Last Saturday, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino hosted the third annual Pace Under Saddle race. Standardbreds come out of retirement for a day at the races, where women saddle up and ride them down the track. All participating women chose a charity of their choice to ride for, and trained for their day in the spotlight.
It was a field of six, Devann Crick with RANGO, Lisa Sollbach with MAXAMILLION GB, Lavinia Bauer with RED STAR CHANCE, Janice Kay Lea with HOLLYWOOD REDNECK, Faith Jones with NATIONAL INTEREST, and Kaylea Hepburn with MEADOWLARK APACHE.
Hepburn with MEADOWLARK APACHE started strong and took the lead right off the backstretch. In second was Lavinia Bauer with RED STAR CHANCE, and Faith Jones with NATIONAL INTEREST coming in from behind. NATIONAL INTEREST had a break and fought for first, but in the end, Kaylea Hepburn with MEADOWLARK APACHE took home the win.
It was Hepburn’s third time participating in the Pace Under Saddle race at Century Downs. “[The win] was incredible,” said Hepburn in a post-win interview. “I’ve been training for it for awhile.” This is the second time that Hepburn has ridden MEADLOWLARK APACHE in the Pace Under Saddle races. “I rode him last year too, and every year gets better and better,” gushed Hepburn about the winning horse MEADLOWLARK APACHE.
Owned by Judy Hill McKenzie, MEADOWLARK APACHE is a 10-year-old gelding with a lifetime mark of 1:56:4 with over $29,000 in earnings. His last trainer was Michelle Danroth. “MEADOWLARK APACHE is owned by Judy Hill McKenzie, who is the sweetest lady ever, and he’s kind of like her big pet,” said Hepburn. “She was nice enough to let me ride him, and keep him for the last two months.”
All of Hepburn’s winnings went to Equinox Therapeutics Making Strides. “It’s through the Boyle Street Society in Edmonton, Alberta. It takes people struck with poverty or mental health illnesses, and puts them through an equine-based program to get them back on their feet, that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford,” said Hepburn.
When choosing which charity to ride for, Hepburn didn’t have an issue choosing one. “A good friend of mine from the Thoroughbred side, Jodie Santarossa, was a vet at other tracks and has been working with this charity for years,” said Hepburn. “She said it was worthwhile if I was going to ride for anyone this year.”
Hepburn was excited to get back to the track with Pace Under Saddle. “I seen [Pace Under Saddle] on Facebook and my old Gallop School teach tagged me in it,” said Hepburn. “I was like ‘I have to do that!’ because I’ve been away from the track for so long.”
Congratulations on your win, Kaylea Hepburn and MEADOWLARK APACHE.