Prepare to place your bets for the premiere pari-mutuel race event of the 2016 horse racing season at Evergreen Park.
For the second consecutive year, Gordon Badger Stadium at Evergreen Park is playing host to the 2016 Alberta Derby Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Alberta Derby is a mile and 1/6 race between three-year-olds with prize money of over $50,000, which is higher than last year's purse. The event is being held in conjunction with the Grande Prairie Derby and Peace Country Futurity.
Women are encouraged to wear their fancy hats and men their best western suit. There will be prizes for best dressed.
The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with a brunch in the VIP tent beside the grandstand. Brunch tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids.
Pat Hill, race manager at Evergreen Park, said the provincial derby has previously been held in southern Alberta, but noted the local track is regarded as one of the best in Alberta.
"I think our track is one of the best in the province and it just entices people to come out and it just gets people more involved in the racing," said Hill.
"It's definitely our biggest day and it promotes our handle, and it brings out families. It's a very special day because the ladies are all dressed in hats and the men come out a little bit more dressed up than usual and it just becomes a fun day. We sell hats in advance and fascinators and that kind of stuff, and we just make it bigger and bigger each year."
She said last year's event at the park drew large crowds and noted park staff are anticipating to see similar attendance numbers this year.
Hill said spectators are expected to come from as far away as Edmonton.
"It's going to be bigger this year and (we expect) there will be a lot more people," said Hill.
"We'll still have the bouncy castles and the kids' zone, of course, and a lemonade stand."
Hill said she expects there to be a full field for the Alberta Derby.
She said some of the horses that have competed at Derby Day have gone on to race in the Canadian Derby.
"It's free to the public to come out and watch and to learn how to bet, and to see a little bit more excitement at a race meet. It's one of the most prestigious race days we put together and there will probably be possibly four or so stake races running that day, but the Alberta Derby and the Grande Prairie Derby are the bigger ones," she added.
Horse racing also runs at Gordon Badger Stadium Friday and Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Derby Brunch are available at www.evergreenpark.ca until noon on July 30.
DERBY DAY (July 31)
Derby Day goes Sunday, July 31 and includes the Grande Prairie Derby, Peace Country Stakes and the Alberta Derby At Evergreen Park.
The day kicks off with a brunch at 11 a.m.
While racing is free and open to the public, cost for the brunch is $25 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets are available online at www.evergreenpark.ca; at the Evergreen Park admin offices in the ENTREC Centre 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; and at the information booth at the races.
The races on Derby Day start at 1 p.m.
The Horses At Evergreen Park continue weekends until Sunday, August 28 with 6 p.m. post times Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. post times Sunday. On Friday, August 19 Friday and Saturday post times change to 6 p.m.