RACE STORIES
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Free Thought
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

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