THE HBPA OF ALBERTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS CANDIDATES

It is a Director election year for the HBPA of Alberta and we would like you to meet our candidates.  The term of the elected directors will be for three (3) years – August 18th 2021 – August 18th 2024.

Timeline for the Election:

  • May 31st – To be eligible to vote in the 2021 election, you must have purchased your Owner or Trainers license by May 31st.
  • July 9th – Mailouts to membership we have contact information for.  If you are not sure if we have your mailing information, please contact the HBPA by emailing alberta.hbpa@gmail.com.  Horsemen on the backstretch can pick up their packages at the HBPA office.
  • August 18th – Election.

CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR OWNER DIRECTORS

 

BRYAN HEBSON

Personal History & Racing Background

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta and currently live in Airdrie. I spent thirteen years with Frito – Lay Canada (Pepsico) as a sales representative then District Manager.  Currently I represent the World Professional Chuckwagon Association as Director of Marketing and have worked in the sport since 2005.

I have been a fan of horse racing since I was a kid. My dad used to take me to Stampede Park and over time I would eventually go on my own. I’ve pretty much followed horse racing all my life as a fan.

In 2014 we were presented with the opportunity to own and racehorses at Assiniboia Downs. We raced a couple of years in Lethbridge and teamed up with trainer Jerri Robertson during the 2015 race meet at Northlands Park and have been involved with Jerri ever since.

 

 

Vision Statement

The biggest concerns I have relate to the professionalism and presentation of the sport and the lack of marketing of the sport, the people involved along with the horses. Horse racing in Alberta needs to showcase the trainers and the horses and sell the sport to new fans, owners, and investors.

Current revenue streams/purses are limited to revenues generated from slot play and betting. The sport needs to expand like curling, fishing and pretty much every other sport where people brand themselves and create revenue through sponsorship.

 


 

DAN HURLEY

Personal History & Racing Background

I was born in New Brunswick and resided there for 21 years and received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick.  I developed an interest in standardbred racing after moving to PEI, where I first owned horses that raced on the Maritime circuit.

In 1985 I was transferred to Edmonton where I established my own meat distribution company in 1996 in conjunction with Cargill Foods Ltd.

I became a thoroughbred owner in 1999 and gradually expanded to a small stable which I own today. I have raced horses in both AB and ONT and have travelled throughout North America to several major racing events and horse sales.

 

 

Vision Statement

I believe HBPA has an opportunity to engage in a positive working relationship with Century Casinos. I feel this will be imperative to facilitate change and create a viable industry.

The generation of revenue is a major priority to promote a positive economic environment for all areas of the Thoroughbred Industry. HBPA can be instrumental in contributing to the promotion of the racing industry by:

  • work to promote a positive experience for fans on and off the track
  • create strategies to attract the younger generation and potential owners
  • establish programs/incentives to increase the horse population

 


 

DON DANARD

Personal History & Racing Background

President of Calgary Stockyards.  Racing has and will continue to be a significant part of our family life.  I have been the President and an active Director of The HBPA of Alberta for several years.

 

Vision Statement

It is very important that racing continues in Alberta for Owners, Trainers, Breeders and backstretch workers.  It would seem that the best place for Thoroughbreds in Alberta would be Century Mile.  Given the fact that we have a mile track now in western Canada, I believe we have to be forward and competitive with a Mile track.

Going forward, we may not agree on racing days (weekends and evenings), however the off-track bet is so important we need to address this form of wagering.  We need to continue to times that best fit the off-track schedule.

 


 

ED KERYLIUK

Personal History & Racing Background

I was born and raised in the Edmonton area and I currently reside on an acreage between Beaumont and Leduc. I work in the Oil and Gas Industry as a Senior Construction Superintendent. My work leads me away from home at times, but it never prevents me from being

involved in the racing industry. In my childhood my family was involved in the Standardbred Industry in Alberta and British Columbia. I grew up on a farm and had a deep love for horses and was fortunate to be able to see Horse Racing up and close. The people on the backstretch made me feel like family and still do.

Monica Russell took me out to see a few of her Thoroughbreds in November of 2015 and then I was hooked on getting back into racing. I purchased a yearling and a mare from British Columbia within a couple weeks followed up by claiming a another mare in Phoenix . It has been my passion ever since.

Horseracing has been very good to me.  In 2017 and 2018 my partner and I had the aged pacer of the year for Standardbred Racing; and my Thoroughbred stable has flourished. In 2017 I had a mare that was unable to continue racing so I took her and had her Bred. The birth of my first foal was amazing and an experience that will be with me forever. That foal along with another one that we have raised is training at The Mile now. I have two yearlings at home and five mares bred to foal in 2022.

Vision Statement

My goals are to try to help promote the Horseracing Industry. To bring interest and fans back to this great sport. There are so many good people that make this industry what it is. I want these people to prosper and continue doing what they love, while being able to make a living doing it. We need to get more people aware and involved to grow this great sport to the way it was when we were kids.

 


 

 ELAINE MACPHERSON

Personal History & Racing Background

As a long-time devotee of the Thoroughbred horse—involved in breeding, rearing, racing, riding and repurposing, for me, it has been a forty year plus commitment.  I am an artist, sculptor, graduate of the Ontario College of Art, and a supplier of awards and paintings of note, here in Canada, and in the US.  As freelance illustrator for the OJC (Ontario Jockey Club), involved with the Secretariat film, ‘With Flying Colours’ (Insight Productions), I am proud to be an integral part of racing history.   For me, it’s been a lifetime involvement—Deeply passionate, I am committed to the breed—from birthing to the creation of Stakes horses–I have done it all.  As a boutique breeder, I am proud of my accomplishments, multiple sprint champion TIMELY RUCKUS being a notable achievement of mine, right here in Alberta, and there have been several others, state-side.

 

Vision Statement

Going forward, I am hopeful that these amazing athletes are recognized for their innate and special qualities, for their athleticism and I hope to promote them, not only ‘trackside’ but ‘outside’ of the racing venue.  I wish to give voice and elevate those which cannot speak for themselves, to their rightful position on the world stage.

 


 

HAZEL BENNETT

Personal History & Racing Background

Raised in Black Diamond and going to the Millarville races on Dominion Day was an annual event.  When I moved to Calgary, I was able to attend the races at Stampede Park.  I was invited to attend the Kentucky Derby with owners in the late eighties and that hooked me even though their colt didn’t win but came third in all three races.   I am passionate about thoroughbred aftercare and own several retired racehorses.

My career was as an investment advisor until retirement a few years ago.  I have been a Racing Stable Manager for 25+ years.  During that time, I have managed breeding and racing in several states, the UK and several provinces.  I have also bred horses in my own name during that time.  Currently I have a two-year-old training in my name.  I am managing 30+ horses consisting of Broodmares, foals, and runners in the company name.  I have learned so much from visiting different tracks and farms.  I am licensed in California, Ontario and Alberta and have been licensed in Kentucky and Florida in the past.

 

Vision Statement

If elected to the board, I would like to show a positive face of the industry in Alberta through social media and many of my contacts.  I also want to work to show that as an industry we look after our horses both on and off the track.

 


 

IRVING DEVEY

Personal History & Racing Background

I grew up in the small community of Hardisty (560 people), attended Camrose Lutheran College taking Education program.
I then worked in a pipeline control center for 36 years, which I retired from in 2020.  I enjoy golfing, small town atmosphere and the values the farming communities share.
I got into horse racing unwittingly, a friend introduced me to the watching as a fan. I really enjoyed it but at that time was only interested in watching. I have been licensed in the capacity of an owner.
More introductions and the thrill of the ownership grew, I got into “the game” with a claim from The Fairgrounds.  Before I knew it, I was into a second claim (1 and a half horses).  First year of racing was challenging as both horses were tired or had an issue that needed to be fixed.  So, I was exposed to the challenging aspect right away.
Then I returned in 2016 with more success from these horses more and started to attend sales in Alberta and Kentucky.  I was trying to expand my knowledge and background in a new industry to me.  I have been fortunate in the success with some wins along with the disappointment, though no major wins yet.

Vision Statement

My concerns within the organizations is information, the lack of it; and ways to find out more to increase all personnel’s knowledge. This goes from training, background, horse care, and processes to have successful preparation for racing. I would also like to see arcing rulings sent to all factions that are affected, while going away from having to search for some ruling that may affect owners. I believe that to have racing prosper, additional revenue needs to be acquired, as well as direction that younger people can attend and become interested in the game.  If they don’t attend, they will not become interested – the young need to fill in from the retiring or relocating people.

 


 

LINDA SMITH

Personal History & Racing Background

I have been involved in many aspects of the horse racing industry in Alberta for more than 50 years.  Over the last 20 years I have worked on the backstretch assisting my husband (Trainer Red Smith).  Six years ago, I was elected to the board of the HBPA; and have served both terms on the backstretch committee.

 

Vision Statement

I feel that as an owner who has physically worked on the backstretch, I have unique insight into the problems and challenges that exist in that area.  I see my job as communicating these concerns to the operators and management of the track.

 


 

NORM CASTIGLIONE

Personal History & Racing Background

I am a lifetime Albertan and am married with two daughters and 5 grandchildren.  In business I founded Casman Construction, Big Rock Holdings, and ATTH Real Estate.

In racing, am the Co-founder of Riversedge Racing Stables in 2004 with partner Robert Vargo and to date have invested over 12 million in the Alberta Thoroughbred Industry as owners and breeders.    I have served for 6 years on the HRA board of Directors, and HBPA director since 2015.

Vision Statement

I would like to increase the marketability of horse racing in Alberta.  We need to let the public know we are racing and promote our product.

An item we have in the works is revising the model of Horse Racing Alberta.  There is a review of the model in the works with an independent firm that will change the way Horse Racing Alberta currently works into something that is useful for the whole industry.  As a current Horse Racing Alberta board member and HBPA president, my experience will be an asset to Thoroughbred A racing in this transition

 


 

CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR TRAINER DIRECTORS

 

ALIVIA KETTLESSON

Personal History & Racing Background

I’ve been involved in racing for 15 years.  I’ve been an owner and a small breeder for several years and became a Trainer in 2018.  I have been raising, owning, and buying young horses at sales that I break and prepare for racing in Alberta.

Vision Statement

I’ve spent many hours galloping on the track and a have a working knowledge of the racetrack conditions.  My concerns are the conditions of the racetrack itself and the backstretch area.  I want to work with my fellow directors in finding a way to communicate with management to improve the conditions for horses and people.

I am young and my biggest owner; I have reinvested every dollar I’ve made back into horse racing.  This is not just my passion but my livelihood, I am taking this as my opportunity to save horse racing in Alberta

 


 

CRAIG SMITH

Personal History & Racing Background

I am a 3rd generation horseman that is now an Owner/Trainer/Breeder.  I started out as a groom in 1998 and transitioned to an exercise rider in 2000.  I became a Trainer in 2004.  I enjoy being involved with all aspects of the industry from breaking, training, breeding, and aftercare.

Vision Statement

I would like to see everyone in the industry have a voice and be able to share their concerns.  I would like to see the HBPA work collaboratively with the CTHS to promote breeding and raising quality horses in Alberta.  Breeders are the cornerstone of the industry and we need to support our local breeders for a strong foundation to racing participation in the province.

We need to entice new and current ownership to invest in racing by supporting racing in the two centers – Century Mile and Century Downs.  Leaving one facility dormant from Thoroughbred racing, we have missed opportunities.

The HBPA needs to work with Century management and Horse Racing Alberta to help build on the transition Covid has brought about, with promotion of online wagering.

 


 

DEANNE DAVIES

Personal History & Racing Background

I was born and raised in Alberta.  I am married with three children.

I had an early start at the track.  I spent 35 years at the track; started as a licensed groom and 24 years of that in which I am licensed as a Trainer.  My husband and I currently operate an equine facility which includes breeding, layups, and board called RLC Farm

Vision Statement

I believe we should be supporting our Alberta Bred horse owners with added incentives at all levels.  We need to put more focus on the Alberta bred, and give reasons for our owners to buy an Alberta bred horses.

As licensed previously as a groom, I would like to see more amenities for our backstretch workers.  I would like to help with collaboration between HBPA and Century Mile to ensure that our backstretch personnel have some facilities to support their long hours and hard work.  Once Covid restrictions are lifted, I’d like to support any common area to gather, visit, play games, and relax like the old kitchen areas.

Once Covid-19 restrictions loosen up I would like to see more public relations events to promote horse racing.  With the support of Century Mile, we could have family day, hot dog day, mascot derbies and more!

I would like to help with strategies to maximize our on and off track wagering to help our horsemen receive the best return on their investment.  If there is more money wagered, we have more money for purses, and more money to purchase more horses to race in Alberta!

 


 

JERRI ROBERTSON

Personal History & Racing Background

I have been in the racehorse industry all my adult life. I came to the track to groom horses to make money for university and never left. (I still have no money for university). I guess that was about 1981 or 82.
Horses have always been a love of mine and horse racing has become my life. I started training my own stable in the fall of 1985 and have had some wonderful horses in my stable and have trained for some wonderful people. Some of which have been with me for many years. I was fortunate to have Horse of the Year for 2019 Smart Fix in my care.

Vision Statement

I would like to see a push for more marketing for our industry. We have a fantastic sport, and everyone should know about it and learn to love it. Not only for the horses but for the people too!
Also we need to let the public know that these horses are pampered and loved and well taken care of even after their race careers are over.
I would do my best to represent the members of the Alberta HBPA and try to improve conditions for horsemen including our owners who without them we couldn’t survive.

 


 

JOAN PETROWSKI

Personal History & Racing Background

When I was in my early 20’s I started going to the racetrack and wagering on the races.  I was interested in what was going on and became a licensed owner and part time groom.

In 1975 I got my Trainers license and have been at the racetrack in Alberta ever since!  I breed, raise, and train horses from my farm in Innisfree Alberta called Viking Stables.

Highlights of my career were winning the Canadian Derby in 2007 with Footprint, and 2012 with Toccetive and 2nd with Dougs Buddy.

 

Vision Statement

My vision for the future of horse racing in Alberta is to entice more people to get involved as owners and bettors.  We need to make it a fun place to be!

I’d like to see more marketing for racing, more promotions like happy hours, wallet giveaways, half price hot dogs and pop!  I would like to see a return to early afternoon races so that our owners and bettors can enjoy a day at the races in the sun!  I would like to see horse racing be more interactive with the public so we can promote our animals and what we love.

 


 

MONICA RUSSELL

Personal History and Background

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, started riding when I was six, and spent my formative years riding show jumpers.   In the early 1990s I was introduced to the racetrack, and once I started galloping thoroughbreds, I was hooked.  I galloped for many barns over the years as a freelance exercise rider, which offered me excellent mentorship and the opportunity to experience how each trainer ran their program.  This allowed me to gain a feel for what worked and what did not, and I learned quickly to always pay attention to what worked for the horse.  This helped me tremendously when I stepped into the role of trainer.  I have always approached training with an eye for what works best for each individual horse in my barn, to keep them happy in their work.  I strongly believe this has contributed to the success of my horses.

Vision Statement

I am a staunch advocate for the Thoroughbred, both on and off the track. I have always done my best to help retiring horses find new careers and have re-trained some of my own for the show ring.  Ultimately, I am in it for the horses, and they always come first.

My biggest concern is having adequate representation and advocacy for the small barns – the small trainer with only ten or fifteen horses, the owner who only breeds one or two a year to run.   The little guy needs a voice, and by running for the board, I am offering to be one of them.

 


 

ROD CONE

Personal History & Racing Background

I started at the racetrack as a jockey riding at Grande Prairie, Alberta in 1963.  I grew up in Edmonton, came to the races with my father when I was six years old and I have been hooked ever since.  I have never had a bad day at the races – some have been just better than others!  I worked at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg in the early 70s as a farrier and moved back to Alberta and continued to shoe horses in Edmonton and Calgary.  I first licensed as a trainer in 1971.  I have shod and trained horses since then in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, British Columbia, California and Louisiana.  I served as an HBPA Director for the last 4 terms.

Vision Statement

My main concerns are to improve the cooperation between Horsemen and racetrack managements as it pertains to many issues.  Horsemen need cooperate with the media, track management, and Owners to help attract fans to our live product and simulcast.  We must work with government, health services, and our governing body as it is essential to our future.

 


TIM RYCROFT

Personal History & Racing Background

My family as well as my wife’s (Lori) have been involved in all aspects of the Alberta racing industry for decades.  Prior to becoming a public trainer I was the outrider in Alberta and then Woodbine, thus my experience and strengths lie in track safety and maintenance.

I am a big supporter of the Racetrack programs at Olds College and other young people interested in becoming involved in the industry.  For our industry to continue to thrive, we must support young people into the industry, including grooms, exercise riders, jockeys and owners.

Vision Statement

One of my greatest concerns at the track is safety.  We need to keep up on that daily for horses and our backstretch people.

We need to continue to hold management accountable to contractual agreements and to continue to pressure for those needs.

We all realize that there are many challenges facing the industry in Alberta, major funding problems is something we need to continue to address.  We must communicate and improve our relations with all parties including the regulatory body and the current track operators and all work together to move racing in Alberta upward and onward.