Racebook Action Galore

Santa Anita delayed its autumn race meet due to fires in the nearby hills but commences Friday at 2:30 p.m. with a 10-race program that includes the G3 Chillingsworth Stakes and the G2 Eddie D.

On Saturday, Santa Anita rolls out five graded stakes, all with Breeders’ Cup implications: G2 Chandelier, G1 Rodeo Drive, G1 American Pharoah, G2 John Henry Turf and the G1 Awesome Again.  The $300,000 Awesome Again attracted only five runners but the quality is high and it is the second leg of the late pick five wager. Both Maximum Security and Improbable are entered by Bob Baffert. Of local interest is Sleepy Eyes Todd whose second and third career wins came at Canterbury Park in the summer of 2019.

The 4-year-old colt is trained by Miguel Angel Silva and is owned by Thumbs Up Racing. His most recent effort was a gate to wire win in the G2 $600,000 Charles Town Classic, providing the first graded stakes win for the horse and the trainer who has maintained a stable at Canterbury for several seasons.

Top CBY Quarter Horse Connections Compete At Prairie Meadows Friday and Saturday

Trainers Jason Olmstead and Ed Ross Hardy, fixtures in Shakopee, are well represented at Prairie Meadows on their premiere evenings of quarter horse racing Friday and Saturday. Olmstead saddles the morning line favorite in both the G3 $218k Valley Junction Futurity , Signs of a Blue Moon, and the Iowa bred $137k Jim Bader Futurity, Cr Appollitical Joe.

Pyc Jess Bite Mydust

Olmstead also placed Minnesota bred Pyc Jess Bite Mydust in the 440 yard Two Rivers Stakes, a Grade 3 with a $35,000 purse on Friday.

Hardy has the favorite, B Booujee, in Friday’s second, the Valley Junction Juvenile consolation. He will also face Olmstead Saturday in the Jim Bader with Df Fabulous Flare.

Owner and breeder Dan Kjorsvik never ducks a challenge, with quarter horses or thoroughbreds. His Q, Holy Storm will run in Friday’s opener, the Grade 3 Covered Bridges at 870 yards. Bred by Kjorsvik in Minnesota, Holy Storm improved when trying the hook, winning a pair at Remington this spring and another at Prairie. A troubled trip last time earns him a shot Friday where he faces a horse familiar to Canterbury fans, Faster Than Hasta for Bob Johnson. He too found a new calling at 870 with two impressive wins at the distance this year in Iowa.

Robertson Runners Surface at Arlington

Mac Robertson

If you are reading this Thursday morning, note that several Mac Robertson runners can now be found at Arlington Park running under his father Hugh’s name including three on Thursday. All the action can be bet in the Canterbury Park Racebook where there is plenty of spacing for the racing.

Trainer Mac Robertson Daunting In Four State-Bred Stakes Wednesday At Canterbury Park

Monday through Thursday Racing Schedule Underway

After Hot Shot Kid defeated Mr. Jagermeister by 1 1/2 lengths in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes on June 17, winning trainer Mac Robertson predicted a rematch was in the future for the two richest Minnesota-bred thoroughbred racehorses in history. That prophecy did not take long to be realized as both are entered in Wednesday’s Ralph Strangis Memorial Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. The Strangis is one of four $50,000 state-bred stakes on the 10-race card that begins at 4:40 CDT including the Frances Genter, Victor S. Myers and Minnesota Turf Distaff. In 2019, Robertson trainees won all four. He saddles the morning line favorite in three of the races this year.

Hot Shot Kid, the 8 to 5 morning line favorite, has one turf win from three tries. The victory came in this stake last summer when he beat four horses the 6-year-old will face again in a 10-horse field, including 11-time turf winner A P Is Loose also trained by Robertson. The speedy Mr. Jagermeister, trained by Valorie Lund, is winless in two turf attempts and is likely to dictate the pace while being pressured by Robertson’s third and fourth entries, Mister Banjoman and Cinco Star.

Mac Robertson

Robertson is also represented by four entries in the Minnesota Turf Distaff with Carriage and Honey’s Sox Appeal along with 8 to 5 morning line favorite Ready to Runaway and Clickbait both making their turf debut.  First Hunter, winner of this race last year when trained by Robertson, enters off a third-place finish for trainer David Van Winkle in an allowance race won by another in the Minnesota Turf Distaff, Maywood Hope.

“I want to see Clickbait and Ready to Runaway run on the grass before [Minnesota Festival of Champions on Sept. 7] to see if they can,” Robertson said. “I’d like to win as many [Festival] races as I can obviously, so I need to know.” Robertson has won 35 Festival races, 15 more than any other trainer.

Ready to Runaway had great success in 2019 after being claimed by Robertson and owner John

Ready to Runaway

Mentz for $25,000. She went on to win the Genter, the $100,000 Minnesota Oaks, and the $100,000 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. This year she hit the board in three Oaklawn Park starts before winning the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes at Canterbury.

“She’s run short, long, muddy, fast; I think she will handle the grass,” Robertson said. “She could run better. We’ll know after Wednesday.”

Minnesota-bred 3-year-olds are featured in the Myers and the Genter Stakes, a pair of six furlong sprints. Rush Hour Traffic, winner of the Northern Lights Debutante, is favored on the morning line at 8 to 5. She is trained by Gary Scherer. Robertson entered Defend the Rose, second to Rush Hour Traffic in the Debutante.

Robertson, 13 times the leading trainer at Canterbury, also conditions the favorite in the Myers, Happy Hour Cowboy, winner of the 2019 Northern Lights Futurity. Alex Canchari has the mount on Happy Hour Cowboy, Ready to Runaway and Defend the Rose, while Francisco Arrieta has the return engagement aboard Hot Shot Kid.

“I think I’ll run them all,” Robertson said. “I like what Canterbury is doing for the Minnesota breds. It’s good for the owners. Gives them opportunity. If it’s good for the owner and for the horse, it’s good for me.”

Racing at the Shakopee, Minn. facility begins a Monday through Thursday schedule after racing eight days over the past three weeks. Post time each afternoon is 4:40 p.m. CDT. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canterbury Park suspended all operations in mid-March but on June 10 live racing, which had been delayed from its original May 15 start, returned with limited spectators. Through eight racing days, total handle has increased 163.8% per race compared to 2019 with on track per race handle declining 61.9% per race due to the restriction on spectators and out of state per race handle increasing 266%.

Simulcast racing operations returned to a daily schedule June 10 and the Canterbury Card Casino reopened table games June 15.

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.

2020 Canterbury Park Live Meet Preview from The Oracle

Opening day of the 2020 Canterbury Park live racing meet is tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10!  That means it’s time to look back at the 2019 Canterbury Park live meet from a statistical standpoint and use that data to help us better predict the outcomes of the 2020 Canterbury Park races.

Also, please note that the Canterbury Pick 5 wager this year is no longer a jackpot bet and it offers the lowest takeout in the country, and likely the universe, of 10%.  This is absolutely the best bet in racing!

Here’s a look at some final statistics for the thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park in 2019, as we prepare to unlock the 2020 Canterbury Park handicapping puzzle.  Good luck in 2020!

The Favorite

The public correctly selected the winner 39% of the time in all thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park last year.  That is 1-percentage point above the national average for winning favorites at all racetracks in North America in 2019, and is 3 percentage points above how favorites fared at Canterbury Park in 2018.  The most formful races last year were the races for maiden claimers, which produced winning favorites 49% of the time (37/76).  Despite the high percentage of winning favorites in this category, betting them all still produced a 2% net loss.  This has been a trend that has held up well the past several years.  A lot of favorites seem to get their picture taken in the maiden claiming ranks at Canterbury Park.  Conversely, the maiden special weight races proved to be elusive to the betting public last year, as only 30% of the favorites in that category prevailed.  Let’s see if that trend carries forward to 2020.

The Odds

Last year, heavy favorites that were bet down to 7/5 odds or lower won 152 races out of 332 attempts.  That’s a 46%-win rate, but it also shows that these “locks” lost more often than they won.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were 12 winners at 20-1 odds or higher last year, but over 800 runners went to post at those high odds.  Betting them all would have returned a paltry 38 cents on the dollar.  Historically, Canterbury Park has not been a “longshot” paradise, and last year 78% of the thoroughbred races were won by horses at odds below 6-1.

The “sweet spot” for win betting last year was the 6-1/7-1 odds range.  That was a break-even proposition for the 343 runners if you played them all.

The Jockeys

Francisco Arrieta won his first riding title at Canterbury Park last year as he led all jockeys with 79 wins.  Orlando Mojica finished second with 74 wins and Ry Eikleberry was third with 60 wins.

Arrieta won with 23% of his mounts last year, and returned 95 cents on the dollar overall.  When the leading rider is still able to beat the takeout by 12 percentage points, that indicates that it is still possible to find some value out there for his mounts.  We will see if the public is more tuned in to Arrieta in 2020, as he figures to be in contention for leading rider once again.  He was solid with favorites (43% winners) and he showed a flat bet profit in dirt sprints (ROI = $1.07) and turf routes (ROI = $1.03).  His win percentage on the dirt was higher than on the turf last year (26% to 16%).  Also, Arrieta was 0/18 with horses above 20-1, but he did bring in a 19-1 winner in a dirt sprint.

As of now, Orlando Mojica will not be back at Canterbury Park this summer, but 2018 leading rider Ry Eikleberry is returning after finishing third in the standings last year.  Eikleberry has had a lot of success at Canterbury over the years, and he attracts a lot of wagering dollars.  Therefore, finding value with his mounts is a difficult task.  Wagering on all of Eikleberry’s mounts last year would have returned only 74 cents on the dollar.  He rode 91 favorites last year, winning with 29 of them (32% win and ROI = 0.73).  Eikleberry has a reputation as an excellent gate jockey who puts his mounts on the lead.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that his best category has historically been in dirt sprints.  Last year was no exception as he won with 23% of his mounts in sprint mounts and beat the takeout by 8 percentage points.

Of the top 10 jockeys last year, Quincy Hamilton led all riders with an ROI of 0.96.  The “flaming wallet” award went to Constantino Roman, who’s mounts returned only 40 cents on the dollar in 2019.

The Trainers

For the past several years, McLean Robertson and Robertino Diodoro have battled it out for leading trainer honors at Canterbury Park, with Robertson prevailing last year 73 wins to 71 wins.  Both trainers have their strengths which tend to carry over from year to year.

Mac Robertson won with 25% of his starters last year, including 42% of the time his horses were favored.  Robertson showed a flat bet profit in dirt routes and maiden claiming races, and easily beat the takeout in allowance races and maiden special weight races.  Historically, Robertson has not been one to win with longshots at Canterbury Park, as his highest price winner last year paid $23 dollars.  Roberston was especially strong last year with his fillies and mares, winning with 33 of 90 (37%) with an ROI of 1.19 for every dollar wagered.  Expect another strong performance by Robertson in 2020, as he looms the favorite to repeat as leading trainer once again.

Robertino Diodoro won with 26% of his starters last year, and also won with 42% of his horses that went to post as the favorite.  In a rare feat, betting on Diodoro favored runners to place and show last year produced a positive ROI of 1.07 and 1.05, respectively.  Diodoro’s main game is claiming races and that is where he is the most dangerous.  He won with 31% (44 of 144) of his claiming runners last year, showing an ROI of 1.10 for every dollar wagered.  Diodoro’s highest price winner last year was 14-1, and he had 3 winners of 8-1 and higher from 39 tries.  He did not have much luck in the maiden special weight ranks, winning just 1 race in 19 attempts and the winner paid $4.  Expect him to be near the top of the trainer standings throughout the season.

Honorable mention goes to Tony Rengstorf who had 25 wins at Canterbury and posted a positive ROI of 1.11 for all his mounts.  Rengstorf was an impressive 60% with favorites (12/20 and ROI 1.41) and also posted a positive ROI with longshots 8-1 and higher (7/70 and ROI 1.27).  His highest price winner last meet was 16-1.

The “flaming wallet” award went to Valerie Lund, with an ROI last year of 0.61.  While she was dominant with favorites (7/9 and ROI 1.62) thanks in large part to her top runner Mr. Jagermeister, she was only 1/50 at 8-1 and higher last year at Canterbury (ROI = 0.18).

Best of luck playing the 2020 live racing meet at Canterbury Park!

by The Oracle

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.

Robertson, Mojica Shine On A Cloudy Day


There is a new way, other than cloud seeding, to open the heavens and guarantee that rains will follow.

Canterbury Park simply needs to plan something special.

This could become an added revenue source for the Shakopee track. Nearby farmers need their crops watered ? Canterbury can guarantee it by simply planning  a festival or big race card of some kind.

Take Saturday night as an example, Made in Minnesota Night, with 10 races, six of them stakes, restricted to Minnesota-bred horses.  What at first appeared like a cool, comfortable evening for racing turned suddenly into a wet, muddy and soggy night.

So much for staying clean in the winner’s enclosure or the paddock. Both were surrounded by mud, as was the track, the hallway to the jockey’s lounge and those quarters as  well.

It has happened time and time again this summer. The night or afternoon of something special and rain or storms of some kind are assured.

Still,  Saturday’s card produced some tense, exciting finishes and good racing all around. Despite losing the two turf stakes, the Blair’s Cove Stakes and the Princess Elaine Stakes, which were moved to main track, both produced thrilling runs to the wire.

The night belonged to trainer Mac Robertson and jockey Orlando Mojica. Robertson won five races, sweeping all four thoroughbred stakes. Mojica, who won the richest race of the summer in June, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, has been on a stakes tear this meet. He won three of them for the Robertson barn on Saturday.

The first two thoroughbred stakes produced tight finishes. Mojica brought in Honey’s Sox

Honey’s Sox Appeal

Appeal for owner Bob Lindgren, holding off a furious stretch challenge from Maywood Hope with Ry Eilkeberry up, the difference a short neck in the $50,000 guaranteed Princess Elaine.

Then, Mojica rode Warren Bush’s Hot Shot Kid to a similar victory over Fireman Oscar, again with Eikleberry up.

Although the Fireman made a strong bid late and possibly had a shot with another 20 yards,

Hot Shot KId

Eikleberry didn’t think so. “He wasn’t going to let us pass,” he said.

The $100,000 Minnesota Oaks had a somewhat different storyline. The winning horse, Ready to Runaway, who lived up to her name, was claimed by John Mentz earlier in the meet for $25,000. He got a great return on that investment Saturday with the winning share of $60,000. “Best claim I’ve ever had,” said Mentz.

The winning rider in this case was Jareth Loveberry, who took a deep breath as he entered the winner’s enclosure, stifling the rising emotion he felt. He had been sidelined a week by a

Ready to Runaway

concussion, returning only Friday.  He originally tried to ride after the incident, but then the symptoms appeared. “I wanted to be sure I was OK and not come back too soon,” he said. It didn’t hurt that he was on filly that was much the best in the Oaks.

Mister Banjoman, with Mojica up, made the $100,000 Minnesota Derby an easy win, too, closing out a blockbuster night for Robertson. Sent off the 78/5 favorite, Mister Banjoman was much the best in the eight-horse field for the Novogratz Racing Stables.


The older brother finally got the best of his sibling, but it took a lost stirrup for it to happen.

The last five times these brothers met, it ended up the other way around

PYC Jess Bite Mydust, after a poor break, turned on the afterburners in the stretch drive to catch defending Cash Caravan defending champion Dickey Bob.

Pyc Jess Bite Mydust

“It wouldn’t have happened if Cristian (Esqueda) hadn’t lost a stirrup,” said Jason Olmstead, who trains both horses. Owner Bruce Lunderborg agreed, pleased nonetheless that his horses have finished one-two the last four times they raced against one another.

The winning time was 19.70, with Holy Storm and Streak N Sparks finishing third and fourth.

Watching the proceedings was Dale Haglund, who not only had a rooting interest in the outcome, but strong ties to the horse for which the race was named.

Haglund’s Streak N Sparks got fourth place money in the $38,600 added event. He is the owner who rounded up eight other Minnesotans to buy half interest in Cash Caravan after trainer Jimmy Winkle offered it to him in 1986.

One of those investors was a man Haglund knew in his hometown of Hector, Curtis Sampson. “He thought about it a long time before getting in,” Haglund said. “Yeah, and now he owns the racetrack,” a bystander added.


Saturday’s first race was the inaugural running of the Cam Casby Futurity, a tribute to the Hall of Fame owner who raced both thoroughbreds and quarter horses, not only at Canterbury Park but also at various venues around the country.

Casby died in 2014 having left a legacy of racing success and devotion to the sport. Cristian Esqueda brought in the first winner of the 300-yard dash, Beep Beep Zoom Zoom.

Beep Beep Zoom Zoom

Beep Beep had a half length on Capos Hero and Julian Serrano, with a time of 15.729.  Capos had a head on Jess A Lil Cash.

Minnesota Derby and Oaks Head State-Bred Card Saturday

Trainer Mac Robertson has favored runners in four thoroughbred stakes

A 10-race program, with all races restricted to Minnesota-bred racehorses, begins at 5:00 p.m. Saturday at Canterbury Park. The card includes two quarter horse stakes and four thoroughbred stakes. Trainer Mac Robertson has horses entered in all eight thoroughbred races, with a total of 15 drawing in. The 12-time leading trainer will saddle the morning line favorite in the four thoroughbred stakes.

Mac Robertson

The richest races of the evening are the Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks for thoroughbreds, each offering a $100,000 purse and conducted at one mile and seventy yards on the main track. Also to be run Saturday are the $50,000 Princess Elaine and $50,000 Blair’s Cove, both one and one-sixteenth mile turf races. Quarter horses will compete in the $35,000 Cash Caravan Stakes at 400 yards and the $20,000 Cam Casby Futurity at 300 yards.

Mister Banjoman is the 3 to 1 favorite in the Minnesota Derby. The 3-year-old has won four of seven lifetime starts under trainer Robertson but has never raced further than three-quarters of a mile. The second and third favorites on the morning line, Astronaut Oscar at 7 to 2 trained by David Van Winkle and Dame Plata at 4 to 1 trained by Francisco Bravo, also are stretching out in distance for the first time.

Ready to Runaway

Ready to Runaway, claimed by Robertson for $25,000 for owner John Mentz of Lakeville, Minn. in June, is the 5 to 2 early favorite in the Minnesota Oaks. She won the $50,000 Frances Genter Stakes on July 4 for the new connections and like Robertson’s Minnesota Derby entrant will be routing for the first time.  First Hunter is favored in the Princess Elaine. Robertson trained her to a win in the July 3 Minnesota Turf Distaff. The 6-year-old mare will face six others including two-time defending champion Some Say So from the Joe Sharp barn.

Robertson has dominated in the Blair’s Cove having won the last four editions and nine of the last 11. He has two entered this year: Hot Shot Kid, 5 to 2, and A P Is Loose, 7 to 2. A P Is Loose, owned by Joel Zamzow of Duluth won the Blair’s Cove in 2015 and 2016, was second to a stablemate in 2017, and beat Hot Shot Kid by 2 1/4 lengths in 2018. Hot Shot Kid and A P Is Loose drew the outside posts in the nine-horse field.

Leading quarter horse trainer Jason Olmstead appears to have a lock on the Cash Caravan Stakes

Dickey Bob

where he has entered four of the seven runners including full brothers Dickey Bob and PYC Jess Bite My Dust. They are owned and bred by Lunderbog LLC. The 5-year-old PYC Jess Bite Mydust has earned $228,231 in purses, the most ever by a quarter horse bred in the state.  Dickey Bob, a 4-year-old, beat his older brother by a head in this race in 2018 and has never lost to his sibling in several meetings. Olmstead also entered the 2018 Northlands Futurity winner Jess Doin Time who lost by a nose to Dickey Bob when they met in the 350 yard Bob Morehouse Stakes.

Robertson Sweeps State-Bred Stakes


The owner of Honey’s Sox Appeal visits the barn where she and two of her relatives reside for now, two and sometimes three times a day. It is fortunate that he lives a mere six miles of congestion free-highway from the stable area.

Sometimes he is there after most of the equine residents have shut down their enormous engines for the day, well past nightfall. Frequently he will take a few apples along for Honey Sox or one of her relatives, the two year old, Happy Hour Cowboy, awaiting his maiden debut, perhaps a month away, and the four-year-old, Red Hot Candy.

Bob Lindgren owns eleven horses in all, including those three, and they all share a common background.

“They are all daughters, sons or grandchildren of A Js Honey,” he said. Two of her daughters, Thunder and Honey and Happy Hour Honey are currently in foal themselves.

Although it’s not written in stone, those foals have the following names awaiting them: Happy Hour Honey’s “baby is probably going to be Happy Hour Bobby,” he said. “they are all going to be Happy Hour something.”

One big “happy” family, to borrow an adjective not unfamiliar to this bunch.

Thunder and Honey has a weanling who is likely to be named Thundering Rockstar, as a nod to his sire, MacLean’s Music.

The other members of Lindgren’s brood are all with Canterbury Hall of Fame owner Paul Knapper, at his Daylight Ranch in Kentucky.

Honey’s Sox Appeal was the morning line favorite in Wednesday night’s $50,000 Minnesota Turf Distaff. The six-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal from A J’s Honey went into the race with a career record of 9-7-3 from 22 starts and earnings of $353,370… a win and two seconds from three starts in 2019.

It was not her night, however. She tired badly on the soft turf and ran out of the money. “She didn’t like it, the soft ground,” said rider Orlando Mojica.

Trainer Mac Robertson, who also sent out the winner, First Hunter, agreed. “She just didn’t like the surface,” he said.

So, her next win will have to await another day.

Lindgren bought A Js Honey as a broodmare. She was advancing in years but Lindgren was confident she had some good breeding seasons left.

There is another element to Lindgren’s stable he emphasizes. From the day they are foaled, his horses get a “human” touch.

“When I go the barn tonight,” he said the other evening, ” I’ll give a little signal when I walk in.”

Honey Sox Appeal will respond immediately to the distinctive smooch he delivers and come to the door of her stall. “It’s something all of my horses learn,” he said. “I touch them in a certain way..hopefully they know it’s me. I always wonder if these horses really know.”

He thinks they do.

He entered the barn on one time last year, in the morning, around 8 a.m., an unusual time for him to visit. Honey Sox was out of stall and on a stroll around shed row.

“All of a sudden she stopped and swung her head around,” he said. “Like she was wondering what are you doing here, it’s 8 a.m.”

The apples, carrots and peppermints he offers her throughout the rest of the day are certain reinforcements for such responses.

In the meantime, he will continue to do as he’s doing, breeding horses that will one day have a for sale tag on them.


Sometimes history repeats itself in strange ways, or in this case, simply adds another chapter to an existing story several years in the making.

Twelve years ago, a horse named Hunter’s Tiger Paw was a winner at Canterbury Park, delighting the five-year-old girl (and her father, of course) who named her, Hunter Zamzow.

Wednesday night, Hunter, one of her friends and the father, Joel, watched Tiger Paw’s first foal, a six-year-old mare named First Hunter add to her mother’s legacy by winning the Turf Distaff under Jareth Loveberry, finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of Maywood Hope, who was a head in front of Some Say So, the winner of the inaugural running of this race, in 2017. The winning time was 1:30.31.

“She’s a grinder and never gives up,” said Joel Zamzow. “Jareth got her on the rail (near the 3/16ths pole) and gave her a great ride.”

Zamzow also cited another factor, the scratch of Firstmate. “With her out, there was no one left to close on (First Hunter),” he said. “That, and Jareth’s great ride when they claimed the shortest way home.”

Double Bee Sting was fourth, in front of Honey’s Sox Appeal.

Zamzow was delighted with the win, naturally. “This is why I love breeding horses,” he said. “But we’re a small operation and so we have to do things right.”

He was completely understanding of Lindgren’s role in that regard.

“Yes, he has a small operation, too.  We’re not much different.”


The champ defended his crown in the third running of this race, finishing ¾ length in front of his stablemate to do so.

Hot Shot Kid

Hot Shot Kid, ridden by the boy of summer, Orlando Mojica, who won the Mystic Lake Derby a week ago, got to the wire in front of A P Is Loose, giving the Robertson barn a one-two finish in that race and a sweep of the Minnesota-bred stakes.

“They’re both good horses and ran well,” Robertson said, in reference to his winners.

Hot Shot took over at the head of the stretch and held off his stablemate to win this race once again as a second choice to his stablemate,who won the inaugural running of the race.

A P had a head on Twoko Bay for second.

Owned by Warren Bush, the winner finished in 1:11.94 and pushed his career earnings over $400,000

Opening Weekend In Review

Derby Day A Success At Canterbury Park

The sun was shining brightly in Shakopee for Kentucky Derby Day festivities. The track began its 25th season of racing the night before, providing a test run for what was to come the following day. The third largest crowd in track history, 20,770, flocked to the facility to gamble and party, filling all three levels of the grandstand as well as the track apron on Saturday.

Robertson and Arrieta Lead Early

Twelve-time leading trainer Mac Robertson got off to a quick start, winning four races from nine starters. Mac also had a second and third place finish. Robertson was in Louisville saddling Amy’s Challenge in the $500,000 Grade 1 Humana Distaff Saturday. The 2017 Canterbury Horse of the Meet finished third after setting the early fractions. Alex Canchari was aboard for local owner Joe Novogratz.

Trainer Mike Biehler was the only other with multiple winners. He won two races from five starters.

Jockey Francisco Arrieta made the most of his 11 mounts, winning five times. Three other riders each won twice: new face Constantino Roman, Dean Butler, and Eddie Martin, Jr. Arrieta is named on four horses at Turf Paradise as they close out their meet today.

Claiming Slow To Go

Six of the 16 races run this weekend offered horses to be claimed yet no claims were dropped. Expect that to change next weekend and horses to begin changing hands via the claim box.

Rider Injured in Paddock Incident

Jockey David Lopez came to Canterbury Park last week for the first time, expecting to fit the jockey colony well and make a living. He rode three horses Friday and six of the first seven on Saturday. When preparing to climb aboard his mount Brandy Chaser in the eighth and final event of the weekend, Lopez was kicked in the chest by the colt.

Lopez, a graded stakes winning and leading rider in Northern California during a career that began in North America in 2001, spent the winter at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. He came north with agent Chad Anderson and a reputation as a hard-working and patient rider.

The medical team on hand in the paddock yesterday quickly tended to Lopez and prepared him for transport to HCMC.  Anderson reported this morning that Lopez suffered broken ribs and that there is concern from doctors about possible internal complications.  Early prognosis is that a minimum three months on the sidelines can be expected.

Support the Leg Up Fund which assists riders injured in the line of work as they recuperate and return to the saddle.

Mother’s Day Racing Ahead

Live racing takes place this coming week on Saturday and Mother’s Day Sunday. Both days first post will be 12:45 p.m.


Photo courtesy of Coady Photography

The Oracle Provides Insight

By The Oracle

The 2019 live racing season is upon us!  Every year brings a unique excitement for the season to come, as horses arrive from all parts of the country.  The ever-challenging handicapping puzzle brings these horses together, and it’s up to us to predict what will happen once the gates open.

Here’s a look at some final statistics for the thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park in 2018, as we prepare to unlock the 2019 Canterbury Park handicapping puzzle.  Good luck in 2019!

The Favorite

The public correctly selected the winner 36% of the time in all thoroughbred races run at Canterbury Park last year.  That is 1-percentage point below the national average for winning favorites at all racetracks in North America in 2018, and is consistent with how favorites fared at Canterbury Park in 2017.  The most formful races last year were the races for 2-year-olds, which produced winning favorites 47% of the time (15/32).  Conversely, the claiming races proved to be elusive to the betting public last year, as only 32% of the favorites prevailed.

The Odds

Last year, heavy favorites that were bet down to 7/5 odds or lower won 141 races out of 314 attempts.  That’s a 45% win rate, but it also shows that these “locks” lost more often than they won.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were 14 winners at 20-1 odds or higher last year, but nearly 1,000 runners went to post at those high odds.  Historically, Canterbury Park has not been a “longshot” paradise, and last year 78% of the thoroughbred races were won by horses at odds below 6-1.

The Jockeys

Ry Eikleberry and Orlando Mojica battled it out for the riding title last year, with Eikleberry prevailing 87 to 79.

Despite the win total, Eikleberry was not a profitable jockey to wager blindly on last year, as his mounts only returned $0.70 on the dollar.  He was solid with favorites though, (42% winners) and he showed a flat bet profit in dirt routes with a 27% win rate and an ROI of $1.05 for every dollar wagered.

Orlando Mojica had a slightly better ROI of $0.78 with his mounts.  His most profitable category was in turf sprints (<1 mile) where he won 25% of the time with a positive ROI of $1.26 for every dollar wagered.

Neither Eikleberry nor Mojica were known as longshot riders last year.  Combined, they were 5 for 190 with an ROI hovering around $0.30 on the dollar.

The Trainers

McLean Robertson and Robertino Diodoro tied for the top trainer honors last year with 57 wins.  Both trainers have their strengths which tend to carry over from year to year.

Mac Robertson won with 24% of his starters last year, including 38% of the time his horses were favored.  Robertson showed a flat bet profit in turf routes, and easily beat the takeout in State-bred races and maiden special weight races.  Historically, Robertson has not been one to win with longshots at Canterbury Park, as he was only 4% with horses off at 8-1 and higher last year and those plays returned only $0.34 for every dollar wagered.  Robertson is also campaigning Amy’s Challenge, who was voted the Canterbury Park Horse of the Meet in 2017, and is currently one of the fastest female sprinters in the country.  Expect another strong performance by Robertson in 2019, as he looms the favorite to repeat as leading trainer once again.

Robertino Diodoro won with 23% of his starters last year, but only won with 28% of his horses that went to post as the favorite.  Diodoro’s main game is claiming races and that is where he is the most dangerous.  He won with 29% of his claimers and maiden claimers last year, showing a flat bet profit in both categories.  Diodoro’s highest price winner last year was 9-1, so he is another trainer not prone to connect with longshots.  Expect him to be near the top of the trainer standings throughout the season.

Good luck playing the 2019 live racing meet at Canterbury Park!