The Hansen’s horse, Alberta-bred King of the Rockies, earned the 2013 Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Alberta Claim of the Year for a racing season in Edmonton at Northlands Park that could be referred to as spectacular.
“If you break even in horse racing, you’re actually ahead. Most years you don’t break even, but golfing you don’t either,” said Roger Hansen with a chuckle, comparing the two hobbies in an interview with The Times on the Hansen acreage along Huckleberry Road.
The Hansens claimed King of the Rockies in the fall of 2012 for $12,500. The horse was trained and ran races back in the spring of 2013 with King of the Rockies’ first race on May 3, 2013. King of the Rockies managed a successful streak of six straight races which included a top stake race with a $50,000 overall purse attached to it with the winner receiving $30,000.
The ironic part of the King of the Rockies streak was the top jockey in the Edmonton Northlands circuit in Rico Walcott rode the horse for its first four straight victories. Bumping up King of the Rockies to a richer stake race, Roger Hansen added Walcott got too big for his britches.
“He came to us with his agent and his agent said, ‘Rico is going to ride a different horse by the name of Northern Yankee. We think he’s a better horse than yours so we are going to ride him,’” said Hansen. “That left us wondering, and so we took the second top jockey (Ismael Mosqueira). We won the race and Rico ran dead last, is that icing on the cake or what?”
Horse racing has always been all icing for Roger, who has loved horses since he was a child on the family ranch in southern Saskatchewan.
“It’s a business for some; it’s a hobby for me that I love,” said Hansen, who has four racing horses in Edmonton and one in Taber who is on the mend from injur.. The Hansens have been in the race game since 2000. “Horse racing gives you a buzz when you know your horse is there. When the horses are out there running, it’s a thing of beauty.”
While King of the Rockies has almost earned in race winnings 10 fold what the original investment was, horse ownership goes far past in costs what the original investment was.
“It costs like $50 a day to have your horse in Edmonton,” said Hansen, factoring in training and stable fees etc.
HORSING AROUND: King of the Rockies’ trainer also has a local connection on former Taberite Robert A. (Pinky) MacDonald.