Latest News & UPDATESFrom ASHA and the World of Harness Racing

ASHA YEARLING SALE - SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 - 2:30PM AT THE OLDS AG SOCIETY - MEGA DOME. YEARLING CATALOGUES WILL BE AVAILABLE THE FIRST WEEK OF AUGUST. PLEASE SEE OUR YEARLINGS LIST WITH PEDIGREES AT: CLICK HERE

MID-SUMMER CLASSIC DAY AT CENTURY DOWNS - AUGUST 8TH - RALPH KLEIN BREEDERS STAKE & THE BRAD GUNN DETAILS HERE

ASHA ByLaws UPDATED 2015 - VIEW HERE

**Attention Horsemen - Due to the television scheduling, the Brad Gunn eliminations will be moved one day back from August 2nd to August 1st.  Both eliminations for the Ralph Klein and Brad Gunn will now go August 1st.  Both finals will go August 8th.

"HOME STRETCH FRIDAY'S" AT CENTURY DOWNS. Come out and enjoy a great night of racing. VIEW POSTER HERE

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ASHA HAS OFFICE MOVED. OUR NEW ADDRESS IS: 261185 WAGON WHEEL WAY, ROCKY VIEW, AB T4A 0E2. PHONE, FAX AND EMAILS REMAIN THE SAME.

CENTURY DOWNS BOOKKEEPERS HOURS VIEW HERE

CONGRATULATIONS TO SWAY S. FOR WINNING THE "NAME THAT FOAL" CONTEST. THE WINNING NAME IS: "PINKIE PIE". SWAY IS 3 YRS OLD FROM BEAUMONT, AB. PLEASE SEE ATTACHED ALL THE WINNERS CLICK HERE

 

2017 OPEN STAKES - THE LADY LUCK, RALPH KLEIN MEMORIAL, NORTHLANDS FILLY PACE, WESTERN CANADA PACING DERBY - Stakes Guide VIEW HERE 2015 YEARLING NOMINATION FORM CLICK HERE

ASHA held their 2015 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, April 18th. Please see attached the "NEW" 2015 Board of Directors and Breeders Committee View HERE

NOTICE TO ALL: Century Downs Racetrack & Casino is enforcing "FULL" membership to all ASHA members in order to provide liability coverage for those involved at any capacity around the race grounds. This means that ALL GROOMS, DRIVERS, TRAINERS, BREEDERS AND OWNERS must have current memberships to ASHA in order to be on Century Downs Racetrack & Casino premises for any race related activity. This policy shall be enforced by Century Downs Racetrack & Casino, not ASHA. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

ASHA PRESS RELEASE - MARCH 6, 2015 (CENTURY DOWNS) VIEW HERE

2015 ASHA STALLION DIRECTORY & STAKES GUIDE IS NOW IN! PLEASE CONTACT ORIANNA AT THE ASHA OFFICE @ 403.263.7765 FOR A COPY OR INFORMATION.

CENTURY DOWNS is currently recruiting for the positions.  Email your resume to Careers@CenturyDowns.com.  For a copy of the job description, email paul.ryneveld@cnty.com.  Jobs will continue to be posted  at http://centurydowns.cnty.com/ under careers at the bottom of the home page

AS PROMISED DAY - VIEW POSTER HERE

CONGRATULATIONS!! THE WINNING NAME FOR THE 2014 "NAME THAT FOAL" CONTEST IS "PICKLES ON TOP" submitted by 6yr-old Rachel Ratsoy of Edmonton - VIEW CONTEST WINNERS Click here to VIEW Winning Picture

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Alberta Standardbred Horse Association
(ASHA) was formed to represent and protect the best interests of Standardbred industry participants and bring about a closer, more understanding relationship among members, racetracks, racing associations, governing bodies and the public.

KLEIN, GUNN TO BE HONOURED IN AUGUST... 

The late Premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein, loved harness racing.  He and his wife, Colleen, owned a few standardbreds over the years.  He led the way in creating the racing entertainment centre concept in 1996.  The concept was to stabilize an important part of the agriculture industry by providing revenues from slot machine gaming at racetracks to support purses – and through that, to provide employment and encourage investment in the horse racing sector.  At the height of the program in the early years of this century, horse racing was a $400 million a year business in Alberta.

 But more than anything, “Ralph” loved the game.  He and one of his government ministers, George Vanderberg, came up with the idea of racing against each other for charity.  It proved to be a popular event at Northlands Park in Edmonton where the two politicians donned silks and racing helmets once a year to raise a few dollars and chirp at each other.

 “We used to jog horses at night at Northlands,” Vanderberg recalled.  “Don Monkman was Ralph’s trainer.  Keith Clark was mine.  We’d train, then we’d go back to the barns, have a couple of pops and Ralph would tell stories to anyone who wandered by.  Every race we’d have a little wager and whoever won would pick the charity to which the money would be donated.  I think Ralph won 3 of the races and I won the other two.  But I never could understand how he always got the rail.  We’d flip a coin to decide that.  I never checked, but I think he must have had a coin with a head on each side.  And he always got a more expensive claimer to drive than I did.”  “It got to be a pretty good rivalry and he was so proud of the trophy they gave him when he won.  He used to have them on a shelf in his office at the Legislature.  One day when we were having a meeting, he stepped out for a moment and I re-arranged his shelf.  He came back into the office, took one look at the shelf, and said….Vanderberg….don’t touch my trophies!”

For Ralph, the industry was always important – always a big part of agriculture.  It’s why he gave it his attention.  It’s why his name and his contribution lives on in the form of the Ralph Klein Stakes for 3 year old fillies which will stage eliminations on August 1st with a $70,000 final on August 8th at Century Downs.

Another name to be saluted at the same time is that of Brad Gunn, who owned one of North America’s top breeding farms in North America for a number of years.  His story will be told as part of the Brad Gunn Stakes for 3 year old colts and geldings to be staged on the same two weekends in August.

“Actually, my mother, Agnes, was as important to the breeding operation as Dad was,” their son, Ken, told me.  Mom gave needles, pulled foals and kept the books.  And anybody who stopped by the farm near Lloydminster was always welcome to stay for a meal.  She fed a lot of people over the years, especially in the spring and summer months when the farm was at its busiest.”

Brad Gunn and his father started buying standardbred horses in 1957.  Three years later, Brad made his first trip to the Harrisburg yearling sale and came home with several horses including Adios Pick.  That one proved to be the foundation sire for a farm that was rated among the top ten producing farms in North America for three years in a row.

Brad Gunn passed on in 2001 and Agnes died in 2003.  But Ken Gunn still has ownership interests in a few horses locally, even though his career in the oil and gas industry took him all over the world.  He’s now retired and living most of the year in Houston.  He’ll be on a cruise with his wife and family to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary, so he won’t be able to be a part of the Brad Gunn series this year.

“But we are really honoured that Alberta Standardbred Horse Association would name a series in honour of Dad,” he told me.  “I believe horse racing is an important part of agricultural life in Alberta and I’m pleased that my family can continue to be a part of it.”  So are we all.  And every year when these two series are staged, it will be a reminder of what each man – and their families – contributed to the game and to the industry.

Briefly noted……the Packman Grand promotion on Canada Day drew more than 1,400 folks to Century Downs, many of them for the first time.  The event, which began in the Calgary market with the pilgrimage to the Millarville Races last year, is a packaged event which has proven to be really popular among a younger affluent crowd……Century Downs has added a couple of new wagers to its program.  The “Century 6” requires bettors to select six winners in a row.  The “Jackpot High 5” requires bettors to select the correct order of finish in a designated race.  Both pools were seeded with $5,000 to get them started in early July.  A distinct ticket on each wager is required.  If there is no winning ticket, half the pool is paid out and the rest of the money is allowed to accumulate……Century Downs and Horse Racing Alberta went together on a mailout campaign to the nearby community of Airdrie, which is home to more than 50,000.  The idea is to encourage folks living close to Century Downs to come to the races.  The mailout included a voucher and a chance to enjoy a day at the races.

Written by Peter Watts

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