2021 was expected to have a different landscape versus 2020 however with Covid-19 restrictions changing frequently and early shows cancelling, WPCA drivers are faced with challenging decisions on when to start spring training. Troy Dorchester is one WPCA driver who followed history and started training in a March.
Prior to 2020, the month of March would unofficially kick off the chuckwagon racing season. The Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction, typically held in March, would bring stakeholders in the sport together for social interaction and networking. For the drivers competing it was a financial guarantee through tarp sponsorship that would assist with operating their chuckwagon racing business and care for their horses. Not long after the Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction drivers would start their spring training programs in preparation for the first WPCA show of the year in Grande Prairie scheduled for late May.
While the Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction has been removed from chuckwagon racing's spring landscape, the training of the thoroughbred horses continues. With the cancellation of Grande Prairie and Saskatoon along with frequent changes to the Covid-19 protocols and regulations the atmosphere is filled with concern.
2012 Calgary Stampede Champion Troy Dorchester had enough of all the negativity in the world and felt the best place to take things off his mind was with the horses. "It makes you not think about what's going on in the world" says Dorchester, "If there is something we can do with horses I would prefer to do that than think about all the negativity. I'm just praying there's some shows to go to."
With the recent announcement of both the Grande Prairie Stompede and WPCA races in Saskatchewan being cancelled there are 2 less shows to train for, however, Dorchester remains optimistic that some shows will be able to go under some kind of Covid-19 guidelines.
Since 2019, Dorchester has added nine new horses to his team but will still look for big things from his lead team Rowdy and Ranger. Positioned on the left lead, Rowdy is a 15 year old chestnut gelding. Bred in Alberta, Rowdy began his racing career in 2008 at Northlands Park in Edmonton where he won his debut. After 2 years and 11 races in Alberta, Rowdy started the 2010 race season at Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario. Over the next 3 years Rowdy would race at Woodbine and Fort Erie where he would finally be retired in September of 2012 having competed in 34 races and earning over $107,000.00US.
Ranger completes the powerful lead team for Troy Dorchester. Bred in British Columbia, this 16 year old bay gelding made his racing debut as a 3 year old in May of 2008 at Hasting Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ranger only raced for 2 years and earned just over $21,000.00.
Rowdy and Ranger won't be the only horses on the lead for Troy in 2021. "It's a long season and we need 3 or 4 outfits to get conditioned" he said, "I haven't moved many horses around the last couple of years but this year we are going to break a lot of the new horses on the lead and try and land me a few good leaders."
On the south end of Troy's property sits a 5\8ths of a mile race track that was built in 2001. The 80 foot track has a 5% grade for drainage and provides Troy with multiple options for his training program. Listen for an upcoming episode of the Outside the Wagon Podcast where Troy talks about his successful 2012 season, receiving the Guy Weadick Award and his 2021 plans.
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