By JIM WELLS
Friday night at the races has its own special ambiance, racing accompanied by music, in this particular case the dulcet tones of The Irrisistibles and Mick Sterling. There is also what’s billed as the state’s biggest happy hour on these evenings.
It has a flavor all its own. Not to mention the races themselves.
Oh, yes, the races. Where else can a fellow from Peru confound the experts, bring even the seers of the races themselves to their knees. Where else can such a fellow’s glove fit better than M.J. ‘s or certainly O.J.’s, and stop the naysayers cold in their tracks.
We’re speaking, of course, of Louie the Glove, Senor Luis Canchari, long a Minnesota resident but once a visitor from Lima, riding on cards at Canterbury Downs. Friday’s card was only into the second race when Senor Canchari struck, saddling a five-year-old mare named Diamond City, a maiden since her first out in December of 2008.
Andrew Erwin, the rider named on the horse, was replaced by Luis Robletto, who took the mare gate-to-wire, besting the post-time favorite and second choice, too. At 16-1, Diamond City, was, quite clearly, not on many players’ minds.
And the real highlight?
Louie the Glove, as he was known during his riding days, is now a 50 percent trainer at Canterbury. He is two-for-four. Friday night was truly under way.
Race three produced no real surprises just more consistency of the kind that creates respect as opposed to surprise. Brittany Arterburn, Queen of the Turf at Canterbury, got her minions to bow before her majesty once more, riding Slew City Storm out of the family barn into the winner’s circle after a mile and 1/16 turn on the turf.
Arterburn had run second in race one aboard the family’s Sugar Peaks _ on the dirt. She commanded race three from gate to finish and is now 9-4-2 from 21 Canterbury starts.
The Arterburn barn is 9-4-2 from 22 starts. You can do the math to determine how often Brittany is aboard the family stock in Shakopee this summer.
The Arterburns are from northern California. Tired of running a public barn, Lonnie Arterburn and his family left California some five years ago to begin their own operation in Ocala, Fla.
“We left pulling three trailers,” Brittany recalled _ mom and dad in one, Brittany in another and her sister, Jamie, pulling another. “We had to make two trips,” Brittany added.
The Arterburns have been running good grass horses for some time, but decided this summer to move that stock to Shakopee. “We claimed a few but bred some ourselves, too, and Brittany kept bragging about the great grass course here,” Lonnie said.
After riding another winner Friday night, Brittany arrived in the winner’s circle to a chorus of acknowledgement. “I entered that horse the other day,” Jerry Simmons said to Lonnie. “That was the difference tonight,” Lonnie replied good naturedly.
To which Simmons said to a passerby: “He was a rider himself at one time. And the breeder of Lava Man. ”
Brittany arrived back in the jockey lounge to another chorus.
“She’s Queen of the Canterbury turf,” one valet said.
“She is that,” said another.
And so it went, until Ms. Arterburn, now Mrs. Scott Rhone, left the building, which she often does after a single mount, but on this particular Friday evening after two.
A BUSY MAN
Ry Eilkeberry was up bright and early Friday and on a flight to Colorado where he rode a qualifier for a $130,000 Quarter Horse final later this month at Arapahoe Park. . Eilkeberry’s horse qualified with one of the fastest times of the day, and the rider was back on a flight to the Twin Cities and at Canterbury on time to ride his first of five mounts on the card, in the third race.
Eilkeberry is considering riding in the final at Arapahoe “There is a $200,000 thoroughbred stake the same day,” he said. “I’ll see about getting a mount in that one. We’ll see.”
DID THESE FELLOWS HAVE A RIDE HOME?
A Friday night bachelor party presented some observations and quotes of its own.
Approaching the announcer’s booth in the pressbox, one member of the party was heard to say: “Can you believe that we are about to see Paul Allen in the flesh and blood. He’s my absolute hero,” the fellow said, pumping his arms in exaltation.
As Allen began his race call, another fellow wondered: “How does he breathe when he’s calling a race?”
To which another responded:
“He doesn’t have to breathe, because he breathes so awesomely.”