Minnesota Derby and Oaks Head State-Bred Card Saturday

Trainer Mac Robertson has favored runners in four thoroughbred stakes

A 10-race program, with all races restricted to Minnesota-bred racehorses, begins at 5:00 p.m. Saturday at Canterbury Park. The card includes two quarter horse stakes and four thoroughbred stakes. Trainer Mac Robertson has horses entered in all eight thoroughbred races, with a total of 15 drawing in. The 12-time leading trainer will saddle the morning line favorite in the four thoroughbred stakes.

Mac Robertson

The richest races of the evening are the Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks for thoroughbreds, each offering a $100,000 purse and conducted at one mile and seventy yards on the main track. Also to be run Saturday are the $50,000 Princess Elaine and $50,000 Blair’s Cove, both one and one-sixteenth mile turf races. Quarter horses will compete in the $35,000 Cash Caravan Stakes at 400 yards and the $20,000 Cam Casby Futurity at 300 yards.

Mister Banjoman is the 3 to 1 favorite in the Minnesota Derby. The 3-year-old has won four of seven lifetime starts under trainer Robertson but has never raced further than three-quarters of a mile. The second and third favorites on the morning line, Astronaut Oscar at 7 to 2 trained by David Van Winkle and Dame Plata at 4 to 1 trained by Francisco Bravo, also are stretching out in distance for the first time.

Ready to Runaway

Ready to Runaway, claimed by Robertson for $25,000 for owner John Mentz of Lakeville, Minn. in June, is the 5 to 2 early favorite in the Minnesota Oaks. She won the $50,000 Frances Genter Stakes on July 4 for the new connections and like Robertson’s Minnesota Derby entrant will be routing for the first time.  First Hunter is favored in the Princess Elaine. Robertson trained her to a win in the July 3 Minnesota Turf Distaff. The 6-year-old mare will face six others including two-time defending champion Some Say So from the Joe Sharp barn.

Robertson has dominated in the Blair’s Cove having won the last four editions and nine of the last 11. He has two entered this year: Hot Shot Kid, 5 to 2, and A P Is Loose, 7 to 2. A P Is Loose, owned by Joel Zamzow of Duluth won the Blair’s Cove in 2015 and 2016, was second to a stablemate in 2017, and beat Hot Shot Kid by 2 1/4 lengths in 2018. Hot Shot Kid and A P Is Loose drew the outside posts in the nine-horse field.

Leading quarter horse trainer Jason Olmstead appears to have a lock on the Cash Caravan Stakes

Dickey Bob

where he has entered four of the seven runners including full brothers Dickey Bob and PYC Jess Bite My Dust. They are owned and bred by Lunderbog LLC. The 5-year-old PYC Jess Bite Mydust has earned $228,231 in purses, the most ever by a quarter horse bred in the state.  Dickey Bob, a 4-year-old, beat his older brother by a head in this race in 2018 and has never lost to his sibling in several meetings. Olmstead also entered the 2018 Northlands Futurity winner Jess Doin Time who lost by a nose to Dickey Bob when they met in the 350 yard Bob Morehouse Stakes.

A P is Loose,  Some Say So Stakes Winners

BY JIM WELLS

There is something about horses that can put a guy’s stomach right where his throat should be sometimes. Take the $50,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes Tuesday night.

It’s not just the horses, of course, it’s the connection they have to so many other elements around us, including family, memories….

The race drew a 10-horse field that had handicappers second-guessing themselves right up until post time. There was defending champion, Teddy Time, and two-time winner of the race A P Is Loose, trying to become the first horse to win the race three times.

A bystander had words of encouragement, actually sign language, for Joel Zamzow, A P’s owner,  as he left the paddock.  He held up three fingers and nodded affirmatively, drawing a wide smile from A P’s owner.

Fifteen minutes later, Zamzow fought his way to the winner’s circle, struggling to get through the large crowd on hand for the annual fireworks show scheduled after the races.

Under a smart ride from Jareth Loveberry, A P is Loose (5/2) cut loose inside the final 1/16 to overtake Teddy Time, who looked to everyone on hand like a repeat winner, and finished with ½ length to spare. In third, another 1 ¼ lengths back was Where’s Jordan at 12/1.

“Is that horse named after Adrian Peterson,” a railbird yelled. “Told it was, he responded, “well A P can’t do it anymore.”

But the horse can, he was told.

And he had, with a final time of 1:42.92.

“I really thought this horse could win,” said Loveberry. “Everybody was saying Hot Shot Kid, but he doesn’t like the turf.”

Hot Shot was one of three horses trained by Mac Robertson in the race. Teddy Time and A P were the others. “He was real good in the paddock with the big crowd,” said Robertson. “A good horse.”

A good horse that won this race in 2015 and 2016, drawing remarks from Zamzow afterward.

As he spoke into the winner’s circle microphone before the large crowd, he talked about his brother Mark, a part of A P Is Loose, who died a year ago.

With emotion climbing into his throat, Zamzow spoke about his brother and how his ashes were now part of the very track on which A P is Loose became the first three-time winner of the Blair’s Cove Stakes.

**********************************

It had been two decades since a horse won the Princess Elaine Stakes in consecutive seasons. Plana Dance won it as a four-year-old in 1997 for Bob Colvin and again the next year for his wife, Marlene.

The jockey on both occasions, as pointed out by track announcer Paul Allen after Tuesday’s rendition, was Chad Anderson, who can be found today hustling horses for riders instead of riding them himself.

When it was mentioned to Anderson’s brother Mark, the Canterbury Park clerk of scales, moments after Allen’s announcement, he responded quickly and tersely. “I don’t pay any attention to that stuff,” he said with half a grin.

No big deal in other words, a thing of the past, except to one rider in particular, Leandro Goncalves, who was aboard Some Say So for her repeat performance Tuesday night in this race at a mile and 1/16 on the grass.

Goncalves and his mount got what amounted to an ideal trip finding unobstructed room just off the lead, perfectly situated for a run coming off the turn, after fractions (23.99, 48.78 and 1:12.95) much to their liking.

“This is great, to win it twice like this,” said Mark Kane, one of the owners of the winner. “It’s even better since we bred her.”

The seven-horse field included some Minnesota-breds of note. Some Say So was anointed favorite at 2/1, with First Hunt sent at 9/5 and Honey’s Sox Appeal and Double Bee Sting at 5/1.

Goncalves got simple instructions, according to Kane. “We wanted him to keep the leaders right there in front of him and when they turned for home to go get them.”

And that’s what Goncalves did. “When I asked her she turned it on,” he said. She took charge out of the turn and had a length on First Hunter at the wire, who was a neck in front of Honey’s Sox Appeal. The final time was 1:43.34.

Tuesday’s stakes races were named for two of Canterbury Park’s heroes of the past, both Hall of Fame horses. Blair’s Cove was Canterbury’s Horse of the Year in 1988 when he won half of his 14 starts. Princess Elaine, a Hall of Fame inductee, won eight times from 15 starts in Shakopee. She won four times, three of them in stakes races, in 1988, her best local summer. She retired 9-5-2 from 27 lifetime starts with earnings of $232,240.          She broke her maiden at first asking on October 30, 1987 in Shakopee/

Both horses were Minnesota-breds who excelled during the track’s early years.

Blair’s Cove was owned and trained by Noel Hickey, who named him  for the cove overlooked by his father’s farm in Ireland. Hickey bred Hey  Heywhataboutme to his stallion, Bucksplasher, to produce one of the most feted state-breds of all time.

Blair’s Cove made his first appearance at Canterbury downs on July 15, 1987 after breaking his maiden in a $50,000 stakes race three weeks earlier at Churchill Downs, the Bashford Manor.

Thus, he arrived in Shakopee having achieved star status in his first out but ran second at half the price in his debut before what would become an adoring Minnesota fanbase that July day in 1987.

Blair’s Cove was 17-10-4 from 58 career starts with earnings of $533,528.  He ran the last race of his career on Sept. 12, 1992 in the Minnesota Classic, finishing third. The winner was a horse named Timeless Prince, the 1990 Horse of the Year in Shakopee and a Hall of Fame inductee, too.

 

ON A WARM DAY MOJICA GETS HOT

By JIM WELLS

There was a heat advisory on Saturday as the area got a taste of what typically doesn’t occur until the depths of summer in the Twin Cities, yet even what Minnesotans refer to as oven-like was mitigated significantly by a stiff breeze.

It was warm, 95 degrees at 3 p.m. with a southwest wind of 20 mph and relative humidity in the comfort zone, 36 percent. But it’s all relative, isn’t it!

“I haven’t even broken a sweat,” said trainer Gary Scherer, whose weather at home in Louisiana is not only warmer but considerably more sultry.

“It’s a hot one, eh mate! Absolutely stifling,” said former jockey Mark Irving, a native of England.

Actually, not a bad day at all, especially for trainers, riders and anyone else from southern or southwestern parts of the country. “This is nice,” said Star-Tribune handicapper Johnny Love, who recently moved to Arizona.

It was under those conditions, with temps in the mid 90s and what was called by the chart crew at Canterbury Park a 40 MPH headwind that Stormy Smith kicked off Belmont Stakes day by riding the winner in the first of four stakes races on the card.

Orlando Mojica caught on quickly, grasping early that a rider had to save enough horse for battling that headwind in the stretch, a realization that helped him win two $50,000 stakes and finish second in a third. On this particular day, it was not only weather one could describe as hot.

$32,750 GOPHER STATE DERBY

The winning rider of the first race on the card had the eponymous first name for the day, Stormy.  An exaggeration to be sure, but fitting somehow nonetheless.

Stormy Smith is from Purcell, Oklahoma, where big winds (we call them tornadoes) are quite common, so he had no trouble whatsoever dealing with the big headwind in this quarter horse 400 yard dash.

He was on La Mos Pyc for trainer Lori Harris and owner Thomas Scheckel and hit the wire a head in front of Lil Baby Eagle, who had a neck on Corona Springs, another Scheckel owned horse.

“She left (the gate) good, raced her butt off and ran a good race,” said Smith, who will stay another day in the Twin Cities. He has mounts in five of the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity quarter horse trials on Sunday.

For the record, Smith’s account of the weather on Saturday was favorable. “I’d rather it hot than cold,” he said. “I’ve turned into a bit of wimp. Got too many (surgical) screws in me.”

     

$50,000 MINNESOTA TURF DISTAFF

The winning horse in this race has been knocking at the door, to paraphrase one of her owners, Tim Rosin. Saturday, the door opened.

With Mojica playing his cards expertly, he kept Some Say So (4-1) at the front of the race, monitoring his fuel reserves expertly, and created a leisurely pace that left plenty in reserve for a winning stretch run, finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of First Hunter and 2 ¼ ahead of Honey’s Sox Appeal, the even money favorite.

The winning time was 1:29.85 after a half mile in :48.67.

The winner is owned by Wisconsinites Tim Rosin, Patti Miller and Mark Kane, who arrived in Shakopee full of confidence.

“We knew we had a live horse,” said Rosin. “We’ve been very close several times. Two weeks ago we lost (by a head) for $18,000.”

Some Say So made up for that on Saturday, collecting $30,000 as the winning share.

$50,000 DARK STAR CUP

Mojica had the winning strategy in the Turf Distaff, so why not try it again. He put Wings Locked Up at the front of a seven-horse field and kept the five-year-old gelding right there, took charge in the upper stretch and finished ½ length in front of Saturdaynitelites and 1 ½ ahead of Wabel, a ship in from Churchill Downs.

“If you have the lead in this headwind it helps, doesn’t it,” someone said to Mojica. “Yeah, but you have to have the horse,” he said.  For the second straight time, Mojica had just that, finishing in 1:15.72

The win was stiff throughout the afternoon, and readily apparent to horse and rider as they turned into the stretch. “Oh, you could really feel it,” said Mojica. “You had to have a lot of horse.”

The winning trophy was presented in this instance by former Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, who was a personal friend of Dark Star, the radio personality for whom the race is named.

Tom Kelly with Brian Arrigoni

$50,000 MINNESOTA TURF

For a couple of deep breaths, Jenna Joubert and Pennant Fever appeared headed for the winner’s circle at 34-1, a major upset in the making.

An instant later, A P Is Loose does what he generally does under such circumstances. He fired inside the 1/16th pole and finished a neck in front of surging Plenty of Sun who had the same margin on Pennant Fever at the wire.

“Oh, that was close,” said winning owner Joel Zamzow. “A great race.”

Butler, the winning rider, had this to say about A P is Loose. “He knows where the wire is. He’s done that every time I’ve ridden him.”

A P is Loose went off the 3/5 favorite and settled outside in the second flight, tracking pace-setting Pennant Fever, who gave up and then regained the lead.

But A P was running his typical race, picking off one horse when he came to him and then the next, finishing in 1:30.54.

LOVEBERRY DINES IN WHITE HOUSE

Jareth Loveberry started the day as the leading rider at Canterbury with 15 wins, two more than Orlando Mojica and defending champion Dean Butler.

Earlier in the week, you might recall, Loveberry and members of his family had dinner at the White House for a reception honoring Gold Star families, those who’ve lost someone in the military service.

Jareth’s brother, Justin, was killed in Iraq in 2004 returning from a mission. Alerted to a possible explosive, Justin exposed himself to the    IED, saving some of his comrades in the process.

Monday, Jareth, his mother, stepfather, and three brothers were greeted by the President who thanked them and other families in attendance for their sacrifice and enjoyed a stand-up dinner that consisted of multiple entrees. “There was a lot of food, an awful lot of food,” Loveberry reported.

Among the items he recalled were watermelon salad, crab cakes, top sirloin, London broil, lamb chops.

“Oh, yeah, and desserts, too,” he added.

He didn’t gain an ounce. “They were tiny servings,” he explained.

 

HALL OF FAMERS UNITE FOR FESTIVAL WIN

Alex Canchari and Gypsy Melody (Left) are defeated by Scott Stevens and Rockin the Bleu's in the Distaff Sprint
Alex Canchari and Gypsy Melody (Left) are defeated by Scott Stevens and Rockin the Bleu’s in the Distaff Sprint

BY JIM WELLS
People sitting nearby couldn’t make out the words, but when the rider change for Rockin the Bleu’s was announced, the nature of the fellow’s exclamation was unmistakable.
He was clearly pleased, or as he later confirmed: “I was really excited.”
That reaction by Jeff Hilger was to an announcement that Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens had picked up the mount on Hilger’s horse in the Bella Notte $60,000 Distaff Sprint Championship in the Minnesota Festival of Champions Sunday.
Deb and Jeff Hilger are Canterbury Park Hall of Fame owners and breeders who are in the midst of selling their breeding operation near Stillwater, Bleu Valley Farm, which has produced numerous stakes winners and champions over the years, including two horses of the year, Bleu Victoriate and Chick Fight, along with In Moderation, Polar Plunge, Talkin Bout, and Careless Navigator to name a few. Fifteen horses have won Festival races after leaving their farm. Make that 17 now with two wins on Saturday’s card.
Stevens, of course, only arrived in Shakopee last week, having spent the summer in his motor home touring the West and riding at a number of racetracks while visiting various locations.
Friday night he had mentioned that he was named on perhaps the weakest set of horses he had ever ridden in the Festival. Saturday, when David Mello was stepped on by a horse, incurring a minor leg injury, a mount came open that would change Stevens’ mind at least for one race.
“I looked at the race and at this horse, Rockin the Bleu’s, and I thought it really had a chance. And I had ridden winners for the Hilgers before,” Stevens said.
Not long thereafter, the Hall of Fame rider and breeders stood together in the winner’s circle, Stevens and Rockin the Bleu’s, sent off at 16-1, having outdueled Gypsy Melody to win by ¾ length with defending champion and Horse of the Year Sky and Sea next by another four lengths.
“I was absolutely excited, happy that Scott got the mount,” Hilger added. “Couldn’t have been happier.”
Anybody he’d prefer on a Hilger horse in a duel to the wire?
“Nobody,” he said. “We couldn’t have gotten luckier.”

THE WALLY’S CHOICE MINNESOTA CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP
This one had two-horse appeal, matching as it did a horse gunning for his seventh straight win and Horse of the Year laurels and a horse who has demonstrated that he can take charge of matters up front.
The horse who took charge of matters up front won.
AP Is Loose, with Alex Canchari in the irons, demonstrated what he can do on the lead once again, dueling up front with Hold for More, who’ll likely be Horse of the Year despite this loss, and then was strongest in the stretch drive, winning by 3 ½ lengths.
Favored Hold for More, was second, 10 ½ lengths in front of Hansboro, demonstrating that this was clearly a two-horse race.
Meanwhile, winning rider Canchari said, “these are my lucky pants. They are my brother’s (Patrick’s).
“Yeah, well, he says that it will cost you $100 bucks to use them,” fellow rider Nik Goodwin cracked.
Pretty cheap for winning a $60,000 race.

Alex Canchari (L) with Angela Hermann after he won the Classic Championship on A P Is Loose
Alex Canchari (L) with Angela Hermann after he won the Classic Championship on A P Is Loose

 

NORTHERN LIGHTS DEBUTANTE
This one matched 10 two-year-old fillies for Minnesota bragging rights next summer, and the head of Canterbury Park shared in that privilege with a solid win.
Bred and owned by chairman Curtis Sampson, La Petite Cheri, trained by Tony Rengstorf and ridden by Hugo Sanchez, turned on the afterburners in the stretch drive to gain a 3 ½ length victory over Honey’s Sox Appeal, who had half a length on Moonlight Basin.
Thus, she will be the filly to beat when racing resumes next season among the three-year-olds.
NORTHERN LIGHTS FUTURITY
There are good finishes, exciting finishes and even more exciting finishes.
This one fits the last category.
Smooth Chiraz, Cupid’s Delight and Pensador approached the wire as a trio and brought a hoot, a gasp and a holler from the crowd.
The winner it turned out was Smooth Chiraz, who got his head in front of Cupid’s Delight, second by a half-length over Pensador.
The winner, ridden by Jorge Carreno, had special meaning to the Bravo family. Smooth Chiraz is trained by Francisco Bravo and owned by his wife, Lori, and Ann Sachdev.
But get this: The first three horses are all trained by Bravo.
Lori breaks the Bravo trainees at the family farm in Sulphur, Oklahoma, and runs things there when Francisco is training horses elsewhere. Nonetheless, they had five horses foaled in Minnesota who have won races this year.
Incidentally, Smooth Chiraz’s win was his second this year.
CROCROCK SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Bourbon County won this race last year and Bernell Rhone had him primed and ready again on Sunday and the result was another trophy under Dean Butler.
Bred and owned by Scott Rake, Bourbon County ran last on July 18 and was settled well back in that one.
Sunday was another matter.
Dean Butler kept the son of Dehere behind the early leaders, began moving him on the turn and drove home to a ¾ length win over Let Da Cowboy Rock, who was 2 ¼ lengths in front of Prayintheprairie.
Thus, Bourbon County added another $36,000 to previous earnings of $192,932.

GLITTER STAR DISTAFF CLASSIC
Silver Magna was ready this time, and so, too, was Geovanni Franco, although they had to wait out a claim of interference to make a victory in this one official.
Silver Magna pressed the pace, rallied on the far turn and drove home in the stretch to win convincingly by 3 ½ lengths over Blues Edge with nemesis Sioux Appeal in third, another 2 ¼ lengths further back.
Bred and owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, the winner picked up $36,000 from the $60,000 purse, winning for the third time this year, including the Frances Genter Stakes, and four times overall.
Silver Magna was second to Sioux Appeal in his last out, the Minnesota Oaks on August 8 and had run second to the same horse last summer.
Silver Magna was sent off at 4-1 as fifth choice in the race. Talkin Bout, the defending champion and favorite at 5/2, finished fourth.

QUARTER HORSE DERBY
Sometimes you hope for nothing more than a clean trip, a safe journey, and you wind up with the pot of gold.
Take this race on Saturday as a prime example.
A win bet on Fishin In the Brook, according to the betting public, was like fishing without a net. Or so they thought.
Sent off at 9-1, the son of Brookstore Bay, with Dale Beaty in the irons dug in at mid stretch and glided to a half length victory over Tty From Mr Pye, a 5-1 selection who finished a length better than 9/10 favorite Cokato Cartel, who had been uppity in the gate.
Owner/breeder Cynthia Besser was ecstatic about the win, a sentiment shared by her husband, Lorin, both of Sauk Rapids.
Having explained that you only hope the best for horse, rider and everyone in the race, it seemed to become apparent that the Bessers were as surprised, albeit a great deal happier, than many folks watching the race.
The Bessers were pleased with the entire season, having made enough with her horses this meet to make a purchase or two, or …..
“We bought four thoroughbreds,” they exclaimed.

QUARTER HORSE FUTURITY
Streak N Diamonds was all glitter and glow and had his A game on in the opening to the card, and he brought with him a sizeable gathering from Brooten. After all he was bred on the outskirts of that fair village with inhabitants numbering around 700, and several were on hand for Sunday’s race.
None of them was more pleased with the outcome than Haglund himself, unless it would become the absent Chuck Kaim, a partner in the horse, leaving Jorge Torres, the quarter horse riding champion, a close second in those sentiments.
“He left (the gate) pretty good,” Torres said, “and I didn’t have to ask him for very much.” That might have been a modest description, at least compared with the official chart, which described the winner thusly: “Broke sharp, drew off.”
A son of Winners Version, the winner finished 1 ¾ length in front of 3-1 second choice V Os Filo and 3 ¼ lengths ahead of 19-1 outsider Sr Ur Fired. The winning time was 18.035
Kaim resides in Wahpeton, N.D. “I used to train for him,” Haglund said, explaining the relationship.
As he has been doing for years,, Haglund shipped the winner in as opposed to stabling him at the track, this time on Wednesday, which allowed plenty of time for Streak N Diamonds to acclimate himself.
The distance from Brooten? “it’s two hours and 40 minutes of hard driving,” Haglund said.
The drive home probably seemed a lot easier.

HALL OF FAMERS UNITE FOR FESTIVAL WIN

Alex Canchari and Gypsy Melody (Left) are defeated by Scott Stevens and Rockin the Bleu's in the Distaff Sprint
Alex Canchari and Gypsy Melody (Left) are defeated by Scott Stevens and Rockin the Bleu’s in the Distaff Sprint

BY JIM WELLS
People sitting nearby couldn’t make out the words, but when the rider change for Rockin the Bleu’s was announced, the nature of the fellow’s exclamation was unmistakable.
He was clearly pleased, or as he later confirmed: “I was really excited.”
That reaction by Jeff Hilger was to an announcement that Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens had picked up the mount on Hilger’s horse in the Bella Notte $60,000 Distaff Sprint Championship in the Minnesota Festival of Champions Sunday.
Deb and Jeff Hilger are Canterbury Park Hall of Fame owners and breeders who are in the midst of selling their breeding operation near Stillwater, Bleu Valley Farm, which has produced numerous stakes winners and champions over the years, including two horses of the year, Bleu Victoriate and Chick Fight, along with In Moderation, Polar Plunge, Talkin Bout, and Careless Navigator to name a few. Fifteen horses have won Festival races after leaving their farm. Make that 17 now with two wins on Saturday’s card.
Stevens, of course, only arrived in Shakopee last week, having spent the summer in his motor home touring the West and riding at a number of racetracks while visiting various locations.
Friday night he had mentioned that he was named on perhaps the weakest set of horses he had ever ridden in the Festival. Saturday, when David Mello was stepped on by a horse, incurring a minor leg injury, a mount came open that would change Stevens’ mind at least for one race.
“I looked at the race and at this horse, Rockin the Bleu’s, and I thought it really had a chance. And I had ridden winners for the Hilgers before,” Stevens said.
Not long thereafter, the Hall of Fame rider and breeders stood together in the winner’s circle, Stevens and Rockin the Bleu’s, sent off at 16-1, having outdueled Gypsy Melody to win by ¾ length with defending champion and Horse of the Year Sky and Sea next by another four lengths.
“I was absolutely excited, happy that Scott got the mount,” Hilger added. “Couldn’t have been happier.”
Anybody he’d prefer on a Hilger horse in a duel to the wire?
“Nobody,” he said. “We couldn’t have gotten luckier.”

THE WALLY’S CHOICE MINNESOTA CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP
This one had two-horse appeal, matching as it did a horse gunning for his seventh straight win and Horse of the Year laurels and a horse who has demonstrated that he can take charge of matters up front.
The horse who took charge of matters up front won.
AP Is Loose, with Alex Canchari in the irons, demonstrated what he can do on the lead once again, dueling up front with Hold for More, who’ll likely be Horse of the Year despite this loss, and then was strongest in the stretch drive, winning by 3 ½ lengths.
Favored Hold for More, was second, 10 ½ lengths in front of Hansboro, demonstrating that this was clearly a two-horse race.
Meanwhile, winning rider Canchari said, “these are my lucky pants. They are my brother’s (Patrick’s).
“Yeah, well, he says that it will cost you $100 bucks to use them,” fellow rider Nik Goodwin cracked.
Pretty cheap for winning a $60,000 race.

Alex Canchari (L) with Angela Hermann after he won the Classic Championship on A P Is Loose
Alex Canchari (L) with Angela Hermann after he won the Classic Championship on A P Is Loose

 

NORTHERN LIGHTS DEBUTANTE
This one matched 10 two-year-old fillies for Minnesota bragging rights next summer, and the head of Canterbury Park shared in that privilege with a solid win.
Bred and owned by chairman Curtis Sampson, La Petite Cheri, trained by Tony Rengstorf and ridden by Hugo Sanchez, turned on the afterburners in the stretch drive to gain a 3 ½ length victory over Honey’s Sox Appeal, who had half a length on Moonlight Basin.
Thus, she will be the filly to beat when racing resumes next season among the three-year-olds.
NORTHERN LIGHTS FUTURITY
There are good finishes, exciting finishes and even more exciting finishes.
This one fits the last category.
Smooth Chiraz, Cupid’s Delight and Pensador approached the wire as a trio and brought a hoot, a gasp and a holler from the crowd.
The winner it turned out was Smooth Chiraz, who got his head in front of Cupid’s Delight, second by a half-length over Pensador.
The winner, ridden by Jorge Carreno, had special meaning to the Bravo family. Smooth Chiraz is trained by Francisco Bravo and owned by his wife, Lori, and Ann Sachdev.
But get this: The first three horses are all trained by Bravo.
Lori breaks the Bravo trainees at the family farm in Sulphur, Oklahoma, and runs things there when Francisco is training horses elsewhere. Nonetheless, they had five horses foaled in Minnesota who have won races this year.
Incidentally, Smooth Chiraz’s win was his second this year.
CROCROCK SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Bourbon County won this race last year and Bernell Rhone had him primed and ready again on Sunday and the result was another trophy under Dean Butler.
Bred and owned by Scott Rake, Bourbon County ran last on July 18 and was settled well back in that one.
Sunday was another matter.
Dean Butler kept the son of Dehere behind the early leaders, began moving him on the turn and drove home to a ¾ length win over Let Da Cowboy Rock, who was 2 ¼ lengths in front of Prayintheprairie.
Thus, Bourbon County added another $36,000 to previous earnings of $192,932.

GLITTER STAR DISTAFF CLASSIC
Silver Magna was ready this time, and so, too, was Geovanni Franco, although they had to wait out a claim of interference to make a victory in this one official.
Silver Magna pressed the pace, rallied on the far turn and drove home in the stretch to win convincingly by 3 ½ lengths over Blues Edge with nemesis Sioux Appeal in third, another 2 ¼ lengths further back.
Bred and owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, the winner picked up $36,000 from the $60,000 purse, winning for the third time this year, including the Frances Genter Stakes, and four times overall.
Silver Magna was second to Sioux Appeal in his last out, the Minnesota Oaks on August 8 and had run second to the same horse last summer.
Silver Magna was sent off at 4-1 as fifth choice in the race. Talkin Bout, the defending champion and favorite at 5/2, finished fourth.

QUARTER HORSE DERBY
Sometimes you hope for nothing more than a clean trip, a safe journey, and you wind up with the pot of gold.
Take this race on Saturday as a prime example.
A win bet on Fishin In the Brook, according to the betting public, was like fishing without a net. Or so they thought.
Sent off at 9-1, the son of Brookstore Bay, with Dale Beaty in the irons dug in at mid stretch and glided to a half length victory over Tty From Mr Pye, a 5-1 selection who finished a length better than 9/10 favorite Cokato Cartel, who had been uppity in the gate.
Owner/breeder Cynthia Besser was ecstatic about the win, a sentiment shared by her husband, Lorin, both of Sauk Rapids.
Having explained that you only hope the best for horse, rider and everyone in the race, it seemed to become apparent that the Bessers were as surprised, albeit a great deal happier, than many folks watching the race.
The Bessers were pleased with the entire season, having made enough with her horses this meet to make a purchase or two, or …..
“We bought four thoroughbreds,” they exclaimed.

QUARTER HORSE FUTURITY
Streak N Diamonds was all glitter and glow and had his A game on in the opening to the card, and he brought with him a sizeable gathering from Brooten. After all he was bred on the outskirts of that fair village with inhabitants numbering around 700, and several were on hand for Sunday’s race.
None of them was more pleased with the outcome than Haglund himself, unless it would become the absent Chuck Kaim, a partner in the horse, leaving Jorge Torres, the quarter horse riding champion, a close second in those sentiments.
“He left (the gate) pretty good,” Torres said, “and I didn’t have to ask him for very much.” That might have been a modest description, at least compared with the official chart, which described the winner thusly: “Broke sharp, drew off.”
A son of Winners Version, the winner finished 1 ¾ length in front of 3-1 second choice V Os Filo and 3 ¼ lengths ahead of 19-1 outsider Sr Ur Fired. The winning time was 18.035
Kaim resides in Wahpeton, N.D. “I used to train for him,” Haglund said, explaining the relationship.
As he has been doing for years,, Haglund shipped the winner in as opposed to stabling him at the track, this time on Wednesday, which allowed plenty of time for Streak N Diamonds to acclimate himself.
The distance from Brooten? “it’s two hours and 40 minutes of hard driving,” Haglund said.
The drive home probably seemed a lot easier.

RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN IN SHAKOPEE

Aaron's Belt
Aaron’s Belt

BY JIM WELLS

 

Ah…..the records keeping falling at Canterbury Park, where what is true one minute is ancient history the next.

Attendance records, wagering records, all-time returns _ all within the span of two race cards, Thursday’s and Friday’s.

There was a Canterbury Park record return on a $2 ticket Thursday in addition to an all-time wagering handle. Friday night a crowd of 20,376, a Canterbury Park record, continued the trend and another long-shot lit up the sky like a bottle rocket.

The annual fireworks display was held Friday night after the race card, but there were pyrotechnics of another nature much earlier. Take the $60,000 Princess Elaine Stakes, run for the 22nd time, as a prime example.

Any serious handicapper a person cared query had a similar assessment of the 11-horse field. “The problem with this race is that I like a lot of horses,” said pressbox maestro Jeff Maday. “There are nine horses is this field that can win the race,” said trainer Gary Scherer, who saddled Talkin Bout and B J’s Angel.

Although he begged to differ afterward, it is most probable Scherer did not have a 43-1 outsider named Aaron’s Belt in mind among the nine contenders he mentioned.

But it was Aaron’s Belt, bred, owned and trained by Greg Weir _  who campaigned a horse named Holy Moley in Shakopee oh, maybe, 30 years ago_  who dropped in out of the clouds under Eddie Martin, Jr., to run down defending champion Dear Fay in the final strides and return $88.20 on a $2 win ticket.

Afterward, Weir, a Wisconsonite who has been foaling horses in Illinois for years, said he intended to foal his mares in Minnesota hereafter. “I wouldn’t have entered this horse if I thought she couldn’t win,” he added. “I thought we had as good a chance as anyone.”

Defending champ Dear Fay hadn’t run a race since last September and was a slight second choice to favored Talkin Bout but dug in to take the lead at mid stretch and appeared a winner. At the same time, Martin was calling on his mount, who ran down the leader, winning by ¾ length in 1:43.05. B J’s Angel was third, another 1 ½ lengths back.

You knew Mac Robertson was serious, determined and committed to leaving no stone unturned when he brought in Canterbury Park-bred Alex Canchari, riding this summer in Iowa, to ride  A P Is Loose in the $60,000 -Blair’s Cove Stakes, the boys’ version of the Princess Elaine, also at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Canchari got A P is Loose, the 2-1 favorite, to settle in nicely, rating him behind Lil Apollo much of the way before giving him his head for the stretch run. A P finished one length in front of Bourbon County, who had a head on Lil Apollo.

“I couldn’t believe that they let us go so easy,” said Canchari, whose mount finished in 1:44.63, after fractions of 25.23, 51.08, 1:15.26 and 1:38.87.

“Yes, he likes to go,” said winning owner Joel Zamzow. “But he’s learning.”

Well enough to collect a check for $36,000 Friday night.

 

 

THE CROWD IGNORED THIS CONGREGATION

Marlys Gobel wasn’t at Canterbury Park on Thursday night. A Canterbury Park Hall of fame breeder with her late husband, Alvin, she watched the races on her home computer, one in particular.

She, her son and daughter-in-law, Jon and Jennifer, own a three-year-old filly named Congregation, who left the maiden ranks Thursday night with a record-setting performance in the fourth race.

Congregation, with Jenna Joubert in the irons, made a late charge along the rail to catch the wire first, a neck in front of Disones Pretty. Nothing terribly newsworthy about that, but  anyone with a $2 win ticket on her got a very unusual return. How about $161, a Canterbury record. “It was very exciting,” said Marlys. “But I didn’t have one thin dime on her.’ ‘

The win verified what Joubert and trainer Vic Hanson were convinced the horse needed. She was 0-3 in her brief career but still awaiting her first start on the grass, where they thought she belonged. Her bloodlines strongly suggested it. “We were hoping she’d like it and she did,” Joubert said.

The horse had been entered previously in grass races that were moved onto the dirt so it wasn’t as if they trying. “The last time we got rained off the grass,” said Hanson. “We ran in the mud and that was not any good. Our plan all along was to get her on the grass and it was amazing the way she took to it.”

As for the Canterbury record return, it surpassed the previous standard of $153 returned by Burning Fuhry on July 5 last year.

Joubert has ridden horses with bigger returns in her career.  “I’m surprised that’s the biggest here, but it’s really cool,” she said. “I think my biggest was 128-1 at Hoosier Park.”

It was a record for Hanson, though. He had never before saddled a winner with that kind of return. “It was a dandy. That’s for sure,” he said. He does intend to keep this particular win picture. “I think we will. I think we will,” he said. “It’s historical right now, isn’t it.”