Notes from the Final Day of the Season



Long On Value turned out to be modest in value, sent off at 5/2, and had an easy time of it on Saturday, winning the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, Canterbury Park’s premiere race of the season, in convincing fashion as expected.

The three-year-old son of Value Plus began his bid at the top of the lane after Christopher DeCarlo found room to swing him out on the turn.

The colt, trained by Bill Mott, needed only the word from DeCarlo thereafter to complete the job and did it easily when asked.

‘He has a sensitive mouth and was a little aggravated in the gate,” said DeCarlo.  “He broke a little tardy. “But at about midway on the turn I found room to swing him out, and just sat on him then until it was time to go.”

When he went, there was no answer from Chairman Crooks, who led the pack into the turn, or from General Jack, who was tucked in behind the leader and went off as the favorite. The race at that point belonged to Long On Value and DeCarlo.

“Chris did it just right,” said Mark Schreiber, assistant to Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer. “This horse is better off if he’s in good stalking position. You need to swing him out as Chris did. He doesn’t like to be between horses.”

General Jack, winner of the Juvenile in Shakopee last year, was second and Chairman Crooks, running one of the finest races of his career, finished third.


Every so often you will find stories like this at the racetrack, and no place but.

You simply can’t make up this stuff. Nobody’d buy it.

But this is a factual, unadulterated Canterbury Tale. A year ago trainer Robertino Diodoro left Shakopee with his head down and his tail behind his legs, upset by his unaccomplished first journey to Minnesota. Last winter considering a return to Minnesota while running at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, he vowed to bring better horses and spend more time at Canterbury than he did in 2013.

Yet a training title seemed wishful thinking at best. Mac Robertson had won the last nine in Shakopee and rebuffed every challenge during that reign, often locking up a crown with days if not weeks left in the meet.

This year it came down to closing day. Diodoro arrived trailing Robertson by one win and the Juvenile locked it up. Diodoro saddled two horses for the race, Native American and Grand Full Moon, both owned by Mercedes Stables, and they finished in a dead heat for first under Jorge Carreno and Geovanni Franco respectively.

Neither trainer nor riders were positive about a winner until the results were posted. After watching the replay, Carreno said, “I still think I won.”

Informed of the comment, Diodoro said “did you tell him that he did.”

Both horses were winners. Both riders were winners, and Diodoro was credited with two wins, boosting him to the training title.

The difference? “Better horses, a better crew and being more focused while racing at Canterbury,” he said. “And today, race No. 9.”

Diodoro had six winners for the day to finish with 50 for the meet, four in front of Robertson and tied Bernell Rhone for the most training wins on a card at Canterbury.



It has been a summer of mixed blessings for Canterbury. In general, the horses were more competitive and there were more of them, which produced changes in expectations established over the previous several summers, from the barns and on the track. The meet produced a new training champion for the first time in 10 years,  and a first-time riding champion as well.

Closing day was accompanied by idyllic weather, autumnal-like breezes and a fairly temperate thermometer reading, unlike many promotional Saturdays throughout the summer on which heavy rains moved several marquee stakes on the turf to the main track, resulting in significant scratches. Naturally that inclement weather had a significant impact on attendance, too, although 11,232 were present Saturday.



Ry Eikleberry won three consecutive quarter horse riding titles in Shakopee, from 2008 through 2010, but had never won a thoroughbred riding title until Saturday.

Eikleberry went without a win on Saturday while his two pursuers, Dean Butler and Alex Canchari, had one each. But Eikleberry had two-win leading coming into the final day of racing and hung on for the title

“The neat thing was that I got to ride for just about everybody. We had our ups and downs but battled through.”

Al and Bill Ulwelling, Canterbury’s champion trainers in 2010 and 2011 added a third title to their list with 21 winners, six more than Miguel Silva.

Caravan Stakes. She also finished second in the Minnesota Derby.

Canterbury’s 2014 divisional champions:

  • Horse of the Year – Sky and Sea (owner: Rake Farms LLC; trainer: Bernell Rhone)
  • Sprinter – Sky and Sea (owner: Rake Farms LLC; trainer: Bernell Rhone)
  • Older Horse – Bourbon County (owner: Rake Farms LLC; trainer: Bernell Rhone)
  • Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding – Speed is Life (Ez-Az Thoroughbreds LLP; trainer: Doug Oliver)
  • Three-Year-Old Filly – Sky and Sea (owner: Rake Farms, LLC; trainer: Bernell Rhone)
  • Grass Horse – Dear Fay (owner: Bo Vujovich; trainer: Mac Robertson)
  • Older Filly or Mare – Talkin Bout (owner: Camelia Casby; trainer; Gary Scherer)
  • Two-Year-Old – Hold for More (owner: Dale Schenian; trainer: Francisco Bravo)
  • Claimer – Terice (owner: Canterbury Racing Club 2014; trainer: Clay Brinson)
  • Quarter Horse – Dirt Road Queen (owner: Bob and Julie Petersen; trainer: William Harris)



It took a couple learning lessons in earlier rounds (call them conditioning races)  but Canterbury regular Larren Delorme acquitted himself nicely Saturday, finding the form that had eluded him in competition on Thursday and Friday..

The Canterbury rider established a lead early in the race and made it stand up to win the consolation round of the Indian Relay Race competition for the Delorme team.

That early lead made it possible for him to make horse exchanges after each mile without pressure and without incident and to finish up with an almost leisurely stretch ride.

A number of his fellow riders at Canterbury were at trackside to root for their colleague and applaud his winning effort.

by Jim Wells

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