Holiday Mischief wins John Bullit Stakes; Flower Spell wins Hoist Her Flag

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by Annise Montplaisir

The John Bullit Stakes was narrowed from a six-horse field to four after the scratches of Breezy Point and Evert. It was anyone’s guess who would show their supremacy and take the $40,000 purse. AZ Ridge attempted to seek revenge against Stachys, who defeated him by two and a half lengths in the Mystic Lake Mile. But it was the favorite Holiday Mischief, piloted by Canterbury’s leading rider Alex Canchari, who demonstrated his dominance over the one mile and 1/16 distance.

Holiday Mischief broke well and bided his time behind pace-setter AZ Ridge. Canchari rode out the race with an elusive strategy worthy of his horse’s namesake.

“I played it by the start and I saw he put pressure on me soon,” Canchari said. “So I just stayed on the rail, and waited for it and then I put myself in position so he couldn’t shut me out when he needed to.”

Holiday Mischief whizzed under the wire in a time of 1:44.890, granting glory to trainer Joe Offolter and ownership group Joe Offolter & Carter Thoroughbreds LLC. AZ Ridge finished second, followed by Stachys in third. Holiday Mischief, the wagering favorite, paid $4.00 to win.

Flower Spell, owned by Dare to Dream Stable LLC, Little Bear Racing Stables and trainer Ingrid Mason, was ridden to victory by renowned jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr. in the $40,000 Hoist Her Flag Overnight Stakes.

Coming off a second place finish in the Chicago Handicap (Gr. 3) at Arlington Park, Flower Spell was tuned and ready. The pack broke well, with Flower Spell dropping back to second behind early leader Makinmymark. Rounding the far turn Janis’s Joy attempted a challenge along the rail.

“When the one horse started to come up the inside I thought oh shoot,” said Homeister. “When she felt that horse coming [Flower Spell] re-broke again. She’s a very game filly.”

Crossing the finish line in a time 1:10.94, Flower Spell edged out Janis’s Joy 3/4 of a length. Makinmymark finished third. As the prohibitive favorite, Flower Spell returned $3.40 to win. 

Moe Man Takes Bullit

Moe%20Man%20-%20John%20Bullit%20Overnight%20Stakes%20-%2008-16-13%20-%20R08%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20FinishQuite appropriate. Very fitting. The trainer of a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner saddles the winning horse in a $35,000 overnight stake named for John Bullit, Canterbury Downs champion claimer in 1986, a horse ridden by Mike Smith, Julie Krone, Chris Antley, Scott Stevens and Dean Kutz among others.

Ian Wilkes, who conditioned 2012 Classic winner Fort Larned, sent out Moe Man, owned by Robert Lothenbach and ridden by Justin Shepherd.

The instructions were simple: “Ride your race.” Ride the race as it comes up.

“He’s a good rider. I know him from Kentucky,” said Wilkes, after Moe Man left a field of seven rivals eating his dust in a stretch burst, finishing 4 ½ lengths in front of Coconino Slim with Wild Jacob in third.

The easy victory left even Wilkes a bit stunned. “That was surprising, the way he came down the lane,” said Wilkes.

Wilkes, an Australian trainer, learned under a man well known to Canterbury fans – Carl Nafzger, who trained 1990 Kentucky Derby winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled.

If Wilkes was surprised by Moe Man’s easy win, so also were the Canterbury fans, who let him get away at 7-1. The favorite at 2-1 was Diamond Joe, who finished fourth.

John Bullit, incidentally, set track records in 1986 that still stand: on July 25, he ran 1 ¼ mile on the main track in 2:04 1/5. On Sept 26, he turned in a 3:11 2/5 for 1 7/8 on the turf.

He was trained originally by Clayton Gray, who bought the horse in a package deal and loved thereafter telling stories about how John Bullit would introduce himself to a new rider the same way each time: by sending the individual headlong into the rafters of the barn or the dirt in an arena.

The grand old gelding ran 31 times at Canterbury Down, winning 17 times.

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.

John Bullit – The Fan Favorite

There are different memories and various recollections from people who knew Canterbury Hall of Fame horse John Bullit. Jeremy Trulock, John’s final owner, sized it up on the small wooden cross that has marked the gelding’s final resting place at the family farm since Oct. 22 1999 – “My best friend, never forgotten.”

“That was the worst day ever,” Trulock recalled recently.

Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens only climbed aboard the Bullit a couple of times those many years ago but had a lasting impression just the same. “I just remember him as being a hard trier,”  he said.

Trulock, a year out of high school at the time, sobbed unabashedly the day John Bullit died, overwhelmed by grief. Lest you think disparagingly about that reaction, consider this: Jeremy, now 32 years of age, sells insurance during the week and protects fallen cowboys from angry bulls in the rodeo on weekends. Or he did at any rate, until a couple of injuries pushed him into becoming a rodeo clown, not always that safe itself.

Trainer Clayton Gray, who purchased the gelding as part of a six-horse package in New Zealand before bringing him to Canterbury Downs, has a humorous recollection of John’s method of greeting a new rider – by sending him headlong into the rafters or backwards onto his hind end.

A story about the Bullit’s induction into the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame is framed and hangs on Trulock’s office wall to this day, a reminder whenever he looks at it of the horse that dominated his life for seven years during the 1990s after the grand gelding’s racing days were over.

Certainly the many other riders who took the Bullit to the winner’s circle, Julie Krone, Chris Antley, Mike Smith and Dean Kutz among them were taken with the roguish fellow themselves.

Jeremy Trulock had seen the Bullit race at Canterbury Downs, courtesy of his uncle, Bob Miller, and was 12 years old when told the horse’s career, at age 11, was over and he needed a new home. Miller is the only surviving member of the group that owned the Bullit and intends to be at Canterbury for the $50,000 John Bullit Stakes today.

Trulock rebroke the horse, taught him to run the poles and the barrels in 4H and gentled him to the point that a youngster could climb aboard without concern. “The little kids loved him and loved to ride him,” said Jeremy’s mother, Diana, who operated a day-care center in her home for four decades.

John Bullit, the champion claimer in 1986, became a fan favorite at Canterbury Downs and is arguably the most popular claimer in track history. During his phenomenal summer of 1986 he set two records that still stand. On July 25, he covered 1 and 1/4 miles over the main track in 2:04 and 1/5. On Sept. 26, he was timed on the turf for 1 and 7/8 miles in 3:11 and 2/5. The Bullit started 31 times at Canterbury Downs and won 17 times, earning more than $125,000.

“Jeremy loved that horse. We all loved that horse, even the little kids,” Diana said. “We all cried when he died.”

Jeremy and his uncle Bob met several times at Canterbury for the running of the John Bullit Stakes. It’s a three-hour drive to Shakopee from Tracy in southwestern Minnesota and close to that from Cushing, north of Little Falls, but Jeremy will not join his uncle this year. He has another rodeo commitment to fulfill, another rodeo at which he will present his miniature horse trained to sit, roll over and do various other tricks to the delight of the youngsters and even adults in attendance.

Jeremy, a horseman in the truest sense of the word according to his uncle Bob, breaks horses, trains them and can do just about anything else you want done with them…

“He’s a horseman and a half,” said Miller.

His horse sense was evident 20 years ago when John Bullit came to him at the Trulock’s Saratoga Stables. A rougish renegade, even at 11, from the racetrack, John Bullit gave Jeremy a greeting that sent him skyward like a cannon shot the first time he climbed on him. Trulock climbed back on and the two of them became fast friends in no time at all.

“We really bonded,” Trulock recalled. “We became good friends.”

Jeremy does minor repairs when they’re needed to the wooden cross at John Bullit’s grave site, typically touch-ups needed due to the wear of time and weather.

Maybe just happenstance or maybe a sign of equine respect, but the current inhabitants of the horse pasture at the farm leave John Bullit’s memorial unmolested.

“The horses there never seem to bother it,” Jeremy said. “They leave it alone.”

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.

Duke Deluxe Notches 12th Canterbury Win

Trainers like Canterbury Park for their reasons, jockeys for theirs and now it appears that horses, too, like the racetrack for reasons revealed with a simple glance at their PPs. Look no further than Thursday’s first race and the No. 2 horse, an eight-year-old gelding named Duke Deluxe.

Duke is mad about Canterbury and here is the proof:

With a late burst from his eight-year-old lungs, Duke ran down Royal Express and won for the 12th time – by, oh, the width of a nostril.

He has 12 career wins, six seconds and eight thirds from 61 career starts.

Not eye-catching numbers for any specific reason, unless you take a closer look at those PPs. Duke has 12 career wins. A 13th, in mid May, came at the Brown County Fair in South Dakota in an unrecognized race and is not included in his Daily Racing Form list of wins.

Twelve wins, all at Canterbury Park. He clearly likes this racetrack. Couldn’t win at six other tracks, only Canterbury.

A gelded son of Touch Gold, Duke Deluxe is tied with four horses for wins at Canterbury behind three other horses. Two Hall of Fame thoroughbreds – Hoist Her Flag, a two-time Horse of the Year, and John Bullit lead the list with 17 wins. Crocrock is next with 14. Sir Tricky, Texas Trio, Day Timer and Stock Dividend also have 12.

Moments after Duke’s win under Nik Goodwin on Thursday, Deb Bonn was on the cell phone from Canterbury to her daughter Amber,20, back in Aberdeen, S.D. Amber is half owner in the horse that the family refers to as “College Fund.”

Amber has jobs at two restaurants to pay her way through beauty college, but her share of the winnings from Thursday’s win will help considerably. “You can quit one of those jobs,” her mother told her.

Randy Bonn, who has been at Canterbury as an owner or trainer every year since 1985, bought the horse for his cousin, Jeff Boon, and daughter, Amber, in Phoenix last March and sent him to trainer Larry Donlin at Grand Island, Neb., for vetting.

They turned the horse out for 60 days, ran him twice in the South Dakota bushes and then debuted him Thursday in Shakopee, where he was sent off at 10-1, despite his history over this racetrack.

Duke Deluxe broke his maiden at Canterbury on June 21, 2007 in his sixth career start and is 12-3-1 from 21 starts in Shakopee.

Bob Lindgren owned him for three wins four years ago. “Bobbie Grissom called me about him,” Lindgren said. “She told me that the horse didn’t like the hard surface in Phoenix, but that he always did well here.”

A bit of an understatement, to say the least.

A GOODWIN HAT TRICK

Call it a blog boost, a blog bounce or merely a coincidence, but Nik Goodwin had a bang-up night on Thursday’s card.

The 36-year-old native Minnesotan was profiled in a blog story this week, and promptly responded by winning three races on Thursday’s card.

Goodwin won the opening race on the card with Duke Deluxe, the fourth race with Supremo Struckgold and the seventh with Thepointman.

He has 11 wins and is tied for fifth in the rider standings.

He leads the quarter horse standings with some amazing numbers. He has 11 wins, six more than any other rider. He has an amazing 11 wins and 12 seconds from 24 starts.

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.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography