News and Notes May 31

BY JIM WELLS

The comments came one after another. What a great horse race. That’s the way a stakes race is meant to be run. Could you pick a winner in this one?

The $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes Saturday afternoon produced the kind of finish that brings race crowds to their feet, raises their blood pressure and then engenders expletives of various kinds when the results are posted. Three horses across the track at the finish.

In Sunday’s case, the local boys made good against a host of invaders. Pro Pink (#2 on the rail in photo above), Minnesota owned and Canterbury trained and ridden, got to the wire first but it took her bobbing head at the precise moment to separate her from the second place horse, 7-5 favorite Sole of the City.

Even at that, there was only the difference of a nostril in the photo. “Her head was coming down as the other one’s was going up,” said winning rider Derek Bell. “I didn’t expect to be on the lead like that but she broke so sharp.” Sole of the City shipped in from Prairie Meadows on a three-race winning streak, including a $50,000 stakes on May 8. On her back for those three wins as well as for Saturday’s race was Inez Karlsson, a native Swede who was a boxer before she turned to race riding.

Bell got the split decision in this match-up, however, and that brought a word of praise from the trainer, locally-based Mac Robertson, who is gunning for a fourth straight training title this season. “It’s nice to see Derek finally win a photo for me,” Robertson cracked while making a hasty exit from the winner’s circle. That’s high praise coming from Canterbury’s champion trainer.

You needed a wedge to separate the first two horses, and it was another three parts of a length to the third-place horse, Awsugahnow. The winning time in this seven-horse race was 1:11 and 1/5, following fractions of 58, 45 and 3/5 and 22 flat. The winner is owned by Joseph Novogratz of Eden Prairie and returned $6.80, $3.20 and $3.

The race honors the memory of Hoist Her Flag, Canterbury’s horse of the year in 1987 and again in 1989.

Dan and Bev Mjolsness of Red Wing owned and campaigned the mare, a winner of 11 stakes in Shakopee, and were on hand to present the trophy on Saturday.They attended a graduation in Barrington, Ill., where their son lives this weekend and left at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning in order to reach Shakopee on time.

Dan Mjolsness recalled one of the many memorable episodes in his horse’s grand career. “She won six consecutive races with Donna Barton riding her,” he said. Bev Mjolsness recalled the elderly fellow who was always at their table whenever Hoist ran and always bet the same way. “What are you going to do today?” Bev recalled asking him on each occasion. “I’m going to bet $100 across the board,” he said each time. They both recalled the words of a nationally-known writer saying that the history of Canterbury will have to include a chapter on Hoist Her Flag.

Hoist was a heck of a horse, and the sprint in her honor Saturday was a heck of a race.

GOLF, ANYONE?

The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Assn. will stage its 14th annual golf tournament on Monday, July 14, at the Shoreland Country Club in St. Peter.Registration is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. The entry fee is $45. Golfers can sign up in the HBPA office in the racing office.

CHAPEL A FEW DAYS BEHIND SCHEDULE…

The new grass on one side of the embankment next to the Dean Kutz Memorial Chapel was a brilliant, lush green the other morning after the deluge the night before. An opposing side is still awaiting its application of sod, so the landscaping is incomplete, a complement to the building interior which still has a ways to go as well.

A visitor _ the Sage of Canterbury _ walked in the front door to survey progress on the chapel that will honor the first jockey inducted into Canterbury Park’s Hall of Fame.

The Sage, of course, is the definitive source on all questions, the purpose of life on earth, the right horse to bet in a given race, you name it.

Here is what he saw and heard in the chapel that day: Cement dust and sheetrock refuse is readily available in the building and with the price of oil and groceries being what they are these days, an enterprising person could bag it up and sell it by the pound. It might fetch a pretty good price from someone trying to disguise a building project as a work in progress.

The men’s and women’s bathrooms have been roughed in and can be distinguished by their usual differences. There are two toilets for the women. A box labeled as containing a urinal was in the opposite room, which has a single toilet.It doesn’t seem necessary at this stage of construction to put signs up designating “Men” and “Women.” In any event, the toilets are not hooked up and some problems might be eliminated by not using them quite yet.

There are a number of electrical outlets already in place with the apperance of being “good to go.” There are also a number of wires still protruding from walls that the electrically-ignorant might be well advised not to touch. The building is still awaiting carpet or whatever covering will be applied to the cement floor. Perhaps that is an option not included in the original price.

As the visitor made his way through the front door, George Strait’s voice could be heard emanating it was assumed from a radio in a backroom somewhere, tuned to a local country-western station. Wouldn’t that have been something if George himself had been back there composing a new song, and all of Canterbury unaware of his presence. As it was, George didn’t sound in a happy mood. Apparently someone had just walked out of his life, leaving him high and dry.

About then the visitor was startled to come upon a workman _ either a plumber or an electrician _ working in one of the back rooms.

The workman had some interesting information to share.”The building is a little behind schedule,” he said. “It was supposed to have been done last year.”

The Sage, of course, already knew that.

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