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.

Cannonball Blows ‘Em Away

Canon 5-27-13 #2There was John Bullit, a horse enshrined in Canterbury Park’s Hall of Fame. There is the silver bullet, a shell capable of repelling a serious vampire threat, and there is the Human Bullet, aka David Smith, Jr., who soared 165 feet through the mist and premature gloaming Monday afternoon and into a net 20 feet above the ground.

Memorial Day might never be the same.

The patrons at Canterbury Park, 8,863 of them, sat or stood spellbound awaiting unquestionably the stellar sideshow of Canterbury Park’s long list of novel attractions over the years.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann analyzed the cannonball from the lift of a boom truck, her high heels occasionally sticking in the grate floor beneath her but safely anchored in a harness and directly in front of the Human Cannonball’s flight path. Beside her was Michelle Benson, who filmed the event for blog viewers. They looked up as the Cannonball soared past them overhead.

“Hey, I’ll give you $500 bucks if you grab Angela on the way and take her with you,” said announcer Paul Allen.

“I’ll give you $1,000 if you don’t,” countered Hermann.

The presentation was the brainchild of press-box boss Jeff Maday, who has been advocating some time for this event.


Nearly lost in the afterglow and gun powder of the daredevil demonstration, harkening memories of Evel Knievel, was the feature horse race of the afternoon, the $50,000-guaranteed Honor the Hero Stakes at five furlongs on the turf.

The winner?

From the local stable of perennial training champ Mac Robertson, who was saddling horses at Delaware Park on Sunday and left paddock duties to his assistant, Brad Hedges. The winning horse, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Hugh Robertson named Bet Seattle, shone on the wet, soft turf for a 1 ¾ length win over El Seventyseven, also from the Robertson barn.

The winner was sent off at 10-1 producing a healthy payoff for those who backed him.

“Maybe Mac should stay away for these races,” quipped Hedges, who saddled Heliskier for his easy win two weeks ago with Robertson out of town.

The winning rider was Geovanni Franco, who picked up the mount and the stakes win at 9 a.m. Monday when it was announced Nate Smith would not fly in to ride the horse.

The win was the first for Mac Robertson in the Honor the Hero Stakes, adding a Memorial Day memento to countless other stakes wins and eight training titles in Shakopee.

Third was the ship-in and favorite Canuletmedowneasy, with Eddie Martin, Jr. aboard. Favored to win because of his career best effort in the Grade III Shakertown at Keeneland Race Course, losing by half a length at 29-1 odds, the son of With Distinction did not run appear to enjoy the soft going on Monday.

Memorial Day will hereafter evoke memories of a milestone for Mike Biehler, who saddled his 500th winner in Shakopee for Monday’s third race.

Hidden Agenda’s agenda was anything but. She broke sharply to the lead and outran eight rivals to win with lengths to spare. “She broke out of there like a rocket,” said winning rider Lori Keith, who was beaming afterward.

It was that kind of day, a day devoted to shooting humans out of cannons and horses out of the gate.

“I think I was more excited that she won than he (Biehler) was,” Keith said. The winning filly got a swift start to the race just as Keith as to the season, moving into a tie for the lead in the rider standings with Eddie Martin, Jr. at that point with her seventh win of the meet.

Biehler’s 500 win at Canterbury moved him into a tie with Doug Oliver for second place on the all-time trainer winning list. Bernell Rhone has 655 wins.

The tie didn’t last long. Twenty-five minutes at most, because Derek Bell took the Biehler-trained Machorina to the wire first in a 7 and ½-furlong claiming sprint on the turf in the fourth race.

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.

Previewing Saturday’s Fillies Race for Hope

The second annual Fillies Race for Hope, a day of horse racing and fundraising to benefit Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation and Pay It Forward Fund, will be held Saturday at Canterbury Park. The first of ten races, each exclusively for fillies and mares, begins at 1:30 pm. This day of horses and hope, presented by MHC Companies, includes four stakes races with the feature being the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes.

The day’s events will include a Survivors’ Parade on the racetrack – immediately following the day’s third race – where several hundred breast cancer survivors and their families will be honored. Additionally, a hat contest will be held for all racetrack attendees, and bartenders will be pouring the Lady Slipper Smash – the event’s signature cocktail. Numerous sponsors have been lined up to help support this cause and many local companies have contributed more than 100 items for a silent auction that will be held throughout the day.

Four stakes races worth a combined $225,000 will be contested, featuring the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes. Hooh Why, a two-time graded stakes winner, is the most decorated contender in a field of seven. The winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in 2009 over Stardom Bound (stretch run below) and the Grade III Seaway Stakes at Woodbine in 2010, Hooh Why has earned more than $1 million during her career for trainer Michael Revis and owners Hoffman & Trostrud. Bobby Walker, Jr. will be in the saddle.

The local hopeful is Rare Sunset, the winner of the Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile on July 3. Trained by Miguel Silva, Rare Sunset set the pace in last year’s Lady Canterbury before fading to finish fourth. Geovanni Franco has the call aboard Rare Sunset. This edition will mark the 20th running of the Lady Canterbury Stakes. (See the full field at the bottom of the page).

Three other stakes races will be run as a part of the 2012 Fillies Race for Hope. The $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes is for fillies and mares going six furlongs. Minnesota-bred fillies and mares will face off in the $50,000 Princess Elaine Stakes at one mile and one sixteenth on the turf course. Lastly, filly and mare American Quarter Horses will run in the $25,000 Fillies and Mares Race for Hope Bonus Challenge, a bonus challenge race in the AQHA’s Bank of America Racing Challenge. That race will be run at a distance of 400 yards.

General admission is $5. Children under 18 are admitted free. Parking is also free. Information about Canterbury Park is available at More information about the day can be found at

Everyone is encouraged to dress in pink to help celebrate the day.

The Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation helps financially distressed individuals and their families who have been touched by breast cancer. Since 2001, Hope Chest has provided over $1,000,000 in support for more than 2,000 breast cancer patients and their families in the Twin Cities area. Hope Chest offers emergency assistance programs to provide financial assistance for rent, utilities, transportation and delivered meals to families.

The Pay It Forward Fund, a program of North Memorial Foundation, helps patients pay their bills while they undergo treatment for breast and women’s cancers. They pay essential living expenses so patients can focus on what’s really important – getting well. Pay It Forward Fund was founded in 2005 by a breast cancer survivor. They provide $20,000 each month in patient assistance to help patients buy groceries, pay their mortgages, heat their homes, keep their lights and water on, and repair their cars so they can drive to chemo. For hundreds of women in need, these gifts have made a difference at a time of crisis.

Here is the full field for the 20th running of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes:

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1 Bryan’s Jewel Mac Robertson Derek Bell 5-1
2 Our Lady in Red Richard Scherer Julio Felix 6-1
3 Hooh Why Michael Revis Bobby Walker Jr. 8/5
4 Rare Sunset Miguel Angel Silva Geovanni Franco 4-1
5 Ruthville Michael Stidham Dean Butler 6-1
6 Another World Donnie Von Hemel Tanner Riggs 6-1
7 Zaphyra Michael Revis Juan Rivera 10-1