BY JIM WELLS
Each time he departed the winner’s circle or racetrack Saturday, Tyler Crawford knew a phone call was forthcoming.
Each time it was his father, Clint, calling from Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico with a comment or insight on what had just taken place at Canterbury Park.
“He calls after every race,” Tyler said.
With understandable reason.
While the senior Crawford was minding the horses in New Mexico, his son was saddling horses in the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity Trials in Minnesota, and dad was watching the activities from the Land of Enchantment.
There was a lot to watch.
And _ when all was said and done _ to celebrate.
By afternoon’s end, he knew that his horses had qualified for five of the 10 spots in the $156,000 Futurity.
‘”Hard to argue with a day like that,” the younger Crawford agreed.
This race for 2-year-olds has been on the racing calendar since 1986, the first year of quarter horse racing at Canterbury, when it was won by Ms Gold Bug.
Owner Tom Maher, who is still running horses in Shakopee, won the race in 1999 with JA Fearless.
So, the race has a storied and illustrious history, from its inauguration to the present. Last year, as additional evidence, Jess Doin Time, trained by Jason Olmstead and owned by Tom Pouliot, won the race and was later voted Canterbury’s Quarter Horse of the Year.
The race has a history of another sort, also. Five years ago_ the best guess of a date from people who were present _ high winds uprooted a tree in the paddock and tore the roof off part of the grandstand. Rain rushed into the pressbox, destroying ceiling tiles and requiring the copy machine to be relocated to avoid the inundation.
No such issues this time.
Part of Crawford’s success on Saturday was also Cody Smith’s success. He rode three of the winners from the Crawford stable, including Political Candyhouse, the winner of race three and the fastest qualifier of the afternoon, with a time of 17.682 seconds. That was also the third straight win for the Apolitical Jess gelding and conjured memories of the horse’s earlier efforts this season.
“I figured he was in the running in the qualifying for the Heritage,” said Smith. “Then they sealed the track and it got faster and faster, or he might have been right there. He was running against some very fast horses.”
Be that as it may, Political Candyhouse will quite likely be the first or second choice in the Futurity come July 7 or maybe a co-choice with another Crawford horse, Left Town, a 17.709 qualifier.
Or perhaps those two will be second choices to Royal Cash Flash, a Crawford qualifier in 17.833. Special Candy Kisses was next with a time of 17.861, followed by Sizzling Fajita in 17.894.
Crawford will saddle the top five qualifiers in the Futurity final on July 7. Saturday’s sixth fastest qualifier was Sweet Wild Time, trained by Bob Johnson, with a time of 17.901. Jason Olmstead saddled the next two qualifiers, Southard Queen and Five Bar Bodee. Ed Ross Hardy qualified Celebratori and John Hammes sent out Jessaracin.
But it was Crawford barn that shone brightest, and undoubtedly accepted the most cell phone calls from New Mexico.