Jason and Angela Bullard Have Built a Real Racing Empire

By Rebecca Roush

A lot has changed for racehorse owners Jason and Angela Bullard over the past few years, both with their growing business and their hobby. This husband and wife duo met as children when their parents would take them to La Mesa Park in Raton, New Mexico.

“Since both of us were 9 or 10 years old, we’ve been going out to the race track all the time with family,” Jason said.

After moving to Shakopee years ago they continued to visit the racetrack, now Canterbury Park, with their friends and family. This prompted them to purchase their first horse in 2013 and race under the stable name Empire Racing.

The Bullards now have nine horses in training at Canterbury Park and two at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois. “We have learned a lot in the last six years and have steadily grown in numbers and in quality,” said Jason.

Though they enjoy seeing their horses win, the couple also appreciates the experience of race days. “Coming to the track with friends and family, going to the paddock, and finishing it all up with a winner’s circle photo never gets old,” said Jason.

One piece of advice that the Bullards offer to someone thinking about horse ownership is to “do your homework.” Jason explains that “it is not about what you know, it is who you know. Finding the right team can be a great family experience.” The Bullards have worked with trainer Bernell Rhone since 2013 and have found great success with him as well as Robertino Diodoro and with other owners in partnerships.

The most difficult aspect that Jason says they face is “the emotional highs and lows. One night you have a horse win and the next your horse runs last.” It is this experience that he says makes them second guess their plan of action on occasion.

When the Bullards are not at the racetrack they balance their time between operating their business, Nite Trane Transportation, which offers limousine, party bus, and airport transportation in the Twin Cities, and spending time at the lake with their three children.

Bernell Rhone –  August 14,  2003 – A Night To Remember

By Rebecca Roush

Nearly 15 years ago, on August 14, 2003 long-time trainer Bernell Rhone won six of the seven races in which his horses were entered at Canterbury Park. The career-record day was one that Rhone can still recall. “Before that, I had never been in the winner’s circle more than three times on a given day.”

That Thursday evening started out rocky for Rhone as Target Stripes, the horse that he saw as having the “best shot to win a race” finished fifth. “I remember thinking to myself after the first race that I had a long night ahead of me,” he recalled.  The next thing Rhone knew he was called to the winner’s circle after every race that his horses were in.

Rhone says that some of the wins that night “came out of nowhere.” In the eighth race Belle American, a longshot ridden by Leslie Mawing, took first and Rhone’s other horse, the race’s favorite, Smilin’ Ali took last. “I just couldn’t believe the outcome of that race,” Rhone commented.

The sixth win of the night came from jockey Mike Ziegler. “That was such a long time ago,” said Ziegler. The only thing he recalls from the race was that fact that he was not supposed to get the mount to begin with, but ended up taking it for jockey Derek Bell who became ill before the race and couldn’t ride. “I didn’t ride many horses for Rhone, but I am happy to be a part of such a special night in his career,” Ziegler added.

Before the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack opened, Rhone trained horses at tracks throughout Canada and the Midwestern United States. In 1984, a year before Canterbury opened; he brought many of his horses to a farm in St. Peter, where he got them ready to run at the new facility. He recalls driving along Flying Cloud Drive and seeing large cranes piece together the grandstand. “Before the track opened, there wasn’t much to do in the area,” Rhone commented. “The track brought something really special to the community.”

The next thing Rhone recalls was Canterbury Downs being ready to open for its first season and he was “eager to get in on the action.” In fact, Rhone was the first in line at the stable gates with his trailer.

On Canterbury’s opening day, Rhone recalls the traffic being so “backed up”, that he almost didn’t make it to the races in time to see his horse run. “People were just pouring in,” he said. “There was one point where one of the jockeys, Vicki Warhol, had to park her car in a ditch and run across the field to make it in time for her mount,” Rhone recalled.

Rhone had just eight horses in training during his first year at Canterbury and needed little help with caring for them. “My wife was the only help that I needed at the time,” he said. When he first started out here, he would even gallop his own horses. Today, Rhone has 52 horses in his barn, which understandably requires more help than years ago.

Since coming to Canterbury, and he has never missed a season, Rhone has been on the leader board many times, won the training title in 1996, and is the all-time winningest trainer in the history of the track. He is also a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame, where he is recognized as a Champion Trainer for his many accomplishments.

All-Time Top Earners Compete in 10,000 Lakes Stakes

Bernell Rhone entering this racing weekend on a hot streak – 5 wins from 5 starters. After scratches he has two runners on Friday, so he has the opportunity to increase that streak.  In race 5 he has Not Justa Somerset with Orlando Mojica aboard at 10/1 and in race 6, Sabotage under Jareth Loveberry at 12/1. It will be exciting to see how far he can extend his consecutive win streak, as he is only two behind David Van Winkle’s record of seven consecutive winners.

With the completion of the Will Rogers Downs live race meet in Oklahoma, multiple stakes winning jockey Lori Keith has rejoined the Canterbury Park riding colony for another summer. So far in 2017, Keith has an impressive seven wins, two seconds and three thirds from just 20 starters.

The six furlong, $50,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes for Minnesota-bred three and up will be run as the third race of the nine-race card on Saturday. It is highlighted by a Minnesota favorite, Hold for More, who will be ridden by Orlando Mojica. He is currently third in line for the title of leading money earner in Canterbury Park history with earnings of $293,200. The 5-year-old, Bravo-trained gelding, however, is not the favorite in the race, after a 6th place finish in the Paul Bunyan Stakes at Canterbury Park on opening weekend. Hold for More is the 3-1 second choice behind Mac Robertson’s Bourbon County, to be ridden by Alex Canchari, who is 9/5.  Seven-year-old Bourbon County has won the last two editions of the 10,000 Lakes Stakes, but has not run since late last August. Third choice morning-line at 7/2 is another Bravo trainee, Smooth Chiraz, to be ridden by Dean Butler. The 4-year-old gelding is a multiple stakes winner who already won an allowance optional claimer at Canterbury on opening weekend.

Interestingly, Hold for More is not the only one vying for the leading money earner title at Canterbury Park. Three of the horses running in the 10,000 Lakes are on the top ten list of purses earned at the track. AP Is Loose is 6th on the list with $283,553 and Bourbon County is 7th with $280,617. Depending on the results of the 10,000 Lakes, Any one of those three horses could move up into second place behind current leader Crocrock.

The six furlong, $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes for Minnesota-bred fillies and mares three and up will be the 4th race on Saturday. The 6/5 morning line favorite in the race is Biehler-trained Rockin the Bleu’s, who will be piloted by Orlando Mojica. The 6-year-old mare has run at Canterbury 16 times, and has only finished off the board in five of those starts. In her only race to date in 2017, Rockin’ the Bleu’s was victorious in a $51,000 stakes race at Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma in April. A close second choice at 9/5 in the morning line is Honey’s Sox Appeal, who is trained by Mac Robertson and will be ridden by Alex Canchari. The four-year-old stakes winning filly has run at Canterbury eight times, with a record of four wins, three seconds and one third.

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)

2013 Champions Determined

Sleep%20Walking%20-%20Senator%20Howe%27s%20Run%20for%20the%20Red%20Wing%20Roses%20-%2009-14-13%20-%20R04%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20FinishThe skies were forbidding and dark much of the day, but the finish was one of the most colorful in Canterbury Park history as the 2013 race meet came to a stirring conclusion.

The weather was really not a factor until light rain began falling midway through the card. It was somewhat heavier by the eighth race.

The card included perhaps the most colorful and athletic promotion ever conducted on the premises, the championship race of the three-day Indian Relay Races.

An impressive turnout of 12,160 bid adieu to the season and reacted enthusiastically to the excitement of the relay races, won by a 23-year-old rider from the Shoshoni-Bannock Nation in Fort Hall, Idaho.

Most of them were gone by the time the trophy was presented to the leading rider this summer, Dean Butler.

The riding title for the meet came down to race four, in which Sleep Walking, ridden by Butler, held off Dakota Dusty and Alex Canchari. That increased his lead over Canchari to four at the time.

Canchari kept it interesting, nonetheless, hand-riding Theatre of Dreams to an easy win in race five to pull once again to within three and punctuating that with a win in the 10th race. Canchari and Butler were the only two riders to finish with total earnings of more than $1 million each. Butler’s total heading into Saturday’s card was $1,267,955. Canchari’s was $1,248,479.

Butler intends to take a couple of months off and then head to home to Tampa. Canchari intends to drops his tack at Hawthorne Race Course in suburban Chicago.

Mac Robertson had an 18-win lead over Bernell Rhone and Mike Biehler heading into the final card, his ninth consecutive training title safely in the bag. He added Saturday’s fifth and 10th races to increase his total wins for the meet to 51.

Lori Keith, who wound up as the meet’s fourth-leading rider, won her 41st race of the meet aboard Cap and Trade in the sixth. She intends to head to Oklahoma and then Arkansas and is sure to recall Canterbury 2013 as the meet in which she won a second consecutive Mystic Lake Derby, the biggest race of the summer.

Eddie Martin, Jr., had a solid meet, winning 37 races, as did Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, who won the seventh race, a $35,000 overnight stake, aboard National, trained by Miguel Angel Silva. Stevens concluded the meet with 34 wins and will return to Phoenix for the meet that begins on Oct. 5 at Turf Paradise. Martin was undecided about his next stop.

For 23-year-old rider Jerrad Serino the next stop is home. Serino was a convincing winner of the relay races, due largely to near perfect horse exchanges during both pit stops of the three-mile race. Three miles, three horses for each of the nine riders in the final, and the importance of the exchange after each mile became obvious as miscues during dismounting and engaging an awaiting exchange horse proved to be the difference.

“That was the most important,” said Serino, who stressed the importance of training and staying fit for these grueling races, all conducted bareback.

The win was the third of his career for Serino, whose twin brother got him interested in the sport three years ago. His entire family, everyone but Jerrad, has been involved with horses. “I didn’t like them as a kid. I wanted to play basketball,” said the 5-7, 145-pound Serino. What he did mostly was boxed, throughout his youth.

Riders frequently train for these races, not only by riding and conditioning their horses, but by using small trampolines, a foot or two off the ground, to strengthen their lower legs for bounding from one horse and onto another during exchanges.

Second place went to the His Bad Horse team and rider Lynwood His Bad Horse, Jr., a mere-16-year-old from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Third was Holds The Enemy, a Crow team, and rider Ferlin Blacksmith, who won two heats preceding the final.

In the first race of the last day of racing, Jake Barton picked up a check for the return trip to Phoenix aboard Smarty Gras, winning by two-plus lengths. Barton was a new addition to the jockey colony late in the season and intends to return again for the 2014 meet.

Until then, he will ride at Turf Paradise and, in his spare time, hunt the arroyos and washes of the Arizona desert for quail, his chief devotion outside of racing.

Martin Escobar brought in Lady Ban Shee in race two, rallying in the final 16th to shade Santa Fe Sue and Butler by a solid neck.

Strange things happen on closing day, such as…

Hi Prim, under Ken Shino, got up in the final jump to provide trainer Nancy Sheehan her first win of the meet, in her 51st try, and at 38-1 in race three. There was not much more than a half-length separating the top four finishers in that thrilling finish.

Immediately thereafter, paddock analyst Angela Hermann and track president/CEO Randy Sampson presented trainer Cory Jensen with the award for his leading owners of the meet, Midwest Thoroughbreds.

There were, of course, additional awards for the stars of the summer show – the horses.

Heliskier, owned by Marlene Colvin and trained by Robertson, was named Horse of the Year for the second straight meet, joining Hoist Her Flag as the only other horse in Canterbury history to win the title twice.

His dominance at Canterbury was demonstrated by two additional awards. Heliskier was named sprinter of the meet as well as the champion Older Horse.

Dorsett, trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Terry Hamilton, was selected champion Three-year-old Colt or Gelding on the strength of his Mystic Lake Derby win.

Badge of Glory, owned by Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick and trained by Rhone was selected champion Three-year-Old Filly, and Dontrattlemycage, owned by Nicholas Raver and trained by Nevada Litfin, was voted Grass Horse of the meet. Second Street City, owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, second in the owner standings, was voted champion Older Filly or Mare.

Wayne Simon owned and Robert Johnson trained Appeal to the King is the champion Two Year Old. Machorina, owned by Emerald Bay Stables and trained by Mike Biehler, is the Claimer of the meet, and Stone Cottrell, owned by Terry Riddle and trained by champion conditioner Stacy Charette-Hill, is Champion Quarter Horse.

Still competitive despite his near miss at a title, Canchari brought in Grizzled Robert, the final winner of the 2013 season. That cut Butler’s final margin to two. The horse is trained by, who else, Robertson.

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.

Race of the Week: The Finale

Turf ChuteAs the meet draws to a close for 2013, a marathon on the turf has been drawn up as the tenth race on Saturday evening. Why is this claimer the race of the week? Because it’s such a rarity at Canterbury that more often than not, the favorite misses the mark.

Front runners have a good record on our turf course in the past few years, but this race’s 2012 trifecta returns for this year’s renewal still in their deep closing form of last year. All have endured different campaigns since that time but several new faces signed on in addition to the five trying this mile and three eighths event again. Here are the top three from 2012:

#6 Vini Vidi Vinci – He’s back to try and win the final race of the season again, but comes with a much more aggressive campaign in 2013. He’s raced almost twice as many times and has come up with half the victories thus far. He’s another like Jix that comes with a fairly predictable game plan. He has a bit of natural speed to him but for the most part it remains dormant, and he trails many of his races early. The rails will be out on Saturday and with the sustained move he’ll likely have to make, traffic could become a problem. I realize that forecasting a trip is near impossible, but if he hopes to make a six wide rally and still have the same gas after his year he’ll beat me. He raced three times in August and this will already be the second time in September – even for a horse that only runs for half of the race that’s a busy schedule..

#2 Hurricane Houston – The narrow runner up from last year will make his first start for a new barn. He’s a new Sherri Laing trainee, who’s won fresh off the claim with two of her last three acquisitions. Neither of those two winners was asked to go this far though, and both were bought in Arizona. He dipped his toes into open company last time after knocking out his non-three lifetime condition, and while it wasn’t a complete failure he didn’t have his typical late kick after closely pursuing the pace in Hype’s win. He used to be a pretty one-dimensional closer, but has employed a stalking tactic to come up with checks in three of his five outings this year. Israel Ocampo will assume the riding duties for the first time, as regular rider Alex Canchari departs for Grizzled Robert. The distance is not a question with him, and the post is quite convenient for his new style. He’s another, though, that gives plenty of breathing room between his wins and must find a way to win two of his final three races in his Canterbury campaign this year.

#3  Jix – What you see is what you get here. The third place finisher in this race last year runs the same race just about every time, and if it gets there it gets there. Two of the three tabs lifetime have been over our sod but the winning percentage for the seven year old is paltry. His last win came compliments of a disqualification, and the first two were attained by a total of just over a length. The theme may keep echoing through the inside slots of the gate, but Jix and Hype fit relatively the same mold with a few less starts in this corner. With the recent history here, though, there’s a lot less temptation to use him on top of any tickets unless your pockets are overflowing with cash.

Others of Interest in this marathon include:

#4 Grizzled Robert – The meet’s leading barn will send out its final contestant on the drop. He’s coming down from $10,000 claimers and adding a good amount of real estate onto his last journey of 7 ½ furlongs. He’s been closing in in both of his races at Canterbury this year, albeit somewhat slowly in both heats. The first of his two races was at this distance against tougher animals, but he was only 1 ½ lengths behind wire-to-wire winner Nic a Jack. There aren’t too many marathons in Arlington Park’s book that come up easy, and the aim could have been this race all along. The horse raced in early July, took a van ride up here and raced two weeks later. After settling in and trying our grass a couple of more times (His only prior appearance, oddly enough, was a loss to Hype in the Brooks Fields in 2010), big improvement should be in order for the third seven-year-old to take his place in the gate.

#5 Willie Prevail – He’s always dangerous but he’s always a price. He scraped out a win at the bottom of the barrel this spring in Phoenix, and that was the last time he went favored as well. In an unusual turn of events though, ‘Willie turned his hand to sprinting on the dirt and drew away by almost eight. The dangerous part about this horse is his occasional early speed, a trait Lori Keith is very apt at getting out of him. They’ve teamed up for both of his scores over the local lawn, but both were much shorter than the task at hand. These two would be no surprise at all to tug the field along for some time…the question is, how long?

#11 Double Jump – As we get further and further out in the gate, the harder it gets to hope for a fair trip with the placement of the starting gate. While his style doesn’t necessarily work against him in this respect, he’s another that will have to carve out a trip from the back of the pack with his lack of early lick. Too many of his comment lines tell of wide rallies rather than splitting horses or rail trips, and to pretend that saving ground isn’t vital at this distance would be foolish. He and Shepherd got it done last time by the narrowest of margins, but his determined style will help here. He hasn’t been a match with turf so far in his career, but for a horse that can’t seem to find enough distance he could get a piece from a difficult place.

#12 Saturday in May – This shrewd claim has not missed the board yet for Bernell Rhone and Dean Butler, and today should be no exception in spite of the post drawn. He’s filled the exacta in each of his three races on Canterbury sod, and his positional speed can get him out of this wide slot fairly quickly. He holds firm at this level and can adjust to a number of pace scenarios. He’s never been further than 1 1/8 miles on turf or 1 ¼ miles overall, and both races were bombs. On the bright side, he’s by a Belmont winner out of a Triple Crown Winner’s daughter so perhaps those were just bad days. Even though he started his career in Dutrow’s care, after being benched by that trainer for almost two years he’s shifted around fairly low-percentage barns. That changed when Rhone claimed him…he appears to be in the best shape he’s been in for some time, and is a legitimate threat to close the season a winner at low odds.

Thanks all the readers of this blog for your support and patronage this year – thank you doesn’t cover the gratitude from Canterbury Park and we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.

A full card, full fields and food trucks end our summer at Canterbury Park on Saturday – come say so long to the season with us and good luck.

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann serves as the Track Analyst for Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois and the summer of 2013 marks her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.

Video: The Trainers

StartingGate01Trainers serve as the most important individual in determining a horse’s success on the track. The trainer is responsible for all aspects of training, racing and care throughout a horse’s racing career. Additionally, they are responsible for communicating with owners, the racetrack and the media. Bernell Rhone, Canterbury Park Hall of Fame Trainer, and Amber Blair, trainer of 2013 All American Futurity Qualifier Hes Relentless explain what goes into training a racehorse.

 

Video: Michelle Benson

Races Heat Up

Two Bayme -  08-15-13 - R02 - CBY - Inside FinishThursday’s card was the 51st of the meet.

So, let’s see now, that means there are 18 racing days remaining in this, the 19th meeting since racing resumed in Shakopee after a two-year-shutdown, under the name Canterbury Park instead of Downs.

Naturally, the focus on the leading rider, trainer and owner will draw increased scrutiny in these final days.

On Thursday night for instance:

The card got under way with Dean P. Butler holding a five-win lead over Alex Canchari, 47-42, in the rider standings. However, Canchari will begin a four-day suspension today that will have an impact on the final results. Next in line is Ry Eilkleberry who started the evening with 36 winners.

The fun began from there.

Eilkleberry won two races on the card, with Artistic Design in the first and Hannahslittleangel in the sixth.

Canchari, still on a tear that started two weeks ago, won the fourth race with Moonshine Promise at 9-1. Aha, but Butler took that one right back, winning aboard Ghost Skier in race five.

Meanwhile, Juan Rivera (pictured above on Two Bayme), struggling for wins this meet, rode two winners on the card,Two Bayme in race two and Supremo Struckgold in race seven, and has 10 for the meet.

The race for leading trainer, won by Mac Robertson since just before mud caulks were introduced to racing, actually every year since 2005, went unchanged at the top of the standings Thursday.

It looks like this: Mike Biehler leads with 28, followed by Robertson with 27 and Bernell Rhone with 26. Robertson, incidentally, needs five wins to reach 500 at Canterbury Park.

The top of the owner standings went unchanged, too: Midwest Thoroughbreds leads with 21 winners, followed by Al and Bill Ulwelling, champions in 2010 and 2011, with 20.

HE IS INDEED RELENTLESS

Hes Relentless continues to demonstrate he is just that – relentless. Once again, this two-year-old under the care of trainer Amber Blair has been impressive on the racetrack, this time posting the fastest qualifying time, 21.148, among the top five horses in heats Thursday at Ruidoso Downs for the All American Futurity.

Hes Relentless Race Replay

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Thursday’s qualifiers will join today’s five qualifiers – the first time trials have been conducted over two days – in the Grade 1 $2.6 million All American on Labor Day. Fourteen trials were conducted Thursday and the same number will be run Friday.

Hes Relentless, running for R.D. Hubbard, Tom Maher and Johnny Cope was supplemented to the race for $50,000, as was Especially Tres, the second fastest qualifier on Thursday with a time of 21.191.

Hes Relentless was the fastest qualifier also for the Heritage Place Futurity on June 1, winning his heat by 4 ¼ lengths, at Remington Park and was sent off the favorite in the Futurity. He was beaten a head by Big Biz Perry, a 30-1 longshot. Big Biz Perry won one of Thursday’s trials for the All American but did not qualify for the final.

Other qualifiers on Thursday include Especially Tres, Handsome Jack Flash and Houdini. You N How Many More and Fly Thru The Fire finished tied Thursday with identical times of 21.27.  You N How Many More won a draw on Friday morning for the fifth and final spot in the All American Finals.

NOTABLE QUOTES THIS MONTH, ANY MONTH

Lori Keith, describing her horse’s demeanor heading into the first turn of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.

Dorsett, who would win the race handily, was relaxed, maybe too relaxed heading into the first turn. “It was like he was asleep,” recalled Keith. “I didn’t want to be too far back, so I gave him a little s-m-o-o-c-h.”

Wide awake, just like that. And then some.

Dorsett snapped to attention with such gusto, Keith decided on the spot that a reminder was probably not necessary. “I didn’t smooch to him again,” she said. “He just took off when I did that one time.”

Seis The Royal Cash, at 16-1, won the North Central Quarter Horse Futurity, breaking from the No. 1 hole. The rail had been fast earlier in the meet, evened out and then went back to the rail.

Thus, Vic Hanson sized up his horse’s win thusly:

“We drew well,” he said.

A youngster next to the winner’s circle spotted Israel Hernandez, all 5-foot-1 of him, heading down the steps after a race. “He looks like a real jockey,” he said.

Richard Grunder

Just after the fifth race on Thursday, a notice was posted on the screen next to the tote board wishing announcer Richard Grunder a happy birthday. A picture of Grunder, circa 1989, accompanied the message.

“I keep it from everyone in the racing office all day,” Grunder moaned, “and then it gets displayed on the big screen.”

The source of the leak? Julian Assange? Edward Snowden?

Grunder had some thoughts on the matter, but nothing firm enough to make an arrest.

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.