SUITS was the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association’s Overall Grand Champion and Champion 2 Year Old, Champion Alberta Bred Two Year Old Colt/Gelding and Reserve Champion Alberta Bred.
His 2019 record was 11 starts 2 wins, 2 seconds and 2 -3rds. He won $27,200 USD.
Suits was born at the Wes and Sue Oulton Ranch on January 31 2017. He was a striking looking colt from day 1 with his bright coat, wide blaze, and “chrome”.
Suits’ sire is First Timber, (Wes Oulton’s million dollar sire), and he is out of the El Rey Burner mare Burners Beauty. It is worth noting that Suits was the 8th consecutive foal that Burners Beauty has produced in the month of January. He is third generation from the original stock that the Oulton family began racing and breeding in 1988. Burners Beauty is a full sister to Bugsy Burner, who broke a track record at Evergreen Park and went on to win 7 races at Los Alamitos (the only Alberta bred to do so). She has produced multiple graded stakes placed horses, as well as successful barrel horses. Suits is a full brother to stakes winner Otimberimfallninlove and graded stakes placed O Kingsley.
Suits made the trip to Remington Park in Oklahoma to begin his 2019 career. Although he did not win in 3 starts there, he gained valuable experience that would serve him well in his 2019 Alberta campaign.
When this talented gelding then made the trip back to Alberta, and gave a glimpse of what was ahead, when he day-lighted the field in the Alberta Stallion Stakes Trial on June 27 (at the newest track in Alberta, Century Mile). Something interesting happened at this race. Suits not only won the race, he gained a fan club. A group of people fell in love with this flashy gelding, and even went so far as to come and visit him in the barn (they included a Daughter and Grand-Daughter of a former trainer of the Oultons).
The final of the Alberta Stallion Stakes was held on July 11 and Suits ran a stakes placed 3rd.
As with all running quarter horses in Alberta, Suits then went on to try his luck at a different track, the beautiful Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie, in the John Deere AQHA Juvenile Challenge. The trials were held on August 3 and Suits qualified for the final and ran a comfortable 4th in the finals. Then on to yet another track; Century Downs at Balzac Alberta. The trials of the Alberta Bred Futurity were on August 31 (on quarter horse day the first in history for Alberta)where Suits showed a lot of grit in winning his trial against some tough company and running a triple A speed index of 91. The stands were full and a lot of people got their first glimpse of the quality of running quarter horses in Alberta. Next came the final of the Alberta Bred. Suits ran a gutsy second; narrowly missing the win.
The final big futurity of the year was the Canada Cup, where the Alberta breds compete against some tough open colts. The trials were October 5. Suits showed his talent again, running second, and qualifying for the final. The Canada Cup final was a bumpy ride for most involved, but Suits ended up 3rd, making him Graded Stakes placed again. This is no small feat in quarter horse racing.
Suits went home then, having made his owners (and fans) proud. Congratulations to the Oulton family, and good luck to Suits in the derbies this year.
Written by Kathy McNiven
Returning Champion Free Thought picked up two more awards to his accolades: Champion Aged Horse and Champion Distance Horse at the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association 2019 Award Night. He started the year on a streak of twelve consecutive wins and extended it throughout the year to seventeen. This Stel Corona gelding ran at Los Alamitos before being claimed (bought in a race) and brought to Alberta in 2014. He has run well throughout the years and is a main stay in owner Charles Stojan’s lineup of horses as well as a barn favorite in the William Leech shedrow. Haley Leech Moreno, assistant and head groom in the barn has a bond with him: kisses and a pep talk before every race she says. In his five starts in 2019, Ed as his is known in the barn, added three overnight stakes wins and two allowance wins all races around the turn from 660 yards to 870 yards with earnings of $16,561 usd. His first start of the year was a 660 allowance in Lethbridge, followed by the Whoop Up Classic in the middle of June, winning both starts impressively. Free Thought then had a little hiatus while he waited at Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie for an allowance distance race to go, which did in August that he won. He is not challenge enrolled (much thought on Chuck’s part has been given on the what if’s he had paid the late fees to do so way back when he first brought him to Canada) so was unable to participate in the Distance Challenge held in July. Ms. Moreno says he was missed in Albuquerque, New Mexico where a string from Leech shedrow went to participate in the Challenge Championship. The fall saw Free Thought make the trip to Century Downs to dominate two more stakes, Century Downs Distance Championship held on the first all Quarter Horse Day and the Century Downs Distance in late September. Although he has not always run these long distance, well long in the Quarter Horse world, Free Thought defiantly has made his mark among the fans and betters in Alberta. Chuck plans to bring Free Thought back to race in 2020 as the horse just loves to run, has lots of heart left and still wants to compete. Granting Chuck does note that one day his age might catch up to him and some horse younger and potentially faster might get the edge on this 9 year old gelding. When his retirement does occur Free Thought has a forever home at the Stojan’s as he has taken his owner, the family and fans on an incredible journey. Congratulations to all the connections and good luck in 2020!
Written by Teagan Goodsell
The 2019 Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association’s Champion Alberta Bred, Champion Three Year Old and Champion Alberta Bred Three Year Old Filly is Papas Coleen. This First Timber filly out of the Lanes Leinster mare Cash In This Lane is owned and bred by Donalda Cochrane of Fort St John, BC and was trained by Darcy Hawkes. Her three year old race season consisted of 5 starts with a record of 3 wins and 2 seconds with earnings of $26,002 usd. She is a returning champion after receiving the Champion Alberta Bred Two Year Old Filly in 2018. Papas Coleen is sister to other Stakes winners, placed and qualifying horses that Donalda and her late husband, Earl have campaigned. It is great to see their horse racing passion continue with Donalda and the help of their family and friends. Papas Coleen started her three year old campaign off with a bang by winning a trial and qualifying to the Evergreen Park Regional Adequan Derby Challenge in July. She followed up this performance with a runner up finish in the finals. All her races in 2019 were at a distance of 400 yards, the typical distance for derby races across North America. Her jockey duties were split between Trevor Simpson at Evergreen Park and Cesar Cervantes at Century Downs. Papas Coleen then traveled to Century Downs in September to win the Alberta Bred Derby, which was hosted in conjunction with CTHS Fall Classic Day that celebrates the owners and breeders who campaign “Alberta-Breds” (horses foaled in Alberta). She completed the 400 yards in 20.136 for an 86SI (Speed Index). This was her first stakes win. Papas Coleen then tested the waters of the Canada QH Cup Derby trials, winning her heat and setting the fastest time to the finals. Donalda, family and close friends made the trip down for the Canada Cup finals and were hoping to get their picture taken but after a lengthy time in the starting gates Papas Collen finished second in the finals. Papas Coleen has gone back home to Donalda for the winter with plans to return this year to test her speed against the aged (four and up) horses. Congratulations and good luck in 2020!
Written by Teagan Goodsell
To say that it was a banner year for RICARDO MORENO ANDRADE both professionally and personally, is a bit of an understatement.
Not only was Riky the AQHRA champion jockey for the 4th time, he was the Champion 2019 Nutrena AQHA Challenge Jockey.
To understand the scope of this accomplishment, we will give a little information about the AQHA Challenge program:
The AQHA challenge program is a series of races held in Canada, the US and Mexico. There are futurities, derbies, distaff, distance and open stakes races held in a multitude of locations. Many top stakes horses compete in these races; some are ridden by the biggest names in quarter horse racing.
Riky was the top Challenge jockey, bringing home US cash, a buckle and several offers to ride at big tracks in the US.
Riky’s riding career began at age 11, in Zapopan, when he started riding in match races. His Uncle Armando Andrade was his mentor, but Riky’s whole family has a history in quarter horse racing. There are several successful jockeys and trainers in the US in the Moreno/Andrade Families.
Riky came to Canada to ride in 2013, and it wasn’t long before his skills as a jockey became apparent. Riky was AQHRA champion jockey for the first time in 2015, repeated in 2016, had his arm broken in the gates in 2017, and then repeated in 2018, and now 2019.
On September 19,2019 Riky married longtime love Haley Leech, daughter of William and Jane Leech, and they are expecting a baby girl in March.
Ricky rides almost exclusively for William Leech.
2019 started with a bang at Rocky Mountain Turf Club. Riky’s record was 17 starts, 10 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds for a win percentage of 59% and top 3 percentage of 82%. His mounts made $27,879 USD.
Then the quarter horses moved to Evergreen Park, where the Challenge trials and finals are held. The Leech trained horses were a force to be reckoned with, winning 4 out of 5 Challenge races for Chuck Stojan Racing and Gone To The Bright Side syndicate. The horses that Riky piloted earned an impressive $82,832 USD. Over all, at the Grande Prairie meet, Ricky was in the top 3 – 71% of the time: with 8 wins,4 seconds and 3 thirds out of 21 starts.
The season finished strong, and although there wasn’t a win in 5 tries at Century Mile, Century Downs was again an impressive meet. Riky piloted 13 horses out of the gate, with 4 wins and 3 seconds.
Then off to Albuquerque New Mexico for the AQHA Challenge Championships.
The horses that Riky rode were Stripsteak, True Copy and Getit Hot owned by Chuck Stojan, and Gone To Be Bright, owned by Gone To The Brightside Syndicate- headed by Dr. Jack Williams.
When the smoke all cleared, the Riky and William Leech didn’t have a win, but they showed that they both belonged there. Ricky rode the 4 horses to win $39,850 USD, highlighted by a graded stakes 3rd for Stojan’s Getit Hot in the AQHA Adequan Challenge Derby.
When asked, Riky says that 2019 was a great year for him, with getting married and going to the Championships being the highlights.
He would like to thank trainer William Leech for allowing him to ride these good horses. He would also like to thank his parents, Uncle Armando Andrade and especially wife Haley for their continued support.
Written by Kathy McNiven
AQHRA Champion Alberta Bred Two Year Old Filly was Timbergold in 2019 and she is owned in the partnership of Greg Campkin, Joe Halerewich and Jack McCurdy. They purchased her mother from Roger Gauthier’s dispersal sale in 2017 with the filly by her side. Timbergold had a 2019 record of 10 starts: 3 seconds, 1 third with earnings of $17,060 usd. Tillie, as she’s known in the barn, made her first career starts in Oklahoma. She had three starts there giving her experience when she shipped back to Canada for the Alberta Stallion Stakes Futurity Trials. This set of trials were the first quarter horses races at the inaugural meet at Century Mile (Leduc, Alberta). She finished second her trial and qualified for the finals.
Joe was unable to attend the finals due to being a judge at the Calgary Stampede but a friend of his and her daughter, Sandi and Nicola, made the trip in his place. Timbergold was nosed out for the win but did gain stakes placed status when she finished second. They both got hooked on the sport of Quarter Horse racing and became Tillie’s favorite fans.
She then traveled to Grande Prairie’s Evergreen Park to try her hand at the Jerry Stojan Memorial Futurity. Timbergold finished a very close third. Jockey duties were split between Cesar Cervantes and Dwight Lewis. The fall saw competition at Century Downs. On Quarter Horse Day, she finished second in her trial to the Alberta Bred Futurity (RG3-restricted grade three) and qualified to the finals. Timbergold finished just on the board, fourth, in the finals. Three weeks later saw Canada QH Cup Futurity trials: a fifth place finish in the trials and she still squeezed into the RG3 finals set for October 20. Multiple inquires in the finals and Timbergold ended up eighth but was placed 7th. Although Timbergold is still a maiden (not won a race) she gave her owners and fans a year full of excitement. Congratulations and good luck with the derbies in 2020!
Written By Teagan Goodsell
Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association’s Champion Owner in 2019 was Charles (Chuck) Stojan. This is an award he has won in previous years but each year if different and memorable in its own way due to the different string of horses that made the achievement possible. His trainer William Leech and first call jockey Ricardo Moreno made Chuck’s campaign of seven horses for a total of 21 starts with 13 wins in Alberta and earnings of $88,847 usd. There were also an additional three outs in the Challenge Championship in Alburquerque, New Mexico in 2019 that boosted his total year earnings to $122,864 usd.
As in every stable there is a special horse or a special night that made the year worthwhile. In this case that special horse would be Free Thought (2019 AQHRA Distance and Aged Champion). This seasoned gelding had 5 wins in as many starts and extended his winning streak to seventeen, the streak started in 2016. Free Thought is a hook horse, running distances of 660 to 870 yards which is far in the quarter horse world. This semi-famous gelding as Chuck refers to Free Thought will have a forever retirement home with the Stojans upon his eventual retirement. The gelding is still is eager to race and we should see him back in 2020.
The memorable night would be when Stripsteak and True Copy won their respective Regional Challenge races, Bank of America Challenge Championship and ARC Distaff, and qualified to represent Canada in the Challenge finals that was hosted at Albuquerque Downs, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Chuck also had another horse Getit Hot that also won her regional challenge race the Adequan Derby in July. For Chuck, family and trainer this turned into a trip to New Mexico.
To tell you a little more about the AQHA challenge program is a series of races held in Canada, the US and Mexico. There are futurities, derbies, distaff, distance and open stakes races held in a multitude of locations. Chuck was honored with AQHA Champion Challenge Owner. This is an award that AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) presents to the owner whose horses accumulate the most points (defined AQHA standard) in regional challenge races. This achievement was a first for Chuck in which he defines his quarter horse racing as a good retirement hobby.
On Challenge Championship Night Getit Hot finished third in the Grade 3 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship, True Copy seventh in the Grade 1 Awards Recognition Concepts Distaff Challenge Championship and Stripsteak fifth in the Grade 1 AQHA Bank of America Challenge Championship. This added approximately an additional $33,000 to ownership earnings for 2019. It was an exciting night for everyone involved.
Congratulations Chuck on your good eye for race champions and good luck with your barn in 2020!
Written By Teagan Goodsell
First Timber was crowned AQHRA Champion Sire for the six consecutive year at the awards night in November 2019. First Timber’s 16 progeny earned almost $120,000 USD in Alberta during the 2019 season. He was represented by five starters in each of the three major futurities: Alberta Stallion Stakes, Alberta Bred and Canada QH Cup. He also had multiple derby qualifiers in various stakes throughout the race season.
Wesley and Susen Oulton bought Timber at the 2011 HPWNTMX sale from the Pierce Family Partnership to dissolve a partnership.
Initially they had traveled to this sale to purchase a couple of TB Broodmares and change their racing focus. 50% of the mares they were interested in failed to show up at the sale and after viewing First Timber they decided to wait until he had sold before they proceeded with our alternate plan.
At the time of Purchase he had no starters but had covered a number of Oklahoma mares over two seasons. His first crop ran in 2012 with 20 starters. He generally has around 20 starters per year earning in excess of $150,000 every year except his first. 2014 was his best year with earnings over $350,000 from 27 starters. From just 75 starters to date Timber has had a number of Graded Stakes qualifiers in the United States and a number of Graded Stakes Winners in Alberta.
His long term average shows 30% of his starters earn $10,000 or more each season putting him in the upper rankings for consistency in his racing offspring.
Timber is a large framed big footed good boned horse standing about 15.3 hands. Early speed is evident in a high percentage of his foals. He is the first Alberta Stallion to sire an Alberta Bred winner at Remington Park, a stakes qualifier in Oklahoma and last year had an Alberta Bred two year old run 2nd by a nose in a 110 yard race at Remington Park on his second start.
Wes and Sue purchased Timber primarily because of his mother and proven racing ability. His ½ brother Heza Fast Dash who has been AQHA’s leading race sire in 2013 and is number 8 on the all-time list of sires (AQHA 2018 Annual review) by money earned over $30,000,000. Fred Stanley (The Stanley Family are the breeders on First Down Dash, First Prize Dash, First Timber and many other great horses) has told many that First Timber is the fastest horse First Prize Dash (number 12 on the all- time list of dams by money earned-2018 Annual review) ever produced.
His Sire- Oak Tree Special is number 40 on the all-time list of starters by money earned at over $13,000,000. This is a strong sire line going back to Raise A Native TB producing many racing champions over the years.
He has sired a number of Alberta Champions including Cruisinfourabruisin, Timbersknightryder, Papas Coleen, Suits, Timbergold and 17 of his 75 starters are stakes winners or stakes placed with 13 more being stakes finalists.
Wes says Timber foals are generally easy to get along with and want to run. They are also very trainable and perform well in the arena from Arkansas to British Columbia.
The veterinarians that have collected First Timber will tell you he has excellent quality semen and his frozen semen is very good so that makes our job easier as mares get in foal better with good semen.
Congratulations to First Timber and his connections and can’t wait to see what his off-spring do in 2020!
Gone To Be Bright was named Champion Alberta Bred Aged Stallion/Gelding and Reserve Champion Aged Horse at the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association’s award night in 2019. This is the second year that Gone To Be Bright has won his respective Alberta Bred category.
This four year old black stallion is by current world record 870 holder Gone To The Mountain (now standing in Alberta for the 2020 breeding season and enrolled into the Alberta Stallion Stakes for the 2020 breeding season) and out of Jack and Deborah Williams homebred mare DJ Bright Tarbaby. Gone To Be Bright is owned by Gonetothebrightside Syndicate, bred by Jack and Deborah Williams, trained by William Leech and riding duties shared between 3 jockeys in 2020.
In 2019 Gone To Be Bright had six starts with 1 win, 1 second and 1 third for earnings of $23,840 usd. His first start of the year this striking athlete made his debut around 1 turn, racing a distance of 660 against Free Thought where he finished a close second. His following race was the Whoop Up Classic in Lethbridge going 660yards again finishing fourth. “Blackjack” then made the trek north to Grande Prairie to test out the Regional Challenge series. His 870 debut in July was a success and he won the Regional Challenge Distance race and qualified to represent Canada in the Challenge Championships being held in October in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This versatile horse then shorted up the distance to four hundred and forty yards and finished a respectable third in the Bank of America Challenge Championship Regional race held at Evergreen Park in August. There was lots to think about now for this talented colt. In the end his syndicate owners with the help of their trainer elected to run him in one more race in Alberta before shipping him south for the Challenge Finals.
Gone To Be Bright was said to have enjoyed his trip south and gave the syndicate at night of the Challenge one to remember. They, being syndicate partners and their spouses and other interested family, all travelled to experience the thrill of a Challenge Championship Night. Blackjack didn’t disappoint, he thundered out of the gate against seven other regional qualifiers taking first call into the turn. In the long stretch drive he was passed by a few rivals but held on for fifth place. Jack Williams, lead on the syndicate, said the horse did them proud and the experience was something to remember.
Congratulations and good luck with him in the 2020 race season!!
Written by Teagan Goodsell
The 2019 AQHRA Reserve Champion Three Year Old and Champion Alberta Bred Three Year Old Colt/Gelding was Jb Easy First Down. He is owned by Allison Christie and trained by William Leech, riding duties were split between various riders. His 3 year old campaign consisted of 10 starts with 2 wins and 3 seconds for earnings of $13,885 usd.
Jb Easy First Down was sired by First Down Leaving and out of a Hollande Ease mare Tisa Easy Effort bred in Alberta by James Butterfield. He was purchased through private sale from his breeder in the late fall of his yearling year.
This grey gelding was lightly started as a two year old so he was more than ready when his three year old campaign to start. In 2019 his first two starts were trials and final for a maiden stakes which resulted in fourth and fifth place finishes at Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge. He then entered an overnight maiden race which he won, a first for his owner Allison. He then kept up the excitement for her by a second place performance in the Alberta Stallion Stakes Derby on July 1st at Century Mile. His next three starts were at the picturesque Evergreen Park where he picked up paychecks but no pictures. The next out was down at Century Downs on Alberta Fall Classic Day in the Alberta Bred Derby, an exciting race proved to be a runner up finish and added an another black type to his record. He then won his trial to the Canada Cup Derby but had a troubled finals and was placed eighth.
Jb Easy First Down gave some good memories and a lot of firsts for his owner Allison Christie and we congratulate them on a good three year old campaign and hope to see them back in the winner’s circle in 2020!
Written By Teagan Goodsell
William Leech added another two honors to his resume in 2019. They were AQHRA Champion Trainer and Champion Percentage Trainer; both titles are fourth consecutive occurrences. In 2019 William saddled 23 winners from 62 starts with an additional 17 top three finishes and earnings of $160,794 usd in Alberta. He added an additional top three finish with his athletes’ performance at the Challenge Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico bringing his total year earnings to $201,074 usd. His win percentage was 36.5% on his Alberta based starts.
William grew up horse racing going to the track with his parents Garnet and Florence from a very young age. His roots were in quarter horses and that is where they have remained. William got his first trainer’s license in 1976 and trained on the ‘B’ tracks which in the late 70’s and 80’s were from one end of the province to the other. William and his wife Jane did venture south of the border to train in Oklahoma and Texas but returned to Alberta to provide a stable home for their young children surrounded by their friends and family. That family is about to expand as daughter Haley is expecting their first grandchild; Haley married AQHRA champion jockey Ricardo Moreno in September 2019.
William made an exciting trip in October where he took four head down to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Albuquerque may be far from home and quite the long road trip but the experience provided by the AQHA Challenge Championship was not one to miss. Jane accompanied William on this journey while leaving daughter and son-in-law to manage the remaining season in Alberta. William said “The management at ‘The Downs’ was exceptional, they even opened the track one night to allow ship-ins to gallop or work under the lights.” As with the other connections to the William Leech shedrow, William had a great challenge run and was runner-up for the AQHA Challenge Trainer.
The Champion Percentage title came down to the last two races of the year. Leech’s competition had to win at least one of his last two starts to snatch away the award, splitting wins would have made the title a very tight race. In the end neither got that “one more” win but William received the percentage trainer title after having another brilliant year.
Congratulations to the Leech barn and his crew. 2020 is going to bring new challenges and new joys. Good luck to all!
Written By Teagan Goodsell
Atomic Blondie was awarded her first championship at the AQHRA Awards night in November 2019. She is owned and trained by Deanne Davies, bred by Sazwan Speed Horses. Blondie is by the late Birdzilla (TB) and out of Dashing Val. She was purchased right after birth from Sazwan’s as Ms Davies had a previous sibling that did her well.
Atomic Blondie has a record of 5 starts with 1-0-1 in 2019 with earnings of $7,821. Her overall record stands at 23 starts with 2 wins, 2 seconds and 7 thirds and earnings of just over $27,000 usd. This tiny little grey mare is fun to be around and has a huge heart. Her first start of the year in Lethbridge was not a desired performance but she followed it up with a win in the Alberta Stallion Stakes Maturity on July 11 at Century Mile. Blondie trains mainly out of Century Mile so she shipped up to Grande Prairie during the summer of a couple more outs. The first was an allowance against the boys where she finished fifth. The next out was the Evergreen Park Regional Distaff Challenge. A Distaff is a fillies and mares (girls) only race. She finished a very respectable third against some tough competition. Her last out of the year was the Alberta Bred Maturity held on Quarter Horse Day at Century Downs August 31st. She completed the superfecta with her fourth place finish. Atomic Blondie has given her owner some heartache over the winter but luck was on their side and she has pulled through and will be racing again this year. Congratulations and good luck in 2020!
Written By Teagan Goodsell