By Noah Joseph
Each year, there is always one stakes race that receives major attention. Sometimes it has to do with the history and prestige behind it. Other times it has to do with the purse money involved; or perhaps the quality of the horses competing in the race. In 2017, Canterbury had a race that would not only capture local attention, but make national news in the horse racing industry. That race was the Shakopee Juvenile and the battle between Mr. Jagermeister and Amy’s Challenge.
That summer, two juvenile race horses took Canterbury Park by storm. What made this interesting is that both horses came from very different backgrounds.
Mr. Jagermeister was bred in Minnesota by one of his owners, Kristin Boice. He was sired by Atta Boy Roy, a graded stakes winner who raced at Canterbury early in his career for trainer Valorie Lund, who also owns a part of Mr. Jagermeister and trains him.
Amy’s Challenge was born in Kentucky and was sold for $20,000 to Joe Novogratz, who turned her over to trainer Mac Robertson. Despite those differences, they both started their careers in very similar ways. Mr. Jagermeister won his debut on the 4th of July by 11 ½ lengths against Minnesota breds while Amy’s Challenge won her debut on August 6th by 16 ½ lengths against open company, including males. But after their smashing debut scores, both horses went on different paths.
Amy’s Challenge remained at Canterbury and reportedly attracted a $1 million dollar offer from
an undisclosed buyer while Mr. Jagermeister raced two more times, finishing 2nd in a stakes race at Prairie Meadows in Iowa and winning the Northern Lights Futurity at Canterbury, once again beating Minnesota breds, this time by 15 ½ lengths. Both horses were considered to be two of the best juvenile horses on the grounds and the two best juveniles in track history. So it was only fitting they would face each other in the final stakes race of the season on the final day of the season.
Canterbury billed the six furlong Shakopee Juvenile clash between Mr. Jagermeister and Amy’s Challenge as the race of the year, and the race lived up to its billing. The Closing Day crowd of 7,280 watched to see who would win the honor of Champion Two-Year-old of the season. Amy’s Challenge went straight to the front under Jareth Loverberry while Mr. Jagermeister followed under Andrew Ramgeet until the top of the stretch when the two ran side by side. The battle was on as the two dueled through the stretch, neither giving up. In the end, Amy’s Challenge edged away to beat Mr. Jagermeister by nearly a length. With that win, Amy’s Challenge not only secured Champion Two-Year-Old at Canterbury but was also named Horse of the Year at Canterbury.
After that race, both horses went their separate ways. Mr. Jagermeister went on to win seven stakes races, with most of them coming at Canterbury. He also won Champion Sprinter, Champion Three-Year-Old and Horse of the Meeting at Canterbury in 2018 and is still racing today.
Amy’s Challenge ran only one more time at Canterbury, as she went on to win stakes races across the country and was even Grade 1 stakes placed before being retired and bred earlier this year. In the end, these two horses etched their names in Canterbury history as some of the greatest to ever race here, and their one meeting was one that will never be forgotten.