It’s a Family Thing

By Mari Ballinger

Canchari is a popular name around Canterbury Park. That’s because brothers, Alex and Patrick, as well as their dad, Luis Canchari, all rode or are currently riding here.

Alex Canchari had his professional riding debut on December 26, 2011 at Hawthorne Racecourse just days before his eighteenth birthday. But, life at the track started way before his teenage years. His grandpa trained horses and Luis rode from 1984 to 1991, when he started to own and train horses. Luis immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s, coming from a family that frequented Hipodromo de Monterrico in Lima. With this much time spent at the race track, it’s hard for any of the Cancharis to imagine life without it.

Alex’s first career victory came on January 13, 2012 at Oaklawn Park on opening day. He was aboard mare Run Mama Beare Run and paid $14.20 to win. Later that day, he won again. This time he was aboard gelding Simply Gone and paid $76.80 to win. In the fall of 2012, the hard work paid off and Alex earned the title of leading rider at Hawthorne Race Course.

Since then, Alex has only improved. His first Stakes win was April 7, 2013 at Oaklawn Park in $60,000 Arkansas Breeders’ aboard gelding Devil and a Half.

2019 has been a big year for Alex. He started out hot with a win at Oaklawn Park in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes aboard Amy’s Challenge. A month later, he won the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes  with filly Raintree Starlet. And the next month, Alex and Amy’s Challenge did it again, winning the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes.

This year, the 25-year old welcomed son Leon to the world. Who knows, maybe the Canchari name will live on at Canterbury Park even longer.

Alex traveled back to Canterbury this past Sunday, riding Schnitzel and Runaway Wind, both horses are trained by Mac Robertson. ‘The Shakopee Kid’ will race again this week, and many are excited for his return to Minnesota.

“If you like money, you like Alex Canchari,” said Kevin Gorg, owner of the Power Play Tip Sheet.

Handicapping Contests Continue; News from the Racing World

The Countdown to the Cup Handicapping Contest continues this Saturday. The races from Keeneland will be used for the contest. Entry deadline is first post at the Lexington, KY racetrack. The Lexus Raven Run (G2) has the largest purse on the card. Restricted to 3-year-old fillies and run at 7 furlongs, it will offer $250,000.

Canchari wins at Keeneland

Jockey Alex Canchari scored his first win in Kentucky after leaving the Canterbury meet in early September. The victory came on Sunday at Keeneland in the opening event of the day on a longshot. Read more about it here.

Last chance to qualify for Hawthorne Challenge Satellite

The final session of super satellite contest that qualify players to the Oct. 28 Hawthorne Challenge Satellite Handicapping Contest  will be held Thursday through Saturday. Entry is $10 per day. Information here.

Super satellites for the Horse Player World Series Satellite begin Oct. 26.

Canterbury Qs Win In Iowa

A Jordon Reed, winner of the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, won the $289,830 Valley Junction Futurity at Prairie Meadows for trainer Canterbury Park Hall of Fame trainer Ed Ross Hardy. The 2-year-old is owned by Kendrix Brothers and was ridden by Oscar Delgado. A Jordon Reed was the fastest qualifier to the futurity and on Saturday won by a length as the betting favorite, returning $4.80.

A Jordon Reed wins Valley Junction. Coady Photography

The Fiscal Cliff won the $345,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship, the final race of the Prairie Meadows quarter horse meet. The Fiscal Cliff won twice at Canterbury in 2017 and was voted Quarter Horse of the Meet.

The Fiscal Cliff wins BOA Challenge Championship. Photo: Coady Photography

More from AQHA publicity:

Bank of America Challenge Championships
The American Quarter Horse Association, October 17, 2017 – The 25th running of the Bank of America Challenge Championships took place at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, on October 14, and saw a hometown hero conquer the biggest event of the night.

Iowa-bred stallion The Fiscal Cliff romped to a three-quarter-length victory in the $330,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) for Iowa City, Iowa-based owner and breeder Tom Lepic.

This is the third time the championship event has been hosted at Prairie Meadows, and it featured horses from all over North America. The horses must earn invitations to the event by placings in regional race competition.

The Fiscal Cliff is a 4-year-old son of PYC Paint Your Wagon out of the Shazoom mare Signs Zoomer. He qualified for the race by winning the July 4 Bank of America Canterbury Championship Challenge. He cruised 440 yards in this race, over a sloppy track, to win in :21.297 for trainer Kasey Willis and jockey Benito Baca.

“Thank you so much, AQHA,” said Lepic after the race. “Thank you for being in Iowa, thank you so much for letting us run on our home turf.

“He’s going to California for the Champion of Champions (at Los Alamitos Race Course),” Lepic added. “To have an Iowa-bred do this, on his own turf in this kind of conditions, is unbelievable.”

Baca is the program’s year-end high-point jockey.

“It was a dream trip,” he said. “He stepped away and all I had to do was hold on the whole 440. He’s an awesome horse to ride.”

The Fiscal Cliff has earned $564,875 in his career, while winning 13 of 23 career starts.

Horses competing in the Challenge Championships underwent and passed hair testing.

“This is evidence that AQHA’s stance on integrity is effective, and a high percentage of horsemen wish to abide by our rules,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber.

Other winners on Challenge Championship night include:

Dauns First Desirio, winner of the $180,000 Adequan® Derby Challenge Championship (G3) for owner Rogelio Carbajal Santos of Thornton, Colorado; trainer Julio Corral and jockey Cesar Gomez. The gelding by Desirio is out of the First Down Express mare First Daun Express, and was bred by Dan and Jolene Urschel.

Jess Paint Your Lips, winner of the $105,000 Boehringer Ingelheim Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) for owner and breeder Michael Pohl of Colorado Springs, Colorado; trainer Stacy Charette-Hill and jockey Jorge Torres. The 4-year-old mare is by Jess Louisiana Blue and out of the Corona Cartel mare Paint Your Lips.

Carris Cartel, winner of the $131,300 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) for owner and breeder Nancy Carrizales of Harlingen, Texas; and trainer Edelmiro Carrizales and jockey Santos Carrizales. The filly is by The Louisiana Cartel and out of the Strawfly Special mare Shesa Wicked Gypsy.

Zoomin Racer, winner of the $105,000 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1) for owner and trainer Fernando Carrete of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and jockey Ricky Ramirez. The 4-year-old gelding was bred by AQHA Past President Jerry Windham and is by Jess Zoomin and out of the Runaway Winner mare Racing Winner.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit



If you remember only this much about Saturday afternoon’s agenda and race card, you will have the focus points of the afternoon, but not all of the colorful detail that accompanied those highlights:

*A 3-year-old gelding named Hot Shot Kid continued to show the kind of promise that might someday enchant the race crowd and make him a fan favorite.

*Not all Corgis are race dogs that maintain a healthy lifestyle.

*Cupcakes sometimes are just that…cupcakes, and have nothing to do with the quality of competition in a given race.

*A crowd of 20,605, second largest in Canterbury Park history, was on hand to eat, eat, eat and wager.

Hot Shot Kid won his fifth straight race, demonstrating in the process that he can withstand a challenge and might not always dig deeply if he doesn’t have to. This time, he picked up a nice paycheck for his efforts, a cool $51,000 in the Minnesota Derby.

A filly named Double Bee Sting, owned by Curtis Sampson, was a convincing winner in the Minnesota Oaks and was rewarded with a $51,000 check.  A two-year-old named Familiar Rhythm earned $24,000 as the winner of the second MTA Sales Graduate Futurity, and a four-year-old mare named Blacks Cartel won the Cash Caravan Stakes.


Hot Shot Kid, an odds-on favorite, was a clear winner but not without raising a bit of concern for his connections who watched with bated breath as Got Even Smarter made an unsuccessful bid to take charge inside the 16th pole.

One of Hot Shot’s backers summed it up thusly as he entered the winner’s circle afterward:

“I wasn’t sure at first if he saw that other horse.”

Oh, he did, and after Alex Canchari gave him a reminder, Hot Shot rebroke and eased past the finish line with ¾ length to spare.

“That was a little tighter than I wanted it to be,” said owner Warren Bush.

Nonetheless, it was the fifth straight victory for Hot Shot Kid, who was sent off at 20 cents on the dollar.  What was clear was this: Hot Shot Kid is more horse than he showed on Saturday. He had more in the tank if he had needed it.

The race became a two-horse affair between the first two horses. Got Even Smarter, under Orlando Mojica, had 8 ¼ lengths on the third-place finisher, Fireman Oscar.

The winner covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:42.91.


A filly named Double Bee Sting took it to six rivals in the race, taking over at the three-quarter pole and widening that lead to six lengths at the finish.

Double Bee Sting

Owned by Curt Sampson, Double Bee Sting was sent off the even money favorite under Jareth Loveberry and rewarded that confidence with a commanding victory, drawing off from the field in convincing fashion.

“The trainer tells the jockey what to do, the owner tells him what to do and then he goes out and does what he wants to,” said Russ Sampson.

Exactly, and what Loveberry did was let his horse find a place to settle in and track the pace, breaking to the lead and then expanding that margin to four lengths at the top of stretch and six at the wire, with Two Be Royal next and Pinup Girl third.

Double Bee Sting cruised home in 1:43.54, making Curt Sampson a five-time winner of this race. Shipmate, last year’s two-year-old champion, set the pace to the quarter pole but weakened in the final eighth.


The second running of this race added a bit of unexpected intrigue to the finish, considering that this event can often turn into a one-horse affair.

There were two horses there at the finish in this one.

Magic Cowboy took charge of this race from the start but dueled with Familiar Rhythm over the final 1/16 mile. Familiar Rhythm found the right rhythm in the final strides and claimed the wire first by a neck.

Trained by Troy Bethke, Magic Cowboy gave up the lead, took it back briefly but lost it once more. “He’s a big colt to rebreak,” said Bethke. “I have no complaints. He ran hard.”

Winning trainer Francisco Bravo credited his horse with a steady demonstration of improvement in workouts that paid off on the track. “He keeps getting better and better,” he said.


Blacks Cartel was at the wire first in the $41,000 Cash Caravan Stakes and that produced a family reunion in the winner’s circle. Well…sort of, anyway.

A bystander approached trainer Casey Black with the suggestion that yes indeed there seemed to be a cartel involved in this horse, with his brother Tracy the owner of record and his dad and mom, Don and Eileen, the breeders, and owners of the dam, Brandi Whiz.

Cartel? “Yeah, well you should have seen us when we were kids,” Casey said suppressing only part of his laughter.

Blacks Cartel, under Ismael Ricardo Suarez, finished a solid length in front of Givinitalittleeffort, in 22:11, although Casey was confident he had a winner halfway through the race.

When Casey got to the winner’s circle he was joined by more than the winning horse and rider. His father and mother were there as well, celebrating the win along with friends of theirs from Minnetonka. The Blacks, Don and Eileen, had a bit longer trip to Canterbury for the race, from Cherney, Kansas.

For several precious minutes on Saturday, Blacks Cartel, minus only the owner of record, had a winner’s circle celebration destined to continue once they returned to the grandstand.

Blacks Cartel joined an elite list of winners of this race, named for Cash Caravan, winner of the Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ Futurity, the 1987 North Star Derby and the Canterbury Derby. He was the champion 3-year-old and Quarter Horse of the Year in 1987 and is a Canterbury Hall of Fame inductee.


Tedford Woofington is owned by Kelsey Binder of Minneapolis and he had just what it took on Saturday to claim the grand title in this prestigious race.

Tedford made it to the finals last year but came up short. He didn’t let it happen this time.

His reward later in the evening just might have been a cocktail of some sort. “He loves gin and whiskey,” Kelsey said. You can’t let a drink sit around with Tedford in the room, or he is apt to help himself.

Kelsey got a bit of help of another kind from long-time friend Josh Alinger of St. Louis who made the trip to watch the race and support Tedford.

He also accepted some of the blame for Tedford’s affinity for alcohol.

July 14 News and Notes

Alex Canchari was very efficient on Thursday while riding just three of the eight thoroughbred races and winning with all three mounts.

Canchari took advantage of the break that followed the long July 4 race week and traveled to Los Angeles for some R and R.  The broken right hand appears to have healed quickly and quite well, putting the Shakopee Kid right back in the thick of things. He has two mounts tonight.

Two-year-old Minnesota-bred thoroughbred colt Mr. Jagermeister won very impressively in his debut July 4 for trainer Valorie Lund.  The son of former Lund trainee Atta Boy Roy broke a step slow but quickly took control of the race and drew off to win by 11 1/2 lengths under no pressure. The final time of 58.05 seconds is one of the fastest recorded by a maiden breaking 2-year-old in Canterbury history. The state-bred looks like the real deal and has attracted purchase offers of six figures from near and far. Lund would entertain the right number but has not heard it yet. She plans to run Mr. Jagermeister in the $65,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile at Prairie Meadows and then on Minnesota Festival of Champions Day, Aug. 20, in the $85,000 Northern Lights Futurity.  The colt is owned by Lund, Kristin Boice, and Leslie Cummings.

A few monthly awards will be handed out during the Saturday race card. The Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association trainer and jockey of the month, presented by Ruby Tuesday in Shakopee, will be honored. Ed Ross Hardy is the MQHRA trainer of the month and his go-to rider Oscar Delgado will receive the jockey award.

The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association will also honor its trainer of the month, Mac Robertson. Mac has taken command of the trainer standings, which comes as no surprise considering the size of his stable, which includes many state breds, and the regularity with which his horses run and win.



While many Minnesotans were gathered around the grill in their backyards, around the cabin at the Lake, or visiting the local American Legion or VFW, patrons at Canterbury Park honored the servicemen and women for whom the day is reserved, while taking in a card that included two stakes races as well as the annual running of the bulldogs.

Memorial Day at the racetrack has come to be mean saluting veterans of the armed services, cheering bulldogs of the Twin Cities and surrounding communities and wagering on stakes races named for Hall of Fame champions’ from Canterbury’s past.

Such was the case on Monday as 12,893 patrons arrived and among their number was an occasional bulldog in tow, here and there one pulling on the bit, so to speak, while slobbering lavishly in anticipation of the awaiting festivities, or perhaps nothing more than a bone or treat.

Imagine for a moment the picture of a bulldog bearing any one of these names: Duke, Lugnut, Angus, Boomer, Pork Chop, Grimace or Meatball. They were all on hand, competing for the fastest bulldog of 2017.

The winner last year was a dog named Winston, one of three with that name, or one less than entered the contest with such an appellation this time. As a matter of fact, dogs named Winston finished first, second and third in 2016 and were ganging up to repeat the effort this time.

Although three of the four Winstons advanced to the final on Monday, the title this time was claimed by a fellow named Frank the Tank, owned by Tricia Olson of Lester Prairie. The cliff notes on Frank the Tank seemed nearly to eliminate him from consideration: “It’s surprising Frank is the ‘The Tank’ considering he never stops running. Add a ball to the equation and you may never get him back.”

The only thing Frank ran off with on Monday, however, was the 2017 bulldog title.

It was another dog who required the services of an outrider to run him down. Owned by Jenny Price, a 72-pound fellow named Chesty proved difficult to corral after the fourth heat. His bio included this information: “Named after the Marine with the most accolades, Chesty’s goal in life is to become the most decorated bulldog.” If not the most decorated, he was certainly the most chased.

The two stakes races on the card honored former champions at Canterbury. Northbound Pride had a rich history in Shakopee, winning 10 times from 21 starts at Canterbury Downs, victories that included the Frances Genter Stakes, the Minnesota Breeders’ Oaks and the Aquatennial Stakes.

Honor the Hero was not only a star at Canterbury but became a world traveler with career earnings approaching $700,000. He competed in the 1994 Breeders ‘ Cup sprint and as well as the Japan Cup the same year. Honor the Hero still holds the Canterbury track record for seven and one-half furlongs on the turf.

The Northbound Pride Oaks was first run in 1985 and was won by a ship-in from California named Savannah Slew, from the Alan Paulson stable. Savannah Slew was trained by Ron McAnally and ridden by one of the sport’s truly legendary jockeys, Bill Shoemaker. The Oaks was twice run as a Grade III race, in 1988 and again the next year.


Eight fillies and mares lined up for this race, run at a mile on the grass, and the post-time favorite proved to be a winner at 8/5 under a solid ride from Alex Canchari, who put his horse, Hotshot Anna,  in position along the rail, just off a front-running trio much of the way before making his bid at the top of the stretch.

The winning move required Canchari to swing his horse out from the rail to overtake the trio in front of him as they came out of the turn.

“I was just hoping he wouldn’t stand up at the three-eighths pole,” winning trainer Mac Robertson cracked. “No, it was a good ride. I knew then (at the 3-8ths) that we were good.”

As Canchari overtook the front-runners, he recorded his horse’s strengths. “She doesn’t have a huge kick,” he said, “but she picked it up very nicely.”

The winning margin was a neck in a time of 1:36.70, with Starr Bear, ridden by Jareth Loveberry, second by three-quarters of a length over Super Marina and Nik Goodwin.

  $50,000 HONOR THE  HERO

Deshawn Parker was headed to a shower after this race when approached by a fellow offering his congratulations and an invitation to a meal later that evening consisting of elk ribs.

Not a bad way to celebrate a stakes victory, if you enjoy elk ribs that is, and Parker was indeed in a celebratory mood. He rode the winner Shadow Rock, a seven-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor, but had to await the outcome of a claim of foul by Robertino Diodoro, the trainer of Wildfire Kid who finished second by ¾ length.

The first and second-place horses had light contact in the upper stretch but not sufficient enough, the racing stewards ruled, to have altered the outcome.

There was a head’s difference between Wildfire Kid and Shogood at the wire.

The winning horse is trained by Mike Maker, and when Parker was asked how he acquired the mount he laughed and said, “I’ve good a good agent.”

He rode four horses for Maker at Belterra on Sunday with nothing better than a second place to show for it, so the winning mount Monday, in his mind, “made up” for those efforts.




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)

Opening Weekend Highlights; More to Come Friday

The first race of the Canterbury 2017 live race meet, an allowance optional claimer, was won by Aces High.

The 6-year-old chestnut gelding is owned by Pocket Aces Racing, LLC, trained by Eric Heitzmann, and ridden by Alex Canchari.

“I’m leading trainer!” joked Heitzmann in the winners’ circle after the race. “It feels great to be back in Minnesota and that’s a good way to start off the meet. We love coming to Canterbury, the track, the atmosphere, the people! I’m a Louisiana boy, but if I had to pick up my roots and be somewhere else it would be here!”

Alex Canchari, last years’ second leading rider, went on to win two more races on opening night, giving him a riding triple. He won the third race on the only first time starter in the field, a 4-year-old gelding named Saganaga, trained by Gary Scherer. Saganaga actually has a bit of family history here at Canterbury Park – his dam, Pretty As A Smile, won the Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship Stakes in 2008. Later in the card, Canchari won the sixth race aboard Justfortherunofit, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Sandra Sweere.

Denny Velazquez also had a riding double, winning the second race on Trappingsofsilver and the seventh race on Fridaynitestar. Both are trained by Joel Berndt.

Chad Lindsay, a newcomer from the southern California circuit, was excited to win his first race at Canterbury Park for trainer Robertino Diodoro.  While the first three races were all decided in photo finishes, the fourth race was won in convincing fashion by Sidearm, Lindsay’s mount. “It feels good to win a race here on opening day,” said Lindsay, walking back to the jock’s room after the race. “I came here to win races, so it’s great to get off on the right foot.”

Alex Canchari continued his winning ways on Saturday, taking the L’Etoile Du Nord Stakes, the first stake of the Canterbury meet.  He was all smiles coming into the winners’ circle. “I was feeling really confident at the quarter-pole,” he beamed after the race.  Thoughtless, his mount, was the only entrant for trainer Mac Robertson on opening weekend, making every start a winning one for last year’s leading trainer.

Nik Goodwin made his first win of the meet aboard Shrewd Move look easy as he slipped through along the inside rail at the top of the stretch to take the Paul Bunyan Stakes. “I was tracking the horses in front of me, and when they came off the turn they were making their move and the rail opened up, and I had a lot of horse to take me through and he just kept running,” said Goodwin after the race. Shrewd Move was the longest shot in the field and paid a whopping $34.40 to win.

Speaking of big pay-outs, Jareth Loveberry won his first race of the meet Saturday on the aptly named Lookin Ata Runaway. The longshot paid $112.20 to win in the fifth race.  Lookin Ata Runaway was the second of three wins for trainer Tony Rengstorf.  He won the third race with Lasoeurcadetecheri and  the last race with My Apparition. Orlando Mojica was aboard that one who also paid a handsome price of 17.00 for the win. The three wins allowed Rengstorf to exit the weekend as the leading trainer. Scherer, Diodoro and Berndt each had two victories.

The 20,258 in attendance Saturday for live racing and Minnesota’s Biggest Kentucky Derby Party was the fourth largest crowd in Canterbury Park history.

Racing continues Friday and Saturday.

First post on Friday is 6:30 p.m. The fourth race, restricted to 3-year-old fillies, includes a trainer familiar to Canterbury horseplayers in Tammy Domenosky. She was a top conditioner herein the late 2000s, finishing in the top five in ’08 and ’09. Domenosky primarily trains in Chicago but raced a bit at Oaklawn over the winter. She has entered Lookforasmile who won her first start in a maiden claimer in February in Hot Springs. Leslie Mawing will ride the ship-in.

Saturday’s card will begin at 12:45.


Notes compiled by Katie Merritt.

Video by Michelle Blasko.

Katie Merritt is a senior at the University of Kentucky and currently an intern in the Canterbury Park Press Box. Before returning to school she galloped at several tracks around the country, but spent the majority of her time working for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.


Barn Notes – April 26, 2017


By Katie Merritt

With 10 days remaining before the commencement of Canterbury Park’s 2017 live racing meet, there are already 430 horses stabled in the barn area.  Many more van and trailer loads are anticipated over the coming week as Canterbury is expecting to be filled to capacity for the summer.

Last year’s top two jockeys, Dean Butler and Alex Canchari, have already arrived at Canterbury and are busy working horses and preparing for opening day on May 5. Canchari won an allowance race for trainer Garry Simms at Indiana Downs on April 21 prior to his Minnesota return, and turned down tempting offers to ride in New York and California in order to honor his commitments to ride at Canterbury this summer. Orlando Mojica, who was third in last years’ jockey standings after a late arrival to Canterbury Park, will arrive on the grounds April 30.

While many familiar faces will be rejoining the Canterbury jock’s colony, there will be a handful of new arrivals to the scene as well. Chad Lindsay, a recently turned journeyman who has been riding the southern California circuit, has decided to move his tack to Canterbury for the summer. Frankie Johnson, an apprentice rider who won his first race on April 7 aboard Bold Raider for trainer Jerry Cole at Fonner Park, will also be racing at Canterbury and will be represented by top agent Chuck Costanzo. Curtis Kimes, who is currently ranked fourth in the standings at Will Rogers Downs, a mere five wins behind the leading rider, is also rumored to be moving his tack to Minnesota. In addition, David Delgado, a top jockey from Spain who has been riding most recently at Tampa Bay Downs, will join the Canterbury colony.

The same three highly experienced racing stewards that worked the Canterbury Park meet in 2016 will be returning for the 2017 live race meet: David Hooper, Dave Smith and Jennifer Durenberger. There will also be the addition of a Safety Steward, Cynthia Smith, who will work to provide assurance of an overall compliance with medication rules and that the interests of all horsemen are being protected.

In efforts to conform with model rules and with racing jurisdictions around the country, Canterbury will be starting new practices that will help to further ensure the safety of both humans and equines at their facility. They will be strictly enforcing new rules that require safer helmets and vests for anyone on horseback and for anyone working on the starting gate. They have also installed lights and sirens on each 1/16th pole in order to alert people on the track when there is a loose horse. In addition, they will be mandating that horses working in front of the state vets in order to be removed from the vet’s list will be required to do so under the same medication rules that are applicable to racing.

Entries for the $50,000 L’Etoile Du Nord Stakes (fillies and mares 3 and up) and the $50,000 Paul Bunyan Stakes (3 and up) will close on April 28. Both races will be run at 5 1/2 furlongs on Derby Day, May 6.

Katie Merritt is a senior at the University of Kentucky and currently an intern in the Canterbury Park Press Box. Before returning to school she galloped at several tracks around the country, but spent the majority of her time working for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.

Stable Area Welcomes Horsemen; Track Opens for Training Thursday

Canterbury Park’s stable area officially opened today.  Horses by the trailer and van load will be arriving over the next several weeks to ready for opening day, Friday, May 5. The main track opens for morning activity Thursday at 6:00 a.m. The training track will open April 25.

Stall superintendent Andrew Vold expects the 33 barns to be at capacity this summer, with several new trainers committing to race in Shakopee.

New track superintendent Ken Brown has been working the main track relentlessly and Sunday’s morning rain has greened up the turf course which should see its first use mid-May.

Minnesota breds prepping elsewhere

Both Hold for More and Pensador, owned by Dale Schenian and trained by Francisco Bravo, are entered in the ninth race Tuesday at Will Rogers Downs in a one mile allowance race. Neither has raced since September at Canterbury.

Pensador was the winner of the Minnesota Derby last season and Hold for More, who is 7 for 14 lifetime, won the Crocrock Minnesota Sprint Championship.

The first Minnesota bred stakes take place Saturday, May 20 with the 10,000 Lakes Stakes for colts and geldings and the Lady Slipper Stakes for fillies and mares. Both are six furlong sprints with $50,000 purses. Hold for More was second in the 2016 rendition of the 10,000 Lakes.

This past Saturday, the final race day of the Oaklawn meet, Minnesota bred colt Hot Shot Kid was victorious in an $80,000 maiden route. Alex Canchari was aboard the 3-year-old who is owned and bred by Warren Bush of Carroll, Iowa. Canterbury Hall of Famer Mac Robertson is the trainer.

Hot Shot Kid wins at Oaklawn with Alex Canchari aboard. Photo : Coady Photography




There were trailers backed up to certain stables on the backside at Canterbury Park Saturday morning, some of them awaiting their equine passengers, others simply being loaded with a variety of tack needed by a particular trainer for the next destination.

Throughout the last several days, a horseman could be found here or there bidding his farewells in anticipation of the next stop on an annual itinerary, or in some cases an entirely new destination.

Later Saturday afternoon, Orlando Mojica and a horse named Break In surged to the finish line in the 11th race on the card and the 69-day, 2016 race meet came to an official end.

Earlier, the various champions were cited, Mac Robertson as the leading trainer and Joe Novogratz as leading owner, but not until the final race on the card was a champion rider determined. That title went to Dean Butler by a single win over Alex Canchari. They both had mounts in the race, won by Break In.

Dean Butler with track announcer Paul Allen
Dean Butler with track announcer Paul Allen

There were two stakes races on this final day of racing. Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens rode Storm Power to the winner’s circle in the $41,700 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint Stakes, a race named for the long-time president of the Minnesota HBPA who died this summer.

Erick Cruz rode Even Thunder to a four-length win in the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes.

Many horsemen consider the loss of Metzen to be greater than any they will ever endure on the racetrack, in a number of ways.

“Oh, we’re going to miss him. It’s already happening said former vice president Jack Walsh, elected this week to replace his long-time associate. “The first phone call I got or received was with him every day. I’m following him, filling in a void. Somebody has to, but he’s not replaceable. He was unique in a lot of ways.”

On the racetrack itself, it can be called the year that Big Mac Was Back, meaning Hall of Fame trainer Mac Robertson, of course. He dominated the trainer standings after losing that title the last two years to Robertino Diodoro.

Robertson had won nine consecutive trainer titles, starting in 2005, until Diodoro supplanted him in 2014 and again last year. Robertson was not only loaded for this meet, but for the first time in seven years spent the entire summer running the local stable, as opposed to shifting between Delaware Park or someplace else and Canterbury.


Randy Sampson with Mac Robertson
Randy Sampson with Mac Robertson

Clearly his presence throughout the meet was a huge factor this time around.

“I’ve been on the road for seven years,” Robertson said. “Obviously being at one place every day probably helped my horses. Being here every day probably helped the horses keep their form all meet. Maybe that wasn’t the case the last few years.”

Robertson had an insurmountable lead the last couple of weeks and he added to it on closing day. Nineteen wins in front, he saddled the winners of Saturday’s first four races to end the 2016 meet with a flourish.

“I think we run the best stable in the Midwest,” Robertson said. “For the most part, I’m pretty proud of the horses and the crew, a winning crew. We had some nice horses, obviously. You don’t win 60-some races without good horses.”

Robertson wasted no time putting his mark on this meet. He got off to a good start and remained optimistic throughout. “I thought if we had a good start that we’d have a good meet,” he said. “I knew what we were sitting on, although you still have to win. Our horses ran hard, wire to wire, for the most part.”

Diodoro won 49 races last year as opposed to 48 this time around, although his total earnings mark slipped by $90,000.

“Yeah, it’s been a good year,” he said, “although the last month or so we hit a brick wall. We used up a lot of our ammunition at Prairie Meadows. All year we’ve had 20 to 35 horses there.”

Nonetheless, Diodoro said he had his best year yet across the country and Canada. “Best year yet that way,” he said. “All year we had eight at Woodbine that would have been here and the bunch at Priarie Meadows we would have had here, so the barn wasn’t quite as loaded.”

Other trainers had summers matching last season in some respects and not in others.

Francisco Bravo finished as the third-leading trainer again. After winning 29 races in 2015 with earnings of $691,057, he wound up the current meet with 32 wins and earnings of around $825,000.

“We did well,” he said. “I won several stakes and that helped, and I had a few more horses here this year, too. Overall, I think it was good. There were disappointments from some of the horses, but the track was rough on them, too. I had a lot more horses shinbuck this year, around 40 percent of the three-year-olds. And we had some other problems, too. Still, we were lucky to have an excellent crew. To me that’s the backbone of any successful stable.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bernell Rhone, elected vice president of the local HBPA this week, is annually among the top trainers. Fourth last year, he finished in that spot again this meet with 28 winners, one more than last year.

His earnings dipped, however, by roughly $200,000. “I had more stakes wins last year,” he said. “This year we won claiming races.”

Yet, his memories of the summer will include some almosts and if onlys. “We were so close to winning a couple of stakes,” he said. “Bourbon County got beat a head in one stake. That’s a forty grand difference. A couple of those and….”

Rhone’s stable was also hurt by a couple of injuries to promising horses, and they had to be turned out early, although for the most part his barn stayed healthy.

“By the end of the season you’ll have some injuries. Even the good ones get sore and beat up, and aren’t performing the same,” he said.

Rhone agrees with Walsh on several points concerning the loss of Metzen, who ran the HBPA for two decades. “We’re going to feel that (loss) as horsemen,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize how much he really did do. Sometimes it was self-serving but he did a lot of good for all of us…legislatively, things we don’t see at the racetrack. And he had some foresight. He could see ahead and plan things. He was often close to being right on.”

Native Minnesotan Tony Rengstorf had an improved meet this summer. He was 10th in the standings last year with 16 wins and $429,240 total earnings. He had 28 wins this meet with total earnings of around $50,000 more, finishing fifth in the trainer standings.

“Not bad,” he said. “I’m for sure not complaining. Like anything else, as long as you’re consistent in life that’s usually good. No complaints there, we had a great year.”

Shortly before the gate opened for the final race of 2016, track announcer Paul Allen thanked a crowd of 8,219 for its support and gave a shout out to long-time TV production manager Jon Mikkelson, whose season-highlight video was showing on the infield television screen. At 6:08 p.m., a field of 12 maidens broke from the gate. Then, 1:39.74 later, Mojica and Break In hit the wire and the 2016 season was in the books.


Canterbury Park’s 2016 divisional champion:

Horse of the Year – Majestic Pride (owner: Hugh Robertson, Jeff Ryan, and Gary Chanen  ; trainer: Mac Robertson )
Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding –  One Mean Man  (owner: L.T.B. Inc. and Hillerich Racing LLC ; trainer: Bernard Flint)
Sprinter – Honey’s Sox Appeal (owner: Bob Lindgren : trainer: Mac Robertson )
Older Horse – Majestic Pride (owner: Hugh Robertson, Jeff Ryan, and Gary Chanen  ; trainer: Mac Robertson)
Grass Horse –  Majestic Pride (owner: Hugh Robertson, Jeff Ryan, and Gary Chanen  ; trainer: Mac Robertson)
Three-Year-Old Filly – Honey’s Sox Appeal (owner: Bob Lindgren : trainer: Mac Robertson )
Older Filly or Mare – Secret Someone (owner: Mt. Brilliant Stable LLC; trainer: Michael Stidham)
Two-Year-Old -Line Judge  (owner: Barry and Joni Butzow; trainer: Joe Sharp)
Claimer – True West (owner: Cheryl Sprick and Richard Bremer ; trainer: Karl Broberg)
Quarter Horse – Pyc Jess Bite Mydust (owner: Lunderborg LLC; trainer: Jason Olmstead )