Feel good stories abound at any racetrack. Stories about horses winning with limited vision, maybe a single working eye. Stories about horses rebounding from near-death experiences with winning efforts, horses with names dedicated to a dying patron or trainer coming through in his memory.
But how about this one: A husband-wife training team partnering up with a husband-wife riding tandem to win two races.
That’s right – and it happened on Sunday’s card.
Patricia Trimble and Rusty Shaw were married at Turf Paradise in Phoenix two years ago. Sunday they rode winning horses for Harvey Berg, who trains horses in his wife Susan’s name.
Shaw rode the first winner on the card, a 3-year-old named Dalbo. Trimble brought in Amazingly Karen in the fifth race.
The Bergs also started Ridgeofstone, ridden by Trimble in race six. She ran fourth in that race.
“That’s three-fourths of our entire barn right there,” said Susan Berg. “The fourth is Caring Karen and she’ll run on Thursday’s card.”
Rusty had been named on Ridgeofstone to start. “Patricia was whining about how she wanted to ride the horse,” he joshed. “So I went to Harvey and he didn’t care which one of us rode the horse, so I told my agent to take me off and put Patricia on.”
The Bergs are from Milltown, Wis., and have been racing since they were married 55 years ago. They had horses at Canterbury when the track opened in 1985, left when Canterbury closed in the early 90s and have been back for several years. Racing extends throughout the family. Their daughter, Kari Watson, is an outrider at Remington Park.
There is nothing like racing they insist, for people who like it. Even the traveling has been OK with them. “You know people wherever you go,” Susan said.
Shaw and Trimble showed up at the Bergs’ barn on Sunday morning prepared to gallop, but the track was closed because of its wet condition. Instead, they pitched in and mucked stalls. The Bergs have a small operation and handle the barn on their own.
“I’m happy for them,” said Shaw. “They’re very nice people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Harvey mad. He just doesn’t get mad about anything.”
There was one problem, however. The Bergs don’t have employees to share with when Shaw and Trimble deliver the doughnuts this week.
It is traditional for a winning jockey to bring the barn a dozen doughnuts for each win. “I don’t think the two of them can eat 24 doughnuts,” Rusty said. “We’ll have to bring them a box at a time.”
MINNESOTA STALLION BREEDERS’ FUTURITY
A jockey walked into the paddock before the eighth race on Sunday and announced: “This is the Bob Johnson Futurity.”
No it wasn’t, even with six starters in the nine-horse race.
“His mistake today was only six starters, instead of nine,” a wise-cracker offered.
It was the Brent Clay-John Lawless stakes as it turned out, with TCF Captain Call (pictured at top), Stormy Smith up, claiming the winner’s circle in 18.245.
Lawless and his wife made the three-hour drive north from Eldora, Iowa, for the race, a bit of drive that was cushioned by a purse worth $39,000.
“It seems like 10 minutes now,” said Lawless, who raced at Canterbury up until about three years ago and was attracted back by the increased purses.
“This is a great facility and now with the purses it’s even better,” he said.
His chief concern Sunday was TCF’s frame of mind. “He’s moody,” Lawless said “Nothing serious but he does get moody.”
Enough so that if affects his effort.
There was none of that on Sunday as TCF surged to a half length win over Tucan Sam. Third was Just Beach and fourth, Johnson’s It’s A Royal Flush.
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.