Backside news and Notes April 29, 2018

Horses are gradually filling the stalls on the Canterbury backside with the 70-day race meet just five days away. The May 4 opening night program will feature eight races, with entries for the first day taking place Tuesday.

Saturday’s card has two $50,000 stakes races: The Paul Bunyan and the L’etoile du Nord. Nominations for those races closed Friday. Noms and past performances can be found here.  The first name on the du Nord list is the 2017 Canterbury horse of the meet Amy’s Challenge. The 3-year-old filly however is expected to be entered Monday in either the Kentucky Oaks or the Eight Belles at Churchill.

Trainer Chris Richard will be stabled here this season for the first time. His string, which includes several Minnesota breds owned by Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick, is settling into barn A7, which is also where trainer Mike Biehler operates.

Last year’s leading jockey Jareth Loveberry is on site. He was injured in a training accident recently but has fully recovered and has been working horses over the track. He will be represented again this season by Richard Grunder who will also handle the business of Hugo Sanchez.

Ry Eikleberry has returned to the jockey colony. He last rode here regularly in 2015 and won the 2014 riding title. Ry also is one of the top quarter horse riders in Canterbury history. Dean Butler, a five-time riding champ, is also back. Those two share agent Pete Antonucci.

Other riders already signed in by their agents or themselves include Chad Lindsay, Israel Hernandez (who Saturday won the Bossleman Stakes at Fonner and will ride next weekend at Turf Paradise), Leslie Mawing, Orlando Mojica, Patrick Canchari, Lori Keith, and Katlin Bedford. The 2015 leading rider Leandro Goncalves also returns after a two-year hiatus.

New names on the list:  Rilardo Carpio, Francisco Arrieta, Jansen Melancon, Jake Samuels, and Kassie Guglielmino. Santiago Gonzalez, currently riding at Santa Anita, is expected here this week.

Beginning Friday, May 4, opening night of the 70-day horse racing season at Canterbury, Post Time Peach Ale will be flowing at three locations in the Canterbury grandstand as well as the Badger Hill taproom.

Available May 4

Canterbury Connections – October 18-19

Crowd Shot 6-16-13_2Friday, October 18: Canterbury Connections

Hawthorne – Race 8 – Princess Dinah – We only saw one race out of this filly in Minnesota, but her first career start was a doozy for Clay Brinson. She beat a highly-regarded (and heavily bet) Mac Robertson firster named Where’s Alayna after breaking slowly from her rail draw. She wasn’t threatening any track records with the final time, but it was the way she did it that catches the eye. Israel Hernandez, the pilot aboard that day returns in the saddle in Chicago for try number two. The favorite, Maria Maria, does exit the Grade 1 Alcibiades but she only beat two horses home that day in a race that came back too weak to be true in the figure department.

Jimmy DiVito is off to an outstanding start at the fall meet as well, equating to even money or lower on the favorite. Her maiden breaker was a four horse affair; even though two that followed her to the wire won next out, six furlongs may not be her absolute cup of tea. Princess will be a decent price and with her passing ability already confirmed improvement is the next requirement. Her morning works are already a bit better than those leading up to her first start, and she looked green as grass down the stretch despite drawing off.

Lone Star – Race 5 – Sooner Country Babe – How could I not jump at the chance to catch Stacy Charette-Hill at 8-1?! She obviously had her share of issues at two but has grown into a very nice filly in her three year old campaign for Canterbury’s runaway leading quarter horse trainer. She is maybe a little distance challenged but we’ve seen this barn win with horses stretching their limits before. She is SO fleet of foot out of the gate that shorter distances have been no problem, but the extra forty yards will be very telling with this one. She unloaded TOO nice of a race in her trial for the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge, setting a track record for 400 yards while beating the winner of the final. Still, the price should be there with the horse just to her inside present.

Meadowlands – Race 5 – Stoupinator – This year’s Northbound Pride winner tries stakes company again after a third place finish in at a mile at Delaware. She drew the far outside post but her stalking speed should get her in the thick of things throughout. There is plenty of blazing pace for her to chase and the cutback should have a little extra air in her lungs when the running starts. Traffic has been one of her enemies all year long, and from the outside that should at least be avoidable.

Jose Ferrer & Mac Robertson have been a solid combo in the last five years, winning with 9 of their 33 charges together and hitting the board with over half of them. To be even more exact with that potency, they’ve only put five turf sprinters on the track and only one missed the board… that horse is 0-6 on the grass. Mac just doesn’t send them to the Meadowlands if they don’t have a big shot… and despite the classy lineup to her inside she definitely has one.

 

Saturday, October 19: Canterbury Connections

Turf Paradise – Race 7/Race 8 – ATBA Fall Sales Stakes – Saturday’s late double has combatants from Canterbury in both legs, with Dan McFarlane’s Deadly Black Eagle the lukewarm favorite in the boys division (race 8). In the first half though, recent victress My Fine Lady sits at a fair 3-1 morning line. The favorite in this one won the co-ed spring version of this race at five furlongs in May, but has not entered the starting gate since. Molly Pearson obviously has a talented filly on her hands but with the seasoning in the corner of Doug Oliver’s filly, she stands a very good chance to upset the favorite. The rail draw fits this one perfectly as well, with the strategy very apparent in her past performances. She takes them as far as she can as fast as she can, and now hot-riding Scott Stevens (nearly 30% at this juncture in the meet) will take the call. She can’t string them along for a very long distance, but six furlongs hopefully isn’t too much to ask.

The colts & geldings finish the card up with their turn at the sale stakes. The two qualifying races for this final were pretty straightforward and the winners are the favorites as a result. Deadly Black Eagle is slightly favored though, and deservedly so off his effort in said race. Though the time came back slower, his professional effort was one in a long string, unlike most of his inexperienced competition. His stablemate, Southern Chatter, was a speedy maiden winner up here as well and didn’t run an awful race in defeat behind DBE. He appeared to be making a move on that one around the turn and flattened out in the stretch, somewhat in similar fashion to his first start where he ran second to Tiz Happens. He has some greenness issues to work out but both young ones have ability and McFarlane knows what to do with a good two year old. The price will be a lot better on one that the other…

Remington Park – Race 1 – Waronthehomefront/Oughterson – An uncoupled attack from the Mike Biehler barn shows up for the lid lifter at Remington, and both are at appealing prices. Waronthehomefront, in particular, is set at 8-1 in a relatively paceless field. He was one of the more popular claims this summer but shows up in a nice spot at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. He was only a length behind wire-to-wire winner Nic a Jack at 1 3/8 miles, so the distance shouldn’t be a problem. If all entered hold to form he really shouldn’t have any company up front. Alex Birzer is named to ride, and as of Thursday was riding a 7/24 streak. He seems to be one of those that has a little extra when he inherits a lonely lead. Oughterson is no slouch, but is a bit lighter on the win end when it comes to grass. He’s won the majority of his races on dirt but would be just as happy to see this race come off as stay on the turf. He won’t be too far behind and should be the one to get the first crack at his stablemate in the stretch. There are some game old closers lined up including Canterbury regular Little Wagon, but with so many runners dependent on pace it could end up being a rather slowly run first race with the Ulwellings posing for pictures.

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela just completed her third year as Canterbury Park’s Analyst.

Canterbury Connections – October 18-19

Crowd Shot 6-16-13_2Friday, October 18: Canterbury Connections

Hawthorne – Race 8 – Princess Dinah – We only saw one race out of this filly in Minnesota, but her first career start was a doozy for Clay Brinson. She beat a highly-regarded (and heavily bet) Mac Robertson firster named Where’s Alayna after breaking slowly from her rail draw. She wasn’t threatening any track records with the final time, but it was the way she did it that catches the eye. Israel Hernandez, the pilot aboard that day returns in the saddle in Chicago for try number two. The favorite, Maria Maria, does exit the Grade 1 Alcibiades but she only beat two horses home that day in a race that came back too weak to be true in the figure department.

Jimmy DiVito is off to an outstanding start at the fall meet as well, equating to even money or lower on the favorite. Her maiden breaker was a four horse affair; even though two that followed her to the wire won next out, six furlongs may not be her absolute cup of tea. Princess will be a decent price and with her passing ability already confirmed improvement is the next requirement. Her morning works are already a bit better than those leading up to her first start, and she looked green as grass down the stretch despite drawing off.

Lone Star – Race 5 – Sooner Country Babe – How could I not jump at the chance to catch Stacy Charette-Hill at 8-1?! She obviously had her share of issues at two but has grown into a very nice filly in her three year old campaign for Canterbury’s runaway leading quarter horse trainer. She is maybe a little distance challenged but we’ve seen this barn win with horses stretching their limits before. She is SO fleet of foot out of the gate that shorter distances have been no problem, but the extra forty yards will be very telling with this one. She unloaded TOO nice of a race in her trial for the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge, setting a track record for 400 yards while beating the winner of the final. Still, the price should be there with the horse just to her inside present.

Meadowlands – Race 5 – Stoupinator – This year’s Northbound Pride winner tries stakes company again after a third place finish in at a mile at Delaware. She drew the far outside post but her stalking speed should get her in the thick of things throughout. There is plenty of blazing pace for her to chase and the cutback should have a little extra air in her lungs when the running starts. Traffic has been one of her enemies all year long, and from the outside that should at least be avoidable.

Jose Ferrer & Mac Robertson have been a solid combo in the last five years, winning with 9 of their 33 charges together and hitting the board with over half of them. To be even more exact with that potency, they’ve only put five turf sprinters on the track and only one missed the board… that horse is 0-6 on the grass. Mac just doesn’t send them to the Meadowlands if they don’t have a big shot… and despite the classy lineup to her inside she definitely has one.

 

Saturday, October 19: Canterbury Connections

Turf Paradise – Race 7/Race 8 – ATBA Fall Sales Stakes – Saturday’s late double has combatants from Canterbury in both legs, with Dan McFarlane’s Deadly Black Eagle the lukewarm favorite in the boys division (race 8). In the first half though, recent victress My Fine Lady sits at a fair 3-1 morning line. The favorite in this one won the co-ed spring version of this race at five furlongs in May, but has not entered the starting gate since. Molly Pearson obviously has a talented filly on her hands but with the seasoning in the corner of Doug Oliver’s filly, she stands a very good chance to upset the favorite. The rail draw fits this one perfectly as well, with the strategy very apparent in her past performances. She takes them as far as she can as fast as she can, and now hot-riding Scott Stevens (nearly 30% at this juncture in the meet) will take the call. She can’t string them along for a very long distance, but six furlongs hopefully isn’t too much to ask.

The colts & geldings finish the card up with their turn at the sale stakes. The two qualifying races for this final were pretty straightforward and the winners are the favorites as a result. Deadly Black Eagle is slightly favored though, and deservedly so off his effort in said race. Though the time came back slower, his professional effort was one in a long string, unlike most of his inexperienced competition. His stablemate, Southern Chatter, was a speedy maiden winner up here as well and didn’t run an awful race in defeat behind DBE. He appeared to be making a move on that one around the turn and flattened out in the stretch, somewhat in similar fashion to his first start where he ran second to Tiz Happens. He has some greenness issues to work out but both young ones have ability and McFarlane knows what to do with a good two year old. The price will be a lot better on one that the other…

Remington Park – Race 1 – Waronthehomefront/Oughterson – An uncoupled attack from the Mike Biehler barn shows up for the lid lifter at Remington, and both are at appealing prices. Waronthehomefront, in particular, is set at 8-1 in a relatively paceless field. He was one of the more popular claims this summer but shows up in a nice spot at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. He was only a length behind wire-to-wire winner Nic a Jack at 1 3/8 miles, so the distance shouldn’t be a problem. If all entered hold to form he really shouldn’t have any company up front. Alex Birzer is named to ride, and as of Thursday was riding a 7/24 streak. He seems to be one of those that has a little extra when he inherits a lonely lead. Oughterson is no slouch, but is a bit lighter on the win end when it comes to grass. He’s won the majority of his races on dirt but would be just as happy to see this race come off as stay on the turf. He won’t be too far behind and should be the one to get the first crack at his stablemate in the stretch. There are some game old closers lined up including Canterbury regular Little Wagon, but with so many runners dependent on pace it could end up being a rather slowly run first race with the Ulwellings posing for pictures.

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela just completed her third year as Canterbury Park’s Analyst.

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.

Ulwellings Mount Final Charge

UlwellingsCanterbury Park’s leading owners, referred to as Champion Owners in the official lexicon of the racetrack, were Al and Bill Ulwelling in 2010 and in 2011.

There was an interloper last year by the name of Ruben Martinez, but with time running down in the 2013 meet, the Ulwellings are fully a part of the race, firmly in second place, trailing Midwest Thoroughbreds powerhouse by three wins. In third place, eight behind the Ulwellings, is the Miguel Angel Silva barn, despite the loss this year of the powerful Martinez stable. Curtis Sampson moved into a tie for third on Sunday with his 15th winner of the meet.

The Ulwellings increased their investment substantially this season in response to purse increases. The results are demonstrable. “We beefed up this year,” said Bill. “We had 62 starts last year. “Our goal this year was 125.”

With four starters on Sunday’s card, the Ulwelling barn has now sent out 118 starters for the meet and will exceed their goal in the final days.

“We intend to keep firing,” said Bill. “It’s tough. I tell you that Midwest is firing bullets. We win two and they come back and win two. We win one and they win one. They got one yesterday and we didn’t.”

Bill had hope for something out of Sunday’s card as a catapult in the final 11 days of racing. “If we could get two today it would still be an interesting race,”he said. “It’s hard to beat them, running 20 horses for $4,000.”

This much is certain said Ulwelling, who once tested the odds by claiming horses from this adversary. “Everything we ever claimed from them never hit the board for us. They taught us a lesson,” said Bill.

The Ulwellings do have this for consolation:

Midwest Thoroughbreds horses had earnings of $343,180 heading into Sunday’s card. The Ulwelling horses had collected $422,270.

FROM THE BOTTOM UP

The stakes winners get the headlines. The attention declines from there in the sport of racing, downward to the point that a horse at the bottom of racing’s pecking order is routinely ignored, his or her name rarely if ever spoken, unless in contempt.

It can be a long climb into some sort of positive recognition. Many horses never get even a nod in that arena. A horse in Sunday’s second race got a small one.

Smart Masterpiece proved to be a smart bet for anyone who liked him, and the Canchari connection came through for those who did.

Trained by Luis Canchari and ridden by his son, Patrick, Smart Balance took a stunningly close win from Sal ‘Z Romeo in a true photo finish.

Thus, Smart Masterpiece divested himself of maiden status in his 19th start, picking up $10,000, twice the sum of his previous total earnings and just more than 10 percent of his original purchase price.

The original owner of Smart Masterpiece had a positive hunch about the 4-year-old gelding when a yearling and laid down $95,000 at a Keeneland sale for the son of Smart Strike from Showpiece and the grandson of Mr. Prospector and Holy Bull. Whatever promise that buyer saw translated into a mere $17,578 in earnings and maiden status before Sunday’s race.

The horse wound up in the Canchari barn in an undisclosed acquisition and ran his first race for them on June 14.

Here’s a look at the horse’s PPs over the course of his drop from $12,500 to $6,250 company with Canchari: 6th, 5th, 4th, 4th, 2nd, 1st.

That’s called progress, just enough to earn recognition among racing’s daily occurrences, in the small agate type of the sport.

And for those who believed…

Recognition in the form of $19.80 for a $2 ticket.

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.

Races Heat Up

Two Bayme -  08-15-13 - R02 - CBY - Inside FinishThursday’s card was the 51st of the meet.

So, let’s see now, that means there are 18 racing days remaining in this, the 19th meeting since racing resumed in Shakopee after a two-year-shutdown, under the name Canterbury Park instead of Downs.

Naturally, the focus on the leading rider, trainer and owner will draw increased scrutiny in these final days.

On Thursday night for instance:

The card got under way with Dean P. Butler holding a five-win lead over Alex Canchari, 47-42, in the rider standings. However, Canchari will begin a four-day suspension today that will have an impact on the final results. Next in line is Ry Eilkleberry who started the evening with 36 winners.

The fun began from there.

Eilkleberry won two races on the card, with Artistic Design in the first and Hannahslittleangel in the sixth.

Canchari, still on a tear that started two weeks ago, won the fourth race with Moonshine Promise at 9-1. Aha, but Butler took that one right back, winning aboard Ghost Skier in race five.

Meanwhile, Juan Rivera (pictured above on Two Bayme), struggling for wins this meet, rode two winners on the card,Two Bayme in race two and Supremo Struckgold in race seven, and has 10 for the meet.

The race for leading trainer, won by Mac Robertson since just before mud caulks were introduced to racing, actually every year since 2005, went unchanged at the top of the standings Thursday.

It looks like this: Mike Biehler leads with 28, followed by Robertson with 27 and Bernell Rhone with 26. Robertson, incidentally, needs five wins to reach 500 at Canterbury Park.

The top of the owner standings went unchanged, too: Midwest Thoroughbreds leads with 21 winners, followed by Al and Bill Ulwelling, champions in 2010 and 2011, with 20.

HE IS INDEED RELENTLESS

Hes Relentless continues to demonstrate he is just that – relentless. Once again, this two-year-old under the care of trainer Amber Blair has been impressive on the racetrack, this time posting the fastest qualifying time, 21.148, among the top five horses in heats Thursday at Ruidoso Downs for the All American Futurity.

Hes Relentless Race Replay

20130816_103510

Thursday’s qualifiers will join today’s five qualifiers – the first time trials have been conducted over two days – in the Grade 1 $2.6 million All American on Labor Day. Fourteen trials were conducted Thursday and the same number will be run Friday.

Hes Relentless, running for R.D. Hubbard, Tom Maher and Johnny Cope was supplemented to the race for $50,000, as was Especially Tres, the second fastest qualifier on Thursday with a time of 21.191.

Hes Relentless was the fastest qualifier also for the Heritage Place Futurity on June 1, winning his heat by 4 ¼ lengths, at Remington Park and was sent off the favorite in the Futurity. He was beaten a head by Big Biz Perry, a 30-1 longshot. Big Biz Perry won one of Thursday’s trials for the All American but did not qualify for the final.

Other qualifiers on Thursday include Especially Tres, Handsome Jack Flash and Houdini. You N How Many More and Fly Thru The Fire finished tied Thursday with identical times of 21.27.  You N How Many More won a draw on Friday morning for the fifth and final spot in the All American Finals.

NOTABLE QUOTES THIS MONTH, ANY MONTH

Lori Keith, describing her horse’s demeanor heading into the first turn of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.

Dorsett, who would win the race handily, was relaxed, maybe too relaxed heading into the first turn. “It was like he was asleep,” recalled Keith. “I didn’t want to be too far back, so I gave him a little s-m-o-o-c-h.”

Wide awake, just like that. And then some.

Dorsett snapped to attention with such gusto, Keith decided on the spot that a reminder was probably not necessary. “I didn’t smooch to him again,” she said. “He just took off when I did that one time.”

Seis The Royal Cash, at 16-1, won the North Central Quarter Horse Futurity, breaking from the No. 1 hole. The rail had been fast earlier in the meet, evened out and then went back to the rail.

Thus, Vic Hanson sized up his horse’s win thusly:

“We drew well,” he said.

A youngster next to the winner’s circle spotted Israel Hernandez, all 5-foot-1 of him, heading down the steps after a race. “He looks like a real jockey,” he said.

Richard Grunder

Just after the fifth race on Thursday, a notice was posted on the screen next to the tote board wishing announcer Richard Grunder a happy birthday. A picture of Grunder, circa 1989, accompanied the message.

“I keep it from everyone in the racing office all day,” Grunder moaned, “and then it gets displayed on the big screen.”

The source of the leak? Julian Assange? Edward Snowden?

Grunder had some thoughts on the matter, but nothing firm enough to make an arrest.

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: MN HBPA Distaff

LARGE_HBPA_logo_smaller_GIFSaturday is a special event with many special people involved. Let us not forget that while the stakes racing is contentious (as it has been all year), the survivors and their supporters are also the stars of the show. This year’s renewal of the HBPA Distaff is a compact group with one glaring characteristic – they generally like to run down their competition, not vice versa. In a recurring theme, a couple of Chicago invaders look like they’ll take a good chunk of the betting action and do so off tough optional claiming competition at Arlington Park.

This race was stolen on the front end last year, and it’s not out of the question to be a repeat this year. The ladies, from inside to out:

1. Lily the Pink – She drew pretty perfectly didn’t she? This is one of few entrants that likes to handle things towards the front end, but even she isn’t usually the conductor at all stops. She’s worked regularly and well leading up to this spot off her last win, which saw her stalking the pace from and outside slot. Consistency is her thing, with her distance limitations showing in both of her last off-the-board performance at 1 1/8 miles. The last two horses Proctor sent to Canterbury were for the Lady Canterbury in 2009 & 2010, and they could not have gone any differently. Happiness Is won the 2009 running in pressing fashion and Closeout went to the lead the next year only to fold at the end (9th). Bill Mott kept this filly in with strictly the best of company, and she seems to be gaining steam as the year goes on. There are couple in here that’ve been racing against better in Chicago today, so she’ll need to bring her A game and then some.

2. Grandma’s Rules – Both she and recent rival Starry Eyed Kate are those aforementioned runners. This Richie Scherer-trained filly took their first round by and length on May 11th, and promptly followed that show finish with a win in the Gaily Gaily. Both scratched from the Lady Canterbury, so they finally meet again here. Israel Ocampo is quite familiar with the winners’ circle at Canterbury, and takes the mount for her first try at it. That record on the turf and her near seven-race win streak should ensure her role as favorite, which oddly enough she filled only once in that run. The operation’s enjoyed mixed luck in recent times shipping fillies in for turf stakes, winning this very race in 2009 with Mizzcan’tbewrong and getting disqualified a week later out of a win in the Dean Kutz with Big Push. Payback came the next year, with Mizzcan’tbewrong placed first via disqualification in defense of her title in the Mile. Banded ran second in the Northbound Pride last year and won this year on the turf as well. She shouldn’t be taken lightly, but at her likely price she shouldn’t be played heavily.

3. Starry Eyed Kate – She sort of has the look of a Stoupinator, and drew he same post for her first try over the course. She had her schedule interrupted by the weather in the Lady Canterbury, but has put in a couple of easy works since her return to Chicago. She’s sometimes been a victim of paceless races but last time kept close attendance on the polytrack to come up with a half-length win in a short field. The problem with ‘Kate is that she’s never put together back-to-back wins in her life and will have to in order to come home victorious. Alex Canchari was aboard Stoupinator and lands atop the Butzow/Robertson owned filly trying to keep his turf stakes roll going in the Mile. If you like one of them it’s hard not to like them both.

4. Dina’s Typhoon – This is a heck of a spot to make your turf debut. I’m not familiar with the connections of this filly, but they’d be well suited to pulling an upset as their only winner came in at Prairie Meadows at 24-1. Her mother never tried turf, though four of her siblings did without any success. A couple hit the board but for the most part the family has not shown an affinity for grass. She’s consistent enough on the dirt but her form really only casts a shadow over much cheaper, and her winning would be a complete surprise.

5. Quinichette – Sharp claim by the Rhone barn four back. The Kipling daughter seeks her third in a row but her first since March on the turf. She’s handled our dirt fine and in front-running fashion, but last time the field was rather depleted and left her quite comfortable up front. Seeking Treasure ran huge in the Northbound Pride and the third place finisher, Go Go Jill, wired a field at a price in her next outing as well. She is still one for eight on the turf and got that one win against $25,000 non-two claimers at Tampa. She’s obviously improved since that time but can she show it on the grass again? She has an awful lot of underneath finishes to go with that win and she’s been in good hands throughout her career – how much has she moved forward since the spring?

6. Lady Haddassah – Another of the locals gave some big girls a try on the dirt in the Lady Canterbury, but didn’t show the same rally that she did in her first two impressive wins on the local grounds. She’s a cool seven for seventeen and a good majority of that record has come on the turf despite the surface we’ve seen her on locally for the most part. She’ll be tested for class once again on Saturday, and while it’s a step down it’s not a huge one. She can push the issue up front if they CRAWL but she seems at her best while making one big run from the back. This may not be the ideal scenario for her to capture her first stakes victory but she’s won her last three turf races and not an easy girl to throw out.

7. Cell Line Forever – She’s made plenty of money and made a majority of it on the grass, but the six year old has always found Canterbury’s turf to be a challenge. She’s 0 for seven at this juncture and has some ground to make up on Lady Haddassah if she’s going to beat her. They have very similar styles and while this one might get the jump, she still hasn’t found a way to close the deal up here and that has to make you think twice. Many of her efforts have come against stakes foes but even optional claimers were a bit too much to tackle in her first two up here this year. She did win the Glendale Handicap at Turf Paradise with Barton aboard….but the dust is starting to collect on that trophy won in January of 2011. Rarick doesn’t enter too many stakes but she by far has danced the most dances for him in that respect. She’s not out of the exotics equation by any means but she’d be hard pressed to pose for pictures.

The Illinois Invasion is looking tough once again in Saturday’s HBPA Mile – What do you think? We hope to see you Saturday for a day full of Hope & Horses, good luck!

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.

MTA Stakes Cap Weekend

B%20J%27s%20Angel%20-%20MTA%20Stallion%20Auction%20Lassie%20Stakes%20-%2007-21-13%20-%20R03%20-%20CBY%20-%20FinishA horse with a bad foot and another with a good turn of foot grabbed the headlines on an otherwise leisurely Sunday afternoon

One day after a record turnout of 20,000-plus crammed the nooks and crannies of the place, Canterbury Park took on a relaxed and casual demeanor, but there were three winners on this particular day, at least their connections, who didn’t fall in line.

Winners have every right to carry on a bit. They are forgiven their peccadilloes for a given period of time after having their pictures taken.

Especially first-time winners and those still paying off their purchase price.

Especially first-time winners running for a guaranteed $35,000 purse and first-time winners trying for the 40th time.

And, in particular, horses trying to pay off their $40,000 claiming price.

So, there you have it – a breakdown of gleeful winners on a quiet Sunday, a day without Zebras, Camels or birds sometimes associated with a nice pair of boots.

B.J.’s Angel, pictured above, was the first of the three to get the cameras flashing, winning the MTA Stallion Auction Stakes, and the first-place share of $35,000, with leading rider Dean Butler up.

A 3-year-old filly by Stormy Business from Demiparfait, B.J.’s Angel erased any lingering doubts about the left back tendon she tore running into a fence by outrunning four rivals, finishing 4 and ¾ lengths in front of Tra Kela and another head in front of Kerisma.

Owner/breeder Dave Astar talked afterward about the incident in which his horse ran into a fence, tearing a tendon that was later repaired by Anoka Equine surgeons. He, himself, twice tore an Achilles tendon in athletic events, so he had a first-hand experience with which to view the situation.

“It’s a funny-looking left foot,” he said in reference to the horse. Similar to the description he applied to his own appendage.

One race later, a horse named Bet Your Life, with Lori Keith aboard, took charge on the turn, stayed in command thereafter, and won by 1 and ¼ lengths over Sugar Business, who had 4 and ½ lengths on Lil’ Apollo.

Keith didn’t need much direction from trainer Mike Biehler before this one. “He just wished me good luck,” she said.

When you are “much the best” even that much “direction” might be construed as redundant.

The winner was claimed for $40,000 at Oaklawn Park by Al and Bill Ulwelling and picked up more than half its purchase price with the victory, worth $21,000.

“We got lucky with the rain,” said Al.

“Well, a three-year-old often is better than he was at two,” said Bill.

The track was officially “sloppy” for the first five races but dried steadily from the first race onward

It had hardened just enough to benefit a 6-year-old mare named Dear Hrishi to break her maiden in her 40th start during four years of racing.

Yes, that is correct, she had started 39 times without finishing first.

She had 12 seconds and 11 thirds in those previous starts but had banked $84,223. Thus, when she claimed the winner’s share of Sunday’s $25,000 maiden special weight purse, her earnings exceeded $100,000.

Each time Dear Hrishi ran a race without a win, owner/breeder Rodney Miller was assured of some commentary from acquaintances on the first floor of the grandstand.

He was reminded on Sunday that he had taken away that specific needle from his colleagues, but had also broken the (maiden) bank that Dear Hrishi had been filling with checks.

“I think she benefitted from the rain and the track was drying out,” said Miller.

“She hadn’t run well on a (really) off track.”

Despite her previous failure to post a win, Dear Hrishi always put on a game face. Miller would take her home for the winter and she put on a face. “She wouldn’t let me touch her,” he said. “She come up to me but always stay about six inches away. I couldn’t pet her like I did my other horses.”

Once she reached the track in the spring, however, it was another matter. “She was ready to go,” he said.

That was the case again on Sunday, but with a different outcome.

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.