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Kevin Potts success story at Rocky Mountain Turf Club

October 3, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Garry Allison
The Horses, Rocky Mountain Turf Club
One of the true success stories along the backstretch of the Rocky Mountain Turf Club is that of Kevin Potts. The support of a life-long friend, a dream for the future, a love of horses and the trust of some of the RMTC horsemen, carried this Brocket-born horseman through a rugged period in his life.

Today, Kevin, a young trainer who works for the stable of Amanda and Allen Fogle, as well as training a Thoroughbred called Sunny's Thor, for his mother Delores and step-father, and former Pikanii Nation Head Chief, Philip Big Swan, sees the world from a different perspective.

"I get to the track about 6 a.m., feed the horses and then check their legs to make certain they're sound. If they're not, you want to get on it right away," says Kevin, the great-great nephew of NWMP interpreter and scout Jerry Potts.

Kevin also sees to the exercising of the horses and the every-day chores of the stable, as well as looking to his parents' horse. Come winter Kevin heads north with the Fogles, where he work for their construction company, the couple giving him year-round employment.

At Lethbridge, and through the summer at Grande Prairie, Kevin has nine horses under his care, including one of the finest horses at Whoop-Up Downs.

"With all that has happened I think it's a real privilege to work around a horse like Lafleur, one of the best bush-track horses ever," says Kevin, adding with some thought, "Nobody wants a drunk caring for a horse like that."

Kevin had been around the race track for a number of years before hooking up with the Fogles, spending from 2000 to 2005 with one of the RMTC's busiest, and most successful trainers, William Leech.

"He often had as many as 40 horses to care for, so I'm really enjoying myself now with only nine," Kevin says with a laugh.

It was also during this time Kevin began drinking with a vengeance.

"My parents are good Christians and they raised me that way. One of the first Bible stories I learned had to do with the tree of the forbidden fruit. Well, when I was 18 and out on my own, I was cocky and thought I knew it all. I began drinking, I reached for that forbidden fruit…and I made an ass out of myself.

“I was a real drunk. I blew all the money I made as soon as I got paid and I lost my driver's licence as well. When I was drinking I was something for people to laugh at and to talk about, and I didn't like that at all."

Finally, through the support of his lifelong friend, Garret McDougall, horseman Wilf
McDougall's grandson, he found the strength he needed to quit drinking.

"It wasn't easy, that's for sure. Garrett and I grew up together, right through school. He doesn't drink and he stuck beside me. Now I'm trying to live the life my parents brought me up to live."

Horsemen like Ross Brigden - who Kevin calls "good people" - supported Kevin, as did the Fogles. Now Kevin's dreams are becoming realities.

"My goal has always been to have a family by the time I'm 30 and to have my own place and my own cattle. I'd run them on the Reserve, along the Oldman River. I've already got three head of Herefords and three heifers. With the calves each year my herd will keep on increasing. I try to put money away each year now to buy cattle with, instead of just drinking it up."

Kevin's introduction to training was enough to make anyone envious. William Leech, one of the top Quarter horse trainers in the business, used to have a Quarter horse Kevin's parents owned, J J's Dash, and he asked Kevin if he'd like to take over training the animal.

"I had a job with William, mucking stalls and making some good money for the summer. He asked me if I wanted to take the old gelding on, and I said I wanted to try it, even though he'd never won a race. So I went to work with him.

"In his first race with me he won, by a length and a quarter. I was pretty thrilled. Then we raced him next against Dystany Road, and lost. But the second time, in a 660-yard Stake in 2002, he won."

William was instrumental in teaching Kevin - as he has with many other young potential
horsemen - the ins and outs of the racing game. A starting year with Stan Webb and then an extensive stay with William set the base for Kevin's knowledge of racing, from the barns to the track..

However, along the way Kevin started drinking and "became a real alcoholic and my money was going fast. Now I just say no every day. I've got a lot of friends and supporters, and I get to deal with a horse like Lafleur."

The Fogles bought Lafleur from trainer Eric Crofoot, but the record-setting horse of today wasn't even broke to ride until he was four. Soon he was racing and winning everything with Terri Landaker aboard. Since Terri's accident Brooke Mellish has been winning consistently with him on the RMTC track.

Today, with Kevin's ranching dream taking shape, and fianc‚ Michelle Theodore - no relation to the goalie - he even has time to check out a few other pastimes, like golf.
"I tried golfing, with Collin Rees, and when we finished he asked me if I wanted a tip. I said yes, and he told me 'Quit.'"