A Win For A Minnesota Horse, Sports Fans

By Jim Wells

Call it a flicker of hope, a spark in the ash of the campfire, a glimmer of light in a sea of darkness. Minnesotans were given a reason to raise their heads and applaud again on Sunday.

At a sporting event.

Just like that, the doubting Thomases of sportsdom stood and feted one of their own, a horse bred and born within the confines of the state, a horse that defied the odds _ 18-1, in fact _ by winning the richest quarter horse race of the season with a jockey who doubled his win total for the meet on a single afternoon.

Maybe we can change our license plates now. “land of 10,000 Lakes and not quite as many losers.”

In a field that included foes bred in the quarter-horse meccas of the sport _ Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas _ Minnesota came out on top.

Stand and greet, if you would, please, a 2-year-old Minnesota-bred filly called Jess Doin Time, a native Minnesotan and winner of the $146,400 350-yard Mystic Lake Futurity, a 350-yard dash for 2-year-olds. Only two other state-breds have won this race in its 32 runnings.

Bred and owned by Tom Pouliot of Corcoran, she paid $39.40 on a two-dollar win ticket after outdueling favorite Miss Energy P by ¾ length, with another ¾ length back to Maghelene. The winning time was 17.940.

Someone mentioned to Pouliot the jockey’s contribution. “Hey, the kid did a great job, using both hands to keep that horse straight,” he said.

The winning rider, Julian Serrano, had just two wins for the meet……until Sunday. Earlier on the card, he guided Zoes Sassy Miracle to a win in the $20,000 Mystic Lake Northlands Juvenile. Sunday’s two wins pretty much made the meet for him.

“I couldn’t get a win,” he said. “And now, this.  Things started turning around for me last week when I rode a winner. This really turned them,” he said. “I feel really good about it.”

Earlier, in the winner’s circle, Pouliot talked about the filly at just three weeks old, running in the pasture at the farm as her mother looked on. “She ran out in the pasture and then came back (to her mother) running with her head down,” he said. He was impressed at the time with the way she ran and envisioned good things ahead.”

Her mother, Lenas Rare Lady, was in foal by Apollitical Jess, another promising feature as Pouliot saw it. “He’s one of the best sires, maybe No. 1,  in the business,” he added.

Pouliot then maneuvered his right arm in the socket, as if it were out of joint. “I must be getting old,” he said. He apparently had done something to the arm pumping it in the air as he watched Jess Doin Time take the lead.

So why, he was asked, did his fellow Minnesotans not demonstrate same faith he had in his two-year-old. It was a puzzle to him since he had all sorts of confidence.

“I felt really good about her,” he said, “admitting to betting $10 across  the board on her, as he has done previously.”

$40,100 BOB MOREHOUSE STAKES

Trainer Jason Olmstead asks his riders to pick their horses before the draw, so Cristian Esqueda, who has first call in the barn, went with Pyc Jess Bite Mydust, the morning line and post-time favorite in the eight-horse field.

That left Denny Velazquez with Dickey Bob, who would be sent off as second choice at 5/1.

Maybe it’s a variation of the old axiom ….the first shall be last and the last first.

Whatever the explanation, Velazquez was first at the wire by a full 1 ½ lengths over Rey D Arrangue, with Pyc Jess Bite Mydust in third a head out of second place.

Nice pick up, eh, Denny !

“Yeah, perfect,” he said.

Moments later as he entered the jockeys lounge, he was greeted by Patrick Canchari.

“Hey, who was that I saw all curled up on that horse like that,” he said.

Velazquez gave a muted response, an acknowledgement of having received an indirect compliment, clearly pleased things had worked out as they had.

The favorite had thrown his head at the break and then drifted as he grabbed the dirt, reaffirming that it’s often “all in the break” when it comes to quarter horse racing.

Trainer Jason Olmstead couldn’t really lose in this one. He saddled both horses in addition to a third, Itinkican Itinkican who finished off the board.

 $78,450  DERBY

Trainer Stacy Charette-Hill had saddled three winners of this race, but left a the definite impression that Sunday’s win by Disco Wagon, the fourth, was indeed the best.

The horse had been owned in partnership by Stacy, her husband Randy and a longtime friend, Victor Prior, who died a short time ago.  Stacy and Randy were later informed by Prior’s widow that he left his share of Disco Wagon, to them.

“I hope Victor’s up there watching this,” Charette-Hill said, after Disco Wagon finished ¾ length in front of Df Apolitical Sign and another full length in front of Eagle Deluxe, in 19.91. “This one is really special (for Randy and Victor). This was their dream.”

 $20,000 Mystic Lake Northlands Juvenile

Serrano got his first winner of the day and third of the meet aboard a filly named Zoes Sassy Miracle, owned by the Hussmans of Rapid City, S.D., who have had other horses named for youngsters in the family.

Zoe was on hand for Sunday’s win, her proud smile revealing youthful braces on her teeth that didn’t seem to matter in the least on this joyful afternoon.

The Husmans, Lowell, Becky and Lynn,  had a horse named Matt Corona  and hope to have one some day named Eva Diva.  But on Sunday, they were singing the praises not only of Zoes Sassy Miracle, the winning favorite by a neck over Chocolatepaintedkiss with Dashing Fajita third by another neck, but of trainer Mark Barnes.

“You couldn’t get a better trainer, Lowell Husman said. “He just communicates so well. Make sure you put in a good word for him.”

“He’s really a winner,” added Lynn.

With that, the Husmans were ready to head home to Rapid City.

Western Fun Takes Morehouse

Western%20Fun%20-%20The%20Bob%20Morehouse%20Stakes%20-%2007-27-13%20-%20R09%20-%20CBY%20-%20FinishAn appropriate win for an aptly named racehorse in Saturday’s feature event, the $23,200 Bob Morehouse Stakes. Morehouse, a Minnesotan with a Western heart and the experience to go with it, gave quarter horse racing a big jump start in Minnesota, and a horse named Western Fun won the race named in his honor.

With Stormy Smith up, Western Fun broke smartly but then became enthralled with the beer fest taking place in Shire’s Square and started stopping.

“Cody’s horse (Tres My Tracks) was really coming on and my horse was looking at the tents,” said Smith, referring to Cody Smith. “She got going again just enough to hold him off.”

Western Fun had a half length on Tres My Tracks, who finished in front of Streak N Hot and Teller IM Out.

The winner, clocked in 20.55 over the 400-yard course, is owned by Hall of Famer breeders Bob and Julie Petersen.

Western Fun is a four-year-old filly by Tres Seis from Southern Fun and is 6-5-2 from 21 career starts.

A homebred, she had earned just short of $50,000 prior to Saturday’s feature event.

“We had four babies from that blind mare that passed away,” said Bob Petersen. “They were all winners and three of them won stakes.”

That includes Western Fun, who won the Minnesota Derby last year.

Morehouse, a wrangler and stunt man in a number of early westerns, played a prominent part in the state’s quarter horse racing and breeding industries. His stallions produced the winners of 10 of the first 13 runnings of the Northlands Futurity. His Rafter M. Ranch outside Watertown remains in the family although it’s intent today is geared by two of his daughters, Becky Boll and Terry Hintze, toward raising horses for barrel racing instead of quarter horse racing.

It seems reasonable to assume he would be proud of the operation nonetheless, given his attraction to many things Western.

He not only worked on several films made by John Ford and John Huston, he rubbed elbows with some of the greats of Hollywood Western history, John Wayne, Jimmy Cagney and Audie Murphy among them.

The influence of the West was evident in everything Morehouse did, his artwork, sculptures and whittling. He also wrote and sang a number of Western songs.

His daughter, Bobbi, presented the trophy to the Petersens Saturday. In attendance as well were daughters Holly and Jody and granddaughters Gabrielle and Gianna.

Petersen was acquainted with Bob Morehouse, who passed away in 1988. “He started things here,” Peterson said. “He really got it going.”

So did Western Fun Saturday, just in time.

BASHFORD MANOR RING A BELL?

Horses will begin arriving Monday for the premiere stakes events of the season scheduled next Saturday.

Well, okay, one horse anyway, and his biggest race to date will remind long-time Canterbury fans of a Hall of Fame horse from the track’s early days.

My Corinthian, trained by Dane Kobiskie, will arrive from Laurel Park for the $100,000 Shakopee Stakes, being run the same day as the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby and the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks.

My Corinthian placed third in the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs, a race won in 1987 by Blair’s Cove, a Canterbury Park Hall of Fame horse for whom a stakes race is run each year in Shakopee.

Trained and owned by Noel Hickey, Blair’s Cove won the Bashford Manor before it was graded. He became one of the early stars at Canterbury Downs.

Stable superintendent Mark Stancato says the early arrival of My Corinthian caught him off guard.

“I’m not used to getting a call a week in advance,” he said. “They are coming on Monday for a race they haven’t entered.”

My Corinthian broke his maiden for fun and placed second in a third start.

SERVICES SET FOR ELERY SCHERBENSKE

Funeral services will be held for Elery Scherbenske, 85, next Friday in his hometown of Ashley, N.D.

Scherbenske started training in 1948 and had horses at Canterbury Downs and Park off and on since 1985.

He owned the livestock sale barn in Ashley and frequently had horses at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg.

“He trained until he was 80 years old. He had a good life,” said his son Percy, who has had a stable at Canterbury since 1985.

Percy said he has talked with the racing office and a memorial race will be worked on for later in the meeting.

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.

Cs Arc Light Takes Morehouse

There were lots of reasons that Cam Casby considered the $12,500-added Bob Morehouse Stakes a special race on Thursday night.

#1 was the fact that the winning horse is the last one she and her mother bred together.

#2 is the fact that her mother is in a Maplewood nursing home and unable to attend the races any longer and Cam wants to present her with a DVD of the race.

#3 it was the Bob Morehouse, a special name to anyone interested in quarter horses in the state of Minnesota.

#4 the winning horse underwent surgery last autumn after injuring both knees in a fall after leaving the gate.

#5 the win lifted the winner’s sire, Easanon, into the top 25 all time stakes producers among quarter horses.

Cam might want to re-arrange that order, maybe even add to it today, but in the rush of Thursday night excitement that pretty much covered the basics.

“It’s very special for a lot of reasons,” Casby said after CS Arc Light outran the favorites in a field of six to win as the 8-1 choice on the board with Ismael Suarez Ricardo in the irons, with a winning time of 20.440.

The Casbys thus added their first Bob Morehouse victory to an impressive list of wins.

On hand in the winner’s circle afterwards was large a delegation helping Casby celebrate and also representing the family of Bob Morehouse, a crowd that included his daughter Bobbi, and his sister, Anne Krawzyk.

Cs Arc Light went to both knees in a race last year and trainer Vic Hanson and Casby discovered some time later that he had chips in both knees. Surgery followed in the fall, and Thursday night the horse demonstrated that he is indeed back, winning for the third time in 15 career starts.

Hanson had some encouraging words for Casby shortly before the race.

Basically what he said was that CS Arc Light was as ready as a horse could be.

“I had a good feeling. I felt it right here,” Hanson said, tapping the chest area over his heart.

CS Arc Light proved him right, digging in to draw off in the final 75 yards of the 400-yard sprint, finishing ahead of Western Fun, Six It Up and Dutch Wagon.

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

Bob Morehouse On Tap

Some of Canterbury’s top older horses return to the track this week for the 13th running of The Bob Morehouse Memorial Stakes, a 400-yard race for three-year-olds and up. Though it is an open event, preference goes to Minnesota-breds, and only one entry in the field hails from outside the state.

Thursday, July 26th: The Bob Morehouse Memorial Stakes, $12,500, 400 yards

Leading Trainer: Ed Ross Hardy (6)
Leading Jockey: Tad Leggett (3)
Record Purse: $22,250, won by First Class Smarty in 2009

Last year the race went to Lien on Me, a three-year-old Minnesota-bred gelding owned by Tom Pouliot, trained by Brent Clay, and ridden by Jennifer Schmidt. The horse overcame a slow start to defeat post-favorite Six It Up by half a length at the wire as the 8-1 upset winner. His time of 20.081 earned him a 96 speed index but was not fast enough to reach the stakes record time of 19.85, set in 2006 by First Smart Muggins.

Lien on Me’s victory prevented Six It Up from earning two consecutive Morehouse victories, after winning the race in 2010 as a three-year-old. She returns this year to avenge her loss and try to become the second horse to win the event multiple times, following the form of First Class Smarty, who won in 2007 and 2009 (the race was not held in 2008). The five-year-old Tres Seis mare will make her third start of the year and third start for trainer Amber Blair. #5 Six It Up (4-1) has yet to find her way into the winners’ circle in over a year, but her affinity for this track and her back class may work in her favor Thursday. In her 11 lifetime starts at Canterbury, she has hit the board nine times, including five wins. She has been running in open races at Canterbury as well as Prairie Meadows, where she finished third behind Champion Mare Spit Curl Diva in the Grade 3 Keokuk Stakes last fall.

Six It Up isn’t the only horse returning from last year’s running of this event; #6 Dangerous Guns (5-1) will return following his disappointing sixth place finish in 2011. Dangerous Guns will try 400 yards for the first time since that race; the six-year-old gelding has been competing exclusively in 870-yard races at Canterbury, Louisiana, and Prairie Meadows. He steps back up in class to compete here but is 11 for 20 in the money at this track.

Dangerous Guns’ toughest competition may be from his half-brother, Explosive Guns (3-1) who will run alongside him to the outside. Explosive Guns typically runs against tougher company and is taking well to longer distances, including a fast closing finish in last month’s Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ and NCQHRA Derby to earn third place.

Keep an eye on #4 Dutch Wagon: This four-year-old son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon is trained by leading quarter horse trainer Ed Hardy and ridden by Nik Goodwin; these two combine for a 38% win percentage at this meet. Don’t let the class bump fool you, this horse has been facing tough horses at Prairie Meadows and Remington Park, and appears to be rounding into form since shipping up to Canterbury this summer. His last race was a $10,000 claiming event, but it was for non-winner of three lifetime, and he won easily as the post-time favorite. He won by half a length; though this is not a large margin of victory, a horse that wins by more than a nose typically will have more to offer when they are pushed by faster horses.

Recap: Dash In A Flash Stakes, Saturday, July 21st

If you caught Extreme Race day last Saturday at Canterbury Park, you witnessed novelty events outside of horse racing as well as one within our sport: the hundred-yard dash. The $15,000 Dash In A Flash Stakes was a 110-yard event open to three-year-olds and up.

This is the first time the event has been run as a stakes race since 2008 and it was the first 110-yard race in track history (previous Dash in a Flash stakes were held at 100 yards). The entries included two horses that had last raced at Prairie Meadows and one shipper from Boise, but the victory went to the local Red Hot Zoomer (pictured above), who was second out of the gate but surged to a half-length win over Trs Dashin Rona.

Red Hot Zoomer is a three-year-old filly by Azoom, out of the Jody O Toole mare Prairie War, bred in Texas by Jim Pitts. She is owned by Terry Thorson, trained by Ed Ross Hardy and was ridden by Nik Goodwin.

Are you betting this jockey angle yet? Nik is now 35 of 41 in the money for quarter horse starts this meet; 31 of 41 starts as the first or second place finisher. Congratulations to the connections of this talented young filly; we can expect to continue to see great things from her in the future.

This blog was written by AQHA Q-Racing Ace Jen Perkins. Jen travels to tracks across the country to educate fans about handicapping and Quarter Horse racing, and shares her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography