Opening Night Program Draws 86 Horses in Nine Races

Opening Night 2020 with minimal spectators allowed.

Entries were drawn today for the Tuesday, May 18 opening night program. The nine-race card attracted 86 entries plus nine also eligible horses. A total of 21 riders are named with Ruben Fuentes listed in eight races. Dean Butler, Roimes Chirinos and Alex Canchari each have seven mounts. Jockey Chad Lindsay is named on six. “I really like a couple of them,” he said today from the Triple Crown Room in the Canterbury Clubhouse while participating in the filming of a commercial to promote the 10 percent Pick 5 and Pick 6 takeout.

It is uncertain if Lindsay was trained in method acting or if the ability comes naturally. What is certain is his riding talent and it appears he is very live on his first mount on the card, the fourth race, aboard Owen’s Pleasure for trainer David Van Winkle and owner Pete Mattson. The Minnesota bred maiden was competitive against open company at Tampa Bay Downs and returns to face statebreds in a special weight dash. This could very well be a single for many in the first leg of the $1 Pick 6.

In the eighth, Lindsay rides Lil’ Ninja for Van Winkle in a very competitive statebred N1X allowance. Peppered in with several veterans are lightly raced horses with apparent ability. The very speedy 4-year-old Henry O’Henry for Mac Robertson has Canchari aboard. Thealligatorhunter finished third in a $100,000 race at Tampa in December. Westa Waverly is a stakes winner while Fire Extinguisher and Well Pro are stakes placed.

Obviously missing from the entries is 2020 leading rider Ry Eikleberry. He is serving a three-day suspension dating back to an incident at the end of the meet last year .

Entries will be drawn seven days in advance throughout the 65-day race meet.

Unlike last year (pictured above) at least 2,500 spectators will be allowed until Memorial Day weekend when capacity increases. In 2020, COVID-19 restrictions kept attendance to 750 maximum. Racing on May 18 commences at 5pm.

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