Hawthorne Meet Opens Friday With 35 Days Through Dec. 27

Hawthorne Race Course did not run a Spring meet in 2020 as the facility underwent a facelift that will eventually accommodate slot machines. The Chicagoland racecourse will however run a Fall season beginning this week with a Friday through Sunday schedule into December when the race week slims down to Saturday and Sunday only, through Dec. 27. A total of 35 days with maiden special purses of $22,000 and bottom level maiden claimers offered $8,200.

Opening day has eight races, five on dirt and three on a turf course that can be used for several weeks yet if Mother Nature cooperates.  First post is 3:10 p.m. A total of 87 horses were entered for an average field size of 10.87. Combine that with large handle and the betting opportunities abound.

A number of Canterbury trainers migrated to Hawthorne including leading trainer Joel Berndt,

Joel Berndt

Larry Sterling, Jr., and Gary Scherer. Karl Broberg also is trying Hawthorne. Bernell Rhone and Tony Rengstorf have Saturday entries. Berndt will likely saddle several for Canterbury leading owner Robert Lothenbach. Nine horses that last raced at Canterbury are entered Friday including three from Mac Robertson’s barn that now run under father Hugh Robertson’s name.

Jockeys that most recently worked in Shakopee that are named to ride Friday include Francisco Arrieta and Roimes Chirinos. They join jockeys Julio Felix, Constantino Roman and Jareth Loveberry. All three spent part of the meet at Canterbury before leaving for an abbreviated Arlington Park race meet.

Canterbury Racebook will offer wagering on Hawthorne’s entire meet.

Racing News

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday that the second running of the $20 million Saudi Cup will take place Feb. 20, 2021 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh. Maximum Security won the inaugural event but JCSA officials have withheld the winner’s share of the purse as they await results of charges of doping leveled on trainer Jason Servis by the FBI.

Big Weekend Ahead; Don't Fall Asleep On Hawthorne


While the eyes of many handicappers will be gazing at Keeneland and Belmont this weekend, as the former offers two graded stakes Friday and another seven Saturday and Belmont matches stride with four Grade I events Saturday, Hawthorne Race Course will hold the opening day of its fall meet on Friday beginning at 2:20 p.m.

Those that spent the summer playing Canterbury races await the Cicreo, Ill. meet as several Shakopee runners resurface. Ample attention must be paid to Kentucky and New York as the races there may have a profound impact on Breeders’ Cup and will feature some of the best in the business, however a glance over the Hawthorne entries, which for the first two days are healthy, could be fruitful.

At the very least, tracking the progress of the Canterbury shippers makes sense. The fields are largely composed of Arlington horses with a few Kentucky and Fairmont Park horses scattered in.

On Friday’s card there are two Canterbury horses with recent action entered at Hawthorne.

Race 1 – #10 Gray Cotton – speedy maiden that finds the right distance and is 9/2.
Race 6 – #3  Tiz Prime Time – back-to-back wins before the meet concluded. 6-1 morning line. Trainer Gary Scherer at Hawthorne is good enough to bet in the blind.

Saturday offers six possible plays. If you decide to simply bet them all and hope for a flat bet profit, you will be taking a hold of some horses that look awful on paper and thus will be long odds. Note post time is 5 p.m. so you can get your fill of graded stakes action early and then dive in to Hawthorne for the evening.

Race 1 – #7 – Look Out Baby drops from MSW to maiden claimer after losing by 29 and 13 lengths.  One of a few Brinson has entered. This one is 8-1.
Race 2 – #8 Aaron’s Belt. The 2015 Princess Elaine Stakes winner now on sale for $8,000 after a winless seven-race Canterbury campaign this season. Morning line says 20-1. She will make a late move as usual.
Race 3 – #3 That’s Awe Mine never been close in career and only raced twice in Shakopee with long breaks. The 5-1 morning line seems short.
Race 4 – #4 Victory Colors and #6 Spirit Grabber are 15-1 and 20-1 respectively, the longest odds on the morning line.  Victory Colors has not won for nearly two years. Spirit Grabber broke through in a maiden claimer on the dirt but is now back on the turf.
Race 9 – #8 Drinkinatthebar is a MN bred now facing open company and will be all of the 10-1 morning line.

Don’t forget the free-to-enter Countdown to the Cup Contest as well as the $10 Hawthorne Qualifier Super Satellite.

Get Ready for Breeders’ Cup

Breeders’ Cup post times were announced earlier this week. With Santa Anita again hosting the event, it will be a later day for those of us in the Midwest. While for some that means stopping at Canterbury after work Friday to play, keep in mind that advance wagering on both the Friday and Saturday card will be available on Thursday.

All times listed are central.

Friday, November 4
Race 1      1:25 PM
Race 2      2:00 PM
Race 3      2:35 PM
Race 4        3:10 PM
Race 5        3:45 PM
Race 6     4:25 PM
Race 7     5:05 PM
Race 8     5:50 PM
Race 9     6:35 PM   Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Race 10      7:10 PM

Saturday, November 5
Race 1      12:15 PM
Race 2      12:50 PM
Race 3      1:25 PM
Race 4   2:05 PM
Race 5   2:43 PM
Race 6     3:21 PM
Race 7     4:05 PM
Race 8     4:43 PM
Race 9     5:22 PM
Race 10   6:01 PM
Race 11   6:40 PM
Race 12   7:35 PM   Breeders’ Cup Classic

*BOLD are Breeders’ Cup World Championships races

Dorsett to Tackle Hawthorne Derby

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishThe first set of Canterbury Connections was a complete bust, We were seeking prices and found overmatched horses. More combatants are taking to other racetracks now that the season’s been done for a few weeks, so we’ll try again.

Many Canterbury horses are showing up in the entries at Hawthorne, and even though I only sampled Stickney for a few months it’s a track I enjoy taking a glance at. There are of course, other venues hosting Canterbury animals but let’s take a look at this weekend:

Friday – 10/4 – Hawthorne

Race 3 – Chongo – He isn’t the most experienced Midwest runner in the world but he sure is improving at the right time. He didn’t try to get on Hawthorne dirt this year but with turf racing virtually non-existent thus far in 2013, Chongo had to break his maiden on the main track. He did so very impressively despite the light figure, and improved in his summer in Minnesota. His pedigree has a fair amount of turf in it but nothing screams that he’s any better on one surface than the other, and he’ll be a much better price than some of the faces Chicago’s seen lately. Alex Canchari will don the green & black silks for the mount, a local who’s quite familiar with the Hawthorne track.

Race 9 – Image of Grandeur – 6-1 is a decent enough number right? He ran well enough up here to take place honors in three of his four efforts in Shakopee but has not cracked the win column this year. Our track is not quite as kind to closers as Hawthorne is, especially after dark. There isn’t an abundance of speed, and it appears the Robertson charge He’s Bonafide will take some catching should he be allowed to lope along. It doesn’t seem to matter what the pace scenario is, the later it gets at Hawthorne the better the closers rattle along.

Saturday – 10/5

Race 5 – (G3 Hawthorne Derby) – Dorsett – Yeah, we can’t really call him our own but he won the biggest race we run. After a “meh” race at Del Mar (move a bit WIDER Bejarano), they’ve regrouped with Terry Hamilton’s colt (pictured above) and will try another graded race. While he usually lands just a couple of lengths behind in these events, he is once again working well for this and lands in a nice inside spot to sit behind the front runners. He’s never touched Hawthorne grass but many of these fit that mold – he’s at least shown the versatility to take his act on the road and handle different courses. This is not exactly a horse that I bubble over with confidence in, but his price will be right and if he takes another step forward he’s got talent.

Keeneland – Race 8 (G1 Breeders’ Futurity) – General Jack – The 2013 Shakopee Juvenile winner has been off since a relatively easy score here on August 3. He’s the 5-1 second choice on the morning line in a race the connections are likely using to determine whether he has a future on the Kentucky Derby trail or whether he will stick to turf (for that matter, it could determine whether they try the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf). He was entered in a Grade 2 at Saratoga toward the end of August but was scratched. Now he boasts three solid drills at Churchill’s training track. Was second in a live maiden race at Belmont earlier this year… mixed signals on this guy’s future.

Remington Park – Race 8 – George Ray – He ended his season up here a winner, and he certainly will be given every chance from a pace standpoint to get two in a row for Tim Padilla. The nine-year-old seems to going well right now and will make his first appearance on Remington soil. As the year’s gone on he’s decided he’d rather sprint, and if his two routes up here this summer exit the equation he fits beautifully in this spot. There’s lots of early pace surrounding him in the gate, and as long as he can keep a traffic cop on standby he could be a decent price on the board. There is another Padilla charge trying the grass in the 9th, She’s Mighty Fast, who could be used with this horse in horizontal wagers but she may be a furlong or so short of her best distance.

Prairie Meadows – Race 9 – Cowboy Kudzu – We have seen a few of the faces in here, but the most recognizable one from this summer resides on the rail. However, Stacy Charette-Hill has not had the filly on the inside for a long time and her statistics may enough money that way to leave Cowboy Kudzu at a juicy price on the board. He started out nearly perfect as a two year old but is obviously delicate – He spent his three year old campaign on the pine. At four he’s been a mixed bag….must have needed his first couple at Remington then won here only to be vanned off. He needed time after that but returned with a decent third at much shorter. He’s been off since that time but must be feeling ok if he’s returning in this spot. He’s still 3 for 3 at 350 yards and should be a price. Take a look at the board when these hit the track though, as the more live Harris animal will probably show it with his price.

These are just a few of the locals stepping out elsewhere – Good luck betting them this weekend!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela just completed her third year as Canterbury Park’s Analyst.

Hernandez Giving Shakopee a Try

Israel%20Hernandez%208-9-13Israel Hernandez had dismounted, the grooms had taken his horse and he was headed through the winner’s circle on his way to the jockeys lounge when he was spotted by a young bystander.

“He looks like a real jockey,” the youngster said, emphasizing ‘real.’

Apparently Hernandez fit the perfect stereotype for this future horseplayer. Not many riders could squeeze into this jockey’s shoes, much less his shirts or pants.

If you spotted him on the street, you might guess his profession without much thought. Remember the fellows at the state fair who would guess your weight? They’d nail what Hernandez does for a living without taking a deep breath.

The apprentice rider arrived at Canterbury Park this summer from Chicago, where he had ridden at Hawthorne Race Course. He landed in Shakopee at the invitation of a friend who suggested he give it a try here.

Jovial and friendly, Hernandez does not deal with the problems some riders face, many of them on a daily basis. He does not have a weight problem.

At 5-foot-1 and 108 pounds, it is easy to see why Hernandez might have drifted toward his chosen his profession.

A native of rural Guerrero, Mexico, Hernandez grew up on a small ranch where his family kept horses, donkeys, and chickens, but no one before him had shown an interest in horse racing.

Israel got his start at Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico City and gradually worked his way north , arriving in Ocala, Fla., in 2006 where he began galloping horses. A year later he found work as a hotwalker and groom at Arlington Park in Chicago, and began riding last November at Hawthorne.

Then came the call that lured him to Shakopee.

“A friend called me and said I should try Canterbury,” said Hernandez. “Yes, I like it here. It is a good track. Good people.”

Although he is still learning the ropes, so to speak, at Canterbury, lining up clients, learning which barns might be interested in trying him as an apprentice, Hernandez is of the mind right now to return to Shakopee again next summer.

He has given thought as well to trying Phoenix, a place many riders find the perfect setup with the Canterbury meet, ending as it does about the very time the Shakopee meet begins and picking up again afterward.

The Phoenix meet is attractive to horsemen who prefer a little stability in their lives, enabling them to spend the fall and winter months at one location.

Even so, there is a stronger attraction to Chicago for Hernandez, whose wife, Yazmin is there, awaiting the birth of their first child. “She has family there,” Hernandez said. And it is an easy trip from Chicago to Shakopee whenever a visit is warranted. He also has a brother, Pedro, who is galloping horses now at Arlington Park.

There is a gap in Hernandez’s experiences in the U.S. that he explains easily. He returned to Mexico in October of 2010 and returned last October.

Although success in Shakopee is coming slowly, heading into Friday’s card Hernandez had picked up 56 mounts, had won five races and finished second and third seven times each.

Oh, by the way, the diminutive rider does have a secret no race fan or even professional carnival guesser is apt to guess.

What did sport did he enjoy most as a kid, when he was even shorter than he is today?

“Basketball,” he said.

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.

Like Father, Like Son

BrandonMeier05-26-13If Brandon Meier wins the Kentucky Derby some day or, say, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, there is another lesser race that will command an adjacent spot in his memory.

Riding with the bug in 2008, he was on a horse making the turn for home and came off the fence just enough to let the rider behind him sneak through. He switched sticks and went to work with the left hand, but got beat a nose.

The winning rider grinned and chortled as they were galloping out, “hey, jockey, you probably would have won if you had hit your horse instead of my boot the whole way.”

The winning rider? Randy Meier, Brandon’s father.

Brandon’s rejoinder was swift and succinct. “You’ll think twice about coming up inside me the next time,” he said.

The Meier name is well-known in Chicago where Brandon broke in. Randy Meier is the all-time leading rider at Hawthorne Race Course and Sportsman’s Park and among the top 10 all-time at Arlington International Racecourse.

“He raced for 38 years and won more than 4,000 races,” Brandon said. Father and son shared the same valet at Arlington. “My box was right underneath his,” Brandon said. “He got to school me quite a bit.”

Randy retired after a serious accident 3 and ½ years ago. He broke his neck in a spill, for the second time, and suffered a head injury. Brandon stayed home to take care of him, a process that included five months of speech therapy.

“He’s doing great now. He made a full recovery,” Brandon added. “He’s using his retirement to visit racetracks. He’s already been here.”

During his one stint at Santa Anita in 2009, Brandon participated in the “Jockeys”, the reality show about horse racing on Animal Planet.

Accompanying him in the role was girlfriend Dana Henrichsen, whom he met at Arlington in 2008. Henrichsen was working in the Arlington gift shop. Meier was on a horse riding through the tunnel to the track and spotted her. He pulled off a pair of goggles and autographed them for delivery to the gift shop.

“She didn’t know who I was, but she started watching the races and eventually phoned me,” Meier added.

Dana, who now works weekends in Mr. D’s, a sports bar on the apron level at Arlington, is also a hospital administrative assistant during the week. She was in Shakopee recently to visit her jockey, who is riding at Canterbury Park for the first time. He had never seen the place before and is here after getting a sales pitch from last year’s riding champion, Tanner Riggs. “We’re good friends and he kept telling me how great this place is,” said Meier. “He kept telling me the people are great, very friendly, that I’d like the facility.”

Everything seems to be meeting his expectations.

Meier arrived looking for a fresh start. He has ridden at the Chicago tracks as well as Santa Anita Park, Kenneland , Turfway Park and Churchill Downs.

“I couldn’t seem to stay healthy,” he said. “I’d recover from one injury, ride a bit and get hurt again. I’d just build my business back and get hurt again.”

Sometimes a total makeover, an entirely fresh start, can be just the ticket. “I’m starting to make connections, getting to know some people here,” he said. “I think some doors are starting to open for me.” He wants to begin adding to his one win any time soon.

Brandon, who’ll turn 25 on July 9, has one other race that he’ll never forget no matter what fate has in store for him, no matter how many stakes he might win.

He won the first race of his career on a horse named Houseboat, who threw his head shortly before entering the gate and caught Brandon squarely in the lower face, splitting his lip and chipping or rearranging several teeth.

He was bleeding profusely as he entered the winner’s circle and getting peppered from all around about his condition, how he felt.

People began asking him what he intended to do with his winning share of the purse.

“I told them the money would help pay for my upcoming visit to the dentist,” he said.

Meier was smiling as he talked, revealing a mouthful of perfectly formed incisors, top and bottom.

Smiling and anticipating a fresh start.

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.

The Boys from Chicago

DepartingThere are a few guys stepping out from their last races in Chicago to new surroundings, some garnering more attention than others.  Since all three last started at Hawthorne… why wouldn’t it get my interest?

On a  national scale, with the Preakness just over a week away there are two exiting the Illinois Derby with different profiles in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.  Many view Claiborne/Dilschnieder charge Departing to be the main threat to the Derby winner in the Preakness.  I realize that after watching Orb take it to a group of 18 like that without really taking a deep breath one might seek a new face… but think about the last two groups faced by them both.  While I think the Illinois Derby field assembled filled the bill of a grade three race, they weren’t the Kentucky Derby cavalry charge.  Both were clearly best in each contest, but who seems to have progressed more?  It’s no secret that Departing has a long career in front of him and that no one race is a prized target yet.

Orb has done every single thing right this spring, Departing has hit a bump along the way.  Departing was a man among boys in Illinois though and did seem a bit more of a polished racehorse at Hawthorne.  The indoor paddock and all of the activity can get to a horse (especially a young horse), but he displayed his class throughout the process and showed great tractability throughout.  Sometimes the unique characteristics of Hawthorne can get to an inexperienced jockey over it, but both Departing and Brian Hernandez handled it like they’d ran over it a million times.

His versatility will serve him well in Baltimore, that I can say.  Beating Orb?  He seems to be just as controllable, and beating Orb at his own game is not working at the moment.

The other name rumored to be taking the Baltimore route through his three year old year is Jim Tafel’s colt Street Spice.  Street Spice ran fifth in the aforementioned Illinois Derby, just a couple of lengths behind his runner-up stablemate Fordubai.  The duo got stuck in Chicago this winter but surely would have made some noise in the Derby prep season if they’d tried it.

Greg Geier trains them both and has opted to send the former on to the Preakness.  Prior to the IL Derby, when asked about the pair he commented that Fordubai is the more mentally settled of the two and that he wins the workout battle.  However, both have run in the same spots throughout their career, with Street Spice even bettering Fordubai in their previous meeting at Hawthorne.   He is a bit of a goofball as evidenced in some of his past races, converse to the aforementioned runners.  Even in a five horse field Street Spice managed to get in trouble, trying to rally up the rail into a horse that had no intention of letting him through.  He probably would have defeated Bells Big Bernie that day given a clean trip… but if a short field presents problems how will he handle the Preakness?  Don’t count Street Spice out of the running by any means but if he indeed goes in the second leg of the crown look for an outside draw to keep him out of trouble.

Ask EddyNewly turned local Ask Eddy hasn’t had an easy go of it lifetime competition wise, but looks like a great prospect for the Canterbury Racing Club due to his recent performances.  He waited a touch over a year between wins but kept some nice company along the way.  The names that show up in his past performances are machines when it comes to racing in Stickney – Summer’s Empire (8 time winner), Big Bruin (5 time winner) Mastman (5 time winner), Bobby Sands (4 time winner), etc.

The open claimers at Hawthorne this spring were by far the most competitive of the races no matter what the price tag.  While ‘Eddy tested allowance foes and stakes company over the past couple of years, he’s done most of his damage against sellers and returned consistently last fall.  His speed was not as effective over the winter track as it was this spring, picking up a third and a win for his former connections.  He came back a little quick for his start on April 7 and got run off his feet by speedy Mastman.

What happened last time?  Got me.  He tracked a slightly quicker pace but happily coughed it up down the lane.  He’s no spring chicken so obviously there are a few kinks to iron out, but a little rest, TLC and a track kind to front runners may be just what the doctor ordered.

Best of luck to all three from this handicapper, and good luck to you in your wagering endeavors involving these guys from Chi-Town!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann serves as the Track Analyst for Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois and the summer of 2013 will mark her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.

Road to Kentucky & A Trip (Not that Far) South

aqueduct_racetrack_logoThe Road to Kentucky passed through Fair Grounds last week. There was plenty of chalk for sure but two winners jumped up at huge prices. Race 2 featured a $99 winner and the double-point Risen Star saw the 135 to 1 Ive Struck a Nerve get up by a nose…. a cap horse worth 2400 points.

Only five players tabbed the unlikely bomb including weekly winner Ray Hassan who totaled 3770 points and won the $500 wagering account for the week. Hassan also hit Orb in the Gulfstream Fountain of Youth for another 396. Solid ‘capping.

“This horse was working out really well and needed one race to put it all together,” Hassan said. “I like to call this handicapping angle ‘A Coming into Form Race.’ I knew if this horse ran as Presser or a Closer he would run the other speed horses down. And he had enough speed to run with them. Switching to the jockey James Graham was beneficial. The odds were too generous on this horse.”

This week the R2K venue is Aqueduct. Eleven races in all including the double-point Gotham. The Battaglia Memorial from Turfway Park is tossed in for a little extra bonus action. Arrive by 11:30 and get your selections in. As always, entry to Road to Kentucky is free. We’re giving money away!

Let’s go to Angela Hermann for a look at the NY prep race:

The Gotham – She Said by Angela Hermann

It doesn’t seem a prep goes by anymore without mention of Todd Pletcher’s overwhelming favorite. His favorite in the Gotham, Overanalyze, drew the far outside post with a short run to the first turn. Of course I’ll try to beat him! I’m interested to see how Cohen decides to ride Escapefromreality, who had shown speed in all his lifetime starts but learned to harness it in the Withers. Only a huge effort from Revolutionary stopped the New-York bred from getting his picture taken, but his affinity for the inner track and cozy post should both help him in this spot.

Surprisingly no one in this field appears all that comfortable rallying from far off the pace, so the field may bunch coming around the first turn and cost outside runners valuable ground. In search of a closer one must look at Sky Captain, who ships in from Florida after deciding against the Fountain of Youth. Orb ran a big race, so this may have been the right move. Sky Captain got a pretty perfect trip last time, but it was his first try around two turns and he did not exactly give up.

Given the rounds most of these have gone against each other, he may be ready to swoop in and get a big piece from the outside. Overanalyze may just outclass the whole crew, but let’s give the tactical advantage to Escapefromreality. The barn had its best year to date in 2012 and is due to hit some luck this year.

Derby Future Wager

Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is offered this weekend. Bet it at Canterbury Park.

Live from Hawthorne

Perhaps a trip to Chicago for a winter getaway would not be the best of plans for the weather conscious as this weekend’s forecast rivals MN for low temps. But this isn’t about sitting on a beach. It is three days of live racing at historic Hawthorne Race Course. Real horses and jockeys in ski masks.

The first race meet at the Cicero track was held in 1891. The grandstand reeks of history – a structure that could not be built today and probably wouldn’t even if possible. This is a testament to the days when people actually went to the racetrack… in droves. The pre-OTB days. Racing was the king of sports.

The new Kentucky Derby points system left the G3 Illinois Derby out in the cold. Yes Churchill Downs Incorporated, the Derby is your race and can determine qualifiers as you wish but that was an act of pure spite and not in the best interest of racing. Arlington is a Churchill property and constantly at odds with Hawthorne. Instead of standing up for the industry and going to bat for Illinois, Arlington officials carried the water for the boys in Louisville. Tell me having a Derby prep in Chicago is not in the best interest of racing in the state. Many have written more elegantly than this blogger about the underhanded move but to summarize: it was a screw job. But I’m an outsider, what do I know?

Chicago Dining Tip

Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park about eight miles from Hawthorne. Italian Beef Sandwich: Beef, Dipped , Hot. You’ll have it in your hands in a minute and can turn and eat it at a narrow counter immediately.


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 reopened in 1995.

Road to Kentucky, Angela at Hawthorne & More

R2KThe $30,000 Road to Kentucky Tournament continues Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. The double point bonus race Derby prep is the $200,000 G3 El Camino Real. Post time is 2:45pm for the nine-race card and entries to this free contest are due before that.

Only three of the nine entered in the El Camino Real are nominated to the Triple Crown – #1 Wildcat Moon, #4 Manando, one of two from the Bob Baffert stable, and #5 Zeewat trained by Jerry Hollendorfer who has won three of the last seven El Camino Reals.

Manando, 9/5 ML favorite, looks like a need-the-lead type who has two victories from five starts and both came when he established a clear lead. Wildcat Moon from the rail likely goes for a run and challenges early.

Zeewat, under Russell Baze, should sit a perfect trip just off the pace, getting a classic Baze ride. The Hall of Fame jockey has won six of the last eight renditions of this prep. The price won’t be huge but he figures to be right there.

Baffert’s other colt, #8 Carving, is worth a long look too. He is a closer that crawled home to win the Real Quiet Stakes but he too will close into the pace if Baffert’s rabbit comes to a halt.

If you are looking for an R2K bomb, how about #3 Counting Days at 30-1 on the line? He was a maiden claimer at Saratoga in his debut and won in his third start, also for a tag, at Keeneland on the synthetic. Carla Gaines took over the conditioning and tried him in a G3 race where he ran a respectable yet non-threatening seventh. He followed that up with a dismal 15-length drubbing in a sprint. He is rested and double digits. This just has the feel of a horse that could get better. You win R2K contests by hitting a bomb in the bonus race. Swing away.

Hawthorne Spring Meet Begins Friday

A sure sign that spring is on the way is the return of racing in Chicago-land. Hawthorne fires up its meet Friday at 1:35pm. Racing at Hawthorne usually attracts large and competitive fields and offers wagering value. Plus you will see several horses and trainers that will be in Shakopee this summer including Clay Brinson and Joel Berndt. Hawthorne offers a pair of 50-cent pick 4s each day as well as rolling $1 doubles and $1 pick 3s.

Canterbury’s track analyst Angela Hermann will be at Hawthorne for the meet offering race analysis on-air and online. You can find her selections each day here.

The Hawthorne meet concludes at the end of April so Angela will be back to Shakopee before the Kentucky Derby and ready for the opener at Canterbury May 17.

Gorg Preposterous?

Canterbury’s former track handicapper Kevin Gorg gets a lot of air-time these days on Fox Sports North and on the radio at KFAN 100.3 FM. During the course of his work day, he talks for a living… after all, he may on occasion stretch or embellish the truth or make it up as he goes along. He is a pro.

That wasn’t lost on Dan ‘The Comman Man’ Cole when yesterday he released the brackets for his annual and brilliant Preposterous Statement Tournament. Cole installed Gorg as a #1 seed in the National Windows region. Have a look here at what statement allowed Gorg to capture the #1 Seed (Hint: It’s a horse racing statement) and get ready to vote online early and often.

Paul Allen, our beloved track announcer, is a Preposterous Statement Hall of Famer, and has numerous entries in this year’s PST including a #2 seed in the Canterbury Park region. He is odds-on each and every day from 9 to noon on KFAN to utter something tournament worthy.

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 reopened in 1995.