Canterbury Park Announces Appointment of New Directors and Other Leadership Changes

Canterbury Park Holding Corporation announced today that  Maureen Bausch and John Himle have been added to its Board of Directors, effective October 3, 2019.  The Company also announced Randy Sampson, Canterbury Park’s President and CEO since 1994, has been appointed as Executive Chairman of the Board, and announced other changes in the Board’s structure.

Maureen Bausch

Ms. Bausch is currently a partner in Bold North Associates, providing experiential and consulting services for retail, event and destination attraction businesses.  Ms. Bausch served from December 2014 until February 2018 as CEO and an Executive Board Member of the Super Bowl Host Committee in connection with the February 4, 2018 Super Bowl LII held in Minneapolis.  Prior to that, Ms. Bausch worked in positions of increasing responsibility at the Mall of America, serving most recently as Executive Vice President, managing the $1 billion asset.

John Himle

Mr. Himle is CEO of Himle LLC, a specialized consultancy that advises companies, not-for-profit entities, and other organizations with insight and strategy related to shaping complex business decisions and related matters.  Mr. Himle was the founder and CEO of Himle Horner and Himle Rapp and Co. before selling his interests in 2017.  He also served five terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives holding a series of leadership positions, including Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Minority Leader.

Along with naming Randy Sampson as Executive Chairman of the Board, the Board also appointed Ms. Carin Offerman as the Company’s Lead Director.  Ms. Offerman has served as a Company director since 1994, and currently chairs the Board’s Compensation and Nominating Committees, along with serving as a member of the Audit Committee.  Ms. Offerman, a successful securities industry executive, formerly served as President and CEO of Offerman & Company, a regional investment banking and retail broker-dealer firm.

In connection with appointing Randy Sampson and Carin Offerman to their new roles in Board leadership, Curtis A. Sampson and Dale Schenian have retired as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the Board.  Mr. Curtis Sampson and Mr. Schenian were both founding members of Canterbury Park in 1994 and continuously served in their respective positions since then.  Both will continue as directors and, in recognition of their unique and lasting contributions to the Company, will assume the titles of Chairman Emeritus and Vice Chairman Emeritus, respectively.

Canterbury Park’s Nominating Committee began the process of identifying new Board candidates early in 2019 and engaged Cardinal Board Services to assist the Committee in the process.  All directors, including Ms. Bausch and Mr. Himle, serve a term ending at the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which will be held in June 2020.

Randy Sampson commented: “As Canterbury Park continues to evolve from a racetrack into a diverse gaming, entertainment, and real estate development company, the Board recognized that it was important to add members that would bring additional skill sets and business backgrounds to the Company.  All of us at Canterbury Park are excited to welcome these two extremely capable and well respected new members to the Board.  We look forward to working with Maureen and John and getting the benefit of their experience operating successful businesses. We welcome their ideas for building on the success we have had while we take the Company to the next level.  John’s expertise in public relations, communications, and political strategies, and Maureen’s experience in retail, events, and marketing are a perfect fit for Canterbury Park as we position ourselves for future growth.

“On behalf of the Canterbury Park Board of Directors, employees, and shareholders, I want to express our sincere appreciation to Curt and Dale for their 25 years of leadership as Chairman and Vice Chairman, and co-founders of Canterbury Park.  It was their vision and passion for Canterbury and horse racing that made the purchase of the track and revival of horse racing in Minnesota possible.  As we celebrate a quarter century of success and continue the transition of our business for the future, it is a great time to express our appreciation for their years of service and recognize their past and continuing contributions as Board members with the Chairman Emeritus and Vice Chairman Emeritus titles,” Mr. Sampson concluded.

Odds and Ends With Four Days To Go

Entries close Friday for the final three stakes of the 67-day meet that ends Sept. 16.  The $50,000 John Bullit will be run Sept. 15 while the $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint and the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes will be held on closing day.

The purse of the six-furlong Shakopee Stakes, restricted to 2-year-olds, was boosted by $25,000 last week. Racing officials also added an additional $25,000 for Minnesota breds making it worth $100,000 for those foaled in state.  The hope is to attract all of the fast juveniles that are stabled at Canterbury this summer. Amy’s Challenge earned the largest Beyer Speed Figure, 91, of 2-year-olds to have raced in North America when she cruised to a 16 1/2 length victory here Aug. 6. Robertson has indicated the fill would run in the Shakopee. Soul of Discretion was another powerful maiden winner that earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure when he won by many in his debut. He however is entered on Saturday in the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity where he has been made the morning line favorite.  The certainty that he races in Chicago however is low.

The Shakopee would be a logical spot for Mr. Jagermeister to land. The Minnesota bred is unbeaten in two starts at Canterbury and finished second when shipped to Prairie Meadows for a stake race. His 81 Beyer Speed Figure from the maiden win and effortless gallop in the Northern Lights Futurity make him a legitimate contender. Entries for the final two days of the meet will be taken this Sunday.

Handicapping Contests this Weekend

The Dog Days of Summer Handicapping Tournament, now in its 21st year making it America’s longest-running and first live-bankroll contest, takes place this Saturday and Sunday. The winner receives a $10,000 entry to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and a National Horseplayer Championship entry plus cash. Second place is an NHC entry and cash.  Complete rules can be found HERE.

On Friday night is the Ultimate NHC Qualifier, another live-bankroll event, that calls for players to wager half of their existing bankroll on each of six Canterbury races. The two players with the largest bankrolls at contest end receive NHC seats.  Rules and information can be found online.

Meet Stats With Four Days To Go

Racing resumes Friday at 6:30pm. Jockey Jareth Loveberry went on a win-binge last week scoring 13 victories and distancing himself by eight wins from Orlando Mojica in the standings. Loveberry actually had 14 wins but was disqualified from one last Friday when his mount Why Frank crossed over and dropped rider Katlin Bedford.  Loveberry received a seven-day suspension that begins Sept. 8. Bedford suffered a broken ankle that will require surgery. She is returning to Oklahoma for the procedure and will recuperate there.  Mac Robertson has 61 wins this meet and has been in control since June. He will win his 11th training title at Canterbury. The thoroughbred owner leaderboard is currently headed by Curtis Sampson who has a two win lead over Joe Novogratz. Sampson has four more wins than Lothenbach Stables who leads in what may be the most important category, purse money earned. From 50 starts, Lothenbach runners have earned $379,670.

Racehorse Owner: Curt Sampson

By Katie Merritt

Curtis Sampson was born and raised in Hector, Minnesota and has been attending the races at Canterbury since it first opened as Canterbury Downs. In 1994, after the track had been closed for two years, Sampson, his son Randy and Dale Schenian purchased the facility and brought live racing back to Shakopee the following summer under the new racetrack name of Canterbury Park. In addition to his massive influence on the racing and breeding industry in Minnesota, Sampson has also been a successful businessman.

Since Sampson purchased his first racehorse in the 80’s, he has been fortunate to have many successful runners. The first horse he owned in partnership, a Quarter Horse named Cash Caravan, won several stakes races at Canterbury and is in the Canterbury Hall of Fame. Over the years, Sampson continued to increase his involvement in the industry, purchasing more runners and starting a breeding operation where he had several mares and stood a stallion named Crossed Swords.

Dale Schenian with Curtis Sampson

Every year, Canterbury Park holds the Minnesota Festival of Champions, a day of racing designed to promote, honor and reward horses born in Minnesota.  Sampson has won the second-most number of Festival Races, with nine winners. One of his best horses, Wally’s Choice, won the Minnesota Classic Championship twice in a row. Wally’s Choice is now in the Hall of Fame and the Classic is named after him.

Wally’s Choice

Sampson is still very involved at Canterbury Park, serving as the Chairman of the Board. One of his sons, Randy, is the CEO, and another son, Russ runs his racing operation. His grandkids, the next generation, have recently started to get involved in ownership as well with their cleverly named partnership, NEXTGEN Stables. Curtis Sampson has been leading owner at Canterbury Park twice, in 1996 and ’97, and looks to have a good chance to be leading owner again this year, for the first time in 20 years.

La Petite Cheri remains undefeated

LA PETITE CHERI

La Petite Cheri, 2015 Northern Lights Debutante champion, remained undefeated in three starts by winning the second race last Friday. The 3-year-old filly was facing older Minnesota-breds in a dirt sprint in her seasonal debut.

“We don’t like to run 3-year-olds against older,” Canterbury Chairman of the Board and La Petite Cheri’s owner Curtis Sampson said as he entered the walking ring prior to the race. “We didn’t really have a choice. She’ll probably run fourth.”

The patriarch of the Sampson empire had to be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

La Petite Cheri, a filly that won last year by sitting well off the pace and closing, showed a different style this time. Jockey Hugo Sanchez had her right near the pace.

Russ Sampson, Curt’s son, takes credit for the ride. “I told Hugo, you go and claim the rail, then give her a breather.”

Hugo did just that and then, at the top of the stretch, La Petite Cheri swung into position behind the lone speed, Shaboom and Dean Butler, and out finished her elder to win by a half-length.

“Hugo said he could have won by more,” Russ said.

The betting public got it right, as late money poured in on La Petite Cheri, making her the favorite at 1.90 to 1 odds.

“We could have run her in the 3-year-old stake,” Russ said, referring to the open-company L’Etoile du Nord on May 22. “We decided to stay with Minnesota-breds.”

A Minnesota-bred did run in the L’Etoile du Nord however and finished second. That was Jeana Baby, a filly bred by the Bleu Valley Farm and the late Cam Casby. She sold for $100,000 at auction and ran four times in California. She was claimed for $50,000 from her maiden breaking win in that fourth start.

“That filly may be the one to win it all,” Russ said. ‘All’ would be the Frances Genter Stakes on July 4 and the $85,000 Minnesota Oaks on July 30. Both races are restricted to 3-year-old Minnesota-bred fillies.

WALLY’S WORLD WAS SPECIAL

Wally's Choice

The Mike Biehler barn was at work digging up the shed row with pickaxes when one of the grooms predicted that Wally’s Choice would win his first attempt at a mile that day.

The young gelding had run once at six furlongs, mostly at five furlongs and was making just his seventh start, so Biehler made a proposal. “I promised to finish the excavation myself if Wally won that day,” he said.

The skeptical trainer had laid his cards on the table.

“When I got back to the barn after the race, there were two shovels leaning against the wall waiting for me,”  he recalled.

Wally’s Choice ran 58 times during an eight-year career, all but 20 of those races at Canterbury Park, and naturally produced a number of stories during that time, but Biehler’s tale probably expresses best the horse’s ability to surprise his handlers with his comeback from surgery and a two-year layoff that would have finished most horses.

The question most often asked concerns the derivation of the horse’s name. Therein lies another colorful tale. After all, his sire was Quick Cut and his dam, L’Etoile Jolie, in both cases a far cry from anything remotely connected to Wally or even to Walter.

Wally’s Choice?

A very simple choice as it turned out. Canterbury Park chairman and the breeder of the horse, Curtis Sampson, had agreed to go partners on a foal with Wally McNeil, professionally known as Wally the Beerman, a long-time horse racing fan. Sampson gave McNeil a choice on which foal he wanted for the partnership and McNeil chose the son of Quick Cut .

Wally ran 59 times, won 15, was second twice and placed third another eight times for career earnings of $508,125, second only to Blair’s Cove among Minnesota-bred horses. Of that total, Wally won $385,835 of his total take in Shakopee.

The stories about Wally will be told in the McNeil and Sampson households for years yet to come, including the tale of his remarkable comeback from surgery. He had injured a tendon and underwent stem cell surgery to repair the damage, a surgery that put him on the sidelines for an extended time.

“They had been doing stem cells for a short while in Oklahoma, so Wally was like the poster child for that,” said Biehler.

The procedure had worked on some horses and not on others, but it proved successful with Wally. “We never had an issue with him after that,” Biehler added.

“We never quit on him. He was sound.”

There is another segment to the same story, as told by Sampson.

“He was out for quite a stretch after the stem cell surgery,” Samspon added. He was out 663 days.”

The stories abound.

“I recall that his birth was a rough one,” Sampson added. “He was quite big and his mother was a young mare.”

By the time the young horse began cavorting in the Sampson pastures, he made it clear that he wanted to race. “We knew early on that he was a horse that wanted to win,” Sampson said. “We’d watch him in the pasture, running, and he didn’t want anyone to pass him. He’d come flying.”

Bobby Walker, Jr. was given the first four mounts on the Quick Cut son and rode him to his first victory in try number three at Canterbury on July 25, 2003.  He won the $60,000 Minnesota Derby on July 31, 2004, the $40,000 Minnesota Classic on August 22 and the $25,000 Woodlands Derby on Oct. 24.

All of that was a prelude, a warmup, to the biggest victory of Wally’s career. On November 21, with former five-time Canterbury Park riding champion Luis Quinonez in the irons, Wally’s Choice galloped to a one-length victory in the Grade 3 $150,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

“That was the big one,” said Sampson.

Big enough to create confusion in one extension of the McNeil family.

It was more than merely big to McNeil and his wife, Joyce, co-owners with Sampson in the horse. Wally was working that day, so Joyce and their daughter, Lori, and a girlfriend went to Canterbury and bet on the horse. The girlfriend returned from cashing her ticket with the report that “I think they gave me too much money back.”

No they hadn’t.

Wally’s Choice had gone off at almost 34-1.

Wally’s Choice won the $100,000 Boselmann/Gus Fonner stakes at Fonner Park, the Minnesota Classic and the Blair’s Cove Stakes twice each. His last win was on June 9 of 2007 in a $20,000 allowance race at Canterbury. He ran 22 more times without a win before he was retired following a fifth place finish at Canterbury in the Minnesota Classic on September 4, 2011, unable to overtake Blair’s Cove for the Minnesota-bred  earnings title.

Biehler recalls Wally as an easy horse to train. “He had a good attitude all the time,” he said. “Easy to be around in the barn. If anything, we had to watch how much he ate. He still likes to eat.”

Wally is merely hanging out at Biehler’s farm in Oklahoma these days, although there are plans this fall to take him to Colorado for some trail riding.

“He’s kind of a babysitter at times,” Biehler said. “We put him with an orphan that needed a companion. He still looks pretty fit.”

 

by JIM WELLS

WALLY’S WORLD WAS SPECIAL

Wally's Choice

The Mike Biehler barn was at work digging up the shed row with pickaxes when one of the grooms predicted that Wally’s Choice would win his first attempt at a mile that day.

The young gelding had run once at six furlongs, mostly at five furlongs and was making just his seventh start, so Biehler made a proposal. “I promised to finish the excavation myself if Wally won that day,” he said.

The skeptical trainer had laid his cards on the table.

“When I got back to the barn after the race, there were two shovels leaning against the wall waiting for me,”  he recalled.

Wally’s Choice ran 58 times during an eight-year career, all but 20 of those races at Canterbury Park, and naturally produced a number of stories during that time, but Biehler’s tale probably expresses best the horse’s ability to surprise his handlers with his comeback from surgery and a two-year layoff that would have finished most horses.

The question most often asked concerns the derivation of the horse’s name. Therein lies another colorful tale. After all, his sire was Quick Cut and his dam, L’Etoile Jolie, in both cases a far cry from anything remotely connected to Wally or even to Walter.

Wally’s Choice?

A very simple choice as it turned out. Canterbury Park chairman and the breeder of the horse, Curtis Sampson, had agreed to go partners on a foal with Wally McNeil, professionally known as Wally the Beerman, a long-time horse racing fan. Sampson gave McNeil a choice on which foal he wanted for the partnership and McNeil chose the son of Quick Cut .

Wally ran 59 times, won 15, was second twice and placed third another eight times for career earnings of $508,125, second only to Blair’s Cove among Minnesota-bred horses. Of that total, Wally won $385,835 of his total take in Shakopee.

The stories about Wally will be told in the McNeil and Sampson households for years yet to come, including the tale of his remarkable comeback from surgery. He had injured a tendon and underwent stem cell surgery to repair the damage, a surgery that put him on the sidelines for an extended time.

“They had been doing stem cells for a short while in Oklahoma, so Wally was like the poster child for that,” said Biehler.

The procedure had worked on some horses and not on others, but it proved successful with Wally. “We never had an issue with him after that,” Biehler added.

“We never quit on him. He was sound.”

There is another segment to the same story, as told by Sampson.

“He was out for quite a stretch after the stem cell surgery,” Samspon added. He was out 663 days.”

The stories abound.

“I recall that his birth was a rough one,” Sampson added. “He was quite big and his mother was a young mare.”

By the time the young horse began cavorting in the Sampson pastures, he made it clear that he wanted to race. “We knew early on that he was a horse that wanted to win,” Sampson said. “We’d watch him in the pasture, running, and he didn’t want anyone to pass him. He’d come flying.”

Bobby Walker, Jr. was given the first four mounts on the Quick Cut son and rode him to his first victory in try number three at Canterbury on July 25, 2003.  He won the $60,000 Minnesota Derby on July 31, 2004, the $40,000 Minnesota Classic on August 22 and the $25,000 Woodlands Derby on Oct. 24.

All of that was a prelude, a warmup, to the biggest victory of Wally’s career. On November 21, with former five-time Canterbury Park riding champion Luis Quinonez in the irons, Wally’s Choice galloped to a one-length victory in the Grade 3 $150,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

“That was the big one,” said Sampson.

Big enough to create confusion in one extension of the McNeil family.

It was more than merely big to McNeil and his wife, Joyce, co-owners with Sampson in the horse. Wally was working that day, so Joyce and their daughter, Lori, and a girlfriend went to Canterbury and bet on the horse. The girlfriend returned from cashing her ticket with the report that “I think they gave me too much money back.”

No they hadn’t.

Wally’s Choice had gone off at almost 34-1.

Wally’s Choice won the $100,000 Boselmann/Gus Fonner stakes at Fonner Park, the Minnesota Classic and the Blair’s Cove Stakes twice each. His last win was on June 9 of 2007 in a $20,000 allowance race at Canterbury. He ran 22 more times without a win before he was retired following a fifth place finish at Canterbury in the Minnesota Classic on September 4, 2011, unable to overtake Blair’s Cove for the Minnesota-bred  earnings title.

Biehler recalls Wally as an easy horse to train. “He had a good attitude all the time,” he said. “Easy to be around in the barn. If anything, we had to watch how much he ate. He still likes to eat.”

Wally is merely hanging out at Biehler’s farm in Oklahoma these days, although there are plans this fall to take him to Colorado for some trail riding.

“He’s kind of a babysitter at times,” Biehler said. “We put him with an orphan that needed a companion. He still looks pretty fit.”

 

by JIM WELLS

A Little Less Suspense

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishShe took one look over her shoulder, gave her mount a stout reminder with the stick and cruised home, much the best in the biggest race of the season, the history of Canterbury Park for that matter.

Everything unfolded much as it did last season, with one major exception.

“No inquiry,” said the woman of the hour, Lori Keith, who has been aboard the first two winners of the first two Mystic Lake Derbys.

That’s right, the winning owner, winning trainer and winning rider of the inaugural Derby last year, won Saturday’s second running, breaking from the same No. 2 hole in an eight-horse field, just as last year. But for more money,

The race offered $162,000 and change last year. It was worth $200,000 this time around, $120,000 of that to the winning horse.

Gladly missing from Ms. Keith’s point of view was the interminable wait that accompanied last year’s race after her horse veered in front of the second place horse in the final 50 yards.

The stewards decided in her favor, ruling that the infraction did not change the order of finish but gave Ms. Keith days nonetheless for what occurred.

None of that on Saturday.

Keith began moving her horse, Dorsett, heading into the turn behind Coastal Breeze after that one made a bold move. The eventual winner swept past Coastal Breeze as if he were taking a nap. Dorsett cruised into the stretch, passing horses as if he were a Porsche in the fast lane of a freeway.

Much the best.

A bystander asked Keith when she felt the race was hers. “Actually, I felt confident the whole way,” she said. “I had a ton of horse all the way.”

A push-button colt as it were.

“This colt has gotten better and better,” said trainer Michael Stidham. “He’s better as a three-year-old than he was at two. The rider – Lori – did a great job, too.” The owner of the horse, Terry Hamilton, was not present but made it known some time ago that it was his goal to win another Mystic Lake Derby. Consider that goal accomplished.

Dorsett, a son of Artie Schiller from Dontgetnmyway, had three lengths on Coast Breeze and Channing Hill at the wire, 4 and ½ on Impassable Canyon and Victor Lebron, finishing in 1:35.69.

Afterward in the winner’s circle, Keith wrapped up in a stunning hand-made quilt from the Mdewakanton Sioux Community, whose purse contributions at Canterbury included $150,000 for this race alone.

The Star quilt is a traditional Dakota blanket that symbolizes life, spirituality and community and is given to mark major milestones.

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Pres2

This was indeed a milestone, for Canterbury, its relationship with Mystic Lake, for Hamilton, Stidham and, of course, for Ms. Keith.

$100,000 SHAKOPEE JUVENILE

The focus in this one was on a two-year-old named Chairman Crooks, ridden by Dean Butler, trained by tony Rengstorf and owned by Curtis Sampson.

The horse was named to honor the late Stanley Crooks, Chairman of the Mdewakanton Sioux Community at Mystic Lake with a nod also to his father, Norman, the tribe’s first chairman.

Several dignitaries from the community were present for the race, and they saw a good showing by the horse named for their former leaders. Chairman Crooks acquitted himself nicely, finishing second to the 3/5 favorite General Jack, a ship-in from Belmont Park, whose stretch effort provided a three-length win.

General Jack, a son of Giant’s Causeway, was much the best in this one. “We wanted the lead but when that horse took it we let him have it,” said winning rider Victor Lebron. “We went to plan B. I relaxed my horse and he finished strongly.”

The winner finished second in his only other start, at Belmont Park. So he broke his maiden in $100,000 race.

Owner Tom Conway knew he had a good one after General Jack hung on to finish second in New York. “He hit the gate and got bumped three or four times during the race,” Conway said. “He had the lead, got bumped and fell back.”

Nothing of the kind on Saturday.

General Jack surged through the stretch to a three-length win over Chairman Crooks, 4 and ¼ in front of AP is Loose and Ms Keith, with a winning time of 1:29.70.

$100,000 NORTHBOUND PRIDE OAKS

What a race!

Drama, excitement, suspense, investigations.

When it was done, Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, had the biggest win of his young career aboard Stoupinator, owned by Joseph Novogratz of Excelsior and trained by Mac Robertson.

“That was a great ride,” said Robertson assistant Bradley Hedges. “That kid has a nice set of hands. He can ride.”

When the hullabaloo was complete, Stoupinator was the winner by a head over Seeking Treasure who was a head in front of Kipling’s Joy and Raising Dakota who finished in a Dead Heat.

A massive investigation by the stewards, paralleled perhaps only by the Watergate investigation, changed the official order, however.

Thus, Stoupinator did no wrong and kept the win. However, Seeking Treasure, was disqualified from second and placed sixth for interference, meaning that Kipling’s Joy and Raising Dakota moved up from third and dead-heated for second and I’m Already Sexy finished fourth.

The race also included a bit of drama before it started. Jockey Luis Garcia, on Raising Dakota, had not signed his license application with the Minnesota Racing Commission and was called up in front of the grandstand.

A racing official arrived with the document. Garcia jumped off his horse and signed his name, remounted and – as mentioned – wound up running second.

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.

Chairman Heads Juvenile

Chairman Crooks -  06-16-13 - R01 - CBY - Stretch FinishThere are two distinguishable features about this precocious two-year-old – his name and his physical appearance. He is stout, muscular and powerful looking. He is Chairman Crooks; and If that sounds familiar, it should.

The horse was named for the late Stanley Crooks who died last August, the chairman of the 420-member Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the son of Norman Crooks, the tribe’s first chairman.

The name came about because of a promise made by Canterbury Park’s Curtis Sampson, the man responsible for returning racing to Minnesota who became a friend of Crooks in the final weeks of his life, after the Mdewakanton Community and the racetrack struck their historic deal.

“He knew we were going to name a horse for him,” said Sampson. “I said we would.”

Sampson wanted the name bestowed on the best two-year-old he could find, and he did just that after trainer Mac Robertson bought this horse for him at the Keeneland fall sale.

This son of After Market and grandson to Storm Cat is from Overly Tempting, and proved to be just that when Robertson first saw him.

The purchase was made and the horse was sent straight to Ocala to begin training. By the time his new owner saw him, Chairman Crooks looked like a body builder tuned up for the Olympics. “He was a real specimen already. In fact, he was only a two-year-old but he looked like a stallion,” Sampson added.

When the horse was then shipped to Arkansas to join the Sampson’s stable of youngsters, Chairman Crooks stole the show. “He was clearly the standout,” Sampson said. “He’s not a tall horse. He’s more like a quarter horse.”

Chairman Crooks has one race to his credit, a maiden-breaking effort at Canterbury Park his first time out, on July 14, in which he went gate to wire, winning by four lengths.

It gets a whole lot tougher Saturday in the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile at 7 and ½ furlongs on the turf. A tall order indeed, with two-year-olds trained by respected trainers arriving for the race, which is 2 and ½ furlongs further than the Chairman’s only other outing.

“There is a question of distance,” said the horse’s trainer Tony Rengstorf, who became the beneficiary of a horse already broken and ready to go when he took charge. “We’re going to learn a lot about him (on Saturday).”

There are factors to support Rengstorf’s belief that Chairman Crooks might be better suited to a shorter race. “He’s not very big, more like a quarter horse,” he said. “You might say he has more the makeup of a sprinter. We don’t know how far he can go. We’ll find out.”

Distance is not the only issue. General Jack is also. So is My Corinthian.

General Jack, a maiden son of Giant’s Causeway, ran his only race at Belmont Park, finishing second by a half length in a six-furlong debut clocked in 1:09 and 4/5.

My Corinthian is 1-1-1 from three starts after breaking his maiden at Colonial Downs. And there are six other starters.

“He’s a little young to tackle horses this tough,” said Sampson. “But we’re not backing off at all as far as our confidence. We only worked him once on the grass. He worked 7 and ½ furlongs and ran out a full mile and was strong at the end.”

The Juvenile is one of three stellar stakes on a card, highlighted by the $200,000 Mystic Lake Mile on the turf, the richest race in Canterbury Park annals.

A field of eight, headed by Dorsett and Officer Alex will line up for that one.

The first of the stakes trio is the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks at a mile on the turf. Eden Prairie and Kipling’s Joy head a field of eight.

Three races worth a guaranteed $400,000 with $270k of that amount from the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund that resulted from the agreement between Mystic Lake and Canterbury.

Chairman Crooks was named to honor the late chairman of the Mdewakanton Community but he might just as easily have been named for his father, too.

Norman Crooks bought a string of horses to race at Canterbury when the track opened in 1985. When he died, nine horses were turned over to his son.

“Stanley was working for Whirlpool at the time,” said Sampson, “and he couldn’t afford to keep the horses. He told me that he had wanted to do a deal (with Canterbury) of some kind for a long while that would help horse owners, the horsemen. He knew something about what it took to have horses.”

Today, Chairman Crooks will discover what he knows about stretching out and taking on the big boys.

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.

Dissecting the “Blog Bounce”

Recognizethestreet - 06-27-13 - R03 - CBY - FinishThere is a phenomenon in the pressbox known as the blog bounce, a mysterious, eerie force that accompanies articles written about specific riders, trainers or the like.

In many cases, a horse or rider, recently boosted by a bounce from the blog in the form of a complete article, profile or even a mere mention, will respond with a win against even imposing odds.

Sometimes the bounce will break a losing streak or even start a winning streak. It is absolutely impossible to explain how it works. It simply does. It would be like asking why people live on earth but have not been found elsewhere. We don’t know why that is, but it is.

Explanations have been offered but they always fall short.

An anomaly in the bounce has been noticed recently. Bounces have been experienced by riders while an article is being written or, such as the case was Thursday night, a day after the interview and a full day before seeing print.

Chamisa Goodwin grinned when told about the phenomenon Thursday night only moments after winning cleanly on the 4-year-old filly name Recognizethestreet, owned by Curtis Sampson and trained by Tony Rengstorf in the third race.

Big deal you say?

Consider this: Ms Goodwin is a Minnesota native, from Bemidji, and the win was her first at Canterbury Park. She began riding here in 2006 and has ridden in Maryland and Arkansas among other states.

Her first Minnesota win was special for other reasons. Her brother, Nik, also a rider at Canterbury, watched the race from the jockey lounge. Their father, Duane, was present for the race and so, too, was their sister, Neah, who gallops mornings. Nik’s son, Lane, was also on hand to see his aunt Chamisa get her first Minnesota win.

Chamisa arrived in the jockeys lounge and received congratulations from other riders. Nik Goodwin appeared and gave his sister a fist bump. Chamisa watched a replay of the race, perhaps storing it in the memory bank for future consideration.

And all of this, a full 24 hours before her blog story is scheduled to appear.

Clearly, the bounce mechanism works… but it needs adjustment.

INTERNET ABSURDITIES

There is internet propaganda, internet falsehood, internet misinformation and internet absurdity.

An article that circulated Thursday fits the latter category, a story about a horse that ran at Belmont Park the previous day, finished first after dislodging her rider and yet received no mention from the track announcer.

Yes, folks, stories do appear by individuals who know absolutely nothing about the subjects they discuss. The aforementioned instance is one of those.

In fact, the article included this statement:

“You ‘d think the big story of the race would be Downtown Hottie overcoming adversity and the lack of a jockey to win at Belmont, but no, nary a mention of her by the race announcer. That’s a totally bogus move, man.”

How can a person respond, other than to say something such as:

“The ball was fumbled by Adrian Peterson and then picked up by the field judge, who carried it unmolested into the end zone. You would have thought that the announcer might have given the fellow some much deserved credit. But nary a word…”

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.