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. PLEASE SEE OUR YEARLINGS LIST WITH PEDIGREES AT: CLICK HERE Yearling Sale Catalogues are now available. Please contact Oriann at the ASHA office for info. All current 2015 ASHA members will receive their copy by mail.
**NORTHLANDS FILLY PACE and WESTERN CANADA PACING DERBY Nominations are due September 1, 2015. CLICK HERE for Nomination form. PLEASE NOTE THAT POSTAL CODE SHOULD READ T4A 0E2. IF YOUR NOMINATION ENVELOPE HAS BEEN RETURNED PLEASE REMIT IT ALONG WITH THE NEW ONE TO VERIFY NOMINATION DATE. PLEASE CONTACT THE ASHA OFFICE WITH ANY QUESTIONS.
ASHA ByLaws UPDATED 2015 - VIEW HERE
"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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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.
The scene: the Mega Dome at Olds Agriculture Society. The first of 72 yearlings is paraded into the ring. The auctioneer introduces the youngster and begins the patter to drum up a solid dollar investment. The crowd watches. Many in the audience have already spent hours looking through pedigrees and deciding what they are prepared to spend and what they hope to buy. Some are veterans of the sales. They know what to look for. They know the racing history of each family represented by the yearling in the ring.
Others are new to the process. Their nerves are running a little higher. They’re caught up in the sights and sounds. They have a raw idea of what they are prepared to spend and what they want to accomplish. But it is still something new, and fascinating. And, given the fact it involves their money, their hopes and dreams are often mixed with the unknown.
It’s Sept. 4th, 2015, the date of the Alberta Standardbred Yearling Sale. It’s a date that brings together the dreams of finding another champion with the reality that this is a business. Everyone involved needs a plan to get to the winner’s circle. It doesn’t just happen. It’s the product of a shrewd purchase, hours of care and training, and a smart horseman at the controls when that yearling ventures onto the racetrack for the first time.
“We’ve been so looking forward to the new racetrack opening in Balzac,” says Connie Kolthammer, who chairs the ASHA breeders committee. “We have to maintain a positive approach to the system.
One of the strengths of harness racing in the province is the Alberta Sire Stakes program. Since 1977, the province has provided financial support to the racing and breeding industry, recognizing it as an important contributor to the agricultural economy. In 1995, under Premier Ralph Klein, a new, arms length regulator, the Alberta Racing Corporation – later, Horse Racing Alberta – was created and a slot machine program was introduced to support live racing. That program helped to fuel the growth in the Alberta Sire Stakes series which is now worth about $1.2 million a year.
In addition, owners of Alberta breds keep their horses eligible for the series through a number of sustaining payments in their yearling, 2 and 3 year old years. Those funds become part of the purses for several Alberta Sires Stakes races. The racehorses also have to be offspring of an Alberta-based stallion to be eligible.
“Even if Alberta breds don’t make it to stakes level races, they are still eligible for the bonus program,” Connie Kolthammer points out. “Every time a 2,3 or 4yr-old Alberta bred horse finishes in the top three in a race, there’s a bonus paid to the owner”. So the breeding program is important. We have some good sires in the province right now. We need to keep upgrading our brood mares to ensure that we keep producing quality racehorses. The biggest problem is getting quality mares into the province. The dollar exchange makes it more expensive to bring in quality mares from the US. We need to work harder to bring in good fillies to race and then to breed.”
Diane Bertrand has gone that route and has had some success with My Villas on Fire. “I owned the mare and bred her and My Villas on Fire turned out to be the 2 year old Alberta sired filly of the year. She finished second in a BC stakes race earlier this year as a 3 year old and my partner, Robert Gillespie and I, are hoping she’ll be good as this season goes along at Century Downs.” “I know we used to have additional stakes races for 2 year old fillies to try and attract more and better fillies to race here. I think we need to devote some dollars to promoting that program again. The government has always supported the development of our homebreds, so it’s important that we continue to improve the breed. Whatever we can do to make that happen will be good for the industry. And we know we’re making progress when our Alberta breds can race in open events and win.”
“So far as the sires are concerned, the best ones we have right now have come from eastern Canada and the US. The east doesn’t want them if they haven’t made a million bucks at the races. They just have too many stallions. So it’s possible to get good stallions in Ontario and the US and bring fresh bloodlines into the province.”
At last count, 66 of the 72 yearlings scheduled to go through the sale on September 4th are Alberta breds. Something to think about when you plot your investment strategy and dream your dream.
Written by Peter Watts