By JIM WELLS
Post time for race three was seconds away Thursday night when the No. 2 horse, Vaults Last Sister, acted up in the gate, unseating Juan Rivera who landed on his head.
The incident left Rivera groggy and unable to ride, but trainer Jeffery Lynn had no trouble finding a replacement rider. Jordan Olesiak, without a moment’s hesitation, volunteered for the assignment.
“I knew that Jeffery has some decent horses, and he didn’t bring this one all the way (from Chicago) if he didn’t think he had a chance,” said Olesiak.
As the horses lined up to re-enter the gate for the race, Jim Olson, an officer with the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Assn., recalled a similar incident a few years ago.
“I had a horse running that day, and he threw the rider into the bushes,” Olson recalled.
“Jordan replaced him and went out and won the race.”
A fellow listening to Olson’s story took a look at the tote board, registered the fact that Vault’s Last Sister was 7-1 and then shook his head. Naw, he thought, history isn’t about to repeat itself here tonight. That’s a story reminiscent of one a friend of mine constantly tells about his wife.
“She never goes into a casino without winning a few hundred dollars,” he says two or three times a year after she has just returned from another $1,000 payday.
Olesiak climbed aboard his recently acquired mount for the 7 ½ furlong sprint on the grass and promptly engaged Seattle Game, ridden by Rusty Shaw, in a pace battle, sprinting to a six-length lead over Very Speightstown and Dean Butler.
Butler got his horse to respond coming out of the turn and closed ground quickly. As he approached Vaults Last Sister, who had pulled away from Seattle Game, Olesiak went to work on his mount and she responded for a three-length victory.
“We needed that,” said elated owner Rodney Miller.
Olesiak, you might recall, is a former rider, who turned trainer and then returned to riding. He is a Minnesota native, born and reared in Cloquet and currently a resident of Moose Lake, where he lives (when not riding in Nebraska or Iowa) with his significant other, Kathy, their 3 ½ year old son, James, and 11-month old twins, Blake and Lainey. “I’m back there every week,” he said.
Olesiak, 28, once rode full time at Canterbury and even trained here full time three years ago, operating a 60-horse stable that convinced him riding was considerably less work.
Olesiak, you might also recall, comes from a racing family. He is a fifth generation horseman. His brother Jesse is a veterinarian assistant at Canterbury, his brother Justin trains a 10-horse stable here and his brother Jacob is riding in Nebraska.
Jordan has dropped in to ride a horse or two in Shakopee off and on much of the summer.
“I’ll be back on Saturday to ride in that 3 ½ furlong affair,” he said.
An aside: The fellow to whom Jim Olson provided that hunch tip of sorts before the third race thought momentarily about slapping down a ten spot to win on the Olesiak horse, but then wandered off to watch the race without acting.
WINTER IS COMING
The pleasing weather conditions the past couple of days have not gone unnoticed by horse, trainer or rider at Canterbury.
“It’s another great evening,” trainer Larry Donlin said shortly before Thursday’s second race.
“There’s more of it coming, too. We’ve got some 70s just ahead of us.”
That’s not all.
“The geese are all gathering up in the infield, too,” Donlin added. “That’s usually a good sign.”
FEMALE RIDERS CONTINUE TO FIND WINNER’S CIRCLE
There wasn’t a lot of attention (actually none) given to the name of the winner of Thursday’s fourth race, although it does have a historical background that has become part of the myth and story of Mexico.
The winner was a four-year-old daughter of Forest Danger, ridden by Anne Von Rosen, named La Malinche.
La Malinche has become part of the historical saga of Mexico and is regarded as the embodiment of treachery. La Malinche was the name given to an Indian mistress of Cortez, who betrayed her own people.
That was not on Anne Von Rosen’s mind as she rode into the winner’s circle aboard the filly Thursday night.
She was more apt to have been thinking, “well, now, that’s win No. 13 of the meet.”
Even that thought did not last long. It changed by the fifth race.
Von Rosen, riding Mr. Rancho Vista, and Lori Keith, riding Warren’s Jack V., engaged in duel to the wire with Von Rosen claiming win No. 14.
Keith, currently fourth in the standings, was gunning for her 21st win of the meet.That had to wait until the seventh race when she rode Jump To The Rescue to a convincing win.