SECRET SOMEONE, AZTEC BRAVE BIG WINNERS

Secret Someone
Secret Someone

BY JIM WELLS

The dew point had an impact just about anywhere you cared to look on Sunday _ in particular, the long lines at the stands serving iced drinks, ice cream, anything with the ingredients you typically find in a freezer.

There was also a lineup for the cold cash up for grabs, $100,000 each in the long revered Lady Canterbury Stakes and the Mystic Lake Mile.

The Lady Canterbury, first run in 1986, has a long storied history. The Mystic Lake Mile, staged for the fourth time, is in the process of becoming a race unto its own.

And, in an interesting scenario, a loser in the first became the winner of the second.

Alex Canchari, currently on top of the rider standings in Shakopee, moved his horse, Secret Someone, up on the turn for home,  and cruised past Calypso Run in the stretch drive to win the Lady Canterbury, finishing in 1:36.85.

Trained by Michael Stidham, the winner, and his rider, had to await a stewards’ inquiry and a claim of foul from Calypso Run’s rider, Chris Rosier, before they had their picture taken.

Nonetheless, Canchari said he wasn’t all that concerned. “I was moving past him easily, a hand ride,” Canchari said, confident the result would stand.

Secret Someone finished two lengths in front, and another ¾ length ahead of America Mon Amie.

   MYSTIC LAKE MILE

Rosier and trainer Joe Sharp teamed up again in the Mystic Lake Mile and got their pictures taken this time with Aztec Brave, who took advantage of a perfect pace to make his stretch run bid.

Aztec Brave, sent off as the favorite at 2-1, has taken a liking to 100 grand races. He has won three of them and finished second, by a nose in each, in two more.  Sunday he hit the wire 1 ½ lengths in front of Granny’s Kitten and Canchari, and another neck in front of Nun the Less in a time of 1:35.95.

“A nice Father’s Day present,” said Sharp, who has two children and another on the way. “This horse has really been something special for us. Chris rode him just right and he came home with that kick of speed.”

“I knew Joe was putting me on some Pony, and I’m not kidding. I learned that quickly out there,” Rosier said.

Thus, the fourth chapter of the Mystic Lake Mile was written, and the 24th of the Lady Canterbury, with its long enduring history that includes names now part of track lore.

The first winner, a filly named Sauna, owned by Paulson and Summa Stables, arrived from the barn of Richard Cross and was ridden by Hall of Fame rider Chris McCarron.

Nature’s Way won next, in 1987, trained by John Parisella and ridden by Nick Santagata, and Balbanella, a filly owned by Maktoum al Maktoum and trained by Neil Drysdale, followed.

That’s generally been the story of the Lady Canterbury, which offered as much as $150,000 in purse money at one time _ a shipper from a strong stable arrives and claims the top prize. Yet, only three favorites have won.

There have been exceptions, and they are part of the Canterbury legacy. The locally stabled Go Go Jack and K Z Bay for starters, as well as Be My Friend in 2004 and Honour Colony in 2007.

Canterbury Park Hall of Fame jockey Scott Stevens rode Go Go Jack to the winner’s circle in 1995, the year racing returned to Shakopee, for trainer Tim Muckler.

The most captivating chapter of this interesting history occurred in 1997, when Paul Nolan rode the 30-1 locally stabled longshot K Z Bay to the winner’s circle for trainer Bob Ryno.

Aztec Brave
Aztec Brave

 

   SKIP ZIMMERMAN WINNER SETS WORLD RIGHT

From feast to famine or quite often the reverse .

aA any horsewoman can tell you. Down one day and up the next.

Stacy Charette-Hill can confirm it for you, as she did on Sunday.

She saddled horses in each of the six Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity trials on Saturday. Didn’t get a winner and lost two horses, one permanently.

“I was really disgusted,” she said.

Then, on Sunday, in the $24,000 17th running of the Skip Zimmerman Stakes at 350 yards, the world turned upright again.

Tempting Valor, a second choice to Sudden Separation, got the benefit of drawing the No. 7 hole, as Stacy saw it, and beat the favorite, Sudden Separation, by a length in a time of 17:87.

“We couldn’t have outrun her from an inside spot,” Stacy said. “He’s not a fast horse but doesn’t make mistakes.”

And he didn’t on Sunday, breaking sharply under Jorge Torres. “He got away really good,” said Torres, “and I knew we could win when he did.”

Then, again, how could anyone bet against Charette-Hill in this particular race. Tempting Valor gave her a fourth consecutive win in the Skip Zimmerman.

Tempting Valor
Tempting Valor

Two $100,000 Races Saturday at Canterbury Park

Mystic Lake Mile

23rd Lady Canterbury attracts field of nine; Mystic Lake Mile with 11

Two of Canterbury Park’s premier races, each offering a $100,000 purse, will be run Saturday: the Lady Canterbury Stakes and the Mystic Lake Mile. Both will be run at one mile on the turf course as part of a 10-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m.

The Lady Canterbury, now in its 23rd running, dates back to 1986 when it was the first race ever run on the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s grass course. The race was won by Allen Paulson’s Sauna with Chris McCarron aboard.

On Saturday, Mac Robertson, who won the Lady Canterbury in 2007 with Honour Colony, will saddle the 5 to 2 morning line favorite Stoupinator. The 5-year-old mare, owned by Joe Novogratz of Excelsior, Minn., is undefeated on this turf course and most recently won the $75,000 Minnesota HBPA Distaff on June 6. Canterbury’s leading jockey Dean Butler will be aboard.

Other notables in the nine-horse field include Parc Monceau, saddled by Bill Mott, who won this race in 2003 with Stylish, and Notte d’Oro, who finished less than a length behind Stoupinator on June 6 and is trained by Michael Stidham, a two-time Lady Canterbury winning trainer.

The co-featured Mystic Lake Mile originated in 2013. This year’s 11-horse field includes the winners of the first two editions: Mister Marti Gras, who won the inaugural Mystic Lake Mile, and Az Ridge, last year’s winner.

Eduardo Perez, based at Arlington Park in Chicago, has the mount on Mister Marti Gras for trainer Chris Block. Local rider Geovanni Franco will ride Az Ridge, winner of four consecutive races, for Dan McFarlane.

Dorsett, whose last win was in the 2013 Mystic Lake Derby, will be reunited with jockey Lori Keith who was aboard for that win nearly two years ago.

The Lady Canterbury Stakes and the Mystic Lake Mile will be run as the eighth and ninth races respectively.

Canterbury Park will be giving away a craft beer glass to the first 4,000 adults. General admission is $8. Children 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is free. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.

 

Sauna - 1986 Lady Canterbury winner
Sauna – 1986 Lady Canterbury winner

Race of the Week: MN HBPA Distaff

LARGE_HBPA_logo_smaller_GIFSaturday is a special event with many special people involved. Let us not forget that while the stakes racing is contentious (as it has been all year), the survivors and their supporters are also the stars of the show. This year’s renewal of the HBPA Distaff is a compact group with one glaring characteristic – they generally like to run down their competition, not vice versa. In a recurring theme, a couple of Chicago invaders look like they’ll take a good chunk of the betting action and do so off tough optional claiming competition at Arlington Park.

This race was stolen on the front end last year, and it’s not out of the question to be a repeat this year. The ladies, from inside to out:

1. Lily the Pink – She drew pretty perfectly didn’t she? This is one of few entrants that likes to handle things towards the front end, but even she isn’t usually the conductor at all stops. She’s worked regularly and well leading up to this spot off her last win, which saw her stalking the pace from and outside slot. Consistency is her thing, with her distance limitations showing in both of her last off-the-board performance at 1 1/8 miles. The last two horses Proctor sent to Canterbury were for the Lady Canterbury in 2009 & 2010, and they could not have gone any differently. Happiness Is won the 2009 running in pressing fashion and Closeout went to the lead the next year only to fold at the end (9th). Bill Mott kept this filly in with strictly the best of company, and she seems to be gaining steam as the year goes on. There are couple in here that’ve been racing against better in Chicago today, so she’ll need to bring her A game and then some.

2. Grandma’s Rules – Both she and recent rival Starry Eyed Kate are those aforementioned runners. This Richie Scherer-trained filly took their first round by and length on May 11th, and promptly followed that show finish with a win in the Gaily Gaily. Both scratched from the Lady Canterbury, so they finally meet again here. Israel Ocampo is quite familiar with the winners’ circle at Canterbury, and takes the mount for her first try at it. That record on the turf and her near seven-race win streak should ensure her role as favorite, which oddly enough she filled only once in that run. The operation’s enjoyed mixed luck in recent times shipping fillies in for turf stakes, winning this very race in 2009 with Mizzcan’tbewrong and getting disqualified a week later out of a win in the Dean Kutz with Big Push. Payback came the next year, with Mizzcan’tbewrong placed first via disqualification in defense of her title in the Mile. Banded ran second in the Northbound Pride last year and won this year on the turf as well. She shouldn’t be taken lightly, but at her likely price she shouldn’t be played heavily.

3. Starry Eyed Kate – She sort of has the look of a Stoupinator, and drew he same post for her first try over the course. She had her schedule interrupted by the weather in the Lady Canterbury, but has put in a couple of easy works since her return to Chicago. She’s sometimes been a victim of paceless races but last time kept close attendance on the polytrack to come up with a half-length win in a short field. The problem with ‘Kate is that she’s never put together back-to-back wins in her life and will have to in order to come home victorious. Alex Canchari was aboard Stoupinator and lands atop the Butzow/Robertson owned filly trying to keep his turf stakes roll going in the Mile. If you like one of them it’s hard not to like them both.

4. Dina’s Typhoon – This is a heck of a spot to make your turf debut. I’m not familiar with the connections of this filly, but they’d be well suited to pulling an upset as their only winner came in at Prairie Meadows at 24-1. Her mother never tried turf, though four of her siblings did without any success. A couple hit the board but for the most part the family has not shown an affinity for grass. She’s consistent enough on the dirt but her form really only casts a shadow over much cheaper, and her winning would be a complete surprise.

5. Quinichette – Sharp claim by the Rhone barn four back. The Kipling daughter seeks her third in a row but her first since March on the turf. She’s handled our dirt fine and in front-running fashion, but last time the field was rather depleted and left her quite comfortable up front. Seeking Treasure ran huge in the Northbound Pride and the third place finisher, Go Go Jill, wired a field at a price in her next outing as well. She is still one for eight on the turf and got that one win against $25,000 non-two claimers at Tampa. She’s obviously improved since that time but can she show it on the grass again? She has an awful lot of underneath finishes to go with that win and she’s been in good hands throughout her career – how much has she moved forward since the spring?

6. Lady Haddassah – Another of the locals gave some big girls a try on the dirt in the Lady Canterbury, but didn’t show the same rally that she did in her first two impressive wins on the local grounds. She’s a cool seven for seventeen and a good majority of that record has come on the turf despite the surface we’ve seen her on locally for the most part. She’ll be tested for class once again on Saturday, and while it’s a step down it’s not a huge one. She can push the issue up front if they CRAWL but she seems at her best while making one big run from the back. This may not be the ideal scenario for her to capture her first stakes victory but she’s won her last three turf races and not an easy girl to throw out.

7. Cell Line Forever – She’s made plenty of money and made a majority of it on the grass, but the six year old has always found Canterbury’s turf to be a challenge. She’s 0 for seven at this juncture and has some ground to make up on Lady Haddassah if she’s going to beat her. They have very similar styles and while this one might get the jump, she still hasn’t found a way to close the deal up here and that has to make you think twice. Many of her efforts have come against stakes foes but even optional claimers were a bit too much to tackle in her first two up here this year. She did win the Glendale Handicap at Turf Paradise with Barton aboard….but the dust is starting to collect on that trophy won in January of 2011. Rarick doesn’t enter too many stakes but she by far has danced the most dances for him in that respect. She’s not out of the exotics equation by any means but she’d be hard pressed to pose for pictures.

The Illinois Invasion is looking tough once again in Saturday’s HBPA Mile – What do you think? We hope to see you Saturday for a day full of Hope & Horses, good luck!

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 marks her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.

Mister Mardi Gras in Mile

Mister Marti Gras - Mystic Lake Mile - 07-13-13 - R08 - CBY - Under Rail Finish (1)The long awaited rains finally arrived Saturday morning, bringing to mind once more the time-worn admonition – be careful of what you wish for.

Horsemen, riders and even track management had hoped for rain to brighten up the yellowing turf course that was hardening day by day the past few weeks. With two premier races scheduled on the grass Saturday, the hope was that skies would open in time to deliver the perfect racing surface for Saturday’s three stakes races.

The feature events on this stellar card were the $100,000-guaranteed Lady Canterbury Stakes, the $125,000-guaranteed Mystic Lake Mile and the $54,100 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby.

The first two were scheduled on the turf – until mid morning on Saturday when it was determined that more than 4 and 1/4 inches of rain in three hours had rendered the grass course unusable.

The connections of five horses in each the Lady Canterbury and the Mystic Lake Mile decided that if the course was unusable their horses were too and reduced the 12- horse fields accordingly.

In absolutely bizarre twists, the fields were reduced further by events Stephen King might use at some point.

Before the 21st running of the Lady Canterbury, Lava Girl’s stirrup came loose and she was impaled by the iron. Then Smarty B bled warming up for the race and was scratched. “It sucks,” said rider Scott Stevens. “I’ve never had anything like this happen before.”

There was more to come, in the Mystic Lake Mile. Derby Kitten, third choice in the race, stumbled at the start and unseated Chris Landeros, depriving Ken and Sarah Ramsey and Landeros a sweep of the two thoroughbred stakes.

The Lady Canterbury set up perfectly for Awesome Flower and Landeros. “We just sat there and bided our time,” he said.

Awesome Flower stalked the pace early, moved up outside three horses to make her bid on the far turn and then dug in over the final 1/8th to win by ½ length over Bryan’s Jewel and 2 ¾ over Kune Kune, covering the mile in 1:37.54 over a fast track.

The inaugural running of the Mystic Lake Mile lost all of the speed upfront with the loss of Hammers Terror and Slip and Drive, the one-two finishers in the Brooks Fields Stakes.

Thus, Mister Marti Gras (pictured above) stalked the leaders in a pedestrian pace, saving ground on the run down the backside, and moved up at the eighth pole outside four others and finished ¾ length in front of Stachys, another head in front of Wild Jacob. The winning time was 1:38.

Winning owner Robert Lothenbach said in the winner’s circle afterward that he intends to bring four to six horses to Canterbury next week and maybe more later on.

Queried by paddock analyst Angela Hermann, Lothenbach said he is making the move because he likes Canterbury and the increase in purses here, thanks to the agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

$54,100 CANTERBURY QUARTER HORSE DERBY

Stacy Charette-Hill is still puzzled and tickled pink every time she lands in the winner’s circle, which is nearly every time she saddles a horse.

Her barn not only leads all others, it dominates.

Take the feature event on Saturday. The expression on her face said it all.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Her horses finished one-two-three and her barn cleaned up once more.

“This is unbelievable,” said her husband, Randy Hill, upon entering the winner’s circle.

It wasn’t even the fastest qualifier of the three who won on Saturday. It was HR Ebony Princess ridden by Ry Eikleberry.

“She’s unbelievable,” he said. “Her barn wins at about 70 percent and is in the money 80 percent of the time.”

The first two finishers are owned by Bobby and Vickie Hammer of Elmore City, Oklahoma. The winner had a touching story. “Her mother bled out giving her birth,” said Bobby, “and she was raised by a cuttin’ horse mare.”

“She was bigger than the mare,” said Vickie.

HR Ebony Princess underwent surgery for a chipped knee and was laid up for more than five months. She has found her stride once again.

HR Money Maker, the fastest qualifier in the trials, was second and First Price Wagon was third.

THOROUGHBRED EXCELLENCE ON THE BACKSIDE

Trainer Ian Wilkes was on the Canterbury Park backside Saturday morning overseeing matters for the arrival of four Lothenbach horses scheduled for Monday.

Wilkes, who saddled Fort Larned, the reigning Breeders Cup Classic winner, has been in Shakopee before, the first time when Unbridled ran second in the Canterbury Juvenile the year before he won the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders Cup Classic. He was also here to saddle a horse named Fluffkins.

It is quite natural that the name Carl Nafzger comes immediately to mind with the mention of those two horses. Wilkes worked as his assistant until Nafzger turned over the operation to him in 2006.

Wilkes plans to run four of Lothenbach’s horses at Canterbury. One of his assistants will oversee the operation in Shakopee. “I’ll be stopping by from time to time,” Wilkes said.

The remainder of Wilkes’ operation was in transit to Saratoga in upstate New York where the Nation’s premier thoroughbred meet gets underway this Friday.

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.

Mystic Lake Mile Preview

Mystic Lake Mile LogoPart of the ongoing story of any racetrack are its historic races, often named in commemoration of founding fathers, famous horses or grand contributors to the game.

Many of those races have storied pasts and memorable results. Such is the legacy of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury, first run in 1986 and twice later as a Grade III event, a race with winners whose names roll off the tongue like a Sunday litany: to name a few – Paulson & Summa Stables’ Sauna, Nature’s Way, Maktoum al Maktoum’s Balbonella, Down Again, Fieldy and Falls Amiss, in addition to Go Go Jack, KZ Bay, and most recently Ruthville in 2012, owned by Kentucky royalty, Arthur B. Hancock III.

The $100,000 race, at one mile on the turf, will be run for the 21st time on Saturday and has attracted a competitive field of 12 fillies and mares.

This stellar card includes the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile, also with 12 horses, and the $54,100 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby with a field of 10.

The eminent analysts of the pressbox and beyond, those irreproachable handicappers of unparalleled acumen and insight, have varied views on the race.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann sized up the day’s stakes races with this terse but terrific analysis:

“Whether it is their hockey team or their horses, those from Chicago play to win,” she said. “Leave any of them out at your own peril.”

You will find numerous horses with dossiers that include plenty of work in the Windy City.

For pressbox guardian and provider of program riches Jeff Maday, the Lady C looks like this:

“Kune Kune and (trainer) Joan Scott are right there. She should sit right off the pace and win… at a decent price,” he said.

“Hooh Why was good but maybe is past her prime. The (Barry and Joni) Butzow horse (Bryan’s Jewel) has a big chance but I hate that (No. 10) post out there.'”

And then there is irrefutable logic and insight of racing operations analyst Andrew Offerman:

“I don’t know quite what to make of this one,” he said. “Bryan’s Jewel (last year’s runnerup) is most likely to win. The horse was capable of winning a Grade III race and ran in a Grade I.”

Bryan’s Jewel won last time out, the Grade III Obeah at Delaware Park on June 15 at a mile and 1/8. Her previous race produced a win, too, in stakes competition at a mile and 1/16.

Track announcer Paul Allen was succinct in his outlook on the Lady Canterbury “I’ve been pulling for the local horses since KZ Bay won in 1997,” he said. There are chances from all over the country but don’t overlook local Lady Haddassah who is red hot and most importantly 15-1.”

Then there is the inaugural running Saturday of the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile at a mile on the turf for three-year-olds and older, also with a field of 12. “This is a heck of a race,” said the pressbox impresario. “I like A Diehl. That horse looks pretty good. But if they let Hammer’s Terror go alone, he could be tough to beat. Somebody needs to hook up with him. It will come down to the ride.”

The race features the winner and runner-up of the Brooks Fields Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on June 16. Hammer’s Terror, winner of the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby last summer, finished one length in front of Slip and Drive in the Brooks Fields. “He’ll be coming,” added Maday.

“You can’t rule too many of out of this one,” added Offerman. “You can make a case for eight of the 12 horses in this one. There can’t be too many people in this one who look at the PPs and think they don’t have a chance.”

Senor Allen has this pithy portrait of the race:

“If you missed Hammer’s Terror in the Brooks Fields, fret not. You’ll get it all back and then some when he wins the Mystic Lake Mile.”

Stacy Charette-Hill has been the queen of the quarter horse stables this summer and there is no reason to think she won’t be wearing the crown again after the Derby.

She has three of the horses in the field: First Prize Wagon, Hr Ebony Princess and Hr Money Maker, the fastest qualifier of the 10.

Hr Money Maker is a 3-1 morning line choice and will be ridden by the leading quarter horse rider of the meet, Jorge Torres.

THURSDAY BABIES OFFER POTENTIAL PREVIEW OF SHAKOPEE JUVENILE

Rumbauer (pictured below), a 2-year-old Artie Schiller colt, put on the late rush to win Thursday night’s third race convincingly, a five-furlong event for maiden two-year-olds.

Ridden by Ry Eikleberry, it was an impressive finish by Rumbauer, who is likely headed to the inaugural running of the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on the turf Aug. 3. “Maybe,” said trainer Dave Van Winkle, later adding, “that’s been our dream all along.”

Rumbauer -  07-11-13 - R03 - CBY - Finish

The race will be run on the undercard of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday, August 3.

THURSDAY NIGHT HANDLE APPROACHES RECORD

Wagering on Thursday night’s card totaled $805,212. The $605,300 wagered off-track was the most wagered on a Thursday night (non-holiday) card since August 2004 and was close to breaking the all-time Thursday night (non-holiday) record of $634,407.

Pick 4 players will be happy to hear that the late Pick 4 handled $25,014 – the largest thus far in 2013 and a substantial increase from the average 2012 Pick 4 pool of $7,500. The 14% takeout wager returned $80.70 for $.50 with winners paying ($5.60, $9.00, $3.20 and $6.80).

There were two winning tickets in the early Pick 4 which returned a massive $5,246.2o for $.50. The key to hitting the early Pick 4 was coming up with Affirmed Cure, the $86.20 winner of the night’s 4th race. Not a bad return on investment for a $.50 minimum bet.

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.

Canterbury Covered in Pink

The color of choice on Saturday was pink, and anywhere one cared to look the color was represented in various shades. The entire track was in the pink, in fact, from the gate to the gate crew, the valets and most of the employees were in pink tee-shirts, pink hats, pink ties. Some of the outriders had pink leg wraps or pink saddle towels on their mounts.

The second annual Fillies Race For Hope card offered 10 races featuring only fillies or mares and was devoted to fundraising on behalf of breast cancer organizations, Hope Chest and the Pay it Forward Fund.

There was a silent auction, a raffle offering a trip for two to next year’s Kentucky Derby, a hat contest and the usual concessions to satisfy a crowd of 8,259.

The highlights of the day, however, were four consecutive stake races, three for thoroughbreds and one for quarter horses.

A night of heavy rain might have destroyed the surfaces of some racing venues but the main track started muddy and was upgraded to good by the start of race three. The turf course, on the other hand, was as green as the Irish countryside after Friday night’s deluge but was still good for the Saturday’s stakes events.

$100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes

The 20th running of this race, at a mile on the turf, originally had a seven-horse field but was reduced to five starters after two scratches, Our Lady in Red and morning line favorite Hooh Why.

The Lady Canterbury has a long history, dating to its first running in 1986 when it introduced grass racing to Minnesotans. It has brought in shippers over the years who have stolen the show, just as one did on Saturday.

Talk about racing royalty. The Kentucky Hancocks are long-time Kentucky barons in the sport, and Arthur B. the III sent his Ruthville to Canterbury for a shot at the $100,000 purse.

Ridden by Dean Butler, Ruthville ran past the very tired pace-setter Rare Sunset and Geovanni Franco and finished one length in front of Bryan’s Jewell and Derek Bell. It was another 6 ¾ lengths back to Zaphyra and Scott Stevens, who were 1 and ¾ lengths in front of Rare Sunset.

Assistant trainer Chris Davis handled the winner for Michael Stidham, just as he did last weekend with the Mystic Lake Derby winner. This time, however, there was no claim of foul and stewards inquiry and the tense moments that accompany those occasions.

“Yeah, that was just fine,” said Davis, who was none too concerned about the seven-length lead Rare Sunset had at the half-mile pole. The frontrunner faded like a red shirt in a hot wash after setting the quick pace (46 3/5 and 1:11 and 1/5).

“The turf was softer than usual so I wasn’t really worried,” said Davis. “If it had been hard it would have been another matter, but I was hoping for rain. That helped us since we’re going to come from behind anyway.”

Stidham trained the winner of the 2011 Lady Canterbury, too, winning with A She’s Adorable, owned by Skip Maas.

$50,000 Hoist Her Flag

Speed burns and absolute speed burns absolutely. Or something like that.

Starlite Starbrite left the gate as if she’d been shot from a giant slingshot and led a 10-horse field from gate to wire, finishing a widening 2 and ¾ lengths in front of Burst of Life and 3 ¼ in front of Polar Plunge.

Derek Bell had won this stake three times and made it four on Saturday, giving the winner a perfect ride for trainer Thomas Amoss and owner Andrena Van Doren.

The winner set early fractions of :22, :45 and 1/5, finishing in 1:10.

When Burst of Life and Dean Butler tried to make a move in the stretch drive, Starlite simply drew off. “She gave me another gear even with all that speed,” said Bell. “She was something.”

$50,000 Princess Elaine

Tickleyourfancy and Butler turned it up a notch on the turn, taking a clear lead, and drew off down the stretch to a 2 and ¾ length victory over Tex Savitri and Tanner Riggs.

Bell and Grace of Greatness were third, another 1 and ¾ lengths back.

The winner is owned by Michael Grossman, formerly of Prior Lake and Grossman Chevrolet, now primarily of Texas but nonetheless a Minnesotan at heart who maintains a home here, too.

Grossman was pleased with the win, obviously, but for very specific reasons. “”She has been so close so many times,” he said.

Yes, she has. In 24 previous career starts, Tickleyourfancy had won four times but had finished second seven times and third another four times.

“This has been a long time coming. I feel fantastic,” said Grossman.

Grossman will take that feeling home with him to his Texas farm.

Butler had won this race once before, with Glitter Star in 2006 for owner Bonnie Baskin.

$25,000 Fillies Race for Hope Bonus Challenge

There was a nine-horse field for this one- horse race.

Huckleberry Mojito won by 1 and ¾ lengths even though it looked like more the son of Feature Mr. Jess was moving so swiftly.

Pick your adjective for this finish in 20:17:

Huckleberry crushed, squashed, flattened…

Leading quarter horse rider Nik Goodwin was on the winner. “My horse breaks so well and so cleanly,” he said. “Anytime you can get that, you usually get a winner.”

Believers Gathering and Thomas Wellington were second. Bailey Nagurski and Tanner Riggs were next.

Clyde Smith, who finished out of it on Chicks Brief Case, summed up the race tersely as he headed downstairs.

“Didn’t matter how good mine was, it was going to beat that winner today,” he said to no one in particular.

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

Canterbury Covered in Pink

The color of choice on Saturday was pink, and anywhere one cared to look the color was represented in various shades. The entire track was in the pink, in fact, from the gate to the gate crew, the valets and most of the employees were in pink tee-shirts, pink hats, pink ties. Some of the outriders had pink leg wraps or pink saddle towels on their mounts.

The second annual Fillies Race For Hope card offered 10 races featuring only fillies or mares and was devoted to fundraising on behalf of breast cancer organizations, Hope Chest and the Pay it Forward Fund.

There was a silent auction, a raffle offering a trip for two to next year’s Kentucky Derby, a hat contest and the usual concessions to satisfy a crowd of 8,259.

The highlights of the day, however, were four consecutive stake races, three for thoroughbreds and one for quarter horses.

A night of heavy rain might have destroyed the surfaces of some racing venues but the main track started muddy and was upgraded to good by the start of race three. The turf course, on the other hand, was as green as the Irish countryside after Friday night’s deluge but was still good for the Saturday’s stakes events.

$100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes

The 20th running of this race, at a mile on the turf, originally had a seven-horse field but was reduced to five starters after two scratches, Our Lady in Red and morning line favorite Hooh Why.

The Lady Canterbury has a long history, dating to its first running in 1986 when it introduced grass racing to Minnesotans. It has brought in shippers over the years who have stolen the show, just as one did on Saturday.

Talk about racing royalty. The Kentucky Hancocks are long-time Kentucky barons in the sport, and Arthur B. the III sent his Ruthville to Canterbury for a shot at the $100,000 purse.

Ridden by Dean Butler, Ruthville ran past the very tired pace-setter Rare Sunset and Geovanni Franco and finished one length in front of Bryan’s Jewell and Derek Bell. It was another 6 ¾ lengths back to Zaphyra and Scott Stevens, who were 1 and ¾ lengths in front of Rare Sunset.

Assistant trainer Chris Davis handled the winner for Michael Stidham, just as he did last weekend with the Mystic Lake Derby winner. This time, however, there was no claim of foul and stewards inquiry and the tense moments that accompany those occasions.

“Yeah, that was just fine,” said Davis, who was none too concerned about the seven-length lead Rare Sunset had at the half-mile pole. The frontrunner faded like a red shirt in a hot wash after setting the quick pace (46 3/5 and 1:11 and 1/5).

“The turf was softer than usual so I wasn’t really worried,” said Davis. “If it had been hard it would have been another matter, but I was hoping for rain. That helped us since we’re going to come from behind anyway.”

Stidham trained the winner of the 2011 Lady Canterbury, too, winning with A She’s Adorable, owned by Skip Maas.

$50,000 Hoist Her Flag

Speed burns and absolute speed burns absolutely. Or something like that.

Starlite Starbrite left the gate as if she’d been shot from a giant slingshot and led a 10-horse field from gate to wire, finishing a widening 2 and ¾ lengths in front of Burst of Life and 3 ¼ in front of Polar Plunge.

Derek Bell had won this stake three times and made it four on Saturday, giving the winner a perfect ride for trainer Thomas Amoss and owner Andrena Van Doren.

The winner set early fractions of :22, :45 and 1/5, finishing in 1:10.

When Burst of Life and Dean Butler tried to make a move in the stretch drive, Starlite simply drew off. “She gave me another gear even with all that speed,” said Bell. “She was something.”

$50,000 Princess Elaine

Tickleyourfancy and Butler turned it up a notch on the turn, taking a clear lead, and drew off down the stretch to a 2 and ¾ length victory over Tex Savitri and Tanner Riggs.

Bell and Grace of Greatness were third, another 1 and ¾ lengths back.

The winner is owned by Michael Grossman, formerly of Prior Lake and Grossman Chevrolet, now primarily of Texas but nonetheless a Minnesotan at heart who maintains a home here, too.

Grossman was pleased with the win, obviously, but for very specific reasons. “”She has been so close so many times,” he said.

Yes, she has. In 24 previous career starts, Tickleyourfancy had won four times but had finished second seven times and third another four times.

“This has been a long time coming. I feel fantastic,” said Grossman.

Grossman will take that feeling home with him to his Texas farm.

Butler had won this race once before, with Glitter Star in 2006 for owner Bonnie Baskin.

$25,000 Fillies Race for Hope Bonus Challenge

There was a nine-horse field for this one- horse race.

Huckleberry Mojito won by 1 and ¾ lengths even though it looked like more the son of Feature Mr. Jess was moving so swiftly.

Pick your adjective for this finish in 20:17:

Huckleberry crushed, squashed, flattened…

Leading quarter horse rider Nik Goodwin was on the winner. “My horse breaks so well and so cleanly,” he said. “Anytime you can get that, you usually get a winner.”

Believers Gathering and Thomas Wellington were second. Bailey Nagurski and Tanner Riggs were next.

Clyde Smith, who finished out of it on Chicks Brief Case, summed up the race tersely as he headed downstairs.

“Didn’t matter how good mine was, it was going to beat that winner today,” he said to no one in particular.

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

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 www.canterburypark.com. More information about the day can be found at www.filliesraceforhope.org.

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

Over 11,000 Enjoy July 3rd Stakes

While human beings melted under the oppressive conditions while merely lifting a cold drink to their lips, horses named Tubby Time, Rare Sunset and Hollywood Trickster refused to wilt under any conditions Tuesday.

Tubby Time (pictured above) won the $50,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes for the second consecutive year, and Rare Sunset used her extra gear to repeal a challenge from Gold N Glamore in the final 1/16th to win the $50,000 Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile. The Trickster ran in even more hot, humid conditions in the card opener, but won convincingly nonetheless in the $21,150 quarter horse Great Lakes Stakes

With even more oppressive conditions forecast, track officials postponed the Fourth of July card until Saturday, when everything originally planned for the occasion will take place, including the wiener dog races, hot-dog eating contest and free hot dogs.

“The health of both our equine and human athletes as well as our race fans is always our primary concern,” said track president/CEO Randy Sampson.

Derek Bell has struggled to find the winner’s circle this meet, but found it twice on Tuesday’s card, in the opening stakes on Hollywood Trickster (pictured below) and again in the Blair’s Cove with Tubby Time.

Tubby Time’s owner Jeff Larson sized up his horse’s chances in the paddock before the race. “We’ll see if he’s fit,” he said.

He wasn’t the last time out, on June 12, but that was his first race in a year. Trainer Mac Robertson had him tightened up nicely for Tuesday’s race and Tubby moved from mid-pack to the lead in the final half furlong, winning by 1 and ¼ lengths over Coconino Slim, by three lengths over Mack’s Blackhawk.

“Just like Darth Vader said, ‘it’s all too easy,’ ” Bell said with a grin.

The difference between this race and Tubby’s last one?

“I had twice as much horse,” Bell said.

Larson got his answer at the same time.

“He’s fit,” he said.

Rare Sunset (pictured above) won gate to wire and was in charge in the stretch drive until Gold N Glamore put a move on her in the final 1/16th.

But under Geovanni Franco, Rare Sunset rebroke, refused to give ground and finished ½ length in front.

Winning owner Jill Buffie had a firm reaction afterward. “Lady Canterbury, here we come,” she said, referring to the $100,000 race on Aug. 4.

Buffie has been with Rare Sunset since her two-year-old season. First she groomed the horse, later she bought her. How’s that for a racetrack dream come true.

Winning rider Geovanni Franco was surprised afterward that no one came after him, so he had the horse necessary to repel a stretch challenge.

Scott Stevens, who rode Gold N Glamore had a different analysis. “My horse ran a great race,” he said. “She hadn’t run in more than a year.”

More than 11,000 fans were in attendance to watch July 3rd racing at Canterbury. On track patrons bet $276,359 while off track customers wagered $832,176.

Blog Clarification

A recent article in which Scott Stevens was quoted did not include enough surrounding context to reflect his true intent.

He was quoted as saying that his mother didn’t care for his brother Gary’s character in the HBO series Luck and wouldn’t watch. “Hey, he was just playing himself,” Scott added.

The character, however, was prone to certain outrageous, drug-related behaviors that are not part of Gary’s personality in any way whatsoever.

Scott only meant to imply that Gary and the TV character were both competitive people with quick-tempered reactions at times.

The article did not include additional information that would have made that clear.

July 3 Festivities

Here’s a video recap of the July 3 Festivities:

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

Video Credit: Jon Mikkelson & The Canterbury Park Television Department

Over 11,000 Enjoy July 3rd Stakes

While human beings melted under the oppressive conditions while merely lifting a cold drink to their lips, horses named Tubby Time, Rare Sunset and Hollywood Trickster refused to wilt under any conditions Tuesday.

Tubby Time (pictured above) won the $50,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes for the second consecutive year, and Rare Sunset used her extra gear to repeal a challenge from Gold N Glamore in the final 1/16th to win the $50,000 Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile. The Trickster ran in even more hot, humid conditions in the card opener, but won convincingly nonetheless in the $21,150 quarter horse Great Lakes Stakes

With even more oppressive conditions forecast, track officials postponed the Fourth of July card until Saturday, when everything originally planned for the occasion will take place, including the wiener dog races, hot-dog eating contest and free hot dogs.

“The health of both our equine and human athletes as well as our race fans is always our primary concern,” said track president/CEO Randy Sampson.

Derek Bell has struggled to find the winner’s circle this meet, but found it twice on Tuesday’s card, in the opening stakes on Hollywood Trickster (pictured below) and again in the Blair’s Cove with Tubby Time.

Tubby Time’s owner Jeff Larson sized up his horse’s chances in the paddock before the race. “We’ll see if he’s fit,” he said.

He wasn’t the last time out, on June 12, but that was his first race in a year. Trainer Mac Robertson had him tightened up nicely for Tuesday’s race and Tubby moved from mid-pack to the lead in the final half furlong, winning by 1 and ¼ lengths over Coconino Slim, by three lengths over Mack’s Blackhawk.

“Just like Darth Vader said, ‘it’s all too easy,’ ” Bell said with a grin.

The difference between this race and Tubby’s last one?

“I had twice as much horse,” Bell said.

Larson got his answer at the same time.

“He’s fit,” he said.

Rare Sunset (pictured above) won gate to wire and was in charge in the stretch drive until Gold N Glamore put a move on her in the final 1/16th.

But under Geovanni Franco, Rare Sunset rebroke, refused to give ground and finished ½ length in front.

Winning owner Jill Buffie had a firm reaction afterward. “Lady Canterbury, here we come,” she said, referring to the $100,000 race on Aug. 4.

Buffie has been with Rare Sunset since her two-year-old season. First she groomed the horse, later she bought her. How’s that for a racetrack dream come true.

Winning rider Geovanni Franco was surprised afterward that no one came after him, so he had the horse necessary to repel a stretch challenge.

Scott Stevens, who rode Gold N Glamore had a different analysis. “My horse ran a great race,” he said. “She hadn’t run in more than a year.”

More than 11,000 fans were in attendance to watch July 3rd racing at Canterbury. On track patrons bet $276,359 while off track customers wagered $832,176.

Blog Clarification

A recent article in which Scott Stevens was quoted did not include enough surrounding context to reflect his true intent.

He was quoted as saying that his mother didn’t care for his brother Gary’s character in the HBO series Luck and wouldn’t watch. “Hey, he was just playing himself,” Scott added.

The character, however, was prone to certain outrageous, drug-related behaviors that are not part of Gary’s personality in any way whatsoever.

Scott only meant to imply that Gary and the TV character were both competitive people with quick-tempered reactions at times.

The article did not include additional information that would have made that clear.

July 3 Festivities

Here’s a video recap of the July 3 Festivities:

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

Video Credit: Jon Mikkelson & The Canterbury Park Television Department