Did you know that Weyburn and Yorkton are half-brothers?
No, not the Saskatchewan cities; rather, two horses owned by a former resident of our province. Yes, you may have heard of Weyburn, the winner of the recent $300,000 Gotham Stakes at the Aqueduct in New York. It was classified as Grade 2 and earned Weyburn the possibility of qualifying for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
The three-year-old is owned by Robert and Mark Krembil, a father-son combination who are the owners of Chiefswood Stables of Schomberg, Ontario. The general manager of the racing operations since 2010 is Rob Landry, a former well-known jockey.
According to figures found online, their horses have earned more than $20.5 million between 2000 and 2021.
But let’s backtrack. Why are some of the horses named after somewhat-smaller Saskatchewan cities?
So we bring Grenfell into the picture. Robert Krembil grew up in Grenfell, located east of Regina along the TransCanada Highway.
Here’s a brief explanation from Stacey Krembil, the wife of Mark, who is the son of Grenfell’s own.
Because of that, Stacey said, “We pick a lot of Saskatchewan towns and cities in honour of that. Our silks are the Saskatchewan flag colours.”
Weyburn isn’t the first.
“His half-brother Yorkton was named that for the same reason,” Stacey said. “We have many horses right now with those names. It’s fun to have fans from the towns we name them after.”
On Labor Day in 2017, then three-year-old Yorkton won the $100,000 King Korrie Stakes at Woodbine in Toronto. That gave Yorkton three stakes wins from seven starts that year, raising his purse earnings to more than $217,000.
He also won two stakes races in 2018 and another in 2019. Thus, Yorkton’s 30 starts produced seven wins, four seconds and three thirds with earnings higher than $546,000.
Today, Weyburn is the stud of the stables with victories and a second in four starts. Weyburn already has more than $227,000 in earnings, including the $165,000 he won in his most recent race. He went off at 46-1 and was obviously considered a long shot. Those who bet collected $95.50 for $2 to win and had to be praising jockey Trevor McCarthy.
Weyburn is out of the A.P. Indy mare Sunday Affair, who also produced Chiefswood Stables' homebred and multiple graded stakes winner Yorkton. That’s why they are considered half-brothers.
Weyburn’s next race is scheduled to be the Wood Memorial on April 3 at Aqueduct in New York. It’s a prep race with points — 100 to the winner — going toward the Kentucky Derby. Weyburn, a talented 3-year-old, already has 50 points from his win in the recent Gotham Stakes.
It was mistakingly stated he would run in the Woodward Stakes, which is for older horses.
Don’t forget the possibility of the Kentucky Derby. A run for the roses would make Weyburn proud.
(Abe Winter was the sports editor of the Weyburn Review from 1964-67. He went on to a career in journalism in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Florida and Montana. He is retired and now lives in Shoreview, Minnesota. He visits Weyburn annually).