As the second choice at 7-2, it was difficult to call this horse a sleeper. But that’s exactly what he is, anytime you visit him in the barn. Ask his owners, Al and Bill Ulwelling, Canterbury Park’s champion owners the last two seasons.
“This horse sleeps all the time, but I guess that’s good,” said Al Ulwelling.
Hard to argue the point Sunday after a command performance by Stachys, a 5-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride. A Father’s Day crowd of 12,120 was on hand to witness the sterling effort.
It took that performance plus a smart ride from Tanner Riggs, but there was little doubt about the outcome after Stachys collared 8-5 favorite Gleam of Hope at the head of the lane, and drew off to a 1 ¾ length victory in the $50,000 Brooks Fields Stakes. Show money went to Wild Jacob, another eight lengths back.
“I was really worried about the No. 7 (Gleam of Hope),” said Ulwelling, “but this one goes to Mike. He had him ready.”
He was talking about trainer Mike Biehler. When the 7 ½ furlong race was moved to the main track from the turf, Biehler got the first item on his wish list. He wasn’t certain how Stachys would handle the mud, however.
“Tanner did a great job of keeping the horse close,” Biehler said. “I was worried with the way the track was playing, that the speed might get away if he didn’t stay close. ”
He was close enough to make a race-winning move coming out of the turn that put his horse in charge in the stretch run.
Apparently all that rest he gets in the barn paid off. He had plenty to offer in that stretch run to the wire.
SHOT OF GOLD GETS A RECORD-SETTING RUN
The axiom goes something like this: You can have the best horse in the world, but if his trainer doesn’t find the right race it won’t matter in the least. We paraphrase, of course.
Yet the maxim proved its worth on Sunday in the $50,000 Shots of Gold Stakes.
Trainer Clay Brinson has been placing his horses in perfect spots for them the entire meet. This time it was worth the winning share of fifty grand.
Brinson claimed the horse for $14,000 last December, picked up a win in Chicago, then one at Canterbury on May 19 in an optional/claiming event.
Sunday, the horse put it all together, pulverizing six rivals in a stakes record 1:09.
Under Bobby Walker Jr., I’ll show Them (pictured above and replay below) was the even-money favorite and finished 4 ¾ lengths in front of 2-1 second choice Silver Magnus and 8 ¼ in front of Humble Smarty, who was fourth in the same race last year.
Brinson was in Canada at Assiniboia Downs to saddle Schillerthekiller in the $30,000 Free Press Stakes and missed his horse’s record-setting effort.
The winner of last year’s race was Atta Boy Roy, who is back on the grounds this summer, happily occupying the No. 1 stall in trainer Valorie Lund’s barn, but not close to running for at least the next month.
“He’s about five weeks away from a race,” Lund said. “I don’t have anything in mind for him. We’ll see when the times comes.”
With the Mystic Lake purse enhancement fund in full effect, Walker smiled broadly when reminded that the original offering of $35,000 had been increased by $15,000.
“I like that. I’m really happy with that,” he said.
WEATHER WAS (NOT) FOR THE DOGS
The soggy conditions created a number of changes in plans for the Father’s Day card. The feature of the day was moved off the grass for starters, but some folks were outright disappointed when the Dachshund Dashes, informally known as the Wiener Dog Races, were postponed until next Saturday. That weekend card will include additional Dashes on Sunday.
JOCKEYS’ ROOM BACK IN GOOD HANDS
Jerry Simmons was back at his station as the custodian in the riders’ quarters on Saturday after a brief hiatus for some surgery. Simmons said he was feeling fine, better than he has in months, after getting two stents in his left artery.
Simmons received the stents on Thursday and was released from the hospital on Friday. “Il feel great. I wish I had this done a long time ago,” he said.
This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.