Five Stakes Featuring Minnesota Breds Wednesday at Canterbury Park

Hot Shot Kid seeks 15th local victory.

Canterbury Park’s 10-race Wednesday program, named Made In Minnesota Day, includes five Minnesota-bred thoroughbred stakes races offering $350,000 in purses. The Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby, each at 1 mile and 70 yards and each with $100,000 purses, are the headliners as the seventh and eight races respectively. The Wally’s Choice and Glitter Star Stakes, until this season run as part of the Minnesota Festival of Champions, follow the Oaks and Derby. Both are at a distance of 1  1 /16th miles with purses of $50,000. The fifth stake, run at five furlongs as the sixth race on the card, is the $50,000 MTA Sales Graduate Futurity, restricted to horses that passed through the sales ring of the 2019 Minnesota Thoroughbred Association Yearling Sale. All nine in the field are state breds including morning line favorite Westa Waverly who finished second beaten a neck in his career debut Aug. 3 after opening a four length lead. He was 12 1/4 lengths clear of the third place finisher.

Defend the Rose

Defend the Rose, trained by Mac Robertson, is the 5 to 2 morning line favorite in the Oaks. The 3-year-old filly won the six furlong Frances Genter July 1 and since has raced on the turf twice against open company finishing fourth and third.



Weekend Ride is the 5/2 Minnesota Derby favorite. He won the Victor Myers Stakes July 1 and

Weekend Ride

was recently second in a sprint facing open company. The colt tries a route of ground for the first time in the Derby for trainer Gary Scherer.

Hot Shot Kid, the all-time leading Minnesota-bred money earner with $598,909 in purses, will attempt to win his 15th race at Canterbury and second consecutive Wally’s Choice Stakes.  The prohibitive 4 to 5 morning line favorite is trained by Mac Robertson and owned and bred by Warren Bush.

Ready to Runaway

The Glitter Star Stakes will also have a heavy favorite in Ready to Runaway, who is 2 to 5 on the morning line. The 4-year-old filly that has not missed the board in 14 career starts at Canterbury, Keeneland and Oaklawn, is also trained by Robertson and owned by John Mentz of Lakeville, Minn. She was claimed for $25,000 in June of 2019 and since has won five of 10 starts for the new connections. Four of those wins were stakes including the 2019 Minnesota Oaks and Glitter Star. Jockey Roimes Chirinos has the mount on Ready to Runaway, Hot Shot Kid and Defend the Rose.

Post time Wednesday is 4:40 p.m. Tickets are available.

Hot Shot Kid Beats Mr. Jagermeister In 10,000 Lakes Stakes

Mac Robertson sweeps state-bred stakes when Ready to Runaway wins Lady Slipper

Hot Shot Kid and jockey Francisco Arietta waited patiently behind the pace set by 1 to 9 favorite Mr. Jagermeister before taking aim in mid-stretch to win Wednesday’s six furlong 10,000 Lakes Stakes at Canterbury Park by 1 1/2 lengths. The showdown between the two all-time leading Minnesota-bred moneys earners played out according to script as Mr. Jagermeister, under rider Leandro Goncalves, was sent to the lead but pushed along early by Hot Shot Kid’s stablemate Cinco Star through fractions of 21.96 and 44.11 seconds. Hot Shot Kid, never further than 4 1/2 lengths behind, closed on the outside to win in 1:09.45 while Mr. Jagermeister settled for second place 1 1/2 lengths in front of Fireman Oscar. The winner, owned by Warren Bush, paid $11.20.

“Things went Hot Shot Kid’s way today,” trainer Mac Robertson said. “I expect there will be a rematch.” Hot Shot Kid earned $30,000 of the $50,000 stakes purse, boosting his lifetime earnings to $575, 404. Mr. Jagermeister has earnings of $588,364.

Robertson’s evening was not finished as he also trained the winner of the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes, Ready to Runaway. Rider Alex Canchari and Ready to Runaway sat just off Ari Gia before pulling away in the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:09.71. Ari Gia faded to sixth. Pinup Girl closed to finish second with Firstmate finishing third. Ready to Runaway is owned by John Mentz. She paid $3.20 to win as the wagering favorite.

State-Bred Stakes Highlight Wednesday Action at Canterbury Park

Three-day racing week Tuesday through Thursday; Two richest Minnesota-breds meet in 10,000 Lakes.

The two Minnesota-bred thoroughbreds with the highest career earnings, Mr. Jagermeister and Hot Shot Kid, will face off in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes Wednesday at Canterbury Park, racing six furlongs for a purse of $50,000. The 5-year-old Mr. Jagermeister, winner of 11 of 23 starts and $578,627 in purses, and 6-year-old Hot Shot Kid, who won five stakes, including the 10,000 Lakes, at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack in 2019 and has amassed $545,404 in purses from 29 career starts, meet for the first time since the 2018 running of this same stake race. That year Mr. Jagermeister got the best of it finishing 8 1/2 lengths in front of second-place Hot Shot Kid. He then went on to win three additional stakes that summer before being named the Canterbury horse of the meet, an honor bestowed on Hot Shot Kid last year.

“This is going to be a very exciting race; a very competitive race,” Mr. Jagermeister’s trainer and co-owner Valorie Lund said. Leandro Goncalves has the mount. “[Mr. Jagermeister] is ready,” Lund said, but questions the prohibitively favored 2 to 5 morning line hung on her horse. “I’ve watched Hot Shot Kid training both here and at Oaklawn. He looks great,” she said.

Mac Robertson, perennial leading trainer at Canterbury Park and conditioner of Hot Shot Kid, is also quick to acknowledge the competition.  “Mr. Jagermeister is very good,” Robertson said, speaking Sunday from Delaware Park where he is preparing his East Coast string. He intended to run Hot Shot Kid at Keeneland but when that meet was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he changed plans and entered at Oaklawn where Hot Shot Kid ran a distant tenth in a sprint. Robertson has named last year’s leading jockey Francisco Arietta to ride. He also entered Cinco Star in the five-horse field.

The 10,000 Lakes is the second race on an 11-race program that begins at 4:30 p.m., while the co-featured $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes is the sixth. Robertson and Lund are also represented in the Lady Slipper. Robertson will run 7-year-old Honey’s Sox Appeal and Ready to Runaway. Lund has entered Firstmate, a 5-year-old mare previously trained by Joe Sharp, for owners Barry and Joni Butzow of Eden Prairie, Minn. They must beat Lady Slipper defending champion Ari Gia and trainer Jose Silva, Jr.

“I’m tickled to have her,” Lund said of Firstmate. “There is a ton of speed in the race. I like the outside [post position] draw.”   Firstmate recorded the fastest four furlong workout of the morning on June 10 in preparation. “She did it so easy,” Lund said.

Robertson has a very strong hand in the Lady Slipper. “I wouldn’t trade my two for any of them,” he said. Honey’s Sox Appeal is a multiple stakes winner who Robertson said “was in a brutally tough race at Oaklawn and she didn’t run that bad.”

Ready to Runaway, claimed for $25,000, subsequently won three consecutive stakes last year at

Ready to Runaway

Canterbury. She raced three times at Oaklawn this spring with two third-place and one second-place finish, earning speed figures better than last year. “She’s never run a bad race really,” Robertson said. Not one to be without a plan, he considered potential strategy for Wednesday while examining the field. “We’ll probably send one and take one back. This is a really good race.” He also entered Clickbait, but she will be a scratch and is reentered for Thursday. The field includes 2017 Minnesota Oaks winner Double Bee Sting and Pinup Girl, winner of the 2018 Lady Slipper.

Racing resumes Tuesday and runs through Thursday with first post at 4:30 p.m. each afternoon.

Mac Robertson Breaks Records

The freight train was approaching, in fact keen observers knew it had been for years; it was only a matter of when it would arrive. That train is Mac Robertson and the station the historical trainer win total at Canterbury Park and Downs. A couple of weeks back Robertson overtook Canterbury Park Hall of Fame trainer Bernell Rhone, the man responsible for bringing the first horse onto the grounds of the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack in 1985; the trainer that has operated a stable here every year the track has been open.

Robertson, a Hall of Famer himself, has 858 wins at Canterbury, 65 coming this season.  Rhone has 841. With two days and 28 races remaining, Robertson entered 37 horses. He leads trainer Robertino Diodoro, who entered 34, by three wins as he seeks his 13th title. Diodoro is the only trainer to hold that title other than Mac since 2005. Diodoro did it in 2014 and 2015 and tied Robertson last season.

Robertson’s horses have already earned a record $1,982,427 this season, nearly 14 percent of the total purses projected for the entire meet. He has 10 of the top 11 single-season earnings totals. His previous high-water earnings mark came in 2017 with $1,763,068.

Robertson has been dominant with Minnesota bred runners in 2019, in fact his charges have won 12 of the 16 state bred stakes. Hot Shot Kid won the 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota Turf, Blair’s Cove, and Wally’s Choice Minnesota Classic Championship. Four stakes wins for a horse in a single season, state bred or not, is rare enough here and on Friday Hot Shot Kid could win his fifth, as he is entered in the $50,000 Tom Metzen Stakes.

Ready to Runaway won the Frances Genter, Minnesota Oaks, and Glitter Star Distaff Classic. Mister Banjoman won the Victor Myers and Minnesota Derby.  First Hunter, Happy Hour Cowboy, and Honey’s Sox Appeal each won a state bred stake race as well.

Mac Robertson shows no signs of slowing down. His horses are well placed for closing weekend, with live runners in three of the final four stakes.

Wet Day Can’t Spoil Triple Crown


A frequent patron of the races stuck his head outside the front door early Saturday to encounter a heavy rain. “Well,” he responded, “Canterbury Park must have something big planned today.”

There has been no better forecast of the weather this spring/summer than the schedule at the Shakopee racetrack.

If a big race is on the card, put the picnic basket and fishing pole away. If a Triple Crown race is scheduled that day, get out the umbrella and rain gear. Sometimes, it’s the oppressive humidity that ruined the day.

Saturday was no exception. The card offered two $50,000 stake races, the Minnesota Turf Distaff and the Minnesota Turf.

Naturally, they were moved to the dirt. One look at the paddock greens could have told you that would happen. On one side of the pathway to the paddock saddling area the ground and grass resembled the everglades. Valets splashed their way through tack for their designated horses.

It stayed dry and clear at Elmont, N.Y. for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes and Justify ran a superb race under Mike Smith to become racing’s newest Triple Crown champion.

Smith, of course, was the kid from New Mexico who took Canterbury Downs by storm its first season (1985), winning the track’s first riding title. He was second, three wins behind Sandy Hawley the next year when his ambition took him to larger racetracks. He rode locally only part of the season in 1987 before leaving entirely, and it was obvious then he had the talent to compete at higher levels.


Pinup Girl is a big, strong looking filly who covers ground quickly, as she did Saturday in the stretch drive of this fifty grand race.

After stalking the leaders throughout, she went four horses wide on the far turn under Santiago Gonzalez to win her second consecutive stake race following her Lady Slipper win on May 19.

She caught Double Bee Sting in the final strides to finish a neck in front, with TaKala Warning in third, another 1 ¾ lengths back.

Somehow she made it look easy in the process.

“Si, muy facile,” said Gonzalez.

Trainer Sandra Sweere was pleased with the result, which confirmed her belief that this filly can run on dirt or grass.

“It doesn’t matter to her,” she said. “She can run on any surface.”

Next up?

Probably the Princess Elaine on July 3.

“We’ll see. It’s up to the owners,” Sweere said. That would be Gary and Brenda Bergsrud.


Hot Shot Kid is just that again, as he clearly demonstrated in this race with a commanding victory over a field seven rivals.

Under Dean Butler, Hot Shot took charge coming out of the turn and finished 6 ¼ lengths in front of Plenty of Sun, who had a half length on Teddy Time.

Trained by Mac Robertson, Hot Shot got his first win of the year in four starts, following a three-year-old season when he won five of nine races and was on the board seven times.

Hot Shot Kid is owned by Warren Bush.


As the riders and horses came out of the turn for home in Saturday’s third race they had company on the racetrack.

Geese. A family of them

“There were four or five babies and three or four big ones,” said rider Ry Eikleberry. “They were headed from the outside rail to the inside.”

Undoubtedly for a swimming lesson in the infield pool.

In any event, the horses in the race saw them and took an interest, enough so that the racing stewards posted an inquiry to examine if the feathered creatures affected the outcome of the race. The decision was that they did not.

The riders are well aware of one particular goose who awaits them mornings at the gap during workouts. He made his way to his “perch” the other morning through a field but was spotted by jockey Dean Butler.

“It looked like he was coming from Cub (Foods),” Butler said.

The jockeys, who’ve named the goose “Chisholm”, said that the DNR has had representatives on hand to move the goose on a couple of occasions but they have been too late to spot him.

“We told them that he’s here in the mornings,” Butler added.


It’s funny the people you run into at the racetrack sometimes.

Star-Tribune handicapper Johnny Love was making his rounds on Saturday when he ran into an acquaintance: His son Julian’s former teacher at St. Mark’s grade school in St. Paul.

Accompanying Love in the paddock before the Turf Distaff was Katie Peterson, who taught Julian in the first, second and third grades, and her husband, Danny, along with a number of friends.

Love was delighted with Justify’s triple crown championship. “He’s better than American Pharoah,” he proclaimed. “He’s going up on my Mount Rushmore of horse racing.”

Mr. Jagermeister Favored in 10,000 Lakes Stakes Saturday

Plus, see the 143rd Preakness simulcast at 5:48 p.m.

Shakopee, Minn. — Saturday’s 10-race program at Canterbury Park, which begins at 12:45 p.m., features two $50,000 stakes sprints for horses bred in Minnesota, the 10,000 Lakes and the Lady Slipper.

In the 10,000 Lakes, each of the six entrants previously won stakes races at Canterbury Park. Three-year-old Mr. Jagermeister, who last year won the Northern Lights Futurity, will face older horses for the first time in his career. The colt, trained by Valorie Lund, most recently finished second in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park chasing one of the fastest 3-year-old sprinters in the country.

“He’s got some tough, tough horses to run against and he’s still a baby, but he’s a talented baby,” Lund said.

Mr. Jagermeister, the 2 to 1 morning line favorite, will be ridden by Leandro Goncalves. He will face the all-time leading money earner at Canterbury Park, Hold for More, who last season won the 10,000 Lakes Stakes.

Also entered is Hot Shot Kid, who won four consecutive races at Canterbury in 2017 including the Minnesota Derby. Also in the field are 2017 Minnesota Sprint champion Smooth Chiraz, turf specialist A P Is Loose, and Fridaynitestar.

The Lady Slipper, restricted to Minnesota bred fillies and mares, is also a six horse field. Favored is last year’s winner Honey’s Sox Appeal. She is owned by Bob Lindgren of Prior Lake and is trained and ridden by 2017 champions Mac Robertson and Jareth Loveberry.

In addition to live racing, Canterbury will offer simulcast wagering on Saturday for the 143rd Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Post time is 5:48 p.m. There will be plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the day as well including a bride and bride-to-be wedding dress dash to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Participants will race down the main track in bridal gowns for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to Continental Diamond. Live music will be provided by Tim Mahoney. A selfie station with princesses and ‘the queen’ will be available for guests.

General admission is $9 for adults; children 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is also free. More information is available at . Racing resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m. and continues Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

Lund Weighs Options For Mr. Jagermeister

Minnesota-bred 3-year-old Mr. Jagermeister continues to train at Turf Paradise as trainer Valorie Lund determines the next race for the 2017 Northern Lights Futurity winner.

“There’s not a lot for us unless we want to go in derbys or (Kentucky) Derby preps, which we don’t,” she said.  The plan is to “keep him sprinting for now.”

Mr. Jagermeister turned in a snappy four furlong 47.40 work on Sunday. “He did it so easy,” Lund said. “He started slow. He probably galloped out in 59. He is really sharp.”

One option for the colt is the April 12 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park, a six furlong race with a $150,000 purse. Running there also puts him closer to Canterbury Park where he will ultimately end up as the connections aim toward the late summer Minnesota Derby.

Lund, who will have more Minnesota breds in her stable than usual, is looking forward to her return to Shakopee. “We are really aiming for the meet,” she said.

Another state bred to keep an eye on is multiple stakes winner Hot Shot Kid who is working steadily at Oaklawn for trainer Mac Robertson. It is possible Hot Shot Kid and Mr. Jagermeister will clash in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes here on May 19.

2017: A Look Back

By Noah Joseph

Well, it’s that time of the year. Closing weekend is upon us. The 2017 season is almost in the rear-view mirror, and it was a wonderful season. Here’s a look at some of the great moments.

For the fans, there was much to see, and parts of the summer had gone to the dogs. Literally, thousands of fans showed up to watch dogs race, whether it was wiener dogs, bulldogs, or corgis. Extreme Day was an extreme success with camel, ostrich, and zebra races. Also, the Indian Horse Relays were a success in their own right.

This year brought some records along with it, too. Jockey Nik Goodwin got his 1,000th career win. Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer David Van Winkle also got his 1,000th win, and Hold for More became the richest horse in Canterbury Park or Downs history.

There were several new names to make their presence felt in the Canterbury jockey colony. Jareth Loveberry was one of them. In just his first season at Canterbury, Jareth has won 69 races, including one week where he had 13 victories. He is named to ride in 25 of the 26 remaining races. Another jockey, Chad Lindsey, also in his first season at Canterbury, won more than 20 races. The familiar names like Alex Canchari, Dean Butler, and others had successful seasons as well. Leslie Mawing, who rode at Canterbury at the beginning of the century, returned to Shakopee and won more than 40 races.

The racing was top notch as always, especially in stakes competition. Hotshot Kid took his connections on a wild ride, winning the Vic Meyers and Minnesota Derby; Sweet Tapper used her late closing kick to run down Insta Erma in the Lady Canterbury, Puntsville had a dominating score in the Hoist Her Flag running the fastest six furlong time of the meet. The Fiscal Cliff dominated his foes in multiple stakes en route to being one of the best quarter horses to run at Canterbury. Hay Dakota, a Grade 3 winner and local horse just holding on in the Mystic Lake Mile; and Giant Payday’s flying finish in the Mystic Lake Derby.

2017 was a great season for Canterbury fans and horsemen alike. Here’s to 2018 being just the same. To all the Canterbury employees, horsemen, and fans, thank you!

Eleven Entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby

Canterbury Park’s richest race of the season, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, will be run Saturday evening as the fourth race on a nine- race program that begins at 6:00 p.m.

Eleven 3-year-olds were entered for the one-mile turf race. Giant Payday, the 7 to 2 morning line favorite, will start from post position nine and will be ridden by Chris Landeros for trainer Ian Wilkes. Giant Payday is owned by Robert Lothenbach of Wayzata, Minn.

It has been three years since a horse bred in Minnesota has run in the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s premiere race but the 2017 rendition of the Mystic Lake Derby will include one as Hot Shot Kid, owned and bred by Warren Bush, has been entered. Bush, who lives in Wall Lake, Iowa, decided to breed in Minnesota following the 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, that calls for SMSC to contribute more than $70 million to horsemen purses over 10 years. Purses are now more than double what they were in 2011. Out of that agreement also came the Mystic Lake Derby, which will be run for the sixth time.

Hot Shot Kid has won five consecutive races including victories in the Victor Myers Stakes and the Minnesota Derby but has never raced on the turf. Trainer Mac Robertson and Bush opted to skip last weekend’s Minnesota Festival of Champions, where Hot Shot Kid would have been a betting favorite, for a shot at Canterbury’s biggest purse.

“We knew we have a really nice horse going forward,” Bush said. “If he can run on the grass it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.”

Hot Shot Kid, who had won three sprint races prior to his 3/4 length win in the 1 mile 70 yard Minnesota Derby, was challenged in that race in deep stretch but persevered.

“This is a horse that doesn’t want to get beat,” Bush said. The Minnesota Derby win was a factor in the decision by Bush and Robertson to try the Mystic Lake Derby. “I have tremendous faith in Mac,” Bush said. Hot Shot Kid is 9 to 2 on the morning line and drew post eleven.

Also part of the race week, which celebrates the partnership between Canterbury Park and SMSC, is Indian Horse Relay, a daring display of bareback racing showcasing teams representing 15 American Indian nations competing for more than $50,000 in prize money. Relay will be featured on Thursday and Friday with two trial heats each night conducted between the pari-mutuel races. The top eight teams from those trials advance to the championship relay Saturday evening.

An Indian Market, with more than 30 vendors offering unique Native American arts and crafts, will be open daily in the Expo Center during the races.

The Saturday race card also includes two additional stakes: the $50,000 Minnesota HBPA Distaff and the $50,000 Brooks Fields Stakes.

Post time Thursday and Friday is 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Mystic Lake Derby Day, has a special 6:00 p.m. first post.

Canterbury Hosts 24th Minnesota Festival of Champions Sunday

The annual Minnesota Festival of Champions, a day restricted to the best racehorses bred in the state, will be held for the 24th time Sunday at Canterbury Park.

The first of 11 races is scheduled to begin at 12:45 the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack. A total of 94 horses have been entered to compete for $585,800 in purse money.

“The State Tournament of Horse Racing” was first held in 1992 and was the final day of pari-mutuel horse racing in Minnesota until Randy and Curtis Sampson, along with South St. Paul businessman Dale Schenian, purchased Canterbury in 1994 and revived live racing in 1995. The Festival of Champions has been a centerpiece of the racing season ever since.

The $60,000 Crocrock Minnesota Sprint Championship is a battle of veterans versus a young dynamo.  Hold for More, a 5-year-old owned by Schenian, is the all-time leading money earner in the history of Canterbury Park with $371,250. The 9 to 5 morning line favorite will be ridden by Orlando Mojica and is trained by Francisco Bravo. Last year Hold for More won the Crocrock Sprint, beating Bourbon County, who had won the race in 2014 and 2015, by a neck. The 7-year-old Bourbon County, whose earnings total $294,447, is also entered Sunday. They face three-year-old Hot Shot Kid, undefeated this season at Canterbury with four wins including the Victor S. Myers Stakes and the Minnesota Derby, in the Sprint field of seven. Hot Shot Kid, with a lifetime record of five wins from eight starts, has earned $212,160 in purses; $127,860 of that total was earned at Canterbury. The gelding is owned by Warren Bush of Wall Lake, Iowa and is trained by leading trainer Mac Robertson, who has a record 28 Festival Day victories. Alex Canchari will ride Hot Shot Kid. Robertson also trains Bourbon County. The field is rounded out by stakes winners Smooth Chiraz and Fridaynitestar as well as Johnny the Jet and Best of the Bleu’s.

General admission is $9. Children 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is free. A Canterbury Park-themed t-shirt will be given to the first 4,000 adults through the admission gates which open at 11:30 a.m. Food Trucks will be featured on the track apron with 16 vendors from around the Twin Cities represented. Free pony rides, a petting zoo, and face painting will also be available from 12:30 to 4 p.m.