Clean Sweep in Northlands

Eyesa%20Wagon%20Maker%20-%20Mystic%20Lake%20Northlands%20Futurity%20-%2007-05-13%20-%20R09%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20Finish%20The best laid plans of mice and men – and quarter horse trainers – don’t always play out as they’re intended. And sometimes they do… just not as expected.

Let’s call this one the second no contest of the night.

Friday night in the richest quarter horse race in track history, the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, a trainer named Stacy Charette-Hill sent out horses that finished one-two-three. And she once raced the dam of the fourth place horse.

The purse was $133,525 (including $27,500 from the Mystic Lake purse enhancement fund). Most of it went to Charette-Hill and her husband, Randy Hill.

The irony here is that the favorite in the race, High Ace, also trained by Charette Hill, finished fifth. And the winner was Eyesa Wagon Maker, sent off at 35-1 under Stormy Smith.

The first no contest on the card occurred in the fifth race when the gate malfunctioned at the break.

For the record, Eyesa Wagon Maker, bred and raised by Stacy and Randy and ridden by Stormy Smith, finished first in 17.76. Next was Mighty Coronas First and then Little PYC. Fourth place went to Fantastic Follies, by PYC Paint Your Wagon, handled by Randy Smith, from Fantastic Six, once raced by the husband and wife team.

Smith was all smiles, having won this race for the third straight year, in 2012 with Midnight Sunlight and in 2011 with Cruzin the Wagon.

Eyesa Wagon Maker lost his concentration at one point during the 350 yard race. “The five horse (Little PYC) was leaning on us just a little and when Omar went to the stick he moved out and my horse took off,” said Smith.

Charette-Hill had four chances to win this race, and the one she least expected came through.

“I didn’t think this horse could win it,” she said. “I really didn’t.”

Charette-Hill qualified five horses for the race and they drew post positions right in order, three through seven. That is until Lil Miss Party Doll was later scratched.

Nonetheless, she still had four starters. “That wouldn’t happen again in a million tries, to draw those spots in order,” she said. “I guess it doesn’t matter, if I get wiped out by anyone it will be my own.”

Charette-Hill took the philosophical approach to the matter before the race, happy to have qualified at all.

“Some didn’t get the opportunity,” she said. “I’m happy to race. It will be fun.”

Mighty Coronas First was the second fastest qualifier for the race, just behind High Ace.

Stacy is still waiting for the filly by Mighty Corona to get her act together. “She can be a basket case,” she said. “I have to do so much with her just to keep her quiet. “I thought she was dead on the ground behind the gates at Remington. I tied her and she wouldn’t stay in the gate. She tried to tear them down. She can put on a real show.”

Nonetheless, she has known the filly had talent from the get-go. “I called my husband and said, I’m telling you Randy Hill, this mare can fly and I mean fly.”

The best might be yet to come. “If she ever gets where she can trust herself and everyone around her and on her, I think she’ll be major fast,” Stacy added.

For Friday night, though, all eyes were on Eyesa Wagon Maker, the winner of the richest quarter horse race in track history.



The human eye, limited as it is, caught something out or the ordinary in Friday’s fifth race. A slow motion replay clarified the matter. The gates opened in groups at different times, as if it were a staggered start.

Those who missed the break were at first mystified after Tiger Run and Juan Rivera hit the wire in front of the field and a stewards’ inquiry ensued.

It was clear after watching replays that the horses breaks occurred at different times due to the gate malfunction.

The stewards declared a no contest, and wagers were returned to patrons.


Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, continued as the track’s hottest rider with another winner on Friday’s card. He had three on Wednesday night that included both $50,000 stakes races and another winner on Thursday’s card.

Friday, He took Lookinatmindy, trained by clay Brinson, to the winner’s circle in race four.

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.

Stakes Racing Recaps

There has been plenty of quarter horse stakes action over the past half dozen racing days at Canterbury Park. Who won? Who lost? Who set a new track record? Here’s a recap of Canterbury’s recent big races:

Great Lakes Stakes

Stakes action kicked off last week with the 16th running of the Great Lakes Stakes, featuring three-year-olds and up running 440 yards for $21,000. The field included winner of this year’s Skip Zimmerman Stakes, Hollywood Trickster (pictured above), a New Mexico-bred gelding who came from seventh place at the break to win by half a length. The five-year-old repeated in the Great Lakes Stakes when he broke next to last and flew up the stretch to defeat Paintyourownwagon by a neck. Hollywood Trickster was the post-time favorite and covered the quarter mile in 21.744, earning a 104 speed index. Paintyourownwagon finished second with a 103 SI, and A Faster Streaker was a close third, earning a 101 index.

Hollywood Trickster is owned by Christine Hovey and trained by Ed Hardy; Derek Bell was up for this win. Unlike many horses racing at 440 yards, Hollywood Trickster is actually attempting shorter races than he is used to; the son of thoroughbred Favorite Trick, out of a Heza Fast Man mare is a talented 550 and 870 performer. He lives up to his name at 440 yards, deceiving us into thinking he is too far behind to win but gains enough momentum to pull off a dramatic ending. His replay is the last race on the video below:


Northlands Futurity

Midnight Sunlight was the upset winner in Thursday’s running of the $59,800 Northlands Futurity, though a closer look at her past performances suggests that this win should not have been that much of a surprise. The filly did not break on top, but was moved quickly to second place and kicked into gear late in the race to defeat Mr Shakem Diva by a nose at the wire. Mr Shakem Diva turned in a breakout performance, leading the race until the final strides and narrowly defeating post-time favorite and fastest qualifier Bp Painted Lady. Bp Painted Lady was bumped coming out of the gate and was clear of traffic soon after; she moved up steadily throughout the race but lacked the needed kick to get ahead of her foes. The three-way photo finish suggests that we may have several future racing stars on our grounds.

Owned by Brenda Reiswig, and ridden by Stormy Smith, Midnight Sunlight earned the first Northlands victory for trainer Vic Hanson. Midnight Sunlight’s success began with her breeding; bred by Bobby Cox in Texas, the filly is by one of the leading two-year-old sires, Ivory James, out of Quick Moon Sign by Royal Quick Dash, a top Texas broodmare sire. The filly was the fastest qualifier to the $350,000 Grade 2 Oklahoma Futurity this spring at Remington Park. There were 15 qualifying trials with nearly 150 horses, and her time of 15.391 was the best on the card for the 300 yard trials. She ran second in the final to Dash for Coronas, who went on to qualify for and run fourth in the Grade 1 $1,100,000 Heritage Place Futurity, also at Remington Park.

Midnight Sunlight ran 350 yards in 17.843; Mr Shakem Diva was a nose behind at 17.846 and Bp Painted Lady ran 17.864. Each horse earned a 93 speed index. It may be time to put all three of these horses in your virtual stable: Midnight Sunlight is just beginning to show her true talent and will be one to watch in the years to come. Mr Shakem Diva had the race won at 250 and 300 yards, so be ready to put money on that one when he runs a shorter race. Bp Painted Lady closed fast at the end of the race to get up for third; in an allowance race and maybe at a longer distance, she’ll have no trouble getting the win.


Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby

Huckleberry Mojito did not disappoint in the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby last Saturday. The three-year-old daughter of Feature Mr Jess won in style, leading at the first call and pulling away from the field to win by nearly two lengths. Huckleberry Mojito was the fastest qualifier to the derby with 19.97; on Saturday she stunned everyone with a final time of 19.625, setting a new track record and earning a remarkable 108 speed index. The previous track record was 16.692, set by Mr Hempens Feature in a trial for the 2010 Canterbury Derby. He lost to Time for Wilena in the final, who set the stakes record for this race with 16.699. Huckleberry Mojito now owns both the track and stakes record.

Feature Mr Jess is a leading quarter horse sire, but handicappers and breeders know that his daughters, while particularly talented, take more time than usual to mature. Feature Mr Jess fillies tend to be better as three-year-olds than in their first year, and like their sire, the longer the race the better. Huckleberry Mojito is no exception, showing tremendous improvement this year with every race.

Huckleberry Mojito was bred in Texas by Gary and Patty Peterson, owned by L M R 2011, and trained by Ed Hardy, giving him his seventh Canterbury Derby win. Nik Goodwin chalks up another quarter horse win; bet on a quarter horse for no other reason than Goodwin getting the mount this meet and you’ll hit first or second place over 90% of the time. Her replay is the second race on the video below:


This blog was written by AQHA Q-Racing Ace Jen Perkins. Jen travels to tracks across the country to educate fans about handicapping and Quarter Horse racing, and shares her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Peruvian Quadruple Crown Champ

Ask Adolfo Morales where he’s from and he has to think for a moment. You can almost hear the tumblers in his mind falling into place, clicking one by one, trying to find the right response from among several. Do you mean originally, most recently, this year or last?

The question, you see, is much too black and white. Morales, after all, is from many places, depending on the year, sometimes the month, although the answer has been much simpler in recent years, ever since he settled down, so to speak.

His paternal grandfather, Arturo, was Chilean but moved to Peru as a young man. Adolfo’s father and he as well were born in Lima, so they are by blood Chilean, but by birth Peruvian.

Pay attention, here’s where it becomes complicated. Arturo and Jose were riders who wound up as trainers. Adolfo, not surprisingly, although not in response to his father’s first wish for him, wound up galloping and then riding racehorses, first in Lima, then in Florida, then in New York, then back to Florida , then back to Peru, back to Florida and then to Minnesota and finally Phoenix. There was a six-month stint in Saudia Arabia, too.

The cities are correct, the exact sequence may not be. Even Adolfo has to think diligently to recall the years and the places he’s been since first landing in the United States at age 17 and sometimes they run together on him.

Now 41, that’s a lot of years to arrange in correct chronological order.

For what it’s worth, for approximately the last six or seven years, Adolfo has called Phoenix home from September to May and Shakopee for the remainder of the year. Morales was in Florida when he ran into none other than Luis Canchari, who suggested he give Minnesota a try. Phoenix, with its eight-month meeting, of course, is the perfect place for a rider with a family.

Adolfo and his wife, Paola, their 17-year-old son Alonso and 11-year-old daughter Ximena have a home in Peoria, about 20 minutes from Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Everything is much easier now that he has settled on the current rotation.

Alonso is working on turf crew this summer and doing some galloping as well. “He wants to buy a car, so I told him he has to work,” Adolfo said.

Adolfo and his wife met, where else, at the racetrack in Lima, where she was Monterrico’s answer to Canterbury’s Angela Hermann.

Morales rode his first winner, Susie’s Swinger, at Calder Race Course.

Of more significance is this tidbit: He is the only jockey to have won all four legs of Peru’s Quadruple Crown, in 1992, on a horse named Stash.

In 1973, a horse named Santorin won the Quadruple. Adolfo’s father was on him for the final three legs of the championship. How’s that for a little piece of Peruvian racing history all from one family

Morales is headed from Canterbury to Assiniboia Downs Thursday morning to ride Schillerthekiller in a 30 grand stakes race there. The two paired up to win a stakes at the same track a few weeks ago.

Trainer Clay Brinson and Morales made the hike to Canada as a team that time. “I’m driving by myself this time,” Morales said, adding, with a thin grin, “you wouldn’t want to come along, would you?”

Morales has been a regular at Canterbury the last six years. He left for Canada with eight wins, four seconds and three thirds from 33 mounts. “Best percentage among the riders,” he pointed out.

The win he added on Thursday’s card came in the second race aboard Broken Aero. In the winner’s circle, all prepared to take part in the upcoming photo, was Ximena.

“Do you know the winning rider?” she was asked. “Oh, yes, I just met him – on the street somewhere,” she responded.

Not likely, even for a globe-trotter like her daddy.


How’s this for a family reunion!

In a $60,000 photo finish, Midnight Sunlight, trained by Vic Hanson with Stormy Smith up, nosed out Mr Shakem Diva in the Northlands Futurity, capping a thrilling race decided by not much more than a nostril.

Most interestingly, though, was this added dimension to the race. The winning owner, Brenda Reiswig of Bismarck, N.D., is a sister to David Wisdom, the owner of Mr Shakem Diva, trained by Ed Ross Hardy and ridden by Clyde Smith.

“It’s all in fun,” Reiswig said, adding that next up for the winner is a Futurity at Remington Park


All events planned for the postponed July 4 card will be conducted as part of Saturday’s card. The $75,000 Northbound Pride Stakes and the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby will be run.

It’s a big day for weiners as well.

The wiener dog finals will be conducted. There will be a hot dog eating contest and free hot dogs for the patrons.


Trainer Sandra Sweere got her first win as a trainer in Thursday’s second race. She saddled Broken Aero, owned by Ruth Casanova.

Sweere worked in Troy Bethke’s barn for some four years before getting her training license two years ago. Her starts have been few and far between for a couple of reasons. Thursday’s was just her fourth.

She owned three of the horses she saddled in the last two years. One of them was knocked out of racing after running into a dumpster in the stable area. A second broke a shoulder and the third pulled a ligament.

“I guess I can train horses,” Sweere said. “I just can’t own them.

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