Hermann Calls History

CBY_AngelaHermann7Sept2013History, they say, is made one minute at a time, one day at a time, over the course of time.

Angela Hermann, Canterbury Park’s own, presented a new take on an old expression Saturday afternoon, a new look at the entire concept.

Ms. Hermann carried herself and Canterbury Park – married as they are in this sport of kings – over the threshold of history, one call at a time, one race at a time and one race card at a time.

For the first time in North American thoroughbred annals, a woman called an entire race card, and that woman on Saturday was Angela Hermann, better known to Canterbury fans as the voice of the paddock, the woman disseminating facts and details before each race.

Newspaper articles appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press the day before the historic occasion. WCCO had a camera filming in the announcer’s booth on Saturday, and KARE 11 filmed an interview with Hermann after the first race.

Angela, meanwhile, battled nerves like a boxer before the first round as she approached the first race, but called it without a hitch, adding her own personal touch to the call.

Fans accustomed to hearing her rat-a-tat-tat delivery in the paddock heard instead the reserved, articulate delivery of a woman in control at the mike, race after race.

As always, Ms Hermann was her own harshest critic. “I don’t want to hear that replay,” she said after race two. It’s like torture.”

Hermann herself finds a flaw in anything she does, an attribute undoubtedly part of her personal drive toward perfection.

Yes, of course, there were first time errors and individuals opposed to female announcers. An intoxicated individual called the pressbox complaining that a woman was announcing the races, hardly a scoop on this particular afternoon.

Not only did Ms Hermann handle the microphone in the absence of Paul Allen, she managed to handle all but two of the pre-race paddock analyses, her usual role.

There were pranks, to be sure.

TV production manager Jon Mikkelson closed the door to the announcer’s booth after the seventh race. Thus, when Ms. Hermann returned from the paddock, she was deceived, momentarily, into thinking the door had been closed and locked.

There were incidents during races that caught Ms. Hermann a bit behind. She had just proclaimed Tomorrows Moon the likely winner under Lori Keith in race three when three others inside the 16th pole caught fire and Tomorrows Moon, who finished fourth.

Then again, even the veteran Paul Allen has been caught in similar straits within the last week. The difference emerged in his ability to correct himself just yards from the wire, experience showing itself on those occasions. A small point to be sure.

A poll found several of the riders liked Hermann’s calls, as did several trainers. Some trainers did not. Once again, you will find diversity of opinion when Allen is at the mike.

Some people think Shakespeare was the greatest. Others only shake their heads at his mention.

Some people think Bob Dylan’s the best rock and roll artist Minnesota has produced. Others wouldn’t listen to him if he appeared on their front lawns.

Yet, nine out of 10 people know who Dylan is, and 99 out 100 know that Shakespeare wrote plays.

Shakespeare has an esteemed place in English Literature. Dylan has a special niche in rock and roll.

And Angela Hermann has her place in thoroughbred racing history.


Rider Denny Velazquez suffered an apparent broken shoulder, injured a knee and banged up his head during a spill in the fourth race. His horse, Executive Action, broke down during the race, unseating his rider.

Juan Rivera also took off remaining mounts after hurting a shoulder during a race, but said it was only sore and not seriously injured.

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.

Yeah, You Know…

SignsealndeliverIt was the kind of day Dark Star would have approved of without qualification. It was all about him.

From the large gathering in the President’s suite, assembled In his honor, to the absurdly large congregation in the winner’s circle after the race named in his honor, which was preceded by countless stories about him and a video tribute immediately before the $50,000 Dark Star Cup put together diligently by TV production manager Jon Mikkelson, film clip by film clip, from nearly 30 years of footage about the Dark Man.

George Chapple was in his glory.

Many of his friends were on hand, including Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist and KSTP radio host Patrick Reusse, who presented the winning trophy.

The only glitch in the entire day was that the favorite did not win, meaning Dark, who always took the chalk, would have had a second place horse.

“Oh, yeah, he would have had the three horse,” said paddock analyst Angela Hermann.

“Absolutely,” said another.

The three horse was Southern Dude who was part of a very swift early pace that set up the finish perfectly for someone eyeing the action up front, namely Signsealndeliver, ridden to perfection by Ry Eikleberry, who moved two in front of Lori Keith in the rider standings.

The winner shipped in from Arlington Friday night to the barn of Corey Jensen and was ridden by Eikleberry, who performed his due diligence before the race and put the information he learned to use.

Eikleberry had not laid eyes on the horse before he rode him, so he watched films, just as a defensive back might study an opposing receiver’s tendencies.

“I noticed that he didn’t mind splitting horses,” Eikleberry said.

Which is precisely what he did, taking advantage of the swift pace set by Southern Dude and Absolutely Cool to split those two in the final 1/16th, winning by a length over the Dude. The favorite was coming off a third place finish in a graded stake at Churchill Downs. Third was Absolutely Cool out of the Valorie Lund barn, a neck back of the favorite.

The winning time was 1:15.66 after fractions of 22.35, 44.61 and 1:09.04.

The winner paid $11.80, $4.40 and $3.

Which leaves us with a final Dark Star story now that the inaugural running of his race is done.

His buddy Reusse was chuckling over a framed certificate sent to Dark and now part of Canterbury press box memorabilia.

It was sent to the Dark Man from the American Lung Association, a certificate of appreciation for “outstanding service toward improving community health in the prevention and control of lung diseases and their causes.”

It was an award greatly appreciated by the Dark Man, who was a heavy smoker.


There was nothing surprising about the winner of the Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ and North Central Derby, with its $22,300 purse.

The Amber Smith-trained BP Painted Lady, the 4-5 favorite, did her thing and outclassed the field under Cody Smith.

She was the favorite for good reason, having posted the fastest qualifying time in the trial and having banked the most money of the 10-horse field, reduced to nine after Fly Eyeann became a gate scratch.

What wasn’t expected was the ambush from an inside horse that winning rider Cody Smith thought momentarily might spell his horse’s doom.

Outlaw Memories, ridden by Eikleberry, broke from the No. 2 hole and made an immediate right hand turn, pushing the two horses next to her, Hastabealeader and CC Tres sideways toward the favorite.

“I saw that happening and thought they might hit us,” said Smith. “Luckily we ran free (of the trouble).”

There was a certain irony to the ambush since the inside three horses are all trained by Bob Johnson. So, too, was the No. 6 horse, so the Johnson clan had the favorite and eventual winner sandwiched.

It didn’t matter. BP ran a straight course and finished in 20:257.

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.