Butzows Have Been In For The Long Run

We’ve  heard this one before:

A guy buys a horse with friends. It wins easily. First time out. He ventures into new parternerships. Those horses win maiden starts, too.

Notions take over: Horse racing is a piece of cake. A walk in the park. Like printing money.

The hook is set.  Reality will set in slowly, over time.

A chuckle rises in Barry Butzow’s throat as he recalls just such a start to horse racing, what seems like a lifetime ago, in 1985. Canterbury Downs had made its debut. Racing had arrived in Minnesota.

Those early years typically included ownership in horses with multiple partners, some hard to recall.  “Kathy Walsh trained for us,” he said, “and then at the end, her brother, Jim, took over.”

He laughs about it today, now that he’s buried hip deep in the sport and sees clearly through the mirage under which it all began.

Yet, he and his wife, Joni, are committed at a level not imaginable back then, deeper than ever,  owning, breeding, racing.  They might be at the races on a Saturday night in Shakopee, and on a plane the next morning, headed for a track in Kentucky or to check on their breeding operation there. Their commitment extends further.

They have been active in money raising efforts for injured riders at Canterbury Park, the Leg Up Fund, and previously in the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, as well as Doc Bowman’s program to repurpose racehorses after their careers are finished at Canterbury Park, in addition to another effort in Louisiana for retired horses there. They have made numerous donations to causes aligned with racing.

You are either in the sport or you or not is the way they see it.

“It’s not just the horses but the people,” Joni said. “The people on the backside, the jockeys, the trainers, the whole community. We’re tried to get involved with all of them. It’s a community.”

Their love of racing as a couple started with a devotion to one another after meeting 22 years ago. “Our first date was at the track,” Joni said. The hook was set.

Today they own some 60 horses, 11 of them racing at Canterbury this summer and others at any of several tracks, their mares at a broodmare farm in Paris, Kentucky.

The racing season starts for them at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, shifts to Oaklawn in Arkansas, then to Kentucky and Canterbury They have horses at Canterbury, Saratoga and three places in Kentucky, shipping some of the out-of-state runners to Shakopee at times for stakes races.

Another chuckle.

Sometimes Butzow says he has to check his trucking bills to determine where this or that horse is located at a given time.  A suggestion is offered that someday, perhaps, horses will be shipped from here to there by Amazon, by drones. Outlandish, of course, but not moreso some days than this all-consuming sport itself.

None of this was on the horizon in 1992 when Butzow got out of the sport altogether. Canterbury went dark in 1992, and for the next two years there was nothing.  “I rode with it through the peak and then the Ladbroke era, and got out entirely,” he said.

Then, in 1995, Canterbury Park arose, like a Phoenix from the ashes of the Downs, and Butzow was interested once more. He credits Kathy and Dion Kissoon for rekindling his interest. “They got us back into it,” he said.

Their were partnerships with the Kissoons in a number of successful thoroughbreds, Nidari, Balin, Tez Tarak, and Balin among them.

Kathy Kissoon recalls an instance in which Joni put her skills as a nurse anesthetist to use in the equine field.

“Balin had gotten kicked and was hurt,” she said. “The walkers were too close together and another horse kicked him.”

When Balin’s owners came to see him, they discovered that there was puss running out of a shoulder and he hadn’t been treated. They took him home.

“Joni showed up with a pump so we could flush the wound and then clean it and applied some antibiotics.”

Barry added to the memory list. “I remember Joni and Kathy jumping in the truck and taking a horse in a trailer to Hawthorne Park in Chicago,” he said.

There was a slight pause as he considered that specific situation, two women from Minnesota driving to Hawthorne in Cicero, Ill., on the edge of the Windy City.

The partners celebrated together in the winner’s circle  several times, as well as on another more personal occasion.

“We went to their wedding in 2003,” Kathy added.

They bought horses together, attended sales and the Butzows began learning about the industry, the business of buying, owning and racing.

“The Kissoons were wonderful mentors,” Joni said. “They taught us so much about racing.”’

Eventually, the inevitable occurred.

The Butzows’ interest in the game began to conflict at times with the interests of their partners.

“What happened is that they just outgrew us,” Kathy said. “Those things happen in this business.”

As partners, they had used several trainers, Bernell Rhone, Justin Evans, Jaime Ness among them. On their own, the Butzows were with the most consistent champion trainer in Canterbury history for 14 years, Mac Robertson. “Now, we’re mostly with Joe Sharp, ” Barry added.

The list of names continues to grow, but foremost in the Butzows’ memories are Sir Tricky, Picko’s Pride, Bryan’s Jewel, Hamazing Destiny, Firstmate.  There are others, of course, and, as the Butzows continue to demonstrate, there are more to come.

On Saturday evening they will be inducted into the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame

by Jim Wells

Weather Shortens Memorial Day Card

BY JIM WELLS

The horses and riders were called back on their way to the track for Monday’s feature race when immediate storm warnings included a chance of lightening.

After an afternoon of heat approaching 100 degrees, the skies over Shakopee darkened, the wind picked up and a small amount of hail pelted the grounds and a crowd of 8,881 started to thin quickly.

The riders headed for the jockeys’ lounge, the grooms settled in with horses in the paddock. “Ten minutes and we could have gotten it in. That’s all we needed,” one rider lamented, “just 10 minutes more.”

“It’s hard to believe that we were ice-fishing six weeks ago,” said chief veterinarian Lynn Hovda, minutes earlier.

After a wait of approximately 30 minutes and two or three nearby lightening strikes, the $50,000 Honor the Hero Stakes, was postponed and the card was terminated with three races left unrun, including the stake. The Honor the Hero was rescheduled for June 2, with the same horses preferred in the race.

The annual bulldog races scheduled for Memorial Day were postponed a day earlier in view of the forecast of high temperatures. Those races were rescheduled for June 9, Belmont Stakes day.

The  co-feature, the $50,000 Northbound Pride Oaks, was the final race run on the card, although it became a one-horse affair.

Unbeaten Sirenusa, ridden by English rider Adam Beschizza, simply sprinted away from six rivals in the stretch run, finishing a widening three lengths in front of Sippin Kitten, who had a head on Passion Plus.

Sent off as the 4/5 odds on choice, Beschizza settled his horse in at midpack, began moving on the turn and had a head in front at the stretch call.

She is unbeaten in three races, all on the turf this year, and is likely headed for the Lady Canterbury.

Owner Barry Butzow’s only concern was the distance, since this lightly raced filly, unraced at two, was going a mile for the first time. “You wonder. You just don’t know,” he said.

Yet, there is no reason not to believe in this daughter of Tiznow, even at this early stage.

Monday was the kind of Memorial Day that Canterbury Park has celebrated in recent years, honoring veterans in all of the nation’s military branches, in particular those who died in service of the country. Yet it was different in a significant way.

Stan Kowalski, the former professional wrestler who turned veteran advocate after retirement was not at the center of the festivities for the first time in more than a decade. Kowalski died last October at 91 years of age.

Kowalski wasn’t present but he wasn’t forgotten, either. His name was included in the presentations of several speakers, and his work in establishing the Eagles Nest Healing Center, a place for homeless veterans on the mend or in need of assistance, was cited by state senator Jim Abeler, among others.

Chuck Jones, a friend of Kowalski’s and three-time purple-heart recipient, was introduced as the man who will carry on this particular legacy.

Line Judge in Mystic Lake Derby; Barry Butzow explains

Firstmate winning Northern Lights Debutante

Last year Barry and Joni Butzow’s Line Judge had a successful Canterbury season and was named 2-year-old of the meet. He went on to win a $200,000 race later that Fall at Delta Downs. Line Judge will be racing Saturday in Canterbury’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.

This past Sunday the Butzow’s Firstmate won the $85,000 Northern Lights Debutante in her career debut. The following day he and Joni were the leading purchasers at the 2017 MTA Yearling Sale.

In this video Barry talks about Line Judge, Firstmate and the yearlings.

STATE STARS SHINE ON FESTIVAL DAY

BY JIM WELLS

Steamy, muggy, humid. Or as mother used to say, “close.”

Under those conditions, Canterbury Park conducted the 24th running of the Festival of Champions Sunday, an afternoon of racing restricted to Minnesota-bred horses and highlighted by a sensational two-year-old, a pair of full brothers who won the two quarter horse races, the retirements of two prominent and celebrated horses, the crowning of the quarter horse riding and training champions, the return of a Hall of Fame rider and various other tidbits of racing interest.

$85,000 NORTHERN LIGHTS DEBUTANTE

First-time starter, a two-year-old, didn’t get much work, don’t know what to expect with these babies, then a big bump out of the gate knocks her sideways, might as well go home, prepare for next time.

Whoa! Not so fast. Not if you happen to be a filly named Firstmate, a daughter of Midshipman from Lion Club, and a $50,000 MTA yearling sales-topper.

That changes the entire paradigm; it certainly did in the Northern Lights Debutante.

This filly underwent all of the aforementioned setbacks but was not deterred by a single one, putting herself back in the race once she regained her equilibrium.  Firstmate regained the confidence of rider Quincy Hamilton with a strong move into the turn. “I knew she was just fine then,” he said.

The stretch drive remained but, once there, this Midshipman baby began saluting the finish line with a finishing kick that left the competition in dramatic arrears.

Owner Barry Butzow regained his entire purchase price in this lady’s maiden outing, an infrequent if not rare occurrence. Firstmate was running third, three lengths off the lead at the head of the stretch. She had nine lengths on Raging Gold Digger and another neck on Cabloosie Bay at the finish.

The time for  the race was 1:13.24.

So what was it caught Butzow’s eye at the MTA sale?

“I looked at her size and the way she was put together,” he said. “You can look in her eye and see that she’s a classy animal.”

Classy indeed and a $51,000 bank account to prove it…after one race.

$60,000 DISTAFF CLASSIC

When does, oh , say, 100 yards or so translate into an inch or two?

When those distances are measured on the racetrack and applied to the dynamics of a given race.

Say, the mile and 1/16th Festival event for fillies and mares three years of age and older.

If, for example, Jareth Loveberry had waited another 100 yards to move his horse, instead of asking her early on the turn, his horse’s head likely would have hit the wire with room to spare. “I made a mistake,” he said. “I moved wrong.”

Additional proof that even one of the two best riders in Shakopee this summer can goof up on occasion. That early move proved vital, allowing Pinup Girl under Leslie Mawing to catch the tiring leader from the ¾ pole, Double Bee Sting, and bob his head at the right time.

The loss denied owner Curtis Sampson, the current leader, another win in his pursuit of the champion owner’s crown for the meet.

At the same time, it helped balance the books for trainer Sandra Sweere, whose recent drought was on her mind at the finish of this particular race.

First, however, there was the matter of that nail-biting finish.

“We wanted to make it exciting,” she said, then turning to the serious ramifications of winning a $60,000 race, like making up for a dry spell in the barn this summer. “This will make a difference,” she said. “We needed this.”

-Pinup Girl, with a winning time of 1:45.06, had a head on Double Bee Sting at the wire and eight additional lengths on Sioux Appeal.

$60,000 DISTAFF SPRINT

There were subtexts and stories within a story in this four-horse race that brought together former allies in pursuit of one last victory for a retiring mare, who won the race two years ago and finished second last year to the morning line favorite this time around.

Jeff and Deb Hilger, owners and breeders of Rockin the Bleu’s, teamed up with rider Scott Stevens, their very first jockey in the business, to ride this last race for them and the horse, now retirees from the sport that has been their passion the last three decades. Could this daughter of Rockport Harbor dig deep enough to beat the younger rival who defeated her in this race last year, Honey’s Sox Appeal? Could she deliver one last time?

Horse racing has plenty of stories that deliver such scripts. This was not one of them.  Under Alex Canchari, Honey’s Sox Appeal took command at the top of the lane and drew off to hit the wire 1 ½ lengths in front of Rockin the Bleu’s and Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens.

“We tried. She ran hard and gave it her all,” said Stevens.

One person’s unfilled story is another’s tale of triumph.

With Alex Canchari up, Honey’s Sox Appeal waited patiently until finding room on the inside to make her move at the three-sixteenth’s marker.

Owner Bob Lindgren extolled the consistency of his horse, a prerace record of 5-4-2 from 12 career starts, and all of the signs that pointed to a victory in this race, including the best Beyer in the field.

All of that was in evidence as Honey’s Sox Appeal repeated as the Distaff Sprint champion.

$85,000 NORTHERN LIGHTS FUTURITY

There was only one question in any pre-race analysis before this race:

Would something unforeseen prevent the odds-on favorite and projected easy winner from dominating 10 rivals for the winner’s share of the pot?

Possibly only something that trainer Valorie Lund had experienced before. She once saddled an odds-on choice whose presence had created what handicappers were calling a one-horse race. Low and behold a goose flew out of the infield and struck the horse, causing it to stop momentarily and ultimately loose the race.

All of that was in the back of her mind when she sent out Mr. Jagermeister a heralded two-year-old colt with two races under his belt and a record of 1-1-0. She knew that everything indicated there wasn’t a horse in this race the equal of Mr. Jag,  yet the story of the goose infiltrated her confidence.

This talented two-year-old had won by 11 ½ lengths in his maiden start at Canterbury July 4, but finished second at Prairie Meadows at the end of the month when he tired after running a 44 and 3 half mile. He had set all of the fractions but the last in that race. “He went too fast  at the front so I took the blinkers off  hoping to settle him for this year,” she explained.

The plan worked.

With Andrew Ramgeet up, Mr. Jagermeister smoked eight rivals, gliding to a 15 ½ length victory over Speeding Kid and 18 ¾ in front of Magic Cowboy.

The future for this speedball is still in the making, but there is a footnote to the story: The horse is owned by Lund and two of her sisters. Her sister Kristin Boice bought the dam, Frangelica, to breed to Atta Boy Roy. She, Valorie and Leslie Cummings are the owners of record and celebrated the fact that no geese were present to interfere with their horse’s dominating performance.

$60,000 CROCROCK SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP

Smooth Chiraz has a name that conjures up thoughts of a fine liqueur, an after-dinner drink or an introductory libation to begin a late evening conversation.

A drink with a bit of fire in it, followed by a smooth and palatable aftertaste.

Which is precisely what Smooth Chiraz typically needs to win a race. He has to fire quickly and then glide effortlessly on the lead, guiding the field to the finish line, as he did on Sunday is this sprint for 3-year-old and older colts and geldings.

With Jareth Loveberry in the irons, Smooth Chiraz led this race gate to wire, dueling on the lead and then taking charge inside the quarter pole. It was his kind of race, and the 4-year-old son of Chitoz drew off in the stretch drive to a 4 ¾ length win over Fridaynitestar, who had ¾ length on odds-on favorite and 2015 horse of the year Hold for More.

“Today he fired,” said trainer Francisco Bravo. “And when he runs on the front, his heart gets big and he’s built to be a sprinter.”

Smooth Chiraz was sent off at 9-1 in a seven-horse field that included the seven-year-old Bourbon County, who beat only one horse.

“It’s official,” said owner Scott Rake of Bourbon County. “He’s retired.”

$60,000 WALLY’S CHOICE CLASSIC

New trainer, new owner and a new lease on life.

That sums up in part at least the interesting saga of the winning horse in this race, who had fewer earnings than all but one horse in the seven-horse lineup and last won in claiming company on June 22.

True West, previously trained by Karl Broberg, was claimed from Cheryl Sprick and Richard Bremer for $10,000 in May. John Mentz became the new owner and Mac Robertson took over the training.

Sunday afternoon, True West, whose previous earnings totaled $73,105, was sent off at 11-1 and picked up a check for $36,000, defeating a field that included two previous winners of the race, A P is Loose (2015) and Speed Is Life (2016).

“We were very happy with this win and where we were (throughout),” said Mentz. “We knew we had horse.”

With Israel Hernandez up, True West was part of the pace into the first turn and stayed part of the chase to the head of the stretch where he took command and held off all threats to finish one length in front of Vanderbilt Beach at 6-1 and two and ¾ lengths ahead of A P Is Loose at odds-on money.

$50,300 MINNESOTA DERBY, $51,000 FUTURITY

There was a television sitcom some time ago that sizes up these two races perfectly:

ALL IN THE FAMILY.

How better to describe a tandem of races won by full brothers owned by the same family, who got into the business 11 years ago after being approached by a horse owner after church.

Owner Bruce Lunderborg and  his wife, Judy, live in Weber, about 10 miles north of New Ulm. He was video taping a service at St. John’s Church in Farifax. Afterward he was approached by a fellow who wanted to sell him half interest in a horse.

Lunderborg turned him down.

But not the second time.

Sunday, the Lunderborgs were in the winner’s circle after PYC Jess Bite Mydust won the Derby under Brayan Velazquez and again a short time later when Dickey Bob won the Futurity , again under Velazquez. Joining them both times was the track’s leading quarter horse trainer Jason Olmstead. The winning horses are full brothers, by Apolitical Jess from Paint or More.

Pyc Jess Bite Mydust

QUARTER HORSE AWARDS

Olmstead received his champion belt buckle after winning the trainer’s title a third straight year.

The difference this time?

He was pressed until the last two or three weeks by Hall of Fame trainer Ed Ross Hardy, who won 12 training titles at Canterbury.

“He made a heck of a race of it,” said Olmstead. “We just outnumbered him (with number of starting horses). That was the only difference.”

Oscar Delgado thought of only one thing after winning the riding title:

His family.  “You have to mention them,” he said. He was referring to his wife, Toni, daughters Celeste and Madisyn and son, Christian. “And we have one on the way,” he added.

 

Line Judge to run Saturday in $1 million Delta Jackpot

line-judge-delta

Line Judge, a 2-year-old colt owned by Joni and Barry Butzow of Eden Prairie, is the 6 to 1 third choice on the morning line in Saturday’s $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs in Vinton, LA.  Line Judge broke his maiden at Canterbury Park and won the Careless Navigator Stakes prior to a win in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta in October. Line Judge is trained by Joe Sharp and will be ridden by C.J. McMahon

The Delta Jackpot is the seventh race on an 11-race program that is offering more than $2.3 million in total purses. The winner of the 1 1/16 mile race will earn $600,000 and 10 points toward qualifying for the 2017 Kentucky Derby.

Delta will begin racing Saturday at 1:45 p.m. The Jackpot is scheduled for 4:45.

Photo by Coady Photography.

delta-jackpot

GOOD GUYS, AND HORSES, CAN FINISH FIRST

Dazzlingsweetheart
Dazzlingsweetheart

BY JIM WELLS

 

Young horses are often a handful_ fractious in racetrack parlance. Difficult in the barn, or the paddock or the gate.

Now meet the morning line favorites for the $85,000 Minnesota Oaks and the $85,000 Minnesota Derby, Dazzlingsweetheart and Smooth Chiraz, a couple of three-year-olds who not only defy such descriptions but are quite the opposite.

“She’s a real sweetheart,” said Barry Butzow, who owns the Oaks favorite with his wife, Joni.

“He’s very kind and quiet. You don’t even know he’s in the barn,” said Francisco Bravo, trainer of Smooth Chiraz.

There’s a simple explanation for Dazzlingsweetheart’s easy-going demeanor. It’s a difficult assignment to unnerve a horse who experienced the worst and then some as a weanling.

She was in a barn that was destroyed by a tornado. “She should have died,” Butzow said, “but somehow she survived.”

Butzow said he choked up when he got this response from the breeders after purchasing this daughter of Dazzling Falls:

“You just paid for our new barn,” he was told by the breeders, Mary and Eric Von Seggern of Pilger, Nebraska.

“That tornado took their whole barn,” Butzow said.

If there is an equine equivalent for PTSD, Dazzlingsweetheart might have contracted it.  Regardless of the explanation, she was slow to mature and didn’t hit the racetrack until this year, her three-year-old season.

The Butzows sent her to Florida as a yearling, to a handler they use there. She wasn’t ready yet at age two so they held her back until May 21st this year when she broke her maiden in Shakopee. She won both of her starts thereafter, including the $60,000 Frances Genter Stakes her last time out.

She is 3-for-3, the only unbeaten filly in today’s race.

And that personality?

“We had 25 people at the barn last Sunday,” Butzow said. “A lot of kids. She simply loves kids.”

She loves winning, too, and is a 9/5 morning line favorite among eight rivals in today’s race, including Honey’s Sox Appeal, a 5/2 choice who ran second to the presumptive favorite in the Frances Genter.  Joe Sharp will saddle Dazzlingsweetheart today and Chris Rosier will ride.

Smooth Chiraz
Smooth Chiraz

 

Then there is Smooth Chiraz, a gelded son of Chitoz, who won the Victor S. Myers Stakes in commanding fashion the same afternoon the Frances Genter was run. This fellow is two-for-four this year and four-for six lifetime with earnings of $128,884.

“Usually a horse like this comes back from a workout and can be kind of mean to handle. He’s big and he’s strong, but he’s really mellow,” said Bravo.

The hotwalkers love this guy despite his size because of that attitude. “His mother (Memory Divides) was the same way, really easy going,” Bravo added.

Smooth Chiraz won the Victor S. Myers in his last out by seven lengths and will face some of the same competition today, namely Smooth Stroke and Pensador.

Despite his relaxed demeanor, there are specific occasions when his blood pressure rises.

There are times when you have to watch yourself around him. “The only time you have to be careful, ” Bravo said, “is when you are coming off the race track with him and he hears horses behind him. He either wants to run with them or away from them. He’s very competitive.”

Equally so at dinner time, or any other time for that matter. “He loves to eat,” his trainer said. “He eats constantly. But he sits back in his stall without a fuss.”

Chiraz, with Dean Butler in the irons, will be the favorite in today’s field of 11 for the Derby, and rightly so. Yet Bravo, naturally, is not taking anything for granted.

“Not ever,” he said. “You never know.”

Jack Kaenel’s Improbable Ride

The movie reel in his mind began rolling with the first strains of Maryland My Maryland Saturday afternoon, reeling off the events of that special occasion in vivid technicolor. Jack Kaenel was on the mezzanine of the grandstand at Canterbury Park watching the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes on the 30th anniversary of his stirring, improbable victory in the very same race aboard Aloma’s Ruler.

As I’ll Have Another was stirring the passions of the racing world by putting another piece in place for his run at the Triple Crown, Kaenel had mixed feelings. He was rooting for his buddies Mike Smith and Bob Baffert who were teamed up with Bodemeister. Yet he was satisfied that racing had another shot at a Triple Crown winner.

Then, the old movie reel started to play and the sequence of events began to roll across the surface of his memory.

He was 16 years, a mere kid, and here he was aboard Aloma’s Ruler, holding off the incomparable Bill Shoemaker and 1-2 favorite Linkage to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown. The year was 1982 and the win thrust him into the spotlight of the racing world where he was known thereafter as Cowboy Jack Kaenel.

Saturday, this film of Aloma Ruler’s Preakness stopped momentarily on the moments after the race, just long enough for Kaenel to recall a troubling moment that afternoon.

“I don’t talk about this usually,” he said Sunday afternoon. “But I was really aggravated afterwards when I was going to change my silks and ride in the next race.”

There were interviews to conduct and pictures to be taken. Kaenel was told that he wouldn’t be riding in the next race, that he had been taken off his mount to conduct the business of being a Preakness Stakes winner.

“I was [angry],” he said. “It was a $4,000 race but I knew I could win it and I wanted to ride,” he said. “The money wasn’t important. I wanted to win that race.”

No one ever questioned Kaenel’s desire to win or his talent on a horse.

He has been described variously over time as a horse whisperer or an equine psychologist, able to interpret a horse’s feelings, read their minds, calculate what they have left, ask of them only what they truly have to give.

And he could watch a race unfold, detect everything going on around him and respond accordingly.

“Obviously, he has great talent,” said trainer Lonnie Arterburn. “He won quite a few races for me in California. He’s a smart rider, an asset riding a horse.”

Kaenel hitched a ride from Remington Park to Shakopee with trainer Jerry Livingston, who put him to work exercising horses from his barn.

Livingston and other trainers, like Arterburn and Casey Black are rooting for Kaenel, willing to help him get back into the sport. The 16-year-old winner of the Preakness Stakes has won more than 4,000 races in his career but his career has been a series of fits and starts because of alcoholism, relapses, seizures, a brain surgery and other maladies.

His career is replete with stories of his colorful, zany antics during alcohol-fueled escapades: He rode a Brahma bull into a saloon in California, hitched it to the bar while he had a drink and engaged in match races at midnight while stark naked.

His friends say he always liked a good time.

“He’s a great guy,” added Livingston. “We just don’t know if he can withstand the scrutiny if he starts riding again.”

Again, the talent has always been there. “We’d like to help him out, get him going again,” said Black. “Get him back in the saddle. He’s a natural, just like a super football player, a (John) Elway, somebody like that. It’s like a gift of God.”

Kaenel rode at Canterbury during the track’s first couple of years and made a return attempt to ride here in 2005, shortly before a seizure required brain surgery to save his life.

Now he is back once more, hoping to catch on, hoping somehow to produce a fitting final segment to the story of his career.

 

TIDBITS HERE AND ELSEWHERE

There were noteworthy local footnotes to I’ll Have Another’s wonderful story in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. The winner of the $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap was a horse name Hamazing Destiny, ridden by Corey Nakatani, trained by D. Wayne Lukas and owned by Minnesota native and Canterbury regular Barry Butzow along with Westrock Stables.

There were two riding doubles on Sunday’s card at Canterbury. Senor Juan Rivera brought in (his namesake?) Ize On Juan in race one and Dazzling Marna in the sixth.

Tanner Riggs, who truly sits tall in saddle, won the fourth race on Frankie Dapper and the card finale on Sputey’s Cabin.

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