News & Notes July 20 Extreme Day


Extreme day reached its zenith Sunday in the closing moments of the $50,000 John Bullit Stakes, with Chicago shipper Tiganello and locally stabled Prospective Kiss going nose-to-nose from the 16th pole to the wire.

Track announcer Paul Allen called it the best fifty-grander of the season after it took a calipers to separate the two horses over the final 16th and at the wire in this photo finish.

When the results were posted trainer Hector Magana’s horse had separated himself by a nostril from Prospective Kiss.

“I just tried to push his head down at the wire and hope,” said winning rider Scott Stevens.

Prospective Kiss moved to the front heading into the stretch and Tiganello engaged him and then got his head in front approaching the 16th pole. Prospective Kiss is a fighter of the first rank and dug in, retaking the lead under Derek Bell before the eventual winner dug in himself and the two went eye-ball-to-eyeball past the wire, a bob of the head providing the very narrow difference.

“I made my move sooner than I wanted,” said Stevens, “but I was afraid someone was coming on the outside.”

On hand to present the trophy was Clayton Gray, who made the trip from Winnipeg. The former trainer of John Bullit appreciated the race along with everyone else. “That was a horse race, a good one,” he said.

The win completed a solid week for Stevens, who had three winners the day before.


Paul Nolan, who had the most productive week in the jockey colony, rode Proud Jefe to an easy win in the $50,000 stakes and then set his sights on a similar finish in the John Bullit that followed.

His aim was simple, a trifecta for his wife, Sherry, as a birthday present. “I’ve won the Northbound Pride and the Hoist Her Flag, now I need the John Bullit,” he said. “Sherry galloped all three of those horses when they raced here.

Nolan had the mount on Switzerland in the following stakes but didn’t hit the board. Nonetheless, he had a great week, riding the winner of the 10th, Balsero, for his seventh win.


A crowd in excess of 15,000 on Sunday packed every area of the grandstand and the apron for much of the day.

Many of them were drawn by the novelty of ostrich and camel races in addition to the races not normally offered.

The only snag came in the sixth race, the battle of the sexes, matching fillies on the turf against colts on the dirt.

The gate opened on the turf several seconds after the gate on the dirt, however, and all wagers on the event had to be refunded.

“There’s no way that was a concern for me,” said Eric Halstrom, the track’s vice president of racing operations. “We practiced it 20 times without a problem.”


Learders Brake has been bumped, he’s been run over and he’s been scared out of his wits by horses flipping in the gate next to him. How does a horse get a little peace and quiet while he runs a race?

One answer was the 250-yard Beat the Clock race that opened Extreme Day on Sunday. Eight quarter horses lined up for this 250-yard race, one by one. That’s right they ran against the clock only, one at a time.

No way Learders Brake couldn’t get a clean trip in this one and that meant he broke his maiden after five previous failures.

Sent off at 29-1, Learders Brake was the second of the eight horses to run and was clocked in 13.322, a time that stood up against the six remaining horses.

That meant a $61.20 payback to anyone who like this fellow from the barn of Bob Johnson, who got the 1,000th victory of his quarter horse career on Friday night.
Now it’s 1001 and counting.

“I’m glad I got it the other night, before this race,” Johnson said.

“This horse has had it all happen to him. This time he had to make his own mistake.”

5 thoughts on “News & Notes July 20 Extreme Day”

  1. I found Extreme Racing day to be very disapointing. Not only was there the gate problem, but when the camel race ended, 8 to 10,000 of the 15000 in attendance fled. At no other race track in America, would one half to three quarters of the crowd leave just prior to two nice stakes races. Did an average handle of $19.97 strike anyone?Leave the camel races, the ostrich races, and the goofy conditions to PT Barnum and the county fairs. We expect Canterbury to put on serious horse racing.

  2. In response to the comment: yes the gate malfunction was disappointing. It happened and we move on. The idea behind Extreme Day is to draw people to the track that might not otherwise attend. They are exposed to horse racing and perhaps they come back again. The goofy conditions, Beat the Clock and Battle of the Surfaces aside, that are alluded to are not all that goofy. The 3 1/2 furlong races were very bettable and the turf race, for non-winners on the lawn, is hardly novel.As for the crowd leaving after the camel race. Yes true. It was a long day by then for a casual fan. Most other racetracks in America however would love to have 8 to 10,000 people in attendance on a Sunday. It was not a betting crowd. It did appear to be a food and beverage consuming crowd and that pays a few bills.Extreme Day may not be for everyone but it does accomplish the goal of exposing new people to Canterbury. A few of which might become regulars one

  3. Hi. Sherry Nolan here. I need to correct some misinformation. I have never galloped any horses at Canterbury. I did however have the pleasure of being the groom for all three of the horses mentioned. Northbound Pride for her 3 year old season, John Bullit for one season while he was with Mike Tinker and Hoist briefly when she was sent to Remington. It was my privilege to be associated with all of them. While J.B. was with Clayton he had a wonderful groom, Denny. Those years are among the most special in my life. Thank you so much.

  4. Extreme Day 2 was simply extremely enjoyable. How can anyone say that only real racing should be run? What? Novices at any racetrack mean better mutuels for the experienced player. Have you seen the odds on some horses that run on Kentucky Derby day that are 50-1 when they should be 150-1. Plus, who knows how many new fans were born on Sunday to the greatest game ever invented. I can’t wait for Extreme Race Day 3.Scott Ehlers

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