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.