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  The Fishes and the Jockeys      

Oaklawn ParkTrout Springs Logo

Trout Spring's logo featured a jockey riding a trout, how cool was that. Opened in 1981 as a boarding and training track for the Calgary area. Back then there were class "A" and class "B" tracks, in the early eighties, a lot of the class "B" tracks started to disappear, so the owner of Trout Spring's stepped up to fill the void. In 1984 he was granted three days of racing at his scenic, not so finished track on the outskirts of Calgary, a work in progress, the track was upgraded over the years.

Oaklawn ParkOpening Day Ad

The track was a three quarter mile oval, that had a racing surface of wood chips, allegedly the more it rained the better the track got. Eventually the grandstand was finished, it contained a clubhouse and had seating for 3,000 with parking for 154 cars and stalls for 416 horses, but it wasn't easy.

In 1985 things were looking up, but a few weeks before the meet was to begin the world caved in. Om June 26, the main barn caught fire and 59 horses perished in the blaze, a financial and emotional loss that owner Bob Allen would never overcome. In 1994 after years of losses, the track was renamed Alberta Downs. The name change didn't do much and after the final day of the 1995 mixed breed meet, when a few people showed up and bet $13,000 Bob Allen threw in the towel.

There were a few good moments, like when Trout Springs, was the first track in Canada to offer simulcasting in 1989. One of the leading trainers in North America, Robert Diodoro a Calgary native, got his first win here in 1992.    ..