By Mari Ballinger
Does the name Hoist Her Flag ring a bell? Well it should, because she was the winningest mare in Canterbury history.
Hoist Her Flag was named Horse of the Year in 1987, with two stakes wins: Mighty Miss Handicap and Eden Prairie Stakes races, and again in 1989, this time with four stakes wins: Charles Lindbergh Stakes, Don Riley Handicap, Eden Prairie Stakes, and Shakopee Handicap. In all she won 17 times from 32 starts at Canterbury.
And the people behind this legendary horse? Owners Beverly and Daniel Mjolsness, two of the nicest people anyone will ever meet.
“It’s exciting and wonderful to have a stakes race named after our horse,” said Bev Mjolsness. “She definitely deserves the recognition.”
The duo met at Dan’s sister’s apartment during their college years. Bev thought she was going over for a girl’s dinner and ended up meeting the love of her life. They later got married and started a family. One day, their daughter Jane asked Dan if they could get a horse.
“I grew up on a farm, taking care of and riding horses,” said Dan Mjolsness. “So when Jane said she wanted a horse, I was very easily convinced.”
But who stops after just one horse? The Mjolsness family started raising horses at their farm, and the rest was history. After 40 years of owning horses, their excitement and passion for racing hasn’t depreciated in the slightest.
Throughout the years, the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame couple have owned several different horses, but one stands out in particular. Their son Joe served in the Army and as tribute to him, they named one of their horses Colonel Joe. Although the gelding only won twice, it’s Joe’s service and the family memories that will be forever cherished.
For Bev and Dan, it goes far beyond the stakes wins and pictures in the Winner’s Circle. “The participation with others, the fun competition, the people you get to meet, giving back to others,” Bev and Dan said in agreement. “Shall we go on?”
As if owning horses didn’t keep them busy enough, Dan served as President of the Minnesota HBPA and the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association. He was also co-founder of both the Minnesota Festival of Champions and Claiming Crown.
From being present when Canterbury Downs opened to owning stakes winner Hoist Her Flag, the Mjolsness family has had quite the ride. Currently, they own 3-year old filly Javacandy. After the filly is finished racing, their remarkable journey will come to an end, but the accomplishments and memories will last them far longer.