BEAVER – Horse lovers, race fans and members of the Beaver City community gathered at Canyon Breeze Training Center Saturday for the fifth and final day of schooling races for the 2014 Canyon Breeze season. The George Marshall and the Beaver Derby were the two highly anticipated races as both have been traditions at the facility for years.
These schooling races are important because they allow new racehorses a chance to hone their skills while racing in front of an audience, Chancey Carter, head of fundraising and advertising for the Canyon Breeze race, said. Here, they are free of the pressure and money involved at larger venues in other states.
“We hold these schooling races to give horses the experience they need to go ride in other places like California,” Carter said.
Those who are new to horse races may catch what she called “the fever.”
“I think once you go to the horse races and experience the beauty of the animals and the atmosphere you catch that fever,” Carter said.
Michael Robinson, one of the Canyon Breeze managers, said he hopes future generations continue to pass along this tradition.
“We try to maintain a family atmosphere,” Robinson said.
To highlight the family-friendly atmosphere, children were welcomed down to the center of the track and competed in short sprint-style races while riding toy, stick-horses. Winners were given a free item from the concessions stand, which included burgers, fries, drinks and candy.
Other booths were dedicated to fundraising for families of sick children in the surrounding area. Members of the crowd were encouraged to donate what they could, or purchase an item to show their support.
Drew Coombs, a horse trainer from Minersville, said he thinks people are drawn to the races because it brings them a sense of pride.
“Horse racing has always been big in Beaver County,” Coombs said. “These schooling races let people get an idea of horses they could see out running in bigger races in other states one day.”
Coombs also said he is the current part-owner and trainer of a horse who raced in the George Marshall event. He said he always enjoys seeing horses he has worked with go out and race.
Trainers and owners work with their horses all the time.
“When you finally get to go out and see them run around the track …,” Coombs said, “it’s very rewarding.”
In the anticipated George Marshall race, the horse Yoda Chrome and jockey JC Estrada took home the win.
Before the final race, the Beaver Derby, could begin, an altercation on the track between Estrada and a member of the crowd caused a brief halt to the program. Estrada and the crowd member pushed one-another and exchanged words before being broken up.
In the final event of the evening, Nevada Time with jockey Nate Condie, took home the first place trophy in a close final stretch with second place Stormy Dreams.
The crowd at Saturday’s event was numbered between 300 and 400 people, Robinson said, while more popular Canyon Breeze events, such as the Pioneer Day race, can draw more than 1,500 people.
Of greater concern to Canyon Breeze than how many attend the races is having enough jockeys and horses to enter the races, Robinson said.
“If we don’t have the horses and … riders,” he said, “it’s harder for us to put on a show.”
The next Canyon Breeze season begins Memorial Day 2015. Follow the Canyon Breeze website for more information.
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