybody joining us.”

Proceeds from the silent auction will go to Lethbridge Humane Society and attendees are encouraged to drop off food for cats and dogs while additionally enjoying a doggy fashion show.

Registration is required at admin@rmtc.ca.

The return of the Warrior Relay Races will come on Canada Day.

“It’s been said that the biggest crowd ever in this grandstand was when we had our big Warrior Relay Racing and the crowds absolutely love it [and] go crazy,” said Gibb.

Calvin Plain Eagle, who is a mugger and captain of the Anatapsii Indian Relay team, thinks competition is improving at the relay races.

“It’s the teams we’ve been racing against, they’re all making their way up to that point where everybody’s really in good competition,” said Plain Eagle.

“We get teams from the States coming down to race. Those guys are so good because they start  [earlier] than us. They start maybe a month, two months before us, they train before us and they come over and they race with us and they’re really good. They’re always going home with the prize money.”

Plain Eagle wants to see more of the younger generation participate in the relay racing so it’s not lost.

“We had five teams back on the reserve, the Peigan Reserve, now we only have one team, that’s us guys ,” said Plain Eagle.

“Those other teams, they kind of just slowly got out of the business because it’s expensive and a lot of travelling.”  

Warrior Relay Racing sees First Nations Athletes gallop around the track  before jumping on to their next horse and  having a race to the  finish line.

More announcements are expected on more Warrior Relay Races for this season.

RMTC will have a Mother’s Day race day on May 12 that will include an all-day food special.

Race days on Saturday and Sundays will still include the candy scramble, Milos Petting Zoo and stick horse races and a jump and shout contest.

Live races begin at 1 p.m and are free to attend.

More information on race day events can be found at http://www.rockymountainturfclub.com.

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