The winner was a horse named Latin Journey, who returned $32.20, not in itself all that earthshaking, until you consider that the trainer was a man named Luis Canchari, who hadn’t saddled a winner since 1999, and the rider was a man named Richard Aguilar, who had never before won a race in the United States.
Now, something unusual begins to take shape. The horse is Latin Journey. Both men connected with the first win of her career _ at age five nonetheless _ are from Peru. They made Latin journeys of their own to make this rendezvous with a mare named Latin Journey.
Canchari has dabbled in the training end of the thoroughbred business, off and on, since 1992 after one time riding at Canterbury _where he was known as Louie the Glove _ among other locations. The decisive win with Latin Journey on Friday came in a turf event at about a mile and 1/16th and was the seventh of Canchari’s uneven training career.
“It makes me very happy,” he said afterward.
The same was true for Aguilar, who has lived in Shakopee less than a month after arriving here from Lima. He likes this place called Minnesota. Just ask him.
“Me gusta mucho,” he said.
A FAST START OUT OF THE GATE
Lorenzo Estevane, a native of Dallas, Texas, started raceriding in January at 18 and has already visited tracks in Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.
Now he can add Minnesota to that list.
Estevane jumped on a Greyhound bus Tuesday in Ruidoso, N.M., and spent the next 30 hours looking out the window at the passing countryside, sleeping, napping and doing whatever he could to pass the time.
He arrived in Minnesota on Wednesday and on Thursday morning got on _ he estimates_ about 15 horses that needed work.
Estevane was talking about his background in the jockey’s lounge Friday evening and mentioned that he grew up around horses, thanks to his father. “Yeah, his dad was a horse thief,” a bystander cracked.
Actually, Jorge Estevane owned horses, and Lorenzo, now 19, was fascinated from day one.
Estevane was at Ruidoso Downs and not making any money when his agent suggested that he give Canterbury Park a try. The agent, Don Stewart, knew a few people in Minnesota who might give the kid a break.
A break indeed.
Lorenzo was here only a few hours and he was working one horse after another out of the Kenny Laymon barn. Then, on Thursday night, Estevane replaced Oscar Delgado on a six-year-old mare named First Lady Miss and won the first race of his career.
He broke his maiden, in racetrack parlance.
“I really like Minnesota,” he said Friday night. “Everybody is friendly. The weather is nice.”
And he’s making money.
TOO MUCH BIRTHDAY CAKE?
One day after his 32nd birthday, Juan Rivera had to take off his last three mounts on the card because of illness.
Despite the immediate assumption, Rivera was in fact ill and had been for a couple of days.
He celebrated on Thursday, so to speak, by riding the winner in the best race on the card, a thrilling 6 ½ furlong sprint for $3,500 claimers that ended in a three-way photo finish that required a magnifying glass to sort out.
Some folks in the dollar-night crowd thought that Rivera and Doc of the Bay won it. Others were certain that Lori Keith, who closed like a rocket on Marina Nolan, got there first.
Still others were convinced that Dean Butler and Shot of Silver nosed out the other two.
Rivera thought he was beaten on the outside.
Keith thought she was beaten on the inside.
The call went to Doc of the Bay and Rivera by…….
“About this much,” said Keith, holding two fingers a half inch apart.