History of the Saskatchewan Derby

Talk Derby To Me

The front-page headline of The Leader-Post on Friday, August 4, 1961 read, “Douglas Takes Over Leadership.” The night before, then-premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas, won the battle to become the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party in Ottawa. For those in Regina not interested in politics, the Army & Navy Department Store had a week-long sale celebrating the festivities of the Provincial Exhibition with their 88c Days.

Horse racing fans, however, were poised to witness history-in-the-making the very next afternoon, with the inaugural running of the Saskatchewan Derby, at the Regina Exhibition grounds. The day turned out to be a real scorcher, so betters made their picks quickly and retreated to the shaded stands to wait for the 9-horse field to take to the track.
Once the race was underway, after one false start, it was a one-horse show. Calgary ship-in, Sir Demijohn, ridden by jockey Don Ross, took an early lead and was never threatened during the 1-1/16 mile race, taking the win by nine lengths. In the Winner’s Circle, Mrs. Jack Pearl, the wife of the Exhibition president, congratulated co-owner, Chris Bro, on his win at the event’s debut. That baptismal day kick-started the long-standing Saskatchewan tradition of the annual running of the Saskatchewan Derby, a ritual still practiced to this day.

When times in the racing industry got tough in the mid-’80s, Regina’s Exhibition Track suffered several hits to its operation. In 1984, the Derby lost its title sponsorship, which precipitated a drop in the purse from $15,000 down to $10k. After the 25th running of the Derby in 1985, that city’s most durable and popular sports facility, for over 80 years, was demolished to make room for a $10 million expansion project. Officials felt certain they would be able to secure a new sponsor the following year, but that wasn’t in the cards.

For its first 28 years, the Derby mainly stayed put in Regina, with three exceptions when it was run in Saskatoon (1975,1982 & 1987). Regina’s new facility, Queensbury Downs, was only destined to host the event one time, in 1988, before the Derby’s permanent home shifted to Marquis Downs in 1989, where it has run continuously ever since.

Complete List of Saskatchewan Derby Winners

2019 Rox Star Believeit Garfield Gordon Judy Hunter Kane Kachur
2018 Dare To Enter Sheldon Rodrigo Courtney Ross Pink Cloud Racing
2017 Dublin Day Sheldon Chickeness Robbin Martins Duane Antoine
2016 Trill Point Daniel Gopie Colleen O’Hagen Pink Cloud Racing
2015 Saturdaynitelites Stanley Chadee Jr Jamie Hartmann Pink Cloud Racing
2014 Time For A Memory Chris Russell Tim Rycroft Ed Maier
2013 Just Win Baby Krista Carignan Don Blue B.E.A. Holdings Ltd. & Ed Maier
2012 Double Kisses Richard Mangalee Ron Smith Red Ron Farms
2011 Treasured Kitten Heribert Martinez Craig Smith Don Dimma
2010 Cherokee’s Goal Juan Crawford Wendy Anderson Hy Road Stable
2009 Tease The Tiger Jake Barton Monica Russell Riversedge Racing Stable
2008 Half Mine Stephen Heiler Monica Russell Norm Catiglione
2007 Sin Toro Jake Barton Stuart Simon Roland Embree
2006 Paxton Ridge Serge Rocheleau Stuart Simon Frank Schira
2005 Wild Dancer Serge Rocheleau Arlene Flegel Jud Willms & Doug Howe
2004 Noble Dane Doug Jones Judy Hunter Kane Kachur
2003 Beauzak Richard Hamel Stuart Simon RJ Stables
2002 Regal Randy Leanne Painter Robertino Diodoro Kim Lebold & Randy Howg
2001 Red Vil Do Rick Stevens Bob Barr Barb Richter
2000 Max Factor Rory Noel Robertino Diodoro Bill Dyment
1999 Code Name Fred Arturo Rosales Ron Grieves Barr None Stables
1998 Shady Remark Rick Stevens Dale Saunders B. Chapman & D. Saunders
1997 Lambeau Field Chris Madeira G. White Sander, Drumheller & Wild Horse Stable
1996 Daisy Mike Halabi Jim Twigg River Ridge Farms & D. Ring
1995 Calculated Risk Scott Dahl Ron Burrell Sly Stables
1994 Beat The Rest Serge Rocheleau Carl Anderson Steve Ruznisky
1993 Isntthatnice Chris McGregor Ron Brock Empire Meadow
1992 Solid As A Buck Arturo Rosales John Poirier Seven L Plus One Stable
1991 Kool Discovery Perry Winters Ron Burrell Empire Meadow
1990 Baby Blush Jack Wash Carl Anderson Anderson, Drushelniski & Laventure
1989 Kristys Avatar Jack Wash Thomas Dodds Nine Oaks Stable
1988 Darby’s Chant Brian Boyd Brian Palaniuk Hazel Wright
1987 Fatale fella Lane Rennaker Thomas Dodds Jack Harasyn
1986 Wild Oscar Clayton Thom Lloyd Preece Lloyd Preece
1985 Provocative Prince Lane Rennaker Ron Burrell R & K Burrell
1984 Jocko J. Thomas Hinojosa Pat Little Kay Mazer
1983 Rathleale Lindsey Johnson Bill Houliston Alfour Stable
1982 Marrobrich Brydon Argent Todd Antonuk Jim Leakos
1981 Inacourt Arturo Rosales Ron Burrell Chancery & Teekay Stables
1980 Jeremy Jay Dean Martinuk C.J. Gray Robert McGee
1979 Fowl Supper Bruce Phelan Harold Baroby Canada West Ranches & Maple Leaf Stable
1978 Winning Flag Jim McGhie Harold Baroby Canada West Ranches
1977 Willie’s Duke Bruce Phelan Harold Baroby Canada West Ranches
1976 Lord Bjorg Irwin Driedger Ed Uhran Don Bjarnason
1975 Canada’s Reply Dwayne Wiseman R.C. O’Bray D.M. Fraser
1974 County’s Choice Dean Kutz D. Saunders Engstom & Saunders
1973 Chariot Trip Eugene Giesbrecht Richard Mathes Lomar Stable
1972 Fourthought Daniel Sanchez Joe Stouffer Golden West Farm
1971 Starry Prince John Whittle Angus Fraser Golden West Farm
1970 Page Me Doll Gerry Rasmussen Angus Fraser Flamingo Stable
1969 Tall Ridge Gerry Rasmussen C.W. Matier C.W. Matier
1968 Deletus Ken Whittle D.G. Rees Priddus Stock Farm
1967 Fortitude Jack Phillips Bud McDonald F.M. Clarke Sr
1966 Empress of India Down Bowcutt E.J. Johnson G.R. Gardiner
1965 Chariot Chaser Sandy Shields R.W. McKenzie Lomar Stable
1964 – 2nd Easter Echo Art Stein R.H. Marsh Mrs. E.P. Ridge
1964 – 1st Goldie’s Best Lee Wall C. Marsh C. Marsh
1963 Cruise Control John Whittle George O’Bray George O’Bray
1962 Lucky Serab Roy Searcy Tommy Boyd Richlea Stable
1961 Sir Demijohn Don Ross Chris Bro Bro & Wickerson
Jockeys With 3 Derby Wins

Arturo Rosales (’81, ’93, ’99) and Serge Rocheleau (’94, ’05, ’06)

Jockeys With 2 Derby Wins

John Whittle (’63, ’71), Gerry Rasmussen (’69, ’70), Bruce Phelan (’77, ’79), Lane Rennaker (’85, ’87), Jack Wash (’89, ’90), Rick Stevens (’98, ’01) and Jake Barton (’07, ’09)



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