Even the Legends Lose Sometimes

By Noah Joseph

This weekend Canterbury Park runs its first stakes race of the season, the 10,000 Lakes Stakes. This race, set for Minnesota breds, is one of the most popular stakes of the season. It has had some famous winners and exciting editions, but one horse made his mark in this race.

Every racetrack has a horse that captures the hearts and attention of the fans. In the early 2000s, no horse was more appreciated at Canterbury than Crocrock. A Minnesota racing treasure, Crocrock won several stakes races over his wondrous career for owner Dale Schenian and trainer Francisco Bravo. Each one of his victories more impressive than the last. Crocrock won the 10,000 Lakes twice in his career, however, he is also well known for a time in the race that he didn’t win.

On May 20th, 2001, Crocrock was one of eleven Minnesota breds set to take part in the 10,000 Lakes. It was his first start of the year, and he was trying to continue his top form that saw him win three stakes the year before. To win the 10,000 Lakes, Crocrock had to face tough competition. His foes in the race included the defending champion of the 10,000 Lakes in It’s Truly Obvious; 1999 Minnesota Derby winner Nix of Time; the upstart Not So Fast Brutus; and Bleu Victoriate, the Canterbury Park Horse of the Year in 2000. Heavy rains pelted the track in the middle of the card, turning the track sloppy by the time the stakes race was ready, but Crocrock, being the professional he was, feared no surface, nor horse.

Crocrock broke smartly from the gate in the six furlong contest. Being on the outside, he rushed up to the lead, but was overtaken by the speedy longshot Up the Sandcreek. Jockey Mark Irving settled Crocrock down, and took the lead with a half a mile to go, as Up the Sandcreek got tired, and began to fade. Crocrock’s foes were not firing, and when the field turned for home, it seemed that the race was all but over. However, Not So Fast Brutus was coming quickly under jockey Tho Nguyen, but Crocrock didn’t realize it. Thinking he was home free, Crocrock tilted his head to left towards the crowd as it cheered, and became rank and hard to settle. Not So Fast Brutus then collared Crocrock, who after seeing what had happened recovered, but it was too late. Not So Fast Brutus had upset the hero by half a length. The race was talked about extensively. Paul Allen said on the replay show that Crocrock pointing his head and not straightening out cost him the race, which it did.

But Crocrock eventually recovered from his defeat and won five more stakes at Canterbury. His life tragically came to an end in 2005 in an accident, but he left his legacy in racing in Minnesota. He’s a member of the Canterbury Hall of Fame, and is remembered by his greatest victories, along with this one crushing defeat.

Hold for More becomes earnings leader at Canterbury Park

Hold for More, a 5-year-old Minnesota-bred thoroughbred, became the all-time leading money earner in the history of Canterbury Park or Downs when he won the ninth race Thursday.  His $23,700 share of the purse boosted his earnings at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack to $347,650, eclipsing Crocrock who earned $340,452 racing from 1999 to 2004.

Hold for More is owned by Dale Schenian of South Saint Paul, Minn., and is trained by Francisco Bravo. That same duo also campaigned Crocrock.

“I had Crocrock and now I have Hold for More,” Schenian said. “The odds of that happening are a million to one.”

Thursday ‘Buck Night’ Racing Returns to Canterbury Park as Four-Day Race Weeks Begin

Saturday is ‘Belmont Stakes Block Party’ with four local stakes races

Canterbury Park begins racing four days each week, Thursday through Sunday, when horse racing resumes tonight with the popular “Buck Night” promotion that offers $1 admission and other $1, $2 and $3 food and beverage specials. Post time on Thursdays and Fridays will be 6:30 p.m. with weekend racing beginning at 12:45 p.m. The exception is this Saturday when racing begins at 1:45 and will include a simulcast of the 149th running of The Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the thoroughbred Triple Crown, at 5:37.

Thursday’s 10-race card is highlighted by the ninth race, an allowance optional claiming route that includes many accomplished runners, with six in the seven-horse field having six-figure earnings.

Minnesota-bred Hold for More needs a win tonight to become the all-time leading money earner at Canterbury Park and/or Downs. The 5-year-old drew the rail and will be ridden by Orlando Mojica. Hall of Famer Crocrock holds the record with $340,452. Hold for More is less than $17,000 away. Dale Schenian is the owner of record of both Crocrock and Hold for More.

Diamond Joe, a legend in Nebraska, will be ridden by Dean Butler for trainer Chuck Turco. The 8-year-old has won 24 of 55 starts and has earned $505,442 racing all over the Midwest.

Aces High and Conquest Bigluck E are the favorites on the morning line at 5 to 2 and 2 to 1 respectively.

Live racing action Saturday features three $50,000 thoroughbred stakes, the Dark Star Cup, the Minnesota Turf, and the Minnesota Turf Distaff, as well as the $32,750 Gopher State Derby for quarter horses. Off-the-track activities, all part of the ‘Belmont Stakes Block Party’, include live music provided by GB Leighton, a medallion hunt, a hat contest, and food trucks. Pony rides, a petting zoo, and face painters for children will also be available from 1:30 to 5:00. General admission is $9 for adults. Children 17 and younger are admitted free and parking is free.

$50,000 Dark Star Cup

A field of seven headed by graded stakes winner Rated R Superstar will compete in the 6 1/2 furlong Dark Star Cup, the sixth race on the 10-race program. Top jockey Dean Butler has the mount for trainer Ken McPeek. The leading money earner in the field is Wings Locked Up, trained by Clinton Stuart. Orlando Mojica has the call on the 5-year-old who has earned $366,966 in purses.

$50,000 Minnesota Turf Distaff

Trainer Mac Robertson has four of the 10 Minnesota-bred fillies and mares entered in the 7 1/2 furlong Minnesota Turf Distaff. Honey’s Sox Appeal, owned by Robert Lindgren of Prior Lake, Minn., has finished in the top three in all nine career starts including her May 20 victory in the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes. She will be making her first start on the turf Saturday. Alex Canchari will ride.

$50,000 Minnesota Turf

Robertson also has two horses entered in the Minnesota Turf including the accomplished A P Is Loose, winner of five of 12 career turf starts. Butler will ride the multiple stakes winner owned and bred by Joel Zamzow of Duluth, Minn.

$32,750 Gopher State Derby

Trainer Jason Olmstead qualified four 3-year-olds to the Gopher State Derby including the fastest qualifier in the trials held May 27 One Famous Sign, who will be ridden Saturday by Larren Delorme. The Gopher Stake Derby will be the first race of the day.

Sunday’s 12-race marathon includes six quarter horse trials for the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity. A total of 53 two-year-olds will compete for 10 spots in the July 2 final. The final half of the card will be feature thoroughbreds.

Odds and Ends from the Weekend plus more to come….

Hold for More was victorious in this weekend’s running of the $50,000 10,000 Lakes Stake.

He rated for the early parts of the race behind the three pacesetters, Cupid’s Delight, Bourbon County and Smooth Chiraz, before swinging four wide at the top of the stretch to overtake them all and win by a convincing 2 ½ lengths under jockey Orlando Mojica. The money earned by Hold for More catapulted him into second position behind reigning leader Crocrock for the title of All-Time Leading Money Earner at Canterbury Park. Hold for More is currently $16,502 behind Crocrock. Though Mojica is currently ranked third in the jockey standings by wins, he is second by money earned with $163,672, behind leading rider Alex Canchari’s $218,965. Hold for More paid $11.80 to win.

The $50,000 Lady Slipper was won by wagering favorite Honey’s Sox Appeal. The 4-year-old filly is trained by Mac Robertson and ridden by leading rider Alex Canchari. Mac Robertson has now won the race four times. Thunder and Honey, the older half-sister to Honey’s Sox Appeal, was third in the Lady Slipper. They are both out of the broodmare A J’s Honey.

There were three impressive Minnesota-bred three-year-old winners over the weekend, and all will likely be pointed toward the Minnesota Derby. Hot Shot Kid, owned by Warren Bush, trained by Mac Robertson and ridden by Alex Canchari, won the second race on Friday night by ¾ of a length as the heavy wagering favorite. This allowance victory comes just after a Maiden Special Weight win at Oaklawn Park. Mines Made Up won the 6th race, a Maiden Special Weight, on Friday night by an easy 6 ½ lengths, much the best in the 10-horse field. The 3-year-old bay gelding is owned by Lothenbach Stable, trained by Joel Berndt and ridden by Denny Velazquez. Grand Marais, also ridden by Denny Velazquez, easily won the last race of the card on Saturday, also a Maiden Special Weight, by a widening 6 ¾ lengths. The 3-year-old chestnut colt is owned and trained by Gary Scherer. The Derby, which will be run on July 29, is already looking like it could shape up to be a very exciting and competitive race.

Jockey Nik Goodwin is another win closer to the 1,000 win milestone, after winning the 5th race on Paschal for trainer Dan McFarlane on Saturday afternoon. He now has 997 wins and rides in the 2nd, 4th and 6th races on this Friday night’s card.

There will be four days of live racing for the first time this meet over Memorial Day Weekend. Post time for the first race on Friday will be 6:30 PM, Saturday at 12:45 PM, Sunday at 12:45 PM and Monday (Memorial Day) at 12:45 PM. Monday will not only feature live horse racing at Canterbury Park, but also the Annual Running of the Bulldogs. There will be 48 bulldogs running in five races that will take place in between the live horse races.

Quarter Horse racing at Canterbury Park begins on Saturday, May 27 with the 400-yard Gopher State Derby Trials for three-year-olds.

 

by Katie Merritt

Katie Merritt is a senior at the University of Kentucky and currently an intern in the Canterbury Park Press Box. Before returning to school she galloped at several tracks around the country, but spent the majority of her time working for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.

‘Ice’ and ‘Eddie’ Headline Festival of Champions Day

The Festival of Champions, which began in 1992, is a day of racing restricted to horses bred in Minnesota. Keewatin Ice, owned by Camelia Casby of Shakopee, MN, is entered in the $50,000 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. The 1 1/16 mile race drew a field of seven. Keewatin Ice (pictured above) has won four of nine career starts, including decisive wins in the $35,000 MTA Stallion Auction Lassie Stakes and the $65,000 Minnesota Oaks this season. She will be ridden by Juan Rivera. The 11-race Festival of Champions program offers more than $400,000 in purse money.

If Keewatin Ice is successful in winning this running of the Minnesota Distaff Classic, it would mark the fifth time in Minnesota’s racing history that a three-year-old has captured the Minnesota Oaks and the Minnesota Distaff Classic in the same calendar year. Others to have completed that feat include: Chick Fight (2009); Glitter Star (2005); She’s Scrumpy (2003) and D’s Dancing Sophie (1999).

Additionally, if she should win, she would be only the third filly to complete the sweep of the Northern Lights Debutante, Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Distaff Classic. A win on Sunday would place her in the company of She’s Scrumpy (2002-2003) and Chick Fight (2008-2009) as the only runners to take the three biggest races for Minnesota-bred fillies during their 2-year-old and 3-year-old seasons.

Also on Festival of Champions Day, Nomorewineforeddie will aim for his third consecutive Minnesota Sprint Championship. A third straight victory in the Sprint would put Eddie into the company of Bella Notte (2009-2011 Minnesota Distaff Sprint Champion) , Crocrock (2000-2002; 2004 Minnesota Sprint Champion) and Glitter Star (2005-2007 Minnesota Distaff Classic Champion) as one of only four runners to capture the same Festival Day race three years in a row.

Finally, Jaival will return to defend his Minnesota Classic Championhip for trainer Valorie Lund and owners Eight Ender Stable.

Mac Robertson has a comfortable lead in the thoroughbred trainer standings and will win his eighth consecutive training title. The leading jockey will be determined over the weekend. Tanner Riggs holds a five-win lead over defending riding leader Dean Butler.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Two of a Kind?

Heliskier has been dominant in all four career starts, sparking conversation about how good he might be compared to other Minnesota-breds in recent history. The name that immediately is mentioned in comparison is Crocrock (pictured above).

While it would be premature to compare Heliskier at this point to the accomplishments of the great Crocrock, the path Heliskier has taken thus far is remarkably similar to that of Crocrock in 1999 and 2000. When comparing the measuring stick that many use in this sport, the Beyer Speed Figure, Heliskier is on a trajectory to be one of the best Minnesota-breds of all time.

First, Crocrock’s accomplishments: the son of North Prospect, bred and owned by Dale Schenian, won 16 of 42 starts and $359,977 in purses. Fourteen of his wins came at Canterbury Park where he is the all-time leading money earner at the Shakopee racetrack with $340,452 in earnings.

His stakes wins include the MTA Stallion Laddie, Victor Myers, MN Derby, the MN Sprint Championship four times and the 10,000 Lakes twice.

Crocrock began his career at two by winning the $27,000 MTA Stallion Laddie on Aug. 1, 1999 with a Beyer Speed Figure of 54. Heliskier was victorious in his 2-year-old debut, with a 55 Beyer on Aug. 13, 2011, in a state-bred maiden special weight.

Both made their next and final start of their 2-year-old seasons in the Northern Lights Futurity. Crocrock finished second with a 53 Beyer, Heliskier won by 10 lengths with a 71.

Crocrock, trained by Francisco Bravo, returned to the races May 21, 2000, winning a five and one-half furlong 3-year-0ld MN-bred N2L with a 55 Beyer fig. Heliskier faced older horses June 10 of this year in a six-furlong N3L and again won by double-digit lengths, earning a lofty 94 Beyer.

The logical race for a quality MN-bred 3-year-old in the spring is the Victor Myers Stakes at six furlongs, and the connections of both knew that was the race to win and both Crocrock and Heliskier delivered. Crocrock won by a nose with a 66 Beyer and Heliskier by four lengths with an 88.

What trainer Mac Robertson owner Marlene Colvin do next with Heliskier will all play out as the meet unfolds. Bravo sent Crocrock long after the Myers in a route rained off the turf. He finished second but went on the capture the Minnesota Derby at one mile and seventy yards, and finally the MN Sprint Championship at the end of the season.

Crocrock is a Canterbury Park Hall of Fame horse. He broke the 90 Beyer barrier four times in his career. He may be the last horse that, and Heliskier can garner the same attention if he continues to win, race fans made a special trip to the track to watch. Crocrock was must-see racing.

This blog was written by Canterbury Media Relations Manager Jeff Maday. Maday has filled multiple positions including Media Relations and Player Relations Manager since the track’s reopening in 1995.

Duke Deluxe Notches 12th Canterbury Win

Trainers like Canterbury Park for their reasons, jockeys for theirs and now it appears that horses, too, like the racetrack for reasons revealed with a simple glance at their PPs. Look no further than Thursday’s first race and the No. 2 horse, an eight-year-old gelding named Duke Deluxe.

Duke is mad about Canterbury and here is the proof:

With a late burst from his eight-year-old lungs, Duke ran down Royal Express and won for the 12th time – by, oh, the width of a nostril.

He has 12 career wins, six seconds and eight thirds from 61 career starts.

Not eye-catching numbers for any specific reason, unless you take a closer look at those PPs. Duke has 12 career wins. A 13th, in mid May, came at the Brown County Fair in South Dakota in an unrecognized race and is not included in his Daily Racing Form list of wins.

Twelve wins, all at Canterbury Park. He clearly likes this racetrack. Couldn’t win at six other tracks, only Canterbury.

A gelded son of Touch Gold, Duke Deluxe is tied with four horses for wins at Canterbury behind three other horses. Two Hall of Fame thoroughbreds – Hoist Her Flag, a two-time Horse of the Year, and John Bullit lead the list with 17 wins. Crocrock is next with 14. Sir Tricky, Texas Trio, Day Timer and Stock Dividend also have 12.

Moments after Duke’s win under Nik Goodwin on Thursday, Deb Bonn was on the cell phone from Canterbury to her daughter Amber,20, back in Aberdeen, S.D. Amber is half owner in the horse that the family refers to as “College Fund.”

Amber has jobs at two restaurants to pay her way through beauty college, but her share of the winnings from Thursday’s win will help considerably. “You can quit one of those jobs,” her mother told her.

Randy Bonn, who has been at Canterbury as an owner or trainer every year since 1985, bought the horse for his cousin, Jeff Boon, and daughter, Amber, in Phoenix last March and sent him to trainer Larry Donlin at Grand Island, Neb., for vetting.

They turned the horse out for 60 days, ran him twice in the South Dakota bushes and then debuted him Thursday in Shakopee, where he was sent off at 10-1, despite his history over this racetrack.

Duke Deluxe broke his maiden at Canterbury on June 21, 2007 in his sixth career start and is 12-3-1 from 21 starts in Shakopee.

Bob Lindgren owned him for three wins four years ago. “Bobbie Grissom called me about him,” Lindgren said. “She told me that the horse didn’t like the hard surface in Phoenix, but that he always did well here.”

A bit of an understatement, to say the least.

A GOODWIN HAT TRICK

Call it a blog boost, a blog bounce or merely a coincidence, but Nik Goodwin had a bang-up night on Thursday’s card.

The 36-year-old native Minnesotan was profiled in a blog story this week, and promptly responded by winning three races on Thursday’s card.

Goodwin won the opening race on the card with Duke Deluxe, the fourth race with Supremo Struckgold and the seventh with Thepointman.

He has 11 wins and is tied for fifth in the rider standings.

He leads the quarter horse standings with some amazing numbers. He has 11 wins, six more than any other rider. He has an amazing 11 wins and 12 seconds from 24 starts.

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