2013 Champions Determined

Sleep%20Walking%20-%20Senator%20Howe%27s%20Run%20for%20the%20Red%20Wing%20Roses%20-%2009-14-13%20-%20R04%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20FinishThe skies were forbidding and dark much of the day, but the finish was one of the most colorful in Canterbury Park history as the 2013 race meet came to a stirring conclusion.

The weather was really not a factor until light rain began falling midway through the card. It was somewhat heavier by the eighth race.

The card included perhaps the most colorful and athletic promotion ever conducted on the premises, the championship race of the three-day Indian Relay Races.

An impressive turnout of 12,160 bid adieu to the season and reacted enthusiastically to the excitement of the relay races, won by a 23-year-old rider from the Shoshoni-Bannock Nation in Fort Hall, Idaho.

Most of them were gone by the time the trophy was presented to the leading rider this summer, Dean Butler.

The riding title for the meet came down to race four, in which Sleep Walking, ridden by Butler, held off Dakota Dusty and Alex Canchari. That increased his lead over Canchari to four at the time.

Canchari kept it interesting, nonetheless, hand-riding Theatre of Dreams to an easy win in race five to pull once again to within three and punctuating that with a win in the 10th race. Canchari and Butler were the only two riders to finish with total earnings of more than $1 million each. Butler’s total heading into Saturday’s card was $1,267,955. Canchari’s was $1,248,479.

Butler intends to take a couple of months off and then head to home to Tampa. Canchari intends to drops his tack at Hawthorne Race Course in suburban Chicago.

Mac Robertson had an 18-win lead over Bernell Rhone and Mike Biehler heading into the final card, his ninth consecutive training title safely in the bag. He added Saturday’s fifth and 10th races to increase his total wins for the meet to 51.

Lori Keith, who wound up as the meet’s fourth-leading rider, won her 41st race of the meet aboard Cap and Trade in the sixth. She intends to head to Oklahoma and then Arkansas and is sure to recall Canterbury 2013 as the meet in which she won a second consecutive Mystic Lake Derby, the biggest race of the summer.

Eddie Martin, Jr., had a solid meet, winning 37 races, as did Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, who won the seventh race, a $35,000 overnight stake, aboard National, trained by Miguel Angel Silva. Stevens concluded the meet with 34 wins and will return to Phoenix for the meet that begins on Oct. 5 at Turf Paradise. Martin was undecided about his next stop.

For 23-year-old rider Jerrad Serino the next stop is home. Serino was a convincing winner of the relay races, due largely to near perfect horse exchanges during both pit stops of the three-mile race. Three miles, three horses for each of the nine riders in the final, and the importance of the exchange after each mile became obvious as miscues during dismounting and engaging an awaiting exchange horse proved to be the difference.

“That was the most important,” said Serino, who stressed the importance of training and staying fit for these grueling races, all conducted bareback.

The win was the third of his career for Serino, whose twin brother got him interested in the sport three years ago. His entire family, everyone but Jerrad, has been involved with horses. “I didn’t like them as a kid. I wanted to play basketball,” said the 5-7, 145-pound Serino. What he did mostly was boxed, throughout his youth.

Riders frequently train for these races, not only by riding and conditioning their horses, but by using small trampolines, a foot or two off the ground, to strengthen their lower legs for bounding from one horse and onto another during exchanges.

Second place went to the His Bad Horse team and rider Lynwood His Bad Horse, Jr., a mere-16-year-old from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Third was Holds The Enemy, a Crow team, and rider Ferlin Blacksmith, who won two heats preceding the final.

In the first race of the last day of racing, Jake Barton picked up a check for the return trip to Phoenix aboard Smarty Gras, winning by two-plus lengths. Barton was a new addition to the jockey colony late in the season and intends to return again for the 2014 meet.

Until then, he will ride at Turf Paradise and, in his spare time, hunt the arroyos and washes of the Arizona desert for quail, his chief devotion outside of racing.

Martin Escobar brought in Lady Ban Shee in race two, rallying in the final 16th to shade Santa Fe Sue and Butler by a solid neck.

Strange things happen on closing day, such as…

Hi Prim, under Ken Shino, got up in the final jump to provide trainer Nancy Sheehan her first win of the meet, in her 51st try, and at 38-1 in race three. There was not much more than a half-length separating the top four finishers in that thrilling finish.

Immediately thereafter, paddock analyst Angela Hermann and track president/CEO Randy Sampson presented trainer Cory Jensen with the award for his leading owners of the meet, Midwest Thoroughbreds.

There were, of course, additional awards for the stars of the summer show – the horses.

Heliskier, owned by Marlene Colvin and trained by Robertson, was named Horse of the Year for the second straight meet, joining Hoist Her Flag as the only other horse in Canterbury history to win the title twice.

His dominance at Canterbury was demonstrated by two additional awards. Heliskier was named sprinter of the meet as well as the champion Older Horse.

Dorsett, trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Terry Hamilton, was selected champion Three-year-old Colt or Gelding on the strength of his Mystic Lake Derby win.

Badge of Glory, owned by Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick and trained by Rhone was selected champion Three-year-Old Filly, and Dontrattlemycage, owned by Nicholas Raver and trained by Nevada Litfin, was voted Grass Horse of the meet. Second Street City, owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, second in the owner standings, was voted champion Older Filly or Mare.

Wayne Simon owned and Robert Johnson trained Appeal to the King is the champion Two Year Old. Machorina, owned by Emerald Bay Stables and trained by Mike Biehler, is the Claimer of the meet, and Stone Cottrell, owned by Terry Riddle and trained by champion conditioner Stacy Charette-Hill, is Champion Quarter Horse.

Still competitive despite his near miss at a title, Canchari brought in Grizzled Robert, the final winner of the 2013 season. That cut Butler’s final margin to two. The horse is trained by, who else, Robertson.

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.

Agent & Rider Make a Team

Juan Ochoa 5-24-13Susie McBrayer had her jacket wrapped tightly around her against the spring cold as she walked the stable area Friday morning. A native of Southern California who arrived in Shakopee by way of Phoenix, McBrayer is still trying to acclimate herself to these new chilly surroundings.

“I wear a jacket with a hood so I suppose people think I’m crazy,” she said. “You people who live here probably think this is nice, but I’m freezing.”

McBrayer is a rider agent who arrived from Turf Paradise with Juan Ochoa, for whom she has hustled book the last seven years, ever since they hooked up during his bug year.

They are in new surroundings this spring, where many riders are clearly established, in tight with barns for the last several years, so McBrayer knew it might be a tough start.

“Sometimes you get to a new meet and nobody knows you,” she said. “Juan could be the best rider in the world and it wouldn’t make much difference if nobody knows him. Most of these people have their riders, so it’s tough to break in.”

Nonetheless, McBrayer is a track savvy woman who grew up in the Southern California Racing circuit, on the backsides of Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park and Del Mar, where her father, C.H. McBrayer trained for 50 years.

“I used to get up early and go to the track a lot with my dad,” she said. “I’d help around the barn, do whatever I could, raked, held horses as I got older. I started training some of my own. I also owned a few.”

C.H. was influenced as a youngster, too, growing up around horses but left Ethan, S.D., as a young man to join the Navy. He wound up in California after his stint in the service and opened a television business near Hollywood Park. He had ridden a horse to school as a youngster… the rest is easy to envision.

And Susie grew up in the environment of racing.

“I’ve been around the track all my life,” she added.

McBrayer broke into the agent game in 2004, keeping book for Canadian rider Emille Ramsammy. “He came to Santa Anita and I had him for just one winter. Then he went back to Woodbine,” she said. “But without him I probably never would have started doing this. He taught me the ropes.”

McBrayer and Ochoa hooked up in 2006 at Santa Anita when he had the bug and spent much of the next few seasons and meets in Northern and Southern California and New Mexico. They were at Turf Paradise for the first time last winter, which led to their first trip to Minnesota after they began hearing trainers talking about the welcoming conditions and improved purses at Canterbury Park.

The presence of stables belonging to Dan McFarlane in particular as well as Miguel Angel Silva assured Ochoa and McBrayer of collecting some paychecks in Minnesota.

It was another Phoenix-based trainer, Don Schnell, who provided Ochoa with his first win of the Canterbury meet, however. Ochoa was aboard Tempe, the winner of Friday night’s third race.

Ochoa, like McBrayer, grew up around the racetrack. He is a native of Los Angeles. His parents both worked for Jerry Fanning at Santa Anita. As a boy, Ochoa wanted nothing more than to become a rider.

“I went to college for a year but when all you’ve wanted is to be a jockey… it only gets worse the older you get.”

In regard to the decision to come north, so far, so good.

“I like it,” Ochoa said. “They treat you well here. They act like they want you. It makes it feel like home.”

Ochoa considers Canterbury Park a “very friendly place. Everything about the place,” he said.

Neither rider nor agent had ever been to Minnesota before but have settled in comfortably in their new locale… “I like the people here. They’re friendly,” Ochoa said. “The city is nice, very clean, so are the barns, the backside… everything.”

What is already very clear to Ochoa and McBrayer is that Canterbury Park exists for and is all about racing, nothing more.

“We need more people (like the Sampsons),” McBrayer said, “and they’re just not out there. People like (the Sampsons) will keep racing alive, keep it going because they love it.”

It is quite clear that although McBrayer and Ochoa like the Minnesota racing scene, they are not smitten beyond reason, to the point of, say, putting down roots.

“Minnesota? No. I wouldn’t be able to handle the winters here,” she said.

Special Attraction on Hand for Monday’s Holiday Racing

The Human Cannonball is coming to Canterbury Park as part of the track’s Memorial Day Celebration. David “The Bullet” Smith, Jr., who appeared on America’s Got Talent, will be shot out of a cannon as part of the festivities. Paul Allen found out a little more about the act on Friday afternoon. Check out the video:

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.

Agent & Rider Make a Team

Juan Ochoa 5-24-13Susie McBrayer had her jacket wrapped tightly around her against the spring cold as she walked the stable area Friday morning. A native of Southern California who arrived in Shakopee by way of Phoenix, McBrayer is still trying to acclimate herself to these new chilly surroundings.

“I wear a jacket with a hood so I suppose people think I’m crazy,” she said. “You people who live here probably think this is nice, but I’m freezing.”

McBrayer is a rider agent who arrived from Turf Paradise with Juan Ochoa, for whom she has hustled book the last seven years, ever since they hooked up during his bug year.

They are in new surroundings this spring, where many riders are clearly established, in tight with barns for the last several years, so McBrayer knew it might be a tough start.

“Sometimes you get to a new meet and nobody knows you,” she said. “Juan could be the best rider in the world and it wouldn’t make much difference if nobody knows him. Most of these people have their riders, so it’s tough to break in.”

Nonetheless, McBrayer is a track savvy woman who grew up in the Southern California Racing circuit, on the backsides of Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park and Del Mar, where her father, C.H. McBrayer trained for 50 years.

“I used to get up early and go to the track a lot with my dad,” she said. “I’d help around the barn, do whatever I could, raked, held horses as I got older. I started training some of my own. I also owned a few.”

C.H. was influenced as a youngster, too, growing up around horses but left Ethan, S.D., as a young man to join the Navy. He wound up in California after his stint in the service and opened a television business near Hollywood Park. He had ridden a horse to school as a youngster… the rest is easy to envision.

And Susie grew up in the environment of racing.

“I’ve been around the track all my life,” she added.

McBrayer broke into the agent game in 2004, keeping book for Canadian rider Emille Ramsammy. “He came to Santa Anita and I had him for just one winter. Then he went back to Woodbine,” she said. “But without him I probably never would have started doing this. He taught me the ropes.”

McBrayer and Ochoa hooked up in 2006 at Santa Anita when he had the bug and spent much of the next few seasons and meets in Northern and Southern California and New Mexico. They were at Turf Paradise for the first time last winter, which led to their first trip to Minnesota after they began hearing trainers talking about the welcoming conditions and improved purses at Canterbury Park.

The presence of stables belonging to Dan McFarlane in particular as well as Miguel Angel Silva assured Ochoa and McBrayer of collecting some paychecks in Minnesota.

It was another Phoenix-based trainer, Don Schnell, who provided Ochoa with his first win of the Canterbury meet, however. Ochoa was aboard Tempe, the winner of Friday night’s third race.

Ochoa, like McBrayer, grew up around the racetrack. He is a native of Los Angeles. His parents both worked for Jerry Fanning at Santa Anita. As a boy, Ochoa wanted nothing more than to become a rider.

“I went to college for a year but when all you’ve wanted is to be a jockey… it only gets worse the older you get.”

In regard to the decision to come north, so far, so good.

“I like it,” Ochoa said. “They treat you well here. They act like they want you. It makes it feel like home.”

Ochoa considers Canterbury Park a “very friendly place. Everything about the place,” he said.

Neither rider nor agent had ever been to Minnesota before but have settled in comfortably in their new locale… “I like the people here. They’re friendly,” Ochoa said. “The city is nice, very clean, so are the barns, the backside… everything.”

What is already very clear to Ochoa and McBrayer is that Canterbury Park exists for and is all about racing, nothing more.

“We need more people (like the Sampsons),” McBrayer said, “and they’re just not out there. People like (the Sampsons) will keep racing alive, keep it going because they love it.”

It is quite clear that although McBrayer and Ochoa like the Minnesota racing scene, they are not smitten beyond reason, to the point of, say, putting down roots.

“Minnesota? No. I wouldn’t be able to handle the winters here,” she said.

Special Attraction on Hand for Monday’s Holiday Racing

The Human Cannonball is coming to Canterbury Park as part of the track’s Memorial Day Celebration. David “The Bullet” Smith, Jr., who appeared on America’s Got Talent, will be shot out of a cannon as part of the festivities. Paul Allen found out a little more about the act on Friday afternoon. Check out the video:

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.

Bringing Things into Focus

Misconceptions and mistaken assumptions continue to cloud understanding of the agreement between Mystic Lake and Canterbury Park and increased purses.

Some horsemen had trouble understanding during a recent meeting that there are now two purse funds, and that the one funded by Canterbury is overpaid despite the recent infusion of money from the agreement.

“They didn’t understand that the purse money from Mystic is separate from the money generated by Canterbury and must be kept that way,” said HBPA president Tom Metzen.

Some horsemen continue to believe that the agreement includes the right of Mystic Lake to inspect Canterbury’s financial matters at its discretion, another mistaken conception.

“We have to give a full accounting of all the purse money provided by Mystic Lake,” said Metzen. “They have the right to inspect how we are using that money, where every penny goes. They have that right and they should have it.”

That right does not include anything beyond the purse money provided by Mystic Lake.

Metzen calls this agreement “one of a kind” and said he has had calls from other racing jurisdictions not only applauding the deal but wondering how they too might go about getting a similar arrangement.

“Some of the calls I’ve gotten were from people who simply couldn’t believe we came up with an agreement like this one and wonder how they can go about getting one of their own,” he said.

There is another element to the agreement that people misunderstand, one that track president Randy Sampson continues to emphasize

The entire agreement is designed to benefit the Minnesota horse industry directly. All proceeds from the pact are earmarked for purses and benefit horsemen, their owners and breeders.

Canterbury will benefit indirectly at some point, once the additional purse money translates into better horses, increased wagering and larger crowds.

“It’s really a win, win situation and Mystic Lake and Randy Sampson should be applauded for it,” Metzen added. “No other track in the country would have structured a deal like this one that entirely benefits the horse industry.”

THUMBS UP FROM ALL

Patrons might have wondered about the gathering in the winner’s circle after Thursday night’s fifth race (photo above).

Gracias had just lived up to her 8-5 backing under Wilson Dieguez, adding another win to the bountiful stable of one Ruben Martinez, the Burnsville resident with more horses than a Cecil B. DeMille film.

There they were, Paul Allen, Molly Jones, Angela Hermann, Jeff Maday and Andrew Offerman posing for a photo while giving the thumbs up signal, something seen in such numbers previously only in the Colisseum, say, about 40 A.D.

While one wag suggested that the signal meant the winning jockey should be allowed to keep his life, others reasoned that perhaps the press box group was enacting a parody of some sort.

It was left to track intellectuals to provide a reasonable explanation for the matter. They were charged with a study expected to provide an answer before the start of the 2013 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.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Bringing Things into Focus

Misconceptions and mistaken assumptions continue to cloud understanding of the agreement between Mystic Lake and Canterbury Park and increased purses.

Some horsemen had trouble understanding during a recent meeting that there are now two purse funds, and that the one funded by Canterbury is overpaid despite the recent infusion of money from the agreement.

“They didn’t understand that the purse money from Mystic is separate from the money generated by Canterbury and must be kept that way,” said HBPA president Tom Metzen.

Some horsemen continue to believe that the agreement includes the right of Mystic Lake to inspect Canterbury’s financial matters at its discretion, another mistaken conception.

“We have to give a full accounting of all the purse money provided by Mystic Lake,” said Metzen. “They have the right to inspect how we are using that money, where every penny goes. They have that right and they should have it.”

That right does not include anything beyond the purse money provided by Mystic Lake.

Metzen calls this agreement “one of a kind” and said he has had calls from other racing jurisdictions not only applauding the deal but wondering how they too might go about getting a similar arrangement.

“Some of the calls I’ve gotten were from people who simply couldn’t believe we came up with an agreement like this one and wonder how they can go about getting one of their own,” he said.

There is another element to the agreement that people misunderstand, one that track president Randy Sampson continues to emphasize

The entire agreement is designed to benefit the Minnesota horse industry directly. All proceeds from the pact are earmarked for purses and benefit horsemen, their owners and breeders.

Canterbury will benefit indirectly at some point, once the additional purse money translates into better horses, increased wagering and larger crowds.

“It’s really a win, win situation and Mystic Lake and Randy Sampson should be applauded for it,” Metzen added. “No other track in the country would have structured a deal like this one that entirely benefits the horse industry.”

THUMBS UP FROM ALL

Patrons might have wondered about the gathering in the winner’s circle after Thursday night’s fifth race (photo above).

Gracias had just lived up to her 8-5 backing under Wilson Dieguez, adding another win to the bountiful stable of one Ruben Martinez, the Burnsville resident with more horses than a Cecil B. DeMille film.

There they were, Paul Allen, Molly Jones, Angela Hermann, Jeff Maday and Andrew Offerman posing for a photo while giving the thumbs up signal, something seen in such numbers previously only in the Colisseum, say, about 40 A.D.

While one wag suggested that the signal meant the winning jockey should be allowed to keep his life, others reasoned that perhaps the press box group was enacting a parody of some sort.

It was left to track intellectuals to provide a reasonable explanation for the matter. They were charged with a study expected to provide an answer before the start of the 2013 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.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Previewing Saturday’s Fillies Race for Hope

The second annual Fillies Race for Hope, a day of horse racing and fundraising to benefit Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation and Pay It Forward Fund, will be held Saturday at Canterbury Park. The first of ten races, each exclusively for fillies and mares, begins at 1:30 pm. This day of horses and hope, presented by MHC Companies, includes four stakes races with the feature being the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes.

The day’s events will include a Survivors’ Parade on the racetrack – immediately following the day’s third race – where several hundred breast cancer survivors and their families will be honored. Additionally, a hat contest will be held for all racetrack attendees, and bartenders will be pouring the Lady Slipper Smash – the event’s signature cocktail. Numerous sponsors have been lined up to help support this cause and many local companies have contributed more than 100 items for a silent auction that will be held throughout the day.

Four stakes races worth a combined $225,000 will be contested, featuring the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes. Hooh Why, a two-time graded stakes winner, is the most decorated contender in a field of seven. The winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in 2009 over Stardom Bound (stretch run below) and the Grade III Seaway Stakes at Woodbine in 2010, Hooh Why has earned more than $1 million during her career for trainer Michael Revis and owners Hoffman & Trostrud. Bobby Walker, Jr. will be in the saddle.

The local hopeful is Rare Sunset, the winner of the Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile on July 3. Trained by Miguel Silva, Rare Sunset set the pace in last year’s Lady Canterbury before fading to finish fourth. Geovanni Franco has the call aboard Rare Sunset. This edition will mark the 20th running of the Lady Canterbury Stakes. (See the full field at the bottom of the page).

Three other stakes races will be run as a part of the 2012 Fillies Race for Hope. The $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes is for fillies and mares going six furlongs. Minnesota-bred fillies and mares will face off in the $50,000 Princess Elaine Stakes at one mile and one sixteenth on the turf course. Lastly, filly and mare American Quarter Horses will run in the $25,000 Fillies and Mares Race for Hope Bonus Challenge, a bonus challenge race in the AQHA’s Bank of America Racing Challenge. That race will be run at a distance of 400 yards.

General admission is $5. Children under 18 are admitted free. Parking is also free. Information about Canterbury Park is available at www.canterburypark.com. More information about the day can be found at www.filliesraceforhope.org.

Everyone is encouraged to dress in pink to help celebrate the day.

The Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation helps financially distressed individuals and their families who have been touched by breast cancer. Since 2001, Hope Chest has provided over $1,000,000 in support for more than 2,000 breast cancer patients and their families in the Twin Cities area. Hope Chest offers emergency assistance programs to provide financial assistance for rent, utilities, transportation and delivered meals to families.

The Pay It Forward Fund, a program of North Memorial Foundation, helps patients pay their bills while they undergo treatment for breast and women’s cancers. They pay essential living expenses so patients can focus on what’s really important – getting well. Pay It Forward Fund was founded in 2005 by a breast cancer survivor. They provide $20,000 each month in patient assistance to help patients buy groceries, pay their mortgages, heat their homes, keep their lights and water on, and repair their cars so they can drive to chemo. For hundreds of women in need, these gifts have made a difference at a time of crisis.

Here is the full field for the 20th running of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes:

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1 Bryan’s Jewel Mac Robertson Derek Bell 5-1
2 Our Lady in Red Richard Scherer Julio Felix 6-1
3 Hooh Why Michael Revis Bobby Walker Jr. 8/5
4 Rare Sunset Miguel Angel Silva Geovanni Franco 4-1
5 Ruthville Michael Stidham Dean Butler 6-1
6 Another World Donnie Von Hemel Tanner Riggs 6-1
7 Zaphyra Michael Revis Juan Rivera 10-1

It’s Official

The skies were leaden most of the day and into the evening, giving way from time to time to a thunderstorm that drenched the racetrack and reduced attendance on the first Thursday night racing of the meet.

Dollar night, as some patrons call it, produced a lot of leftovers, or as press box impresario Jeff Maday sized it up: “We’ll be eating hot-dog casseroles for the next week.”

The skies were not the only leaden feature of the day. The footing on the racetrack was, too. The racing started with sloppy going that gradually turned to muddy.

The one thing impossible to dampen on this day was the spirit of the horsemen, who were buoyant from start to finish, win or run second in some instances. There is always another day in such cases, something that was uncertain until the deal with Mystic Lake.

There was a real bounce to their steps on Thursday, one day after the Minnesota Racing Commission voted 5-3 to approve a marketing partnership with Mystic Lake that will pump $75 million into purses at Canterbury Park over the next 10 years, including $2.6 million this season.

Jeff Hilger, who spearheaded a horsemen’s Racino drive at the legislature that eventually led to the Mystic Lake agreement, watched with his wife, Deb, as their 3-year-old Quote To Cash broke his maiden in commanding fashion under Tanner Riggs.

“This is a good day, too,” said Deb. The other, of course, was Wednesday and the Racing Commission approval.

The purse increases are retroactive to the first day of the meet, but Thursday’s program included official recognition of those payments for the first time.

Quote To Cash, for example, was running for a winner’s share of a $17,920 purse, which included $4,000 from the agreement, referred to in the race program as the “Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund.”

“This makes it almost worthwhile,” Jeff Hilger said, grinning.

Hilger spent the first 15 minutes after the race answering calls on his cell phone, several of them congratulatory wishes. One of the calls came from trainer Mac Robertson who had assured Hilger of a win.

Bobble Doit won the fourth race on the card, a 5 ½ furlong event for maidens that included an additional $5,500 from the Mystic Lake fund. That produced knowing smiles from trainer Bernell Rhone and the winning rider, his son-in-law, Dean Butler.

Trainer Doug Oliver, in semi-retirement, was offered a look at the purse enhancement on a race and shook his head in amazement. Does the agreement have him second-guessing a bit?

“I’m not sure what to do,” he said, clearly enticed by the windfall that will breathe new life into the Minnesota horse industry.

The winner of the seventh race was a four-year-old filly, Mighty Tizzy, trained by Miguel Angel Silva. That race was enhanced by $3,000.

“Beautiful, beautiful,” Silva said, smiling. “I’m just waiting for it (the win) to become official.”

Well, the agreement now is, and so, too, was Silva’s win moments later.

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.