Clean Sweep in Northlands

Eyesa%20Wagon%20Maker%20-%20Mystic%20Lake%20Northlands%20Futurity%20-%2007-05-13%20-%20R09%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20Finish%20The best laid plans of mice and men – and quarter horse trainers – don’t always play out as they’re intended.¬†And sometimes they do… just not as expected.

Let’s call this one the second no contest of the night.

Friday night in the richest quarter horse race in track history, the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, a trainer named Stacy Charette-Hill sent out horses that finished one-two-three. And she once raced the dam of the fourth place horse.

The purse was $133,525 (including $27,500 from the Mystic Lake purse enhancement fund). Most of it went to Charette-Hill and her husband, Randy Hill.

The irony here is that the favorite in the race, High Ace, also trained by Charette Hill, finished fifth. And the winner was Eyesa Wagon Maker, sent off at 35-1 under Stormy Smith.

The first no contest on the card occurred in the fifth race when the gate malfunctioned at the break.

For the record, Eyesa Wagon Maker, bred and raised by Stacy and Randy and ridden by Stormy Smith, finished first in 17.76. Next was Mighty Coronas First and then Little PYC. Fourth place went to Fantastic Follies, by PYC Paint Your Wagon, handled by Randy Smith, from Fantastic Six, once raced by the husband and wife team.

Smith was all smiles, having won this race for the third straight year, in 2012 with Midnight Sunlight and in 2011 with Cruzin the Wagon.

Eyesa Wagon Maker lost his concentration at one point during the 350 yard race. “The five horse (Little PYC) was leaning on us just a little and when Omar went to the stick he moved out and my horse took off,” said Smith.

Charette-Hill had four chances to win this race, and the one she least expected came through.

“I didn’t think this horse could win it,” she said. “I really didn’t.”

Charette-Hill qualified five horses for the race and they drew post positions right in order, three through seven. That is until Lil Miss Party Doll was later scratched.

Nonetheless, she still had four starters. “That wouldn’t happen again in a million tries, to draw those spots in order,” she said. “I guess it doesn’t matter, if I get wiped out by anyone it will be my own.”

Charette-Hill took the philosophical approach to the matter before the race, happy to have qualified at all.

“Some didn’t get the opportunity,” she said. “I’m happy to race. It will be fun.”

Mighty Coronas First was the second fastest qualifier for the race, just behind High Ace.

Stacy is still waiting for the filly by Mighty Corona to get her act together. “She can be a basket case,” she said. “I have to do so much with her just to keep her quiet. “I thought she was dead on the ground behind the gates at Remington. I tied her and she wouldn’t stay in the gate. She tried to tear them down. She can put on a real show.”

Nonetheless, she has known the filly had talent from the get-go. “I called my husband and said, I’m telling you Randy Hill, this mare can fly and I mean fly.”

The best might be yet to come. “If she ever gets where she can trust herself and everyone around her and on her, I think she’ll be major fast,” Stacy added.

For Friday night, though, all eyes were on Eyesa Wagon Maker, the winner of the richest quarter horse race in track history.

Eyesa%20Wagon%20Maker%20-%20Mystic%20Lake%20Northlands%20Futurity%20-%2007-05-13%20-%20R09%20-%20CBY%20-%20Pres

THE RACE THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN

The human eye, limited as it is, caught something out or the ordinary in Friday’s fifth race. A slow motion replay clarified the matter. The gates opened in groups at different times, as if it were a staggered start.

Those who missed the break were at first mystified after Tiger Run and Juan Rivera hit the wire in front of the field and a stewards’ inquiry ensued.

It was clear after watching replays that the horses breaks occurred at different times due to the gate malfunction.

The stewards declared a no contest, and wagers were returned to patrons.

NOT JUST THE WEATHER

Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, continued as the track’s hottest rider with another winner on Friday’s card. He had three on Wednesday night that included both $50,000 stakes races and another winner on Thursday’s card.

Friday, He took Lookinatmindy, trained by clay Brinson, to the winner’s circle in race four.

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.

Top Quarter Horses On Tap

This week brings us two major quarter horse stakes races at Canterbury Park: The Northlands Futurity on Thursday and the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby on Saturday. These are the two biggest quarter horse races of the meet for open company and feature some of the best 2-year-old and 3-year-old quarter horses on the grounds.

Thursday, July 5: Northlands Futurity, $59,800, 350 yards

Leading Trainer: Ed Ross Hardy (6)

Leading Jockey: Tad Leggett (3)

Record Purse: $64,000, won by Cruzin the Wagon in 2011

Thursday’s race card features one of the highlights of the 2012 Canterbury Park meet: the 25th running of the Northlands Futurity. The Northlands is open to two-year-olds that qualified from four trials held Saturday, June 16th. This year’s purse of nearly $60,000 rivals the record purse offered last year of $64,000, when the race was won by Mary Louise and Terry Pursel’s Cruzin the Wagon, trained by Brent Clay and ridden by Stormy Smith. With a time of 17.754, Cruzin the Wagon narrowly missed the stakes record time of 17.74 set in 2006 by Rodney von Ohlen’s First Class Smarty. Cruzin went on to break not only a stakes time, but a track record time at Remington Park this spring when he won the Grade 3 Jack Brooks Stakes at 350 yards in 17.060 over a sloppy track. Cruzin the Wagon is one of a number of horses that have proven themselves on the Canterbury surface and continued to make a splash on the national scene. Still in training today, Cruzin the Wagon has a 2012 record of 5-4-1-0 and earnings of over $135,000; he has nine wins out of his eleven lifetime starts to date and has earned close to $300,000.

Will one of this year’s entries follow Cruzin’s hoofprints? Fastest qualifier and morning line favorite #9 Bp Painted Lady (8-5) has the bloodlines and talent to do so. Bred by Bill Price in Oklahoma, Bp Painted Lady is by leading two-year-old sire Pyc Paint Your Wagon and out of the First Down Dash mare Ladys Is First. She has never been worse than second in her four lifetime starts. Her campaign began this spring at Remington Park, where she finished second in a stakes race before shipping to Canterbury for the Northlands trials. Bp Painted Lady did not break sharply in the trial but gained enough ground in the final 100 yards to beat the field by over two lengths as the 1-9 post time favorite.

Second-fastest qualifier #1 Nn Absolutely (9-2) broke his maiden in his trial and won by over a length. The Tres Seis gelding trained by Ed Ross Hardy hopped slightly at the gate and broke last, but like Bp Painted Lady, gained ground near the end for a dominating win.

Third-fastest qualifier is #7 Lynns Wagon (6-1). The Pyc Paint Your Wagon filly won gate to wire, defeating Eye a Hero and Jess Thats Blazin, who also qualified. Lynns Wagon ran impressively and may be capable of even more when she is in stakes company and can pair up with a competitive horse.

#5 Midnight Sunlight (5-1) broke his maiden in his debut at Remington Park in March; he led briefly in his trial but fell back to second behind Nn Absolutely. Midnight Sunlight was the second place finisher in the Grade 2 Oklahoma Futurity.

#2 Mr Shakem Diva (10-1) ran second to the fastest qualifier, but beware of the comment lines in that effort. After the break, he was bumped slightly but not enough to set him off his path; he ran evenly with Bp Painted Lady until she pulled away in the stretch. This horse may not be the one to beat the fastest qualifier today, but he is well-bred and has shown steady improvement, keep an eye out for this one in future races.

#6 Sr Ivory Queen (12-1) will make an interesting exotic play, the Bobby Cox-bred Ivory James filly led the field for the entire race to defeat post-time favorite Traffic Patrol by a length and a half.

#4 Eye a Hero (15-1) has a good chance to outrun his odds. He hopped at the start of his trial, was pushed by the horse to his outside, and still had enough left to make a big run and get up for second behind Lynns Wagon.

#3 Naked Spur (15-1) was prevented from finishing better by gate trouble and overwhelming speed of winner Bp Painted Lady but the horse showed enough talent to finish strong and qualify for the final.

#10 Jess Thats Blazin (15-1) bobbled at the start and improved to third behind Lynns Wagon and Eye a Hero while attempting 350 yards for the first time in his trial.

#8 Traffic Patrol (15-1) finished second in her trial behind Sr Ivory Queen after a slow break. Traffic Patrol has shown speed and momentum near the end of each of her races, and her Thoroughbred bloodlines suggest she will do well with longer races.

Saturday, July 7: Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby, $40,650, 400 yards

Leading Trainer: Ed Ross Hardy (6)

Leading Jockey: Casey Lambert (2), Tad Leggett (2), Stormy Smith (2)

Record Purse: $100,000, won by Oh Bid Go in 1988 and Osceola Warrior in 1989

The 25th running of the Canterbury Derby will be held on Saturday, featuring the ten fastest three-year-olds from qualifying trials on June 23rd. Though Ed Ross Hardy leads the standings for this race with six wins, Brent Clay has won three of the last six years, including 2010 winner Time for Wilena, who set the stakes record of 19.699, and last year’s winner, I Am That Hero, owned by Brent and Karen Clay and ridden by Stormy Smith. After winning the Canterbury Derby last year in 20.259, I Am That Hero continued his campaign in trials, derbies and allowance races at Zia, Sunland, Hialeah and Remington, only finishing off the board twice in his 12 starts in 2011 and earning over $135,000.

The Canterbury Derby is a key race for local horses; the winner of the 2007 Derby, First Class Smarty, was also the winner of the Northlands Futurity the year before and still holds the stakes record time for that race. Mr La Bubba won the Derby in 2008; he won the Great Lakes Stakes the following year.

The field for this year’s race has extensive Canterbury experience but also brings backclass from Oklahoma, Iowa and Indiana. Two trial races were held to determine the fastest qualifiers, and the trial times were evenly split, each race qualifying five horses.

Remington shipper #3 Huckleberry Mojito was the fastest qualifier and will be the early favorite at 2-1 on the morning line. The Feature Mr Jess filly covered the 400 yards in only 19.97 and separated herself from the field by three lengths at the wire. Ed Ross Hardy trains Huckleberry Mojito and Nik Goodwin will ride; Goodwin wins at 42% on quarter horses at this meet and has been first or second in 24 of his 26 starts. As is typical with Feature Mr Jess fillies, she has shown remarkable improvement both as a three-year-old and at running longer distances.

Drawing to the outside of Huckleberry Mojito is #4 Painted Lies (4-1). Painted Lies (pictured at top) was the second fastest qualifier, winning his trial by a neck in 20.33. This was the fourth win in a row for the Pyc Paint Your Wagon gelding, trained by Amber Blair. Painted Lies was the fastest qualifier to the Minnesota Stallion Breeders and North Central Derby last month, and he won the final by a neck. Painted Lies has never run out of the money at Canterbury and was competitive at Remington Park this spring, including a fifth place finish behind Cruzin the Wagon in a $246,000 statebred stakes.

Huckleberry Mojito and Painted Lies will likely turn this event into a match race down the center of the track. Though Huckleberry Mojito has proven to be faster, Painted Lies has never faced the same level of competition, and this could elevate his performance in the race. Look for another Feature Mr Jess Filly, #10 Feature Dreamgirl (5-1), to close fast from the outside. Bred in Utah and trained by Ed Ross Hardy for owner David Wisdom, Feature Dreamgirl has run second to Painted Lies in her last three starts but has narrowed the gap each time. Feature Dreamgirl broke her maiden as a three-year-old against older horses at Remington Park and continues to improve at Canterbury.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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

Canterbury Quarters Make Nat’l Impact

It’s that time of year: in a matter of hours, the starting gate will open for the first time in 2012. The athletes file into the barns, the track is groomed, and the staff makes last-minute preparations. After a long and quiet winter, the air sizzles with anticipation. Canterbury Park is alive.

The start of a new season brings new possibilities and challenges. Two-year-olds make their debuts, statebreds continue campaigns over their home track, and stakes winners prepare to defend their titles. This year, one group in particular has something to prove: the quarter horses.

Quarter Horses have long been a part of Canterbury’s racing history, but are not as well known as the thoroughbreds. However, quarter horse racing at Canterbury is competitive on a regional and national level. Horses ship in from Remington Park, arguably the top quarter horse track in the country, and leave to compete against the best at Prairie Meadows, Los Alamitos, Hialeah Park, Sunland Park, and Ruidoso Downs.

In 2011, we watched Jess a Runner (pictured above) win the Great Lakes Stakes; his time of 21.126 shattered the previous track record for 440 yards. One of the top older horses in the country, Jess a Runner placed third in the 2011 Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos, a race that is the quarter horse equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Cruzin the Wagon crossed the wire first in the $64,000 Northlands Futurity during his 4-race win streak last summer. He followed that victory with another in the Grade III Valley Junction Futurity at Prairie Meadows. Back in training this spring, he finished first in the Oklahoma Derby and placed second in the Remington Park Derby.

I Am That Hero won the $28,900 Canterbury Park Derby last summer. He went on to win the Grade III Altoona Derby at Prairie Meadows and joined allowance competition in the challenging New Mexico circuit.

Currently, Jess a Runner and Cruzin the Wagon are in the Top 20 horses for 2012 in the AQHA National Rankings. Will we witness new champions in the making this year?

This will be your inside track to the quarter horse world here at Canterbury Park. If you’re not familiar with the sport, this is the perfect opportunity to learn and profit as we preview stakes and break down races with handicapping angles that are unique to the quarters.

There is nothing more exciting than a quarter horse race, and there is a lot of money on the table for those who learn to bet one. Quarter horse racing is what American racing is all about: speed. Watch a race from the rail this summer and you’ll understand the excitement of a field of horses charging down the track at speeds of 40 mph or more. Dirt flies in the air and the ground shakes… at least, it feels that way if you’re holding the winning ticket for that longshot that just hit the wire first.

Good luck this summer, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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 will share her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.

Canterbury Quarters Make Nat’l Impact

It’s that time of year: in a matter of hours, the starting gate will open for the first time in 2012. The athletes file into the barns, the track is groomed, and the staff makes last-minute preparations. After a long and quiet winter, the air sizzles with anticipation. Canterbury Park is alive.

The start of a new season brings new possibilities and challenges. Two-year-olds make their debuts, statebreds continue campaigns over their home track, and stakes winners prepare to defend their titles. This year, one group in particular has something to prove: the quarter horses.

Quarter Horses have long been a part of Canterbury’s racing history, but are not as well known as the thoroughbreds. However, quarter horse racing at Canterbury is competitive on a regional and national level. Horses ship in from Remington Park, arguably the top quarter horse track in the country, and leave to compete against the best at Prairie Meadows, Los Alamitos, Hialeah Park, Sunland Park, and Ruidoso Downs.

In 2011, we watched Jess a Runner (pictured above) win the Great Lakes Stakes; his time of 21.126 shattered the previous track record for 440 yards. One of the top older horses in the country, Jess a Runner placed third in the 2011 Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos, a race that is the quarter horse equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Cruzin the Wagon crossed the wire first in the $64,000 Northlands Futurity during his 4-race win streak last summer. He followed that victory with another in the Grade III Valley Junction Futurity at Prairie Meadows. Back in training this spring, he finished first in the Oklahoma Derby and placed second in the Remington Park Derby.

I Am That Hero won the $28,900 Canterbury Park Derby last summer. He went on to win the Grade III Altoona Derby at Prairie Meadows and joined allowance competition in the challenging New Mexico circuit.

Currently, Jess a Runner and Cruzin the Wagon are in the Top 20 horses for 2012 in the AQHA National Rankings. Will we witness new champions in the making this year?

This will be your inside track to the quarter horse world here at Canterbury Park. If you’re not familiar with the sport, this is the perfect opportunity to learn and profit as we preview stakes and break down races with handicapping angles that are unique to the quarters.

There is nothing more exciting than a quarter horse race, and there is a lot of money on the table for those who learn to bet one. Quarter horse racing is what American racing is all about: speed. Watch a race from the rail this summer and you’ll understand the excitement of a field of horses charging down the track at speeds of 40 mph or more. Dirt flies in the air and the ground shakes… at least, it feels that way if you’re holding the winning ticket for that longshot that just hit the wire first.

Good luck this summer, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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 will share her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.