PAST JOINS PRESENT ON SPECIAL DAY

BY JIM WELLS

For a couple of moments on Sunday, the past became the present, history became real time, and one of the grand dames of Minnesota racing history was alive on the track.

The long gray tail floated behind her in a steady breeze, and her rivals saw only clods of damp earth and her behind. She was first out of the gate and no one even drew abreast as she glided easily to the finish line under Victor Santiago.

A five-year-old gray mare named Puntsville floated through swift fractions to win the 25th running of the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes, named for the gray Canterbury Park Hall of Fame mare. Although perhaps a shade darker, Sunday’s winner bore striking resemblance to the two-time Canterbury Downs horse of the year.

“We were just saying that,” said Canterbury Park President/CEO Randy Sampson. “She’s a big good looking gray mare.”

Hoist Her Flag won 17 times from 43 starts in Shakopee and was named the outstanding horse on the grounds in 1987 and again in 1989.

Puntsville at 5/2 finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of 6/5 favorite Thoughtless and another 4 ½ head of Malibu Princess after setting all the fractions: 22.02, 44.79, 57.01 and 1:09.87.

“She’s very quick,” said Santiago, who had ridden the winner in nine of her previous 10 starts. “I was just praying to God that we would get a good quick jump.”

She did just that, and the race essentially was over.

The theme of the afternoon was hope and there were plenty of things covered under that umbrella. Hope that the sun would make an appearance, that the rain would hold off until the card was complete. There was, as always, hope at the windows as patrons placed their wagers, hope right up until a winner hit the finish line.

Despite iron-gray skies throughout the afternoon, there was plenty of pink throughout the premises on annual Fillies Race for Hope day, dedicated to the understanding, treatment and hope for eradication of breast cancer.

The feature event on the card annually is the Hoist Her Flag Stakes.

Messages promoting the theme of the day could be found throughout the grounds. The tote board from time to time advised the crowd that “Early Detection is Key.” There was a thank you message from the Fillies Race for Hope committee.

Valets to the riders wore shirts celebrating the occasion. The outriders and pony horses and their riders were festooned in pink accouterment, wraps, tack and other related items.

Raffles, drawings and donations contributed to the fund that supports this endeavor.

Patrons could be found in pink slacks, hats, dresses, shoes accompanied in some cases by pink purses. Employees in the Coady photography studio, the finest enterprise of its type in all of racing, wore pink suspenders and ties, did Shawn Coady and Senor Oscar Quiroz, who also helped work the gate at times without sullying his shirt or pink tie.

Coady was moved early in the day to loan his bowtie to a forgetful member of the Fourth Estate who arrived prepared to attack the day in conventional attire.

Pressbox magistrate Jeff Maday’s black suit was nattily set off with fashionably muted pink tie and cufflinks. Breast cancer survivors assembled in the paddock to offer thanks and encouragement in pink western hats and other attire.

A debate ensued over the true color of the dress worn by pressbox assistant Katie Merritt. Was it really pink or closer to coral?

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. It was in keeping with the colors and the spirit of the day.

FILLIES, FANS, FUN AND FORECASTS

Be Proud
Be Proud

BY JIM WELLS

The weather changed patterns like Lady Gaga does wardrobes, fluctuating between forecasts of doom and gloom and sunny skies Sunday afternoon.

None of it dampened either the Fillies Race for Hope festivities or the race dedicated to the theme of the afternoon. By mere chance yet appropriately enough during this day dedicated to fight breast cancer, the day included several nods to the feminine gender.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann was moved into the announcer’s booth in the absence of Paul Allen, who called the play-by-play for the Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame game on Sunday.

Hermann made history a couple of years ago by becoming the first female in racing annals to call an entire card, something she did during the previous meet in Shakopee also.

That this opportunity occurred as it did, coinciding with a day dedicated to the prevention and treatment of a predominantly female disease, was serendipitous as opposed to planned.

Angela Hermann
Angela Hermann

 

The highlight of the racing card was the Hoist Her Flag Stakes, a $40,000 guaranteed sprint for, naturally, fillies and mares.

Speculation surrounding the race posed several questions:

Could Makinmymark extend her winning streak to four straight and at the same time do what she failed to do in this race last year _ win?

Could Polar Plunge, previously owned by late Hall of Fame breeder Cam Casby, win her second race of the year under the colors of new ownership, the Ulwellings?

Had Be Proud truly found her place on the racetrack after trying different surfaces and different distances?

The answer to the final question was a profound yes after Be Proud, who stalked the pace under Geovanni Franco through the early going, rallied on the turn and then drew off to a half-length victory over closing Polar Plunge, who had a length on Queen Kate.

“I guess sprinting is her thing,” said very pleased trainer Dan McFarlane. ”

“No kidding,” said winning rider Geovanni Franco. “We tried her long, short, dirt, turf. She was right there today.”

The win was the first for Be Proud since Franco rode her to a win on the turf at Turf Paradise in mid April.

 

 NORTH CENTRAL QUARTER HORSE FUTURITY

 

Eagles Span NCQHRA

The drama preceding this race, worth $42,000, included all sorts of dire weather reports and speculation that it might be delayed by approaching lightning and thunderstorms carrying torrential gallons of water.

A mere drizzle arrived, dampening only the quite faint of heart although it did subsequently evolve into considerably more rain, changing the status of the turf, for example, to the status of good in a scant few minutes.

Everything turned out just fine for the Jason Olmstead barn. Olmstead had five of the seven horses in the race after three scratches reduced the field, and Eagles Span, the 6/5 favorite and winner of the Northland Futurity, got part of a head in front of 9/1 stablemate Divas Candy Girl at the wire. Effortlessly Strut, at 7/2, was the tip of a nose behind Candy Girl.

Olmstead’s large contingent in the gate caused one tracksider to refer to the race as the Olmstead Open, but such is the nature of quarter horse racing at times_ in Minnesota for certain.

The owners of the winner, Tom and Bill Maher, were not present for the race. Eagles Span stumbled out of the gate in his last start and finished third. Rider Cody Smith had relegated that race to the distant past by post time Sunday. “You can’t let those races affect how you think going into another race,” he said.  This time, Eagles Span broke cleanly but bobbled slightly upon reaching a darkened portion of the track before resuming an otherwise clean run to finish in 17.949.

“He would have won by even more but for that,” Smith added.

 

   THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

Here’s a thought on the first race, a quarter horse dash at 350 yards. Before the preliminaries even began _ we’re not calling this an anomaly _ a horse named After All A Blurr decided to sit in the gate and was forthwith scratched.

Imagine that __  a horse named After All A Blurr disappeared in an instant from the lineup.

Nothing terribly startling about the winner _  Regal Kate, trained by Stacy Charette-Hill, leading the standings by two wins over Jason Olmstead.

Until he cut it to one again with the win in the Futurity.

 

 

 

FILLIES, FANS, FUN AND FORECASTS

Be Proud
Be Proud

BY JIM WELLS

The weather changed patterns like Lady Gaga does wardrobes, fluctuating between forecasts of doom and gloom and sunny skies Sunday afternoon.

None of it dampened either the Fillies Race for Hope festivities or the race dedicated to the theme of the afternoon. By mere chance yet appropriately enough during this day dedicated to fight breast cancer, the day included several nods to the feminine gender.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann was moved into the announcer’s booth in the absence of Paul Allen, who called the play-by-play for the Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame game on Sunday.

Hermann made history a couple of years ago by becoming the first female in racing annals to call an entire card, something she did during the previous meet in Shakopee also.

That this opportunity occurred as it did, coinciding with a day dedicated to the prevention and treatment of a predominantly female disease, was serendipitous as opposed to planned.

Angela Hermann
Angela Hermann

 

The highlight of the racing card was the Hoist Her Flag Stakes, a $40,000 guaranteed sprint for, naturally, fillies and mares.

Speculation surrounding the race posed several questions:

Could Makinmymark extend her winning streak to four straight and at the same time do what she failed to do in this race last year _ win?

Could Polar Plunge, previously owned by late Hall of Fame breeder Cam Casby, win her second race of the year under the colors of new ownership, the Ulwellings?

Had Be Proud truly found her place on the racetrack after trying different surfaces and different distances?

The answer to the final question was a profound yes after Be Proud, who stalked the pace under Geovanni Franco through the early going, rallied on the turn and then drew off to a half-length victory over closing Polar Plunge, who had a length on Queen Kate.

“I guess sprinting is her thing,” said very pleased trainer Dan McFarlane. ”

“No kidding,” said winning rider Geovanni Franco. “We tried her long, short, dirt, turf. She was right there today.”

The win was the first for Be Proud since Franco rode her to a win on the turf at Turf Paradise in mid April.

 

 NORTH CENTRAL QUARTER HORSE FUTURITY

 

Eagles Span NCQHRA

The drama preceding this race, worth $42,000, included all sorts of dire weather reports and speculation that it might be delayed by approaching lightning and thunderstorms carrying torrential gallons of water.

A mere drizzle arrived, dampening only the quite faint of heart although it did subsequently evolve into considerably more rain, changing the status of the turf, for example, to the status of good in a scant few minutes.

Everything turned out just fine for the Jason Olmstead barn. Olmstead had five of the seven horses in the race after three scratches reduced the field, and Eagles Span, the 6/5 favorite and winner of the Northland Futurity, got part of a head in front of 9/1 stablemate Divas Candy Girl at the wire. Effortlessly Strut, at 7/2, was the tip of a nose behind Candy Girl.

Olmstead’s large contingent in the gate caused one tracksider to refer to the race as the Olmstead Open, but such is the nature of quarter horse racing at times_ in Minnesota for certain.

The owners of the winner, Tom and Bill Maher, were not present for the race. Eagles Span stumbled out of the gate in his last start and finished third. Rider Cody Smith had relegated that race to the distant past by post time Sunday. “You can’t let those races affect how you think going into another race,” he said.  This time, Eagles Span broke cleanly but bobbled slightly upon reaching a darkened portion of the track before resuming an otherwise clean run to finish in 17.949.

“He would have won by even more but for that,” Smith added.

 

   THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

Here’s a thought on the first race, a quarter horse dash at 350 yards. Before the preliminaries even began _ we’re not calling this an anomaly _ a horse named After All A Blurr decided to sit in the gate and was forthwith scratched.

Imagine that __  a horse named After All A Blurr disappeared in an instant from the lineup.

Nothing terribly startling about the winner _  Regal Kate, trained by Stacy Charette-Hill, leading the standings by two wins over Jason Olmstead.

Until he cut it to one again with the win in the Futurity.

 

 

 

Fillies Race for Hope

Second%20Street%20City%20-%20Hoist%20Her%20Flag%20Stakes%20-%2008-17-13%20-%20R07%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20FinishPink hats, dresses, flowers, horses. Even little girls in pink wings. The starting gate was festooned in pink, and the scroll designating the type of race on the tote board television screen was the same color. It was Fillies Race for Hope day at Canterbury Park, an annual event to raise awareness and money for the support of families fighting breast cancer.

A contest was conducted for the best-dressed horse in pink and the best pink hat.

On the racing front, the card included the $30,900 Hope Bonus Challenge for quarter horses, and two stakes for thoroughbreds, the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag and $50,000 Minnesota HBPA Distaff.

On a day of outright pinkness, anyone who took a tip from Captain Mark Ott wound up in the pink as well.

Although the money was largely on Stacy Charette-Hill’s horse, Corono Mit Go, in the Hope Bonus Challenge, Ott broke with what has been tradition all summer whenever Ms. Charette-Hill saddles a horse.

“There’s going to be an upset in this one,” he said. “Take it to the bank.”

Betting against Charette-Hill this summer has been akin to lunacy. Not this time, and the Ottman called it.

Had there been a pink-dress contest, one of Canterbury Park’s own, paddock analyst Angela Hermann, would have fared well if not stolen the award outright in a brilliant lace creation that appeared fuchsia in color but was labeled Shocking R (rose?). A $650 item that Ms Hermann testified under oath was purchased on sale.

HOIST HER FLAG STAKES

This race was named in honor of the track’s only two-time horse of the year, and included a rodeo before post time.

That incident resulted in the scratching of Hot Body, which reduced the field to six starters.

It turned into a one-horse race for first, and a one-horse race for second.

The winner was Second Street City, pictured above, with Denny Velazquez winning his first career stake race in a rout. Second Street finished 7 ¼ lengths in front of Missjeanlouise, who was 7 ½ lengths better than Tessie Flip. The winning time was 1:10.08.

Velazquez was completing his post-race interview as he headed to the jockey lounge, his attention focused on the person beside him inquiring about the race.

When he looked up, valet Nate Quinonez was waiting with a bucket of water to greet the first-time stake winner. “Oh, hell, no,” Velazquez yelped as he tried to outrun the dousing to no avail. There was more to come when he reached the jockey lounge.

Second Street City was not involved in the rodeo exhibition that preceded the race.

The jockeys had just mounted their horses in the paddock and began their walk around the ring. Cruzette, with Justin Shepherd up, froze, causing a traffic backup. Next in line, Scott Stevens dismounted. His horse, Tiz Roses, made an attempt to hit the infield but was quickly apprehended. But one slot back, Hot Body, with Anne Von Rosen up, bolted to the side and crashed through the fence surrounding the paddock walking ring. She was scratched from the race, examined later by track veterinarian Lynn Hovda and given a clean bill of health.

HBPA DISTAFF

A field of seven lined up for this 1 1/16 mile event on the turf, but it belonged entirely to Starry Eyed Kate under a gutsy ride from Alex Canchari after they took charge on the turn and refused to give up the rail or the lead.

Quinichette and Dean Butler tried but faded to fifth. Grandma’s Rules tried too with a spirited stretch charge, but the winner outlasted that one by a neck.

The stake win was the fourth at Canterbury Park for the young rider this summer. He also won the Manitoba Derby and a stake at Oaklawn Park. It was also a positive way to serve out the remainder of a four-day suspension that began on Friday but was not enforced for stake race commitments.

The winner is trained by Mac Robertson and owned by Hugh Robertson and Barry Butzow.

Butzow extolled the manner in which Canchari took aspects of the race into account as they unfolded.

“The pace was slow (51.24 and 1:15.52) so he decided to just sit there on the rail,” said Butzow. “He’s a good little rider.”

On the rail?

“Yeah, I was skimming it,” said Canchari.

QUARTER HORSE HOPE BONUS CHALLENGE

Glory on the racetrack is a fleeting commodity, there one instant and gone the next.

Nobody knows it better than trainer Kasey Willis of Colman, Okla., who has lost a few matchups this summer in Shakopee to trainer Stacy Charette-Hill.

“It’s nice to get one back,” he said after the $30,900 Fillies and Mares Race for Hope Bonus Challenge at 400 yards.

How about finishing one-two, as Glory Rider and Dreamwideopen did for Willis on Saturday.

Willis and Charette-Hill compete at many of the same racetracks, so they’ve beaten and lost to one another on numerous occasions.

Willis wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his two starters. It might have ended up the other way around.

Dreamwideopen has the same dam, This Dreams Flying, as does another horse familiar to Canterbury folks, the Amber Blair-trained Hes Relentless, the fastest qualifier for the $2.6 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs this weekend.

But on Saturday it was Glory Rider under Agustin Silva who covered the 400 yards in 20.32, a head in front of his stablemate, who had a neck on the third-place horse, Corona Mit Go, trained by Charette-Hill.

“She stumbled a bit (out of the gate),” said Silva, “but she righted herself and went on with it.”

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.

Previewing Saturday’s Fillies Race for Hope

The second annual Fillies Race for Hope, a day of horse racing and fundraising to benefit Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation and Pay It Forward Fund, will be held Saturday at Canterbury Park. The first of ten races, each exclusively for fillies and mares, begins at 1:30 pm. This day of horses and hope, presented by MHC Companies, includes four stakes races with the feature being the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes.

The day’s events will include a Survivors’ Parade on the racetrack – immediately following the day’s third race – where several hundred breast cancer survivors and their families will be honored. Additionally, a hat contest will be held for all racetrack attendees, and bartenders will be pouring the Lady Slipper Smash – the event’s signature cocktail. Numerous sponsors have been lined up to help support this cause and many local companies have contributed more than 100 items for a silent auction that will be held throughout the day.

Four stakes races worth a combined $225,000 will be contested, featuring the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes. Hooh Why, a two-time graded stakes winner, is the most decorated contender in a field of seven. The winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in 2009 over Stardom Bound (stretch run below) and the Grade III Seaway Stakes at Woodbine in 2010, Hooh Why has earned more than $1 million during her career for trainer Michael Revis and owners Hoffman & Trostrud. Bobby Walker, Jr. will be in the saddle.

The local hopeful is Rare Sunset, the winner of the Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile on July 3. Trained by Miguel Silva, Rare Sunset set the pace in last year’s Lady Canterbury before fading to finish fourth. Geovanni Franco has the call aboard Rare Sunset. This edition will mark the 20th running of the Lady Canterbury Stakes. (See the full field at the bottom of the page).

Three other stakes races will be run as a part of the 2012 Fillies Race for Hope. The $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes is for fillies and mares going six furlongs. Minnesota-bred fillies and mares will face off in the $50,000 Princess Elaine Stakes at one mile and one sixteenth on the turf course. Lastly, filly and mare American Quarter Horses will run in the $25,000 Fillies and Mares Race for Hope Bonus Challenge, a bonus challenge race in the AQHA’s Bank of America Racing Challenge. That race will be run at a distance of 400 yards.

General admission is $5. Children under 18 are admitted free. Parking is also free. Information about Canterbury Park is available at www.canterburypark.com. More information about the day can be found at www.filliesraceforhope.org.

Everyone is encouraged to dress in pink to help celebrate the day.

The Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation helps financially distressed individuals and their families who have been touched by breast cancer. Since 2001, Hope Chest has provided over $1,000,000 in support for more than 2,000 breast cancer patients and their families in the Twin Cities area. Hope Chest offers emergency assistance programs to provide financial assistance for rent, utilities, transportation and delivered meals to families.

The Pay It Forward Fund, a program of North Memorial Foundation, helps patients pay their bills while they undergo treatment for breast and women’s cancers. They pay essential living expenses so patients can focus on what’s really important – getting well. Pay It Forward Fund was founded in 2005 by a breast cancer survivor. They provide $20,000 each month in patient assistance to help patients buy groceries, pay their mortgages, heat their homes, keep their lights and water on, and repair their cars so they can drive to chemo. For hundreds of women in need, these gifts have made a difference at a time of crisis.

Here is the full field for the 20th running of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes:

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1 Bryan’s Jewel Mac Robertson Derek Bell 5-1
2 Our Lady in Red Richard Scherer Julio Felix 6-1
3 Hooh Why Michael Revis Bobby Walker Jr. 8/5
4 Rare Sunset Miguel Angel Silva Geovanni Franco 4-1
5 Ruthville Michael Stidham Dean Butler 6-1
6 Another World Donnie Von Hemel Tanner Riggs 6-1
7 Zaphyra Michael Revis Juan Rivera 10-1