This and That With Only 3 Days Left

BY JIM WELLS

With a mere three racing days now left on the 2019 calendar, Friday’s card had a bit of everything on the agenda, including a display of female power, joy that spread from the racetrack to the photo department, and even a bit of comedy to top it all off.

There was a celebrated win by the distaff side of a jockey couple, a maiden start by a newcomer to Canterbury who has never been here before, and a winning ride in his return to Shakopee by a fan favorite.

First, Betty Jo Williams rode Some Say So to the winner’s circle with a late close in a five-furlong event on the turf. She was greeted by smiles and hugs as she arrived in the jockey lounge and a supporting comment from husband, Nik Goodwin. “Way to go,” he told her. “I’m proud of you.”

Williams’ win stoked up the two female riders in subsequent race four, including Chel C Bailey, making her maiden start. “Girl power, watch out now,” said Kelsi Harr, who had a mount in the same race.

The win went to Chad Lindsay aboard Candy Wompus,however, and that produced an understandably happy moment in the Shawn Coady photo department for his assistant, Taylor Van Winkle, since the winning rider is her boyfriend and the winning trainer her father, Dave Van Winkle.

Bailey, meanwhile, was simply pleased to have ridden her first race. “How did it feel,” another rider asked. “Great,” she said. “Can’t wait to do it again.”

Trainer Mac Robertson lured Bailey and her husband north from Oaklawn Park in Arkansas with an employment offer, and Bailey,27,who has been galloping and working horses for a number of years, got her maiden start aboard Captain of Summer for trainer Sue Wiley.

Then it was Denny Velazquez’s turn. He left Phoenix last spring for Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, where he won 25 races, and made his first appearance in Shakopee since last summer aboard Buxterhooter for trainer Joel Berndt and owner Jack Guggisberg in race five.

In a three-horse race to the wire, Buxterhooter got there first with a final lunge, and Velazquez was greeted on his return to the jockeys’ lounge with a number of “atta boys” and various other verbal high fives.

Then, there was the matter of Carter Hamilton, 12, whose father, Quincy, won the sixth race aboard Smart Prospector.

He was concerned that Ms Bailey was wearing a bit too much makeup for her racing debut, that it would be noticeably all over her face when she reappeared in the riders’ lounge. “She might look like she’s been crying all day,” he predicted.

That wasn’t quite the case, but Carter had another matter of concern.

When Goodwin entered the room after the fourth race he was covered in mud, including his face. “Oh, my sweet Jesus, look at that,” young Hamilton remarked.

And so it went, on the next to the last Friday of the meet.

  QUARTER HORSE MEET WRAPPED UP

The quarter horse titles have already been decided. Jorge Torres, having won riding championships in 2013 and again in 2015, nosed out Nick Goodwin, 16-14, in that department and finished four wins in front of defending champion Cristian Esqueda.

Torres got his start under Stacy Charette-Hill, who shared breed awards in 2013 with her chief rider as Canterbury’s champion trainer that season. She finished second in the standings this meet with 16 wins, 13 seconds, eight thirds and earnings of $200,659.

Jason Olmstead won his fifth consecutive training title. He saddled 23 winners, with 25 seconds and 19 thirds and earnings of $490,262. He sent horses to the gate in dominant numbers, saddling 132 starters with Clinton Crawford, who finished third in the standings, sending 81 to the gate.

The champion owner this season is Brenda Reiswig, whose barn sent out 46 starters, winning nine races, finishing second four times and third another nine  and leading the earnings list with $116, 433.

Reiswig, who lives in Bismarck, N.D.,  runs a sizable operation. She has around 100 horses all told, many of them at a ranch in Oklahoma where she keeps all of her mares and babies.

She has 20 mares and is as active in breeding as she is on the racing end, with stables in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas, in addition to Canterbury Park where she has raced the past decade.

Notes from the Weekend

Canterbury newcomers Cecily Evans and Justine Klaiber both rode their first winners at this track on Saturday. Klaiber got her first win in the 2nd race on the quarter horse Jess A Chance for trainer Randy Weidner.

After dueling in the early parts of the Quarter Horse dash, Jess a Chance took charge late to win the race by ¾ of a length. Evans crossed the wire first later in the card, in the 8th race aboard Emily’s Entourage for last year’s leading trainer Mac Robertson. Emily’s Entourage drew clear from the rest of the field to win the race by a decisive 3 ½ lengths.

Jockey Betty Jo Williams made a return to the saddle last weekend after a 5 year hiatus. Williams has 109 wins, 131 seconds and 152 thirds from 1,070 starts. In 2011 she was a finalist for the Canadian Sovereign Award for leading apprentice rider. A couple of serious injuries and later becoming a mother have kept Williams from riding, but she has decided that she is ready to make her comeback here at Canterbury Park this summer.

Thursday night racing, more popularly known as Buck Night, returns this week with a 6:30 p.m. post.  Admission is just one dollar and there are several $1, $2 and $3 food and beverage specials throughout the facility.

Entries will be taken Wednesday for the Saturday program that will include three $50,000 stakes races. Two are new, the Minnesota Turf and the Minnesota Turf Distaff, and one, the Dark Star Cup, honors a Canterbury Hall of Famer, the late Dark Star.

Dark Star was a fixture at Canterbury beginning in the mid-eighties. He never missed an opportunity to promote Minnesota horse racing on his long running WCCO AM radio program as well as on KFAN where he worked until passing away five years ago.  He hosted the replay show, The Canterbury Report, which was the longest running sports show in the Twin Cities, for two decades.

Many friends will gather Saturday to remember Dark Star, including former Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, who will present the trophy to the winning connections of the Dark Star Cup.

Post time Saturday is 1:45 p.m.

Saturday is also Belmont Stakes day. Advance wagering is available as follows for both the Friday and Saturday Belmont programs.

Available Thursday, 6/8/17:

Advance wagers for Friday’s Belmont card (race 11 is the Belmont Gold Cup)

Advance wagers for Saturday’s Belmont card (race 11 is the Belmont Stakes)

Thursday’s Belmont card

Belmont Gold Cup/Belmont Stakes Double Wager (race 11 on Friday and race 11 on Saturday)

New York Stakes/Metropolitan Handicap Double Wager (race 9 on Friday and race 9 on Saturday)

 

Available Friday, 6/9/17:

Advance wagers for Saturday’s Belmont card (race 11 is the Belmont Stakes)

Friday’s Belmont card (race 11 is the Belmont Gold Cup)

Belmont Gold Cup/Belmont Stakes Double Wager (race 11 on Friday and race 11 on Saturday)

New York Stakes/Metropolitan Handicap Double Wager (race 9 on Friday and race 9 on Saturday)

 

Available Saturday, 6/10/17:

Saturday’s Belmont card (race 11 is the Belmont Stakes)

Advance wagering on Canterbury races is always available one day in advance.