In addition to hosting some of its most prestigious races on the final weekend of its 2016 season, Arapahoe Park donated a total of more than $20,000 to three equine-related charities based in Colorado. The racetrack partnered with CANTER Colorado, who retrains retired racehorses; the Colorado Horse Council, which serves as the equine voice for the Rocky Mountain State; and Nighthawk Ranch, which provides equine camp experiences for children recovering from cancer.
Arapahoe Park, in partnership with the Colorado Horseracing Association, collected a donation for every starter from each horse’s owners. The track also sold t-shirts with the logos of Arapahoe Park and the three organizations with all proceeds going to charity. In addition, special events such as the Heritage Ride and the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo provided a platform and raised money for the worthy causes. Each charity was featured on Arapahoe Park’s “Gates Open” television show on Altitude Sports & Entertainment. A total of $23,395 was divided among the three organizations.
“When we say, ‘Where Horses Come First,’ at Arapahoe Park, we mean that horses serve important purposes in the well-being of Colorado and beyond,” Arapahoe Park executive director Bruce Seymore said. “It’s more than just for sport. Horses can play a role in cultural, social, economic, and even medical rehabilitation activities.”
The final weekend of the 2016 season also saw Arapahoe Park honor the top jockeys, trainers, and owners for the three breeds—Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Arabian—that race in Colorado. Tracy Hebert, a winner of more than 3,800 races in a career that has spanned five decades, was the leading Thoroughbred jockey in his first season at Arapahoe Park with 44 wins. Stetson Rushton was the leading Thoroughbred trainer with 33 wins in the 22 year-old’s first year training after taking over from his grandfather, 2015 leading Arapahoe Thoroughbred trainer Temple Rushton. Donna Eaton, leading Thoroughbred owner in 2014, was leading owner again in 2016 with 17 wins from a lofty 30 percent win clip.
Ramiro Garcia was the leading Quarter Horse rider in his first year as a jockey in 2014 and returned to the top of the standings with 18 wins in 2016. John Hammes was leading Quarter Horse trainer with 14 victories and won two of Arapahoe Park’s three futurities, the Cherry Creek and Mile High. Larry and Michelle Rice were champion Quarter Horse owners with five wins.
Hebert rode Arabians for the first time in almost a decade and was the breed’s top jockey in 2016 at Arapahoe Park with four victories. Ken Danyluk swept the COBRA Distaff Sprint and Jerry Partin COBRA Sprint to be leading Arabian trainer with three wins. Two wins by Miccah made Jacqueline Kulow Arapahoe Park’s leading Arabian owner.
Arapahoe Park is looking ahead to its 2017 season with racing dates to be determined.