by JIM WELLS
Bell had mounts in the fourth and seventh races at the Iowa track Friday night, sending a wave of relief through the jockey colony at Canterbury Park.
Bell laughed when that was mentioned to him, but the point wasn’t wasted nonetheless.
“Yeah, it was awesome,” he said.
The reference was to Thursday night’s card when Bell rode in six races and won five of them.
“It’s been a long time,” he said, trying to recall that last time he won that many races on a single card. “Oh, I can’t even remember, five or six years.”
Bell wasn’t certain he would win more than two races, much less five on Thursday night.
“I really thought I had a chance to win two. I didn’t think they would all run that good,” he said.
Bell gave notice early in the evening, winning the first three races. He brought in Afleet Indy for owner Anthony Didier and trainer Bruce Riecken in the first race, winning by 3/4 length.
“I was kind of surprised there. I wasn’t sure we could outrun Senor Smiley,” Bell said.
Then he brought in Holly In Summer, a winner in a stretch duel by a nose over Beautiful Insight and Eddie Martin, Jr., for owner Doug Brown and trainer Thad Keller. “I didn’t think we would win that one,” he said. “She kind of hung there and lost the lead but came back.”
Quintons Speedy was next, winning the third race for owner/trainer Myron Kumke over Maywoods Z by 1 1/4 lengths “I was really surprised by that one,” he said. “That horse reared and we got left.”
The streak ended in the fourth race. Bell finished fourth on Wicklow Gate for trainer Tom McFadden and owner Joyce McFadden.
Bell was back in the winner’s circle in race five, riding Our Family Affair to a four-length win over Starlit Castle for trainer/owner Doug Oliver.
“That one I really thought we had a good chance to win,” he said.
He finished off his stunning evening with a win on Crazy Crown Royal, by a neck over Reds Fine Wine, for trainer Bob Johnson in a quarter horse sprint.
So, how do you celebrate an evening such as that? “I was home by about 11 o’clock,” Bell said, “so I could put by daughter (7-year-old Haley) to bed.”
Probably wise for a fellow who had to drive to Iowa and race the next day.
Bell figured he had a chance to win one of the races, riding for Dave Wichmann in both, at Prairie Meadows Friday. He wasn’t certain about the second. “I really like the two-year-old (Spunkette) in the fourth,” he said. ‘I should have a pretty good chance on that one. I don’t know if the other one (James Wilfred) has raced in a while. He’s a Claiming Crown horse. This is like a tuneup for him. Yet, he has a lot of back class, so he might win anyway.”
Surely, a few of his local colleagues had to wish him the best, since he was was not in the lineup at Canterbury Friday night.
THE WISDOM OF YOUTH
Kendall Van Winkle, age 10, was at the racetrack last Friday night when the worst accident in track history occurred. Kendall is the daughter of trainer Dave Van Winkle and his wife, Pam, and spends much of the summer doing racetrack things.
After witnessing the spill, Kendall went home that night and came up with an idea.
“I sat down for a while to think,” she said. “And then I told my mom that we had to do a fundraiser, to help those jockeys that got hurt.”
Scott Stevens, Don Proctor and Paul Nolan were injured in the spill. Kendall knows all of them, but has a particularly special relationship with Proctor. “I babysit his twins,” she said.
The Proctors have one-year-old twins, Haley and Tucker. “I don’t mind babysitting them at all,” Kendall said. “I like those kids. Haley is very, very cute. A little diva, I would say. Tucker? I would say he’s an acrobat. He likes to jump off just about everything and hurt himself.”
In any event, Kendall decided that a fundraiser was in order. So, joined by her sister, Taylor, 12, and 12-year-old friend Courtney, the daughter of trainer Tim Padilla, she set up a table near the giftshop in the grandstand last Sunday and Monday and used a feed bucket to collect donations.
“I called up (HBPA president) Tom Metzen,” Kendall said, “to see if he could get us a table. He checked for us and said he would need one more day so we didn’t do it on Saturday.”
As it turned out, Kendall needed some help. The girls were able to spell one another for occasional breaks during the course of their watch.
The girls no sooner finished that fundraiser and then embarked on another. “We’re selling tickets for a spaghetti dinner on July 19 (at the Shakopee American Legion),” Courtney said.
Kendall, incidentally, was one of the star pupils in the recent Groom Elite Program on the backside that instructs participants on the biology of the horse and how to properly care for a racehorse.
Kendall had a specific reason for taking it. “I asked my dad one time to tell me all the parts of a horse,” she said. “But he was busy and I guess he forgot. So I took the class.”
Kendall, Courtney and Taylor, meanwhile, collected $1,001 for the injured riders.
“And we’re going to get them some more,” Kendall said.