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 RACE THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN
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.
NOT JUST THE WEATHER
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.