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77 entered for Canterbury Park opener on May 18

Entries were taken Saturday morning for the May 18 opening night eight-race program. A Minnesota bred maiden sprint was oversubscribed with three also eligibles. Two of the eight contests will be run on the already lush turf course.

“This is a great start,” Sr. Manager of Racing Operations Amber Carlisle said. “Many of the horses on the grounds are ready to race.”

Several known quantities are out in force. Hall of Fame trainer Mac Robertson has nine entered across six races. Defending training champion Joel Berndt has eight in five races, Troy Bethe has eight in six races and Tony Rengstorf has placed seven horses in four races.

With two-time top jockey Harry Hernandez riding in Texas, agent and former rider Scott Stevens is handling the business of Luis Fuentes and Luis Valenzuela. If opening night is any indication, those two will be kept quite busy. Both ride the entire card, finding mounts for several barns. Fuentes rides Saturday for seven different trainers.

“We ride for a little bit of everybody,” Stevens said. “Some of them look really live. It will come down to who’s fit and who’s not.”

Eduardo Gallardo

Eduardo Gallardo, second leading rider last year, also rides the full card. Five of his eight mounts are for Berndt. Gallardo will ride in Chicago Sunday before heading to Shakopee. He rides one at Hawthorne for Berndt and two for Coty Rosin who also will have a strong presence at Canterbury. Jodie Sinclair is Gallardo’s agent.

Apprentice rider Serafin Carmona has seven mounts, two are morning line favorites. Chuck Costanzo will represent Carmona, Sofia Barandela and Fausto Da Silva. An agent is allowed two journeymen riders and an apprentice.

Saturday’s program begins at 5:15 p.m. with an hour break for a simulcast of The Preakness. The final race is scheduled for 9:25 p.m.

The night begins with a 5 1/2 furlong dirt sprint with stakes winning Minnesota bred Thealligatorhunter drawing the rail. The 6-year-old is owned and was bred by trainer Tim Padilla and Pete Mattson. Thealligatorhunter has won nine of 15 dirt starts at Canterbury. Alonso Quinonez is aboard. Four-year -old half-brother Crocodilehunter, both out of the mare Garden Gloves, is entered in the race as well.