By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: It’s early into the season at Hastings Racecourse but already trainer Greg Tracy has made a positive impact among his peers.
You might say it started on opening day April 23 when Tracy was outside Barn A in the backstretch cooking rib eye steaks on the barbecue for anyone who happened to stop by.
“I do it a lot back at Northlands,” says the big man from Montana who’s been a leading trainer in Edmonton more times than he remembers. “People in the backstretch work long, hard hours and don’t always have time to eat.”
Tracy didn’t waste any time finding his way to the winner’s circle on opening day. He saddled two first-place finishers – Fall At Last in the very first race of the season and Ruffenuff in the 6th – both with Edmonton-based jockey Quincy Welch. The following Sunday Tracy scored again in the $50,000 BC Cup Stellar’s Jay with another regular Northlands rider, Rico Walcott, who took Rock Victor to the lead and never looked back.
“They’re my guys over in Edmonton but I have no problem going to some of the Hastings jockeys,” Tracy says. “There’s a lot of talent here.”
Tracy’s mom, dad and brother Jim joined him in the Stellar’s Jay victory celebration for Rock Victor.
The Tracy boys – three of them: Greg, Jim and Ray – grew up on their uncle’s cattle ranch where their dad trained horses and raced at county fairs in Montana and North Dakota. Greg moved to Calgary in 1996 and later split his training time between Calgary and Edmonton. He’s been a dominant part of the Northlands’ scene since 2001.
Of the 30 horses Tracy currently has at Hastings, seven are B.C.-bred 3-year-olds and nine are B.C.-bred 2-year-olds, all purchased at the CTHS Yearling & Mixed Sale with an eye towards the attractive incentive programs introduced this year by the Horsemen’s Associations and track management.
“I have balanced stables between here and Edmonton,” says Tracy, who attended school in Montana on a wrestling scholarship. “I’ll be flying back and forth throughout the summer mainly for stake races.”
Stake races and mid-day rib eye steaks … for Greg Tracy, they go hand-in-hand.