Dorsett in Del Mar Derby

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishDorsett, winner of the 2013 Mystic Lake Derby, is 6-1 in the second division of the Grade II Del Mar Derby to be held today at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California. Trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Terry Hamilton, Dorsett, 6-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by perennial top California rider Rafael Bejarano.

The $300,000 Grade II Derby closed with 23 entries and management split the race into two divisions worth $250,000 each. Dorsett will have his work cut out for him as he goes up against two rivals that have already defeated him this summer at Arlington. Infinite Magic, morning line favorite and winner of the American Derby, defeated Dorsett in that race back on July 13.

General Election is the other Chicago shipper. He defeated Dorsett back in May in the Arlington Classic. Neither Infinite Magic nor General Election has run since the American Derby.

Saddled with the outside post, Dorsett has his work cut out for him. However, drawing the services of a rider of Bejarano’s quality can only be viewed as a positive sign. Heading into racing today, Bejarano’s 43 wins on the meet is 17 clear of the next leading rider.

Dorsett continues a rather impressive parade of horses to ship out of Canterbury and into major races throughout the country this summer. Designer Legs, who broke her maiden at Canterbury for Gary Scherer on June 28, went on to win the Grade II Adirondack Stakes on August 11. Owned by Valene Farms, Designer Legs was placed first following a disqualification in the Adirondack.

Designer Legs runs in today’s Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Dallas Stewart. Shaun Bridgmohan has the call.

Earlier this week, General Jack, winner of the 2013 Shakopee Juvenile was posted as the morning line favorite in the Grade II With Anticipation at Saratoga but was scratched.

Sunday Racing Musings

FuturityOnce the obligations of winning such a race were attended to, once the handshakes, backslaps, hugs and nods of congratulation had been received, the interviews conducted and the rush of adrenaline subsided, there was time for family, close friends and the owners of the horse.

Yes, there are duties concomitant with riding the winning horses in significant races and for a second consecutive year they were assumed by Lori Keith.

In those heady moments of semi-solitude in the jockeys lounge after Saturday’s $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, Keith was on the phone with the owners of Dorsett, who had simply run away from seven rivals as if they were disgraced defensive backs trying to grab the churning legs of the horse’s Dallas Cowboys’ namesake during his prime.

Yes, Dorsett was named for Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett who, you might recall, set an NFL record of 99 yards for the longest run from scrimmage against the Minnesota Vikings on a Monday night in 1983.

In any event, Dorset’s owner and Dallas fan Terry Hamilton was on the phone with Ms Keith after the Derby, having watched the race at home in Canada. Keith was wrapped up in a stunning Star blanket, presented to her by Keith Anderson, vice chairman of the Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Mystic Lake, the sponsors of the race and the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement program.

Mrs. Hamilton had spotted the blanket on the television screen and fallen in love with it immediately. “Here, my wife wants to talk to you,” said her husband.

Within a matter of moments the two women, Mrs. Hamilton and Ms. Keith conducted their exchange of gifts. Mrs. Hamilton got the blanket. Ms. Keith got the Mystic Lake Derby trophy.

“What, you gave away my trophy,” lamented Mr. Hamilton.

In typical Sioux tradition, Mrs. Hamilton had presented a gift of the trophy to Ms. Keith, who in turn, presented the blanket to Mrs. Hamilton.

Ms. Keith, of course, also talked with her parents, owners of a bistro in the South of France, who watched the race at 12:30 a.m., their time, down the street from the restaurant. Lori imagined her father shooing patrons out of the bistro. “They had to be out by 11,” she said.

“They were happy and proud,” Lori said Sunday. “They were so pleased that I had mentioned them.”

As she does quite often.

The Hamiltons couldn’t have been happier, either. After all, Keith had ridden a Hamilton horse, Hammers Terror, to victory in the first Derby, last year, although she had to withstand a stewards inquiry in that one.

That’s what made Sunday’s victory even more enjoyable. No inquiry. A nice clean trip.

“I beat myself up for weeks after (the 2012 Derby),” Lori said. “So, this one probably was a little more enjoyable.”

Dorsett was simply much the best on Saturday, sweeping past seven rivals as if they were weanlings in the pasture for a three-length win. Vikings defenders clutching at his ankles.

Everyone, rider, owners and trainer, Michael Stidham, were pleased with the win.

“The horse continues to get better, and the rider did a great job,” said Stidham after the race.

Will there be a second encore?

“Well, a lot can happen with a two-year-old,” said Ms. Keith

“Between now and the three-year-old season.” Of course, but if anyone is curious, the two-year-old Hamilton has in mind for next year’s race is Heart to Heart.

By the way, long-suffering fans, the Vikings won that game in spite of Dorsett, 31-27.

Oh, and Hamilton ordered a second trophy – for himself.

CANCHARI TOO BUSY TO CELEBRATE

Luis Canchari and family were standing outside the winner’s circle Sunday afternoon, clearly still pleased with what their son, Alex, accomplished on Saturday.

Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, in the biggest win of his brief career, won the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks aboard Stoupinator for trainer Mac Robertson and owner Joseph Novogratz, a head in front of Kipling’s Joy.

There was no time for celebration on Saturday night. “I had to be back at Mac’s barn at 5 a.m.” said Alex.

His family members were clearly delighted with his effort.

Alex’s mother gave him a kiss after the race. His dad was still beaming on Sunday.

“We are proud of him,” said Luis, who rode at Canterbury in the 1980s, having moved to Shakopee from Peru. “It would be nice to see a Minnesota kid win the riding title.”

Alex is doing what he can. He has 35 wins for the second, one behind Ry Eikleberry and six behind Dean Butler, the leaders.

CASH BEGETS MORE CASH

The Reiswigs of Bismarck, N.D. have a fond spot for the two-year-old filly Seis The Royal Cash, a daughter of Royal Cash Dawn.

Mom and daughter were purchased as a package. “We bought the mare in foal,” explained Brenda Reiswig. “We lost the mother a year ago, so this one has had a hard time. She has a special place in our hearts.”

Even more special now.

Seis The Royal Cash was sent off at 16-1 in Sunday’s North Central Quarter Horse Futurity, a bit of a shock to Reiswig. “I thought ‘oh, oh,'” said Reiswig.

All was well nonetheless.

Seis the Royal Cash, with Ismael Suarez Ricardo up, stunned nine rivals, taking the inside path to victory in front of Sportwagon and Engine Number Nine.

Trainer Vic Hanson summed up the victory succinctly.

“We drew well,” he said.

Indeed. The inside has been a boon of late.

“It evened out for a while there,” said Hanson. “Now it’s a little more to the inside, again.”

Nonetheless, Seis The Royal Cash claimed the winner’s share of the $45,050 purse for her connections, paying $35.20, $16.20 and $5.80 across the board.

Hanson handles the Reiswig horses at Canterbury, 20-some in all.

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.

A Little Less Suspense

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishShe took one look over her shoulder, gave her mount a stout reminder with the stick and cruised home, much the best in the biggest race of the season, the history of Canterbury Park for that matter.

Everything unfolded much as it did last season, with one major exception.

“No inquiry,” said the woman of the hour, Lori Keith, who has been aboard the first two winners of the first two Mystic Lake Derbys.

That’s right, the winning owner, winning trainer and winning rider of the inaugural Derby last year, won Saturday’s second running, breaking from the same No. 2 hole in an eight-horse field, just as last year. But for more money,

The race offered $162,000 and change last year. It was worth $200,000 this time around, $120,000 of that to the winning horse.

Gladly missing from Ms. Keith’s point of view was the interminable wait that accompanied last year’s race after her horse veered in front of the second place horse in the final 50 yards.

The stewards decided in her favor, ruling that the infraction did not change the order of finish but gave Ms. Keith days nonetheless for what occurred.

None of that on Saturday.

Keith began moving her horse, Dorsett, heading into the turn behind Coastal Breeze after that one made a bold move. The eventual winner swept past Coastal Breeze as if he were taking a nap. Dorsett cruised into the stretch, passing horses as if he were a Porsche in the fast lane of a freeway.

Much the best.

A bystander asked Keith when she felt the race was hers. “Actually, I felt confident the whole way,” she said. “I had a ton of horse all the way.”

A push-button colt as it were.

“This colt has gotten better and better,” said trainer Michael Stidham. “He’s better as a three-year-old than he was at two. The rider – Lori – did a great job, too.” The owner of the horse, Terry Hamilton, was not present but made it known some time ago that it was his goal to win another Mystic Lake Derby. Consider that goal accomplished.

Dorsett, a son of Artie Schiller from Dontgetnmyway, had three lengths on Coast Breeze and Channing Hill at the wire, 4 and ½ on Impassable Canyon and Victor Lebron, finishing in 1:35.69.

Afterward in the winner’s circle, Keith wrapped up in a stunning hand-made quilt from the Mdewakanton Sioux Community, whose purse contributions at Canterbury included $150,000 for this race alone.

The Star quilt is a traditional Dakota blanket that symbolizes life, spirituality and community and is given to mark major milestones.

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Pres2

This was indeed a milestone, for Canterbury, its relationship with Mystic Lake, for Hamilton, Stidham and, of course, for Ms. Keith.

$100,000 SHAKOPEE JUVENILE

The focus in this one was on a two-year-old named Chairman Crooks, ridden by Dean Butler, trained by tony Rengstorf and owned by Curtis Sampson.

The horse was named to honor the late Stanley Crooks, Chairman of the Mdewakanton Sioux Community at Mystic Lake with a nod also to his father, Norman, the tribe’s first chairman.

Several dignitaries from the community were present for the race, and they saw a good showing by the horse named for their former leaders. Chairman Crooks acquitted himself nicely, finishing second to the 3/5 favorite General Jack, a ship-in from Belmont Park, whose stretch effort provided a three-length win.

General Jack, a son of Giant’s Causeway, was much the best in this one. “We wanted the lead but when that horse took it we let him have it,” said winning rider Victor Lebron. “We went to plan B. I relaxed my horse and he finished strongly.”

The winner finished second in his only other start, at Belmont Park. So he broke his maiden in $100,000 race.

Owner Tom Conway knew he had a good one after General Jack hung on to finish second in New York. “He hit the gate and got bumped three or four times during the race,” Conway said. “He had the lead, got bumped and fell back.”

Nothing of the kind on Saturday.

General Jack surged through the stretch to a three-length win over Chairman Crooks, 4 and ¼ in front of AP is Loose and Ms Keith, with a winning time of 1:29.70.

$100,000 NORTHBOUND PRIDE OAKS

What a race!

Drama, excitement, suspense, investigations.

When it was done, Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, had the biggest win of his young career aboard Stoupinator, owned by Joseph Novogratz of Excelsior and trained by Mac Robertson.

“That was a great ride,” said Robertson assistant Bradley Hedges. “That kid has a nice set of hands. He can ride.”

When the hullabaloo was complete, Stoupinator was the winner by a head over Seeking Treasure who was a head in front of Kipling’s Joy and Raising Dakota who finished in a Dead Heat.

A massive investigation by the stewards, paralleled perhaps only by the Watergate investigation, changed the official order, however.

Thus, Stoupinator did no wrong and kept the win. However, Seeking Treasure, was disqualified from second and placed sixth for interference, meaning that Kipling’s Joy and Raising Dakota moved up from third and dead-heated for second and I’m Already Sexy finished fourth.

The race also included a bit of drama before it started. Jockey Luis Garcia, on Raising Dakota, had not signed his license application with the Minnesota Racing Commission and was called up in front of the grandstand.

A racing official arrived with the document. Garcia jumped off his horse and signed his name, remounted and – as mentioned – wound up running second.

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.

Race of the Week: Mystic Lake Derby

MysticDerby_LogoThe second edition of the Mystic Lake Derby is fairly similar to the first, with connections hailing from all corners for this $200,000 purse at a mile on turf. Last year’s winning owner, Terry Hamilton, is back with the favorite in this year’s running in Dorsett, recently Grade 3 placed in the Arlington Classic.

To put the field’s complexion in perspective, two stakes winners have drawn in and they are 9/2 and 6/1 on the morning line. Surprisingly, that 6/1 stakes winner is the lone victor at a mile on turf thus far in his career. Red Zeus is an Arizona native who’s made his running here since spending the winter & spring in his home state, but came up with a solid victory last time on the main track against lesser foes. The payoffs may not need a Brinks truck for their removal, but this is still a guessing game to a degree with the undeveloped talent in the gate. Here we go!

1. Impassible Canyon – Can one ever throw out Mike Maker when he ships in for a stake? I don’t want to but I could be forced to with the difficulty in the first three legs of this late pick four. He gives up a whole lot of experience to this field and draws the rail to go with it. He’s not a speedy fellow out of the gate so that may not be an issue – but traffic could become one on a turf course that hasn’t been all that tiring on front runners. He has shipped many a place to find a comfortable surface and spot, and while he’s been close each time none of his races really scare you into singling him here. The fact still remains that his two best performances have been on Turfway’s synthetic track and Ellis Park turf. Not to undermine either place, but there are some big fish coming to swim.

2. Dorsett – This is your morning line favorite looking to keep the owner’s record perfect in this race. Hammer’s Terror was a little more seasoned by the time this race came around last year, but it appears this one is coming around a bit later in life with lots of talent. He can come from various points in the pack too, over many types of going. I’m sticking with lots of Chicago turf horses just because of what they’ve been through this spring as far as weather & whatnot. A lot of their allowance fields have been loaded with horses seeking turf and not getting it – when races stay on the grass they are TOUGH. His one really off race came on the dirt and unless that happens he’s a must use. Lori Keith will also try to keep her record perfect in the derby, and looks very live in that respect.

3. Finding Candy – He started off the year with a bang but hasn’t shown the same fight since that time. Maybe the slop was his friend that day? He fought it out on the front end gamely to break his maiden but winners have been a little too much for him early and late, as the margins of defeat in his last two have been hefty. Chongo did run impressively the other day but this horse is also back on less than a week’s rest… Hmmm. Interesting that he hasn’t flourished on turf as his mother’s only win came over the grass. This is one that may mature with grace but for now still has some things to iron out.

4. Coastal Breeze – Nothing wrong with a win streak. He’s looking for his third in a row in the Derby, and also draws Channing Hill up from Chicago to take the mount. He and Catalano have had their ups and downs at the Arlington Meet this spring but have been rock solid when right. This horse obviously fits in that category and has shown his versatility for all other surfaces besides dirt. Baffert enters a lot of maiden special weights in duos and this one always seemed to be a cut below his stablemate. Given a change of scenery the colt seemed much better off and showed the speed trained into him out west. Though his first try on turf wasn’t a resounding win, his subsequent synthetic efforts show the front running improvement to merit a shot here. Channing rode him in his first win, and the second and third finishers were well clear. May be the one in the right spot at the right time.

5. Kale’s Courage – He got a head start on some of his recently-arrived competition by getting a route win in over our track in May, though it was taken off the turf. What he beat that day remains to be seen, but given that it was on the dirt we still don’t know what the horse can really do on the track. There are a couple of winners in his family on the turf, and one can excuse his effort in the Iowa Derby against better. A couple that defeated him that day went on to run in the Jim Dandy last weekend, though not all that well. Lots of question marks here but he is the real deal.

6. Evan’s Calling – He has plenty of turf running behind him but only one win to show for those eight starts. Many were sprints in Louisiana, but the horse has learned to rate a bit as he’s gone along. He hasn’t won yet at a mile but has come around in that respect a bit lately. He was beaten pretty fair & square by Coastal Breeze two back but again, hasn’t necessarily needed the lead as he’s gained experience. He’s still good for non-2 competition though (like many) and will be a little up against it after trying stakes company once. He ran an even third in said race at the Fairgrounds and just doesn’t seem to have made steps forward as much recently as in the past.

7. Red Zeus – The raw stats are in his corner, but they are mostly due to his fifteen starts to dwarf the rest. He’s made three of them on turf and is a stakes winner over the surface, but that was against Arizona-breds and in fact we saw the top three finishers all come back to fill a trifecta in his last race on dirt. Were these three it in the quality three year old department this winter or is there more to it? He needs no pace help and is familiar with his jockey Alex Canchari. He hasn’t touched our turf before but got a bullet work in to prepare for this and is the one least-altering his schedule for the race. A few things to like about a local at a price – he will be on my ticket.

8. Officer Alex – The name immediately should say “I’m by Officer, and I learned how to run very early on.” He got in a couple of state-bred wins before hitting the road to Arkansas this spring, and had a very good spring after fleeing the Kentucky Derby trail early on. While he locked horns with grade 3 types a couple of times, both outings were unsuccessful and the same can be said of his two route efforts. He didn’t beat one horse home last time in his initial go over turf, and this one perhaps has the look of one seeking mud. He’s two of three over an off surface and his early lick makes him a must use if it’s washed off the weeds.

The three I’ll be using are Dorsett, Coastal Breeze & Red Zeus. This is a field that could line up at the end of it at the wire but this has the look of a lot more potential at this point than proven stardom. Find the colt moving forward at the right time and you could find value right along with it. Good luck in a grassy pick four on Saturday!

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.

Mystic Lake Derby Day Nears

MysticDerby_LogoGo ahead and pick up the champagne, dig out the attire you wore last year for the race, careful to assure everything is the same, not a single accoutrement out-of-place, cross your fingers and don’t say anything that might be construed as a jinx.

“My dad’s superstitious,” said Lori Keith. “It will have to be the same shirt, everything.”

The topic at hand is the second running of the Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday and the preparations of Mr and Mrs. Keith – William and Philomena (or Bill and Phil as they’re known) – for Saturday’s race.

For the uniformed, Lori Keith, a native of England and a regular rider at Canterbury Park, won the first running of the biggest race in Canterbury Park history last year aboard Hammers Terror, owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Michael Stidham.

Bill asked his daughter in a recent conversation whether she would ride in the race again this year. When she informed him that the chances appeared good, he began making plans. “He wanted to know if he should get the champagne,” Lori said.

Keith’s parents, who own a restaurant in the South of France, watched the inaugural running down the street from the restaurant, at an acquaintance’s home. Good viewing, just a matter of connecting the laptop to the telly, as they say, and they saw their daughter win the biggest race of her career.

They plan on looking in again on Saturday.

Keith will ride a horse named Dorsett, owned once again by Hamilton and trained once again by Stidham. And, get this, she is breaking from the No. 2 hole in an eight-horse field, just as last year.

A year ago, Keith took the morning line second choice to the winner’s circle after surviving a stewards’ inquiry for interference in the stretch. This time she is on the 5/2 morning line favorite.

“I think he has a great shot,” she said. “On paper he looks very good, but I think it will be a very competitive race.”

Dorsett, a son of Artie Schiller from Dontgetnmyway, has two wins, a second and a third from eight career starts with earnings of $74,670. He is part of a field of eight that will engage at one mile on the turf.

$200,000 Mystic Lake Derby Field & Morning Line
PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1    Impassable Canyon Michael Maker Victor Lebron 5-1
2 Dorsett Michael Stidham Lori Keith 5/2
3 Finding Candy Michael Biehler Denny Velazquez 12-1
4 Coastal Breeze Wayne Catalano Channing Hill 4-1
5 Kale’s Kourage Kelly Von Hemel Ry Eikleberry 10-1
6 Evan’s Calling Neil Pessin Eddie Martin Jr. 8-1
7 Red Zeus Dan McFarlane Alex Canchari 6-1
8 Officer Alex Lynn Whiting Leandro Goncalves 9/2

Last year the purse was for a guaranteed $150,000 and produced a total of $162,000 and change after adding in the entry fees. This year the race offers a guaranteed $200,000. The lion’s share of that funding, $150,000, is provided by the Mystic Lake purse enhancement fund.

The inside post was drawn by Impassable Canyon, a colt by Tapit from Anna Forever, owned by F. Thomas Conway and trained by Mike Maker.

Finding Candy will line up in the No. 3 hole. He is a colt by Candy Ride, owned locally by Al and Bill Ulwelling and trained by Mike Biehler.

The No. 4 hole will go to Coastal Breeze, a colt by Empire Maker that is owned by Barry Golden and trained by Wayne Catalano. The No. 5 hole belongs to Kale’s Kourage who has earned $85,511 lifetime and has won three of his seven career starts. He is owned by Pam Von Hemel and trained by Kelly Von Hemel.

Lining up in the No. 6 spot will be Evan’s Calling, with one win in 11 career starts. The No. 7 belongs to Red Zeus, who has earned $112, 426, running primarily at Turf Paradise in Phoenix with two starts locally, including a win at six furlongs his last out. He is owned by Peggy Hopwood and trained by Dan McFarlane.

Officer Alex drew the outside post. He has earned $163,000 running on the circuit between Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park. He is trained by Lynn Whiting, who saddled Lil E. Tee, the winner of the 1992 Kentucky Derby.

So, there you have it, the lineup for the richest race in Canterbury Park history, a whopping $200,000 guaranteed and an opportunity for Lori Keith to top last year’s take.

“Oh, I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Is superstition a genetic trait?

SHAKOPEE JUVENILE AND NORTHBOUND PRIDE OAKS

Both races offer $100,000-guaranteed purses.

The Oaks at a mile on the turf has been run in some form, fashion or name since 1985 and was won in 2012 by Soonerette, ridden by riding champion Tanner Riggs for Donnie Von Hemel.

$100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks & Morning Line Odds
PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1    Eden Prairie Neil Pessin Channing Hill 3-1
2 Kipling’s Joy Michael Stidham Dean Butler 9/2
3 Stoupinator Mac Robertson Alex Canchari 5-1
4 I’m Already Sexy Wayne Catalano Scott Stevens 4-1
5 Seeking Treasure Larry Dunbar Ry Eikleberry 10-1
6 Raising Dakota Tevis McCauley Luis Garcia 8-1
7 Kissmeimdanish Valorie Lund Derek Bell 8-1
8 American Sugar Kenneth McPeek Victor Lebron 6-1

Saturday’s edition has a field of eight, including the Ken McPeek-trained American Sugar, who is trying the grass for the first time and is 5-0-3 from 13 starts with earnings of more than $200,000. Robert Lothenbach’s Eden Prairie is 2-0-1 from six grass starts and earnings of $70,000-plus. Michael Stidham’s Kipling’s Joy is 2-0-3 from nine career starts, both wins on the grass, with earnings of $62,200.

I’m Already Sexy arrived from Arlington Park and has won twice from three turf starts, is three-for-six overall, and earned $81,141. Wayne Catalano trains. Locally-owned Stoupinator, trained by Mac Robertson, has hit the board three times in three turf starts and is 2-1-2 overall from six career starts with earnings of $76,000. Here’s a look at the field:

The Juvenile, for colts/geldings and fillies, is being run for the first time, at 7 and 1/2 furlongs on the turf and has attracted a field of nine boys.

$100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Field & Morning Line Odds
PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1    A P Is Loose Michael Biehler Lori Keith 6-1
2 Aft Michael Lauer Leandro Goncalves 8-1
3 Rumbauer David Van Winkle Ry Eikleberry 6-1
4 My Corinthian Dane Kobiskie Luis Garcia 7/2
5 Fling Orrin Cogburn Eddie Martin Jr. 12-1
6 Clarisimo Sandra Sweere Nik Goodwin 10-1
7 General Jack Michael Maker Victor Lebron 3-1
8 Chairman Crooks Tony Rengstorf Dean Butler 6-1
9 Pure Surprize Vic Hanson Jenna Joubert 10-1

Among those is a 2-year-old colt named General Jack, a Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway who is looking to break his maiden on Saturday after running second among maiden special weights for $70,000 at Belmont Park.

He had a bullet work in late June and is trained by Mike Maker who has made a habit of winning big races at Canterbury.

Aft, trained by Michael Lauer, broke his maiden last time out in Indiana. Lauer tried to run Aft on the lead his first out and finished second. He ran him off the pace in his second start with improved results.

My Corinthian has hit the board three times in three career starts and was the first of the shippers to arrive, stabling here on Monday. He is trained by Dane Kobiskie. He is 1-1-1 from three career starts and is 1-1-0 from two outs on the grass.

Mike Biehler will saddle A P Is Loose, who ran third in his first start, at Canterbury on July 11. Clarisimo, trained by Sandra Sweere, is another local horse who broke his maiden here on June 16. Dave Van Winkle will saddle locally stabled Rumbauer, who broke his maiden under Ry Eikleberry on July 11 in his second start.

Vic Hanson will send out Pure Surprize, a local juvenile who broke his maiden at first asking on July 14. Fling, trained by Orrin Cogburn, did not hit the board in two previous starts.

Curtis Sampson’s Chairman Crooks, named for the late leader of the Mdewakanton Community, is trying the grass for the first time. He broke his maiden first time out, on June 13.

Wagering Opportunities Abound

The three races will be run as races 6, 7 and 8 on the card with the Oaks leading off, followed by the Juvenile and then the 2nd running of the Mystic Lake Derby. Post times are 4:10 CDT, 4:40 CDT and the Mystic Lake Derby will go off at 5:12 CDT. The three races anchor Saturday’s late pick 4 which continues to feature a 14% takeout, among the lowest in the country. Additionally, the three stakes comprise an all-turf Pick 3 also featuring the same low takeout rate of 14%.

Check back here often to learn more about the participants for Saturday’s big races over the coming days.

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.

2013 Derby Day Nears

HAMMERS TERROR_The Mystic Lake Derby_07-28-12_CBY_Inside FinishOccasionally she’ll think about the race and the biggest win of her career, the stuff of warm feelings and pleasant thoughts, except for that interminable wait.

“It was intense, wasn’t it though,” says Lori Keith.

The subject at hand, of course, is the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby first held in 2012 and Keith’s controversial win aboard Hammers Terror. About half the grandstand thought the horse should have been taken down. The other half sided with Keith’s horse.

So did the Stewards, who ruled that Hammer Terror did in fact veer in front of Delegation in the final yards but the action did not change the outcome of the race in their view. Nonetheless they gave Keith days, even after she sweated out the decision on the race for what seemed like an eternity.

Keith talked about the race as she headed to the paddock on Sunday for the third race, which she won aboard Francisco Bravo’s Free Sailing.

She is hopeful of riding in the second Mystic Lake Derby next Saturday, for the same owner whose horse she rode last year.

“Things can change,” she said, “but there’s a good chance .” She referred to a three-year old colt named Dorsett, owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Michael Stidham, who have the same connections as Hammers Terror, the 2012 champ.

Hamilton has talked about how great it would be to win the first two Mystic Lake Derbys. He has to run a horse for that to happen, of course.

The $200,000 Derby will be run on the same card with the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks and the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes. All three to be run over the Canterbury turf course.

Questions about the second rendition of the Mystic Lake Derby abound at this point:

Will Dorsett indeed run and will the field include a Java’s War, a longshot who finished 13th in this year’s Kentucky Derby and, although nominated to the Derby, is a longshot to appear in next Saturday’s race?

Undrafted, owned by New England Patriots defector and current Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, has been nominated also.

Other nominees include Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s You Blue and Leaden In Ken, along with Bill and Al Ulwelling’s Finding Candy. In total, nearly 100 horses were nominated for the trifecta of grass races next Saturday.

The draw is scheduled on Wednesday for all three races.

My Corinthian, trained by Dan Kobiskie and scheduled to arrive Monday, will run in the Juvenile and will be the first horse on the grounds for Saturday’s stakes events.

The Shakopee Juvenile, at 7 and 1/2 furlongs on the turf, will be run for the first time. The Oaks, at a mile on the turf, was won last year by Soonerette, owned by Robert Zoellner, ridden by riding champ Tanner Riggs and trained by Donnie Von Hemel. The purse this year is $100,000, for the first time since 1995, when the Carl Nafzger-trained Fluffkins won. Von Hemel nominated no horses to the Oaks but has nominated Smack Smack, owned by Dream Walkin’ Farms, Inc. (the stable name of renowned country music singer Toby Keith) to the Juvenile.

CANCHARI SURGES IN JOCKEY STANDINGS

Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid as he refers to himself, surged this week into second place in the rider standings, riding seven winners to wind up Sunday night with 31 winners for the meet.

That’s eight behind the leader, Dean Butler, a three-time champion. Ry Eikleberry had only one winner for the week and slipped into third place with 30 wins, followed by Lori Keith with 29 and Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell and Eddie Martin, Jr. at 25 wins each. Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens is next with 23 wins.

There was no change in positions among the track’s top trainers. Mike Biehler continues in front with 24 wins, followed by Bernell Rhone with 22 and Mac Robertson with 21.

Stormy Smith, who rode the winner of the Bob Morehouse Stakes, Western Fun, on Saturday, continues to lead the quarter horse riders. He has 16 wins. Jorge Torres is next with 14.

SUNDAY HAPPENINGS

You Be Gator Bait, trained by Mac Robertson, is nominated but won’t run in the Shakopee Juvenile, not with a mere week’s rest. He won the opening race on Sunday’s card for Minnesota-bred maidens with Chris Fackler up. “He’s a hard worker,” Robertson said of the winning rider. The most likely spot to see the Minnesota-bred next will be on the 2013 Festival of Champions card in the Northern Lights Futurity.

Martin Escobar was the only double winner among the riders Sunday, with Hard Cider in the sixth and Scorsese in the seventh, his 10th and 11th winners of the meet.

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

10,127 Watch Inaugural Mystic Lake Derby

There were employees, guests and dignitaries from Mystic Lake, ladies in wide-brimmed hats, bowls of chocolate-covered strawberries, just about everything except mint juleps Saturday afternoon for the biggest race in Shakopee since 1991.

The occasion was the $161,250 Mystic Lake Derby at about a mile on the turf, and the grandstand was festooned with paraphernalia and excitement missing on the grounds for two decades.

The excitement among race lovers was palpable, no matter with whom one talked. It was Derby Day 2012, the start to a new era of Minnesota racing, an era not remotely possible without the marketing deal struck between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake.

The gods of racing were smiling on some local folks, namely Canterbury Park based rider Lori Keith, who not only rode the biggest winner of her career but survived a controversial finish in the process.

Keith was in the irons on Hammers Terror (replay below) for trainer Michael Stidham and owner Terry Hamilton, with whom she developed a relationship the last couple of years at Turf Paradise in Phoenix and at Canterbury.

She was on the right horse Saturday afternoon. Hammers Terror commanded this race, although he and Keith had to survive a stewards inquiry and jockey’s objection that left assistant trainer Chris Davis, the rider and Hamilton sweating it out.

Keith had gone to a left-handed whip at the head of the lane without negative reaction from her mount but when she applied it liberally inside the 16th pole, Hammers Terror veered sharply across the path of Delegation, who finished second, one length back.

The inquiry sign went up moments later and track announcer Paul Allen told the eager crowd that the stewards would undertake a review of the finish.

“Sweating it out. I certainly was,” Keith said anxiously after learning that the order of finish would stand.

Controversy swirled, as it always does in such instances, with sides divided about 50-50, in the grandstand, the jockeys’ room and anyplace else one cared to check.

About half the folks thought the winner should come down. The other half agreed with the apparent conclusion of the stewards and many fans that under no circumstances would Delegation have gotten past the winner.

Jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan got away from the assembled media types before he could be questioned about his take on the race.

Officially, Hammers Terror had one length on Delegation and 2 and ½ on the third place horse, Take Heart, ridden by Derek Bell.

The winning time was 1:37.18 and the payouts were $9, $4.80 and $3.40 on the 7-2 winner. A crowd of 10,127 sent Delegation off at 3-1 and Take Heart at 17-1. The favorite at $1.90-1, Gung Ho, never fired and finished behind all six rivals.

Davis didn’t have anything profound to share with Keith before the race. “Get him to settle, wherever he is,” Keith said. She did exactly that, relaxing the horse on the front end for a gate-to-wire effort.

The race was reduced from an eight-horse field to seven after Corporate Chapel, owned and trained by Stanley Mankin, was scratched

Hamilton has raced at Canterbury before, mostly two years ago, but intends to become a regular now, in view of the marketing pact between Canterbury and Mystic Lake .

“I plan to bring horses back,” he said. “All different kinds. This is what it’s all about. This agreement is absolutely great.”

So, too, was the winner’s circle for the son of Artie Schiller and Keith on Sunday.

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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

Mystic Lake Derby Draws Field of Eight

The inaugural running of the $150,000 added Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday has drawn a field of eight including two participants that last raced at Woodbine Race Course, in Ontario, Canada and two others that made their most recent start at historic Churchill Downs. In total, the field is comprised of four shippers and four local hopefuls, all vying for the lion’s share of the largest purse since Canterbury Park reopened under new ownership in 1995.

The morning line favorite at 5/2 is Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Gung Ho, the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes (video replay below). The Ramseys are two-time winners of the Eclipse Award as the Nation’s Outstanding Owners. Gung Ho drew post four and is trained by Michael Maker, who ranks 10th in North America for races won in 2012.

North of Never, trained by Anthony Granitz and owned by Standlee and Shultz, exits an allowance victory at Churchill Downs following a fourth-place finish in the Arlington Classic. Willie Martinez will be aboard.

Hammers Terror and Delegation both ran most recently at Woodbine. Hammers Terror won the $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes on June 23 before finishing fourth in the $150,000 Toronto Cup on July 14. Hammers Terror is owned by Terry Hamilton, trained by Michael Stidham and will be ridden by local rider Lori Keith.

Delegation, the other Canadian invader, is undefeated in two lifetime starts for trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber. He’ll make his stakes debut on Saturday under jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan.

Tequila Factor leads the local contingent for trainer C. L. Wilson coming off a fourth place finish in the Brooks Fields Stakes and a third place finish in an open allowance. Leading rider Tanner Riggs has the call. Take Heart, with Derek Bell aboard, will bring a two-race winning streak into the race for Canterbury’s seven-time defending champion trainer Mac Robertson. Corporate Chapel for trainer Stanley Mankin and Why Frank for Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer Doug Oliver complete the field.

The purse, $162,000 if all entrants start, will make this race the richest since Canterbury Park re-opened under new management in 1995 and the largest purse in Minnesota since the 1991 Minnesota Derby (previously named the St. Paul Derby) was contested for $250,000.

The Mystic Lake Derby is the first significant co-promotional event since the historic $83.5 million cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement was reached on June 6 between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community which owns and operates Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund will contribute $100,000 to the purse of this race.

“The Mystic Lake Derby is an excellent example of what this cooperative agreement will do for racing,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “This is the most significant race in Minnesota in over two decades and we anticipate it will become the most important race in the state’s history. We look forward to bringing this kind of high quality horse racing to our world class facility.”

Purses this season have increased by 35% since the agreement was approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission and will more than double when the purse enhancements are fully implemented over the next decade.

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Canterbury Park are located less than four miles from one another along Canterbury Road/Mystic Lake Drive in Scott County in the southwest corner of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The Mystic Lake Derby will be run as the seventh race on a ten race card. Post time for the Mystic Lake Derby is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CDT. Racing begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $5, children 17 and younger are admitted free and parking is free. The first 8,000 fans will received a free t-shirt.

Here’s the field for the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby with post positions and morning line odds:

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1 Why Frank Doug Oliver Dean Butler 30-1
2 Hammers Terror Michael Stidham Lori Keith 3-1
3 Delegation Mark Casse Jermaine Bridgmohan 5-1
4 Gung Ho Michael Maker Malcolm Franklin 5/2
5 Tequila Factor C. L. Wilson Tanner Riggs 6-1
6 Corporate Chapel Stanley Mankin Scott Stevens 12-1
7 North of Never Anthony Granitz Willie Martinez 7/2
8 Take Heart Mac Robertson Derek Bell 8-1