Tampa Bay Downs race caller Richard Grunder was enjoying a beautiful April afternoon……..in Tampa, when he answered the phone.
“I saw you on the news but it can’t be as bad as they say. How’s the weather up there?” he asked.
Paul Allen, the Grunder equivalent at Canterbury, was on the other end. “It’s a disaster.” The truth, which does include snow, sleet, rain, thunder, ice and wind, likely is somewhere between but what is fact is that live racing in Shakopee begins 22 days from now on May 3.
When Grunder heads north he transforms into a jockey agent, one of the most successful in Canterbury history. He was agent for HOF rider Derek Bell during his best seasons. This summer he will have the book for Jareth Loveberry, as he has the past two meets including his championship season in ’17.
Grunder will introduce a new face to the colony in Elvin Gonzalez, an 18 percent career winner who currently is at Sunland Park. “He is excited to get up there,” Grunder said. “It’ll be a tough meet with many very good riders but Elvin will do well.”
Last year’s top jock Ry Eikleberry will return as will Dean Butler. Eddie Martin Jr. and another new face Donnie Meche should both be here with agent Chuck Costanzo. Others include Orlando Mojica, David Lopez, Quincy Hamilton, Leandro Goncalves, Leslie Mawing, Izzy Hernandez, Nik Goodwin, Lori Keith, and Kat Bedford. The Shakopee Kid Alex Canchari also intends to make a return after spending a season away.
That’s a deep colony competing for the best mounts. Don’t miss out when a Grunder rider brings in a big number!