By JIM WELLS
They say that bizarre things happen in threes, and another piece of evidence to support the claim became available on Saturday.
1.Juno left us one day earlier and despite taking off at 26,000 mph will not reach its objective, Jupiter, 1.7 billion miles away, for five years. That sounded a bit Extreme heading into the day
2.Twenty-two years after his death, it was announced that the DNA of serial killer Ted Bundy was loaded into a national data base. That sounded extremely Extreme.
3.On a hot, muggy afternoon at Canterbury Park, Josh Van Oort, the track’s assistant racing secretary and quarter horse impresario, won the race between the fourth and fifth on the card aboard a camel named Camel Kingdom. Charts weren’t immediately available but the margin of victory was either a long hump or a short neck.
Even the humidity level was extreme but did not hamper attendance, 15,358.
In another rare display, Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell, inducted on Saturday night, put on a Hall of Fame performance, scoring a perfect hat trick plus one by riding four consecutive winners: Shoot It’s War, Gold Brew, Suddenly Silver and dead-heating on Bobadieu in the fifth through eighth races.
The last two of those winners are trained by Mac Robertson, inducted on Saturday as well.
The card got under way with the 100-yard Spurt in the Dirt quarter horse allowance. Ry Eilkleberry rode the winner in that one, Dash of Paint, most appropriately for trainer Ed Ross Hardy, inducted into Canterbury’s Hall of Fame on Saturday night, too.
Hardy saddled two horses for race two, the $33,150 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Futurity/North Central Quarter Horse Racing Assn. Futurity.
But that one went to the Amber Blair-trained Paint Or More, ridden by Thomas Wellington.
Brittany Arterburn, the Queen of the Canterbury turf, pulled off another truly extreme feat, riding the winning bird in the Ostrich races. Not only was the winner not trained by her parents, the race was on the dirt.
It was truly an eventful day in Shakopee with several events crammed into a space intended for several fewer. In addition to the Camel and Ostrich races, the track held its Hall of Fame inductions, adding Bell, trainers Robertson and Hardy, owner/breeders Jeff and Deb Hilger and Sir Tricky to the pantheon of figures prominent in Minnesota racing.
Bell, the master of pace, demonstrated once more his almost uncanny ability to save a horse until precisely the right moment. In this case his masterly move came in the marathon race of the card, the 2 and 1/16 mile claiming event, appropriately titled, “around and around they go.”
When the length of the race was compared with Juno’s long trip, trainer Jerry Livingston, never one to be outdone, commented: “Hey, that spaceship might finish its trip before some of these horses finish theirs.”
It felt like that at times to Bell on this particularly humid day. “That’s a long way to ride a horse today,” someone said to him.
“Especially when he won’t slow down,” Bell responded. “He was pulling on me the whole way. My legs feel like spaghetti right now.”
The marathon came down to a stretch duel between Gold Brew and A P Dreamer, ridden by Nik Goodwin. Those two were eyeball to eyeball until Gold Brew drew off at the 16th pole for a clean win in 3:44 and 2/5.
The winner is trained by Bernell Rhone, a Hall of Fame conditioner himself, adding another proper touch to an extremely long day.
How about this one for an extreme event:
The fifth race concluded with horses matching their post positions in order of finish: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
“I’ve been around racing for 50 years,” said jockey room guard Bill Chestnut, “and I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Nor had jockey room custodian Jerry Simmons.
“It must have happened. I just haven’t seen it,” he said. “It’s certainly very rare.”
The occurrence was brought to the press box attention by Peggy Davis, the track’s clerk of course and placing judge. She’s worked at Canterbury since Day One and had not seen such a finish before either.
Then again, all things extreme were happening on Aug. 6, 2011 at Canterbury Park.