FRIDAY NIGHT HUGS AND HANDSHAKES

By JIM WELLS

It has its own special charm but Friday night racing in the most recent instance included visits from old friends in new positions or locations, familiar employees in unfamiliar roles and some interesting races to boot.

Tammy Domenosky, a vibrant figure on the backside and in the Shakopee training ranks the last few years, is based in Chicago this summer but was at Canterbury Friday night to saddle horses in races three and seven.

Her presence drew a contingent of press box and TV room folks to the paddock where there were hugs, handshakes and a variety of greetings exchanged.

Kevin Gorg, Canterbury’s former handicapping analyst, was in the paddock to say hello with a night off from his new sports assignment with the local Fox affiliate.

“I missed her (Domenosky) in Chicago two weeks ago,” he said, “so I’m here to make it up tonight.”

There were hugs exchanged between Domenosky and media relations director Jeff Maday and even the Oracle. A mere handshake for your intrepid reporter.

That emotional display took place before the third race which featured an 11-horse field, including a five-year-old gelding named Bravo Prado whom we shall return to shortly.

A number of regulars asked about the unfamiliar voice delivering blow-by-blow accounts of the races as they occurred. Paul Allen, Canterbury’s regular man at the mike was with the Vikings. Richard Grunder, who calls the races at Tampa Bay Downs and is a rider agent in Shakopee, was scheduled to fill in but was not available because of a miscommunication. Thus, racing fans were treated to the soothing, pleasant annunciations of press box multi-tasker Andrew Offerman.

Anne Von Rosen had a win on the card and for one race was wearing silks that made her look folded into an American flag. It was suggested by one press box wag that she might end up at half mast along with other flags on Friday.

Now, about Bravo Prado, a five-year-old gelded son of El Prado. He was nearly killed in an accident at the Fair Grounds last December. A horse broke down in front of him during a race and twisted sideways as it happened. Bravo Prado was t-boned by the stricken animal, who had to be put down. Bravo Prado escaped that fate after breaking several ribs and puncturing a lung as well. He was hospitalized for two to three weeks afterward with his future uncertain.

He was turned over to trainer Mike Biehler a few weeks later and he discovered why the recovery was lingering. It was thought at first during his works that he was still bothered by sore ribs, but Biehler discovered the actual problem. “He had an abscess in a hind foot,” he explained. Once that was cleared up, Bravo Prado was back on his game shortly.

He had won twice in four starts under Biehler and nearly added another win under Lori Keith to that total Friday but was beaten in the final jumps by the Mac Robertson-trained and Derek Bell-ridden Abounding Aptitude, who got away at 9-1. Imagine that, a Robertson-trained horse paying $20.60. It happens about as often as Haley’s comet swings past.

Robertson’s two wins for the night pulled him to within one of Biehler in the trainer standings and five of Bernell Rhone, who had one winner Friday and leads the pack.

Domenosky did not leave Canterbury with a win to show for her trip, but seemed pleased earlier in the evening about her visit.

“You’re doing a great job,” she said to Angela Hermann, who replaced Gorg in the paddock this meet. “I’ll bet you all miss him (Gorg) just the same.”

Domenosky made it clear that she missed a number of people and Canterbury itself.

“I really do miss it here,” she said. “It’s nice to be back.”

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