Canterbury Fans Get Their Own Show

BY JIM WELLS

There was a race on the undercard of the Preakness Stakes Saturday that featured an astounding runner named Mitole, the swiftest 3-year-old sprinter in the country, a colt with a dazzling turn of speed.

Mitole put on a show for anyone watching, leaving an entire field of horses in his wake after switching gears in the stretch drive and pulling away so smoothly it looked effortless.

The patrons at Canterbury Park saw a similar race later in the afternoon, right there on the home track, when Mr. Jagermeister destroyed five rivals in the $50,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes, winning just as easily while looking equally impressive.

There is more to say about this comparison. Mr. Jagermeister, it so happens, lost by a similar margin in his last race to this very same Mitole.

Saturday, it was Mr. Jagermeister administering the whipping, drawing this thought from rival trainer Franciso Bravo, who saddled Smooth Chiraz and Hold For More:

“I knew  he’d be big trouble,” said Bravo. “He’s a monster.”

Mr. Jagermeister had 8 ½ lengths on Hot shot Kid at the wire and 11 ½ on Smooth Chiraz, with a final time of 1:10.81.

Indeed. Mr. Jagermeister, a three-year-old, delivered a thrashing to five rivals, racing against older horses for the first time. There is more to what seems to be a developing story with numerous elements to it.

Mr. Jagermeister still fools around on the track, takes his mind off business once he’s passed horses. “He thinks his job is done,” said winning rider Leandro Goncalves. “I have to keep after him.”

Despite those elements, Mr. Jagermeister is the real deal. Moments later, when the conversation had changed, Goncalves very expressively conveyed a deeper truth about the horse. “He’s a very nice colt, very, very talented,” he said.

The son of Atta Boy Roy from the Corinthian mare Frangelica is from a line of slow developers, so trainer Valorie Lund takes that element into consideration while laying out plans for her talented three-year-old.

“He’s still a baby, a big baby,” she said. “If he stays healthy, wait until next year.”

Well…local fans don’t want to wait that long, and it appears that won’t be a problem. Lund says she plans on keeping the horse in Shakopee this summer.

$50,000 LADY SLIPPER STAKES

A much more competitive race than it’s male counterpart, the Lady Slipper also had a surprise in store for bettors and the connections in the race.

Pinup Girl, sent off at 5-1, turned in the kind of effort trainer Sandra Sweere had envisioned but wasn’t positive she would get. After all, Pinup Girl can throw her weight around in certain instances.

Saturday afternoon, she confined that to the race track despite a makeup that might preclude such a demonstration at the distance. “She’s not a six-furlong horse,” said Sweere, “but she got a good ride from a good rider (Santiago Gonzalez).”

And was able to take advantage of the situation when odds-on favorite and defending champion Honey’s Sox Appeal didn’t fire in the stretch drive, after changing paths to get around Shipmate and Ta Kela.

The winner, running for the first time this year, finished two lengths in front of Ta Kela Warning and 6 ¾ ahead of Shipmate in a time of 1:12.3.

Despite a name that suggests otherwise, the winning filly can be a handful in the barn or outside of it. “She knocked me to the ground, knocked me out when I was taking her off the walker two years ago,” said Sweere, who had that on her mind after Saturday’s win.

“We have to go to the test barn with her,” she said. “Otherwise, she’ll rear up on the vets when they take a blood sample.”

That wasn’t a complaint by Sweere. She’ll take all the test barn trips she can get.

1990 PREAKNESS MEMORIES

On the morning before the 1990 Preakness Stakes, a rental car and its driver arrived at the hotel in which Minneapolis-Star Tribune columnist Pat Reusse was staying. He was there to cover the Twins against the Baltimore Orioles but while in town decided to take in the race as well. After all, a horse named Unbridled, the Kentucky Derby winner owned by Frances Genter of Bloomington, was running, giving Minnesota a stake in the action.

Reusse had agreed to an historical tour with the driver of the car, yours truly, then covering thoroughbred racing for the St Paul Pioneer Press. He had been given a vague heads-up of what he was about to visit.

He grew increasingly more interested when I pulled up to an old church and cemetery grounds. “What’s here,” he asked. “You are about to find out,” I replied.

The tombstones were ancient and the grounds included several above-ground crypts that resembled small airplane hangers.  The slate fronts on some of the moss-stained crypts were broken, allowing a glimpse inside with the aid of a cigarette lighter.

After examining a few burial sites in this manner, we arrived at the goal of the visit: the grave of poet Edgar Allen Poe, better known to modern day readers for his gothic tales of horror, the means by which he supported himself while writing legitimate literature. We would subsequently drive by the home where the poet lived as a young man. There was plenty of time for doing so, since our visit to the graveyard, an ancient, spooky place, was relatively short.

Time sometimes distorts and colors memory, but I am fairly certain of the following details:

Our visit at the final resting place of the immortal Edgar Allen was completed when I turned to see my companion heading toward the front gate.

I swear he was tip-toeing while uttering the following words, in a guttural tone: “Let’s get out of here, Wells.”

FOOTNOTE: Unbridled couldn’t contend with Summer Squall in the stretch drive and finished 2 ¼ lengths back in what was essentially a two-horse race that summer.

 

 

 

 

10,000 Lakes Attracts Six Winners

By Jim Wells

Every so often a race comes along that elicits anticipation, chatter and an element of pride, a bit of hometown hubris even.

There might be some of that surrounding the final stakes race on Saturday’s card, the  $50,000 10,000 Lakes six-furlong sprint and its all star cast of Minnesota-bred geldings and an upstart three-year-old named Mr. Jagermeister, taking on older horses for the first time.

Mr. Jagermeister was at Oaklawn Park on April 12, running in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes against the fastest three-year-old sprinter in the country, Mitole. He wound up nine back in second place but was the only horse in the field to have tested Mitole.

Dave Miller, the Equibase chart caller at Canterbury Park, was at Oaklawn that day. “I felt some real pride that this Minnesota-bred horse was the only one even close to the winner,” he said.

Mr. Jagermeister is a 2/1 morning line pick to beat five rivals in the 10,000 Lakes dash today, all of them stakes winners, some multiple winners.

Trainer/owner Valorie Lund was reminded of that during a conversation on Friday. “That’s the way to make me less nervous,” she responded, facetiously. “Thanks a lot.”

Lund knows she has a talented horse although he still exhibits immaturity from time to time. “You have to have patience with this horse,” she said. “He’s still learning and growing up.”

He might have to grow up fast tomorrow although on paper he looks every bit the winner, despite the seasoned crew he will compete against.

“He’s taking on some very nice horses,” Lund added.

She won’t get disagreement from opposing trainers in the race.  “It looks pretty salty,” said Francisco Bravo, who’ll saddle Smooth Chiraz, last year’s Minnesota Sprint winner and Hold for More, the all-time money winner at Canterbury and the 2015 Horse of the Year.

Fun, right!

“Yeah, for all you guys watching, it is,” Bravo quipped.

Hold for more, owned by Dale Schenian, is $5,300 short of $400,000 in career earnings  and has the No. 1 hole. Smooth Chiraz, with a $214,274 bank account, is right next to him.

“Hold for More is a pretty classy horse,” Bravo added. “I wish he had an outside post instead of the rail. I think he would benefit being off the pace. On the inside, he might have to be the pace, or stay with them.”  Yet…

“It is what it is.”

Mac Robertson, the defending training champ, will saddle A P Is Loose, winner of nearly $370,000 and Hot Shot Kid, winner of four straight last summer at Canterbury, five straight overall.

“It’s a good race,” said Robertson. “Six good horses…it’s hard to find six good horses anywhere, but six in one race, all Minnesota-breds. It speaks well for the breeders.”

Robertson says both of his starters “are sound and ready to run.”

Joel Berndt will saddle the sixth starter, Fridaynitestar, second to Smooth Chiraz in the 2017 Minnesota Sprint Championship, immediately in front of Hold For More. He finished second twice to Hot Shot Kid.

Defending champion Honey’s Sox Appeal, owned by Bob Lindgren of Prior Lake, is the 7/5 morning line choice in the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes against five rivals, that include Curtis Sampson’s Double Bee Sting, second choice at 7/2.

With earnings of $251,000, Honey’s Sox has twice the bank account of the second favorite. She has a 7-4-2 record from 14 career starts.

Mr. Jagermeister Favored in 10,000 Lakes Stakes Saturday

Plus, see the 143rd Preakness simulcast at 5:48 p.m.

Shakopee, Minn. — Saturday’s 10-race program at Canterbury Park, which begins at 12:45 p.m., features two $50,000 stakes sprints for horses bred in Minnesota, the 10,000 Lakes and the Lady Slipper.

In the 10,000 Lakes, each of the six entrants previously won stakes races at Canterbury Park. Three-year-old Mr. Jagermeister, who last year won the Northern Lights Futurity, will face older horses for the first time in his career. The colt, trained by Valorie Lund, most recently finished second in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park chasing one of the fastest 3-year-old sprinters in the country.

“He’s got some tough, tough horses to run against and he’s still a baby, but he’s a talented baby,” Lund said.

Mr. Jagermeister, the 2 to 1 morning line favorite, will be ridden by Leandro Goncalves. He will face the all-time leading money earner at Canterbury Park, Hold for More, who last season won the 10,000 Lakes Stakes.

Also entered is Hot Shot Kid, who won four consecutive races at Canterbury in 2017 including the Minnesota Derby. Also in the field are 2017 Minnesota Sprint champion Smooth Chiraz, turf specialist A P Is Loose, and Fridaynitestar.

The Lady Slipper, restricted to Minnesota bred fillies and mares, is also a six horse field. Favored is last year’s winner Honey’s Sox Appeal. She is owned by Bob Lindgren of Prior Lake and is trained and ridden by 2017 champions Mac Robertson and Jareth Loveberry.

In addition to live racing, Canterbury will offer simulcast wagering on Saturday for the 143rd Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Post time is 5:48 p.m. There will be plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the day as well including a bride and bride-to-be wedding dress dash to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Participants will race down the main track in bridal gowns for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to Continental Diamond. Live music will be provided by Tim Mahoney. A selfie station with princesses and ‘the queen’ will be available for guests.

General admission is $9 for adults; children 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is also free. More information is available at www.canterburypark.com . Racing resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m. and continues Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

News and Notes after Four Race Days

By Katie Merritt

Perfection is a term rarely used in this sport. But for the moment, it fits Hall of Fame trainer Bernell Rhone who has saddled five horses thus far and each has visited the winner’s circle. Drop the Gloves won opening night. Maddymax won this past Friday and then Drive Sandy Drive, Justeveryday, and Smoltz kept the streak alive Saturday.  As would be expected, go-to jockey Dean Butler rode four of the winners and Martin Escobar, whose association with Rhone began two decades ago, was on Justeveryday.

Rhone spends the winter training at Tampa Bay Downs.

Is there a Tampa edge?   “I like coming out of Tampa,” Rhone said. “Horses from there go everywhere and run well.”

Rhone remembers winning six races on one card in 2003 and then saddling two more the next day. “I had multiple horses in a couple of those races.”  He has an opportunity to continue this current run of perfection Friday with Lucky Leroy Brown in race 2.

In June of 1995, the year Canterbury re-opened, David Van Winkle saddled seven consecutive winners over a period of several days. Van Winkle went on to be leading trainer that summer.

The battle for leading rider at Canterbury Park has already begun at the 2017 live racing meet. As expected, Alex Canchari and Dean Butler are vying for that lead, and are tied with 6 wins apiece and a 27 percent win percentage. The only thing that currently sets them apart is Canchari’s seven second-place finishes to Butler’s two, and Canchari’s earnings of $144,710 to Butler’s $88,798. Dean Butler is 3 for 3 on favorites, while Canchari is 4 for 6. With a lot of races left to run this summer, the title of leading rider will surely spend a lot of time flip-flopping between these two, as well as others. Orlando Mojica is only 2 wins behind them, with $98,007 in purses, so he is also in contention to make a bid at leading rider.

The Jockey Colony Continues To Grow

Jockey Cecily Evans, a newcomer to Canterbury Park, arrived in Shakopee this week after the completion of the Turf Paradise meet. Evans rode races primarily on the east coast before her venture to Turf Paradise last winter.

“It was my first meet at Turf Paradise and I really didn’t know that many people, so it took a little bit to get everything going. But the last couple of months, business really started picking up and I was winning races,” Evans said. “A lot of the trainers that I rode for told me that they were going to Canterbury Park for the summer, and that I should go, so here I am! I’m excited!”

She will be represented by agent Brandon O’Brien, who also has Chad Lindsay’s book.

Jockey Nik Goodwin is one win closer to 1,000 after a win on Fort Lewis Rivers on Friday night for trainer Joel Berndt. He is now only four wins away.

Stakes Races Saturday

The Lady Slipper Stakes and the 10,000 Lakes Stakes will be run Saturday. Both offer $50,000 purses and are conducted at a distance of six furlongs. Both stakes are restricted to Minnesota breds.

Bourbon County, winner of the past two 10,000 Lakes renditions, is on the nomination list. He began training this spring at Oaklawn and has continued to work forwardly at Canterbury Park. Finding his name on the entries after the draw Wednesday would be no surprise. Hold for More has also been nominated. He sprinted in the Paul Bunyan Stakes opening weekend but was never involved, finishing last in a field of six. Should trainer Francisco Bravo enter this former horse of the meet, he would be well supported by the betting public.

The Lady Slipper attracted 15 nominations including Rockin the Bleu’s who was a winner facing open company in April at Will Rogers Downs in a $50,000 sprint stakes. Last season this mare came off a layoff to finish second in the Lady Slipper. She has a pair of recorded workouts since arriving in Shakopee this spring.

Racing begins on Saturday with a later than normal post time of 1:45 p.m. to accommodate the running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

Friday racing begins at 6:30 p.m.

Rolling $1 doubles have been added to the wagering menu and will begin Friday.

Advance wagering on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan

Available Thursday, 5/18/17:
– Advance wagers for Friday’s Pimlico card (Black Eyed Susan is race 11)
– Advance wagers for Saturday’s Pimlico card (Preakness is race 13)
– Black Eyed Susan/Preakness Double Wager (race 11 on Friday and race 13 on Saturday)

Available Friday, 5/19/17:
– Advance wagers for Saturday’s Pimlico card (Preakness is race 13)
– Friday’s Pimlico card (Black Eyed Susan is race 11)
– Black Eyed Susan/Preakness Double Wager (race 11 on Friday and race 13 on Saturday)

Heliskier Unbeaten Streak Hits 7

HeliskierThe sheen in his brown coat accents his muscular frame, and he stands out immediately from other horses around him. The unbeaten son of Appealing Skier truly is something to behold. There is not another horse on the grounds in this four-year-old gelding’s class. He is a man among boys, a giant among Lilliputians, a horse among weanlings.

“This is not a horse you come to bet on,” said Canterbury Park paddock analyst Angela Hermann. “This is a horse you come to see.”

What a sight to see.

Heliskier made it seven for seven on Saturday, leaving eight other horses huffing and puffing behind him in the $50,000-guaranteed 10,000 Lakes Stakes.

Willow Parish took a short stab at it, challenging Heliskier early on and finished in front of one horse. Speakfromyourheart had similar thoughts and wound up fourth. His rider, Lori Keith, shrugged her shoulders afterward and said,”well, we tried to catch him off guard.”

She couldn’t have been more facetious.

For the first time in seven races, Derek Bell, the only jock to ride Heliskier, gave him a tap on the shoulder down the lane. He didn’t need it and galloped home 5 ½ lengths In front of Freedom First, who had a head on Bobble Doit and another 1 ¾ lengths on Speakfromyourheart.

“He’s a monster. He’s put on 150 pounds (since last year) and is two inches taller,” said Bell.

“He’s the big horse in the barn and he knows it,” said Brad Hedges, assistant to trainer Mac Robertson.

Owned by Marlene Colvin, Heliskier brought tears to her eyes in the paddock before the race. The horse was the last one raised by her late husband, Bun.

Marlene is not alone in that regard, however. Heliskier brings out the emotion in lots of folks.

“He’s so good he brings tears to your eyes,” said Hedges.

Other Saturday Racing Tidbits:

Alex Canchari, the native of Shakopee, graduate of Shakopee High School and one-time employee at Canterbury Park, had a request of the track photographers, the Coady brothers, after the first race on Sunday. “Hey, whenever I win a race,” said Canchari, “just make a picture for me and put it on my bill.”

Canchari, whose father, Luis, was a local rider in the 1980s, placed his first photo order of the season after Saturday’s opening race and after riding a gelding named Third Rail, trained and owned by John Shryock. “He tried pulling himself up at the 16th pole,” said Canchari. So, Canchari went to work himself with three reminders from the stick. “Most horses don’t come back like that on a tiring track,” Canchari added. “That was pretty nice.”

Two riders who won races on the season-opening card the night before were back in the winner’s circle Saturday. Keith, who won three races on the card, brought in the second half of the daily double aboard Finding Candy, trained by Mike Biehler and owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, withstanding a challenge from the favorite, Stone Crazy, with Eddie Martin, Jr. up. “Yes, I could feel him (coming on),” said Keith, whose horse rebuffed the mild challenge and went on.

Martin countered in the very next race, making easy work of it aboard Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Eighteen Wheels. Midwest horses will be making many more trips to the winner’s circle this summer.

Keith won the fifth race on Krissy’s Tiger Paw and the ninth with Mingun’s Peaches.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Heliskier Returns Saturday

HELISKIERDerbyFinishJust how good is Heliskier? We could find out in Saturday’s seventh race, the $50,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes, perhaps his toughest test ever. Heliskier is trained by Canterbury’s perennial leading conditioner Mac Robertson.

As a two year old, Heliskier broke his maiden in hand and galloped on the Northern Lights Futurity field, winning by 10 lengths. The following summer the Minnesota-bred gelding became Canterbury’s Horse of the Year in 2012 by impressively winning all four of his starts. In his last out in the Minnesota Derby, Heliskier handily drew off from the others by 13 lengths.

In all but one of his starts, Heliskier has been the heavy favorite and is 6/5 in the morning line for the upcoming race. In fact, he was so dominant in his past races that a west coast gambler was compelled to bet $200,000 to win.

Will Sugar Business go back to his front running style to battle for the lead with Heliskier or will Freedom First be the late closer to pull an upset? The 10,000 Lakes Stakes has drawn a field of nine promising Minnesota breds to go the 6 furlongs alongside Heliskier but each one will be looking to run down the favorite.

With connections like Robertson and Derek Bell aboard, it is hard to go against Heliskier. Undefeated and looking to show Canterbury his true potential Heliskier will no doubt turn heads this Saturday.

Here’s Heliskier winning last year’s Victor Myers Stakes (start at the 2:45 mark):

Photo: Coady Photography

Heliskier Returns Saturday

HELISKIERDerbyFinishJust how good is Heliskier? We could find out in Saturday’s seventh race, the $50,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes, perhaps his toughest test ever. Heliskier is trained by Canterbury’s perennial leading conditioner Mac Robertson.

As a two year old, Heliskier broke his maiden in hand and galloped on the Northern Lights Futurity field, winning by 10 lengths. The following summer the Minnesota-bred gelding became Canterbury’s Horse of the Year in 2012 by impressively winning all four of his starts. In his last out in the Minnesota Derby, Heliskier handily drew off from the others by 13 lengths.

In all but one of his starts, Heliskier has been the heavy favorite and is 6/5 in the morning line for the upcoming race. In fact, he was so dominant in his past races that a west coast gambler was compelled to bet $200,000 to win.

Will Sugar Business go back to his front running style to battle for the lead with Heliskier or will Freedom First be the late closer to pull an upset? The 10,000 Lakes Stakes has drawn a field of nine promising Minnesota breds to go the 6 furlongs alongside Heliskier but each one will be looking to run down the favorite.

With connections like Robertson and Derek Bell aboard, it is hard to go against Heliskier. Undefeated and looking to show Canterbury his true potential Heliskier will no doubt turn heads this Saturday.

Here’s Heliskier winning last year’s Victor Myers Stakes (start at the 2:45 mark):

Photo: Coady Photography

Local Stakes & Preakness Elicit Excitement

Now the conjecture begins. Not since Affirmed outdueled Alydar in 1978 has horse racing had such potential for history to repeat itself… or not. The similarities are certain to be pointed out ad infinitum, even ad nauseam, in the coming days, right up to post time for the Belmont Stakes if both horses do indeed run.

If you liked the Kentucky Derby, you had to love the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. Visions of the great Triple Crown rivalry danced through the minds of anyone even vaguely familiar with that wondrous summer. Another year, Alydar likely would have been a Triple Crown champion, outdueled in each of the classics by Affirmed.

Now the scene is set for I’ll Have Another to do the same to Bodemeister. There is little doubt that those two horses are clearly at the front of the three-year-old crop this season right now. The Kentucky Derby finish left the racing public wondering if Bodemeister had simply outrun himself with blazing fractions, that I’ll Have Another took advantage of a tiring horse. Bodemeister had the front end to himself with a fractions more to his liking on Saturday and I’ll Have Another caught him once again.

A shot in the arm for racing?

“This is fabulous,” said Canterbury Park president/CEO Randy Sampson. “This might be the year things finally go our way.”

“This is the difference between 6,500 and 16,000 (fans) on Belmont Day,” said Canterbury announcer Paul Allen.

Comments of this nature are always difficult to pry from Media Relations director Jeff Maday.

“It was a good race. The best Triple Crown race of the day,” he said.

Who knows, Bodemeister might take the Belmont Stakes off. But for the immediate future, racing seems to be very, very healthy.

Preakness Stakes Saturday brought out a large number of colorful dresses and wide-brimmed hats. No group resplendent in such attire was any more festive than the group of young ladies gathered in the winner’s circle after the first race to celebrate the upcoming marriage of Danielle Theobald, to become Ellingson, she pointed out, on June 16 in Rochester.

She and 13 of her friends – six of them part of the upcoming wedding party – used the big day in racing as their bachelorette shindig and got the ball rolling minutes after three-time riding champ Dean Butler got his second win of the season, this one aboard Gone Digital.

Butler’s silks caught the attention of one of the bachelorettes, adorned as they are with the emblem of the owners, Hector Bulldog Partners.

“My boyfriend has a tattoo of a bulldog that looks just like that,” she said. “Could you let me get a picture.”

The Canterbury riding champ obliged, delaying his exit from the winner’s circle.

When a bystander commented on the bevy of attractive women surrounding him after the photo was taken, Butler rolled his eyes and headed for the jockeys’ room.

Canterbury’s defending riding champ got started with a win in the next to last race on Friday’s season-opening card. He followed up Saturday by winning aboard Gone Digital, trained by Tony Rengstorf.

So, Rengstorf has three wins for the season, a most auspicious start he refuses to let go to his head.

“Come see me in two hours,” he said, well aware of the vicissitudes of his sport. “I learned about that a long time ago.”

Veteran Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens continues to make his presence felt. He had a winner on opening day and was aboard Downtown Delight for trainer Michael Biehler in race two on Saturday.

Stevens set a goal for himself a year or two ago of riding at least one winner a day as his riding career ostensibly winds down. “So far, so good,” he said Saturday behind wide grin.

“I just need more business now. I only have one mount tomorrow.”

BUTLER MINES HIDDEN GOLD

The $35,000 Lady Slipper stakes was a three-horse race until the 16th pole. Then Butler elicited the coup de grace kick from defending champ Hidden Gold (pictured above), who drew off to a solid 1 ¼ length victory over Sheso Dazzling with Polar Plunge claiming third.

“It was a great race,” said trainer Francisco Bravo. “I thought it came down to one of three horses, and we were the ones today. Dean gave the horse a great ride, terrific.”

Ann Sachdev owns the horse with Bravo’s wife, Lori. Ann’s husband, Sunil, provided another explanation for the victory.

He stood in the very same spot during the race that he did a year ago when Hidden Gold won.

“Superstition. That’s what did it,” he said.

Kayleigh Butler could have cared less. Her father had won the stakes race and she jumped into his arms for the winning photo in front of a crowd of more than 8,000.

2012 Lady Slipper and 10,000 Lakes Stakes Replays

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WINNING

Bet your Boots could have used some comfortable slippers after last year’s 10,000 Lakes Stakes. He got sore feet and needed some intensive doctoring to get right again for the race.

Saturday, it appeared that his feet were just fine and that he was in fact right again.

With Juan Rivera up, Bet Your Boots dug deep to finish a half-length in front of the 2010 winner of the 10,000 Lakes, with Samendra claiming third.

Owner-breeder Richard Bremer had terse instructions for Rivera. “Whatever you do, don’t give up the rail,” Bremer said.

Rivera hugged the rail as if it were a long-lost relative, and the son of Birdstone did the rest.

“His feet were so tender after last year’s race that he needed some rest,” said Bremer. That was last May 11, and Bet Your Boots was idle until April 29 when he finished third in a $35,000 optional claiming race at Prairie Meadows.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography