The first big win of the fall for Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was on dirt, not on ice.
On Saturday, his four-year-old filly Infinite Patience won the Northlands Distaff at Century Mile.
“It was exciting. We’ve been very fortunate with her the whole way along. She’s a pretty special filly,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “It was a meaningful day for that track — and racing in general — in Western Canada.”
Infinite Patience, who Nugent-Hopkins co-owns with William Decoursey, has eight wins in 13 career starts. The horse caught his eye in Vancouver a couple of years ago.
“With her, it was pretty obvious she was going to be a talented horse. She was owned by an owner who used the same trainer as me. I would watch her train. I could see how special she was,” said Nugent-Hopkins.
“She ran once and won pretty easily.”
Nugent-Hopkins made the purchase after that race. He’s been going to track since he was a kid, often to watch horses owned by his dad or grandfather. While he’s very comfortable in the racing world, most of the big decisions surrounding Infinite Patience are left up to trainer Barbara Heads.
“The day-to-day stuff, I’m completely hands off,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “The only stuff I kind of have a say in is where to run and which race to run in, but even that is ultimately up to Barb.”
Infinite Patience is scheduled to run at Century Mile again on Oct. 15, two days after the Oilers open the regular season against the Vancouver Canucks.
Nugent-Hopkins has been skating with several teammates at Rogers Place in preparation for training camp, which starts Sept. 22.