On a cool, autumnal-like evening in Shakopee Friday night horsemen discussed plans for their departures once Canterbury racing concludes next Saturday.
With four days left in the 2014 meet in Shakopee, arrangements are being made way to ship horses to other racing venues, make arrangements for their arrival and to clear up outstanding bills from the meet about to conclude.
Yet, there are some whose focus is still clearly fixed on what remains of the race meet at Canterbury.
You can be sure that those numbers include Mac Robertson, who has won nine consecutive training titles, and Robertino Diodoro, who raced at Canterbury for the first time last year. Diodoro saddled two winners on Friday’s card to tie Robertson for the lead and assure an interesting final four days.
The same can be said of Ry Eikleberry, who has a three- win lead over four-time riding champ Dean Butler and is four in front of the Minnesota Kid, Alex Canchari.
The competitive, tight nature of the jockey race was underscored in Friday’s first race with two of the three riders vying for the title registering claims of foul against the third.
Eikleberry and Canchari both lodged complaints against Butler, but a stewards’ review found no infraction and upheld the win by Hollywood Premiere. On another day, earlier in the meet, it is likely no claim would have been made from either rider.
Certainly the race _ for two-year-old maidens _ had no other specific attraction for anyone other than the connections to the horses. The winner is trained, for example, by Bernell Rhone and owned by his brother, Russell. To the riders, however, with only four cards remaining in the meet, every win now is a brick of gold. Every card must be played.
INDIAN RELAY RACES ON DECK
Many people considered the introduction of Indian relay racing last summer as the highlight of the meet among sideline events. The ebullience of the comments went far beyond enthusiasm for a number of other highly regarded events.
Relay racing will again be part of the final weekend of racing, coinciding with the third running of the Mystic Lake Derby, at $200,000 the richest race of the meet, on closing day. The Upper Midwest Indian Horse Relay Championship will be conducted all three days of closing weekend and offer $70,000 in purses.
The competitors use at least two horses and often three _ depending on the distance _ during a race, which is ridden bareback. While bounding from one horse onto another in front of the grandstand a contestant must have at least one foot on the ground before remounting.
And ….ahem…no animal abuse of any kind is permitted. That includes the use of twitches, lead ropes or biting or pulling of horses’ ears.
Apparently, that excludes someone of Mike Tyson’s nature from participation.