Pink hats, dresses, flowers, horses. Even little girls in pink wings. The starting gate was festooned in pink, and the scroll designating the type of race on the tote board television screen was the same color. It was Fillies Race for Hope day at Canterbury Park, an annual event to raise awareness and money for the support of families fighting breast cancer.
A contest was conducted for the best-dressed horse in pink and the best pink hat.
On the racing front, the card included the $30,900 Hope Bonus Challenge for quarter horses, and two stakes for thoroughbreds, the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag and $50,000 Minnesota HBPA Distaff.
On a day of outright pinkness, anyone who took a tip from Captain Mark Ott wound up in the pink as well.
Although the money was largely on Stacy Charette-Hill’s horse, Corono Mit Go, in the Hope Bonus Challenge, Ott broke with what has been tradition all summer whenever Ms. Charette-Hill saddles a horse.
“There’s going to be an upset in this one,” he said. “Take it to the bank.”
Betting against Charette-Hill this summer has been akin to lunacy. Not this time, and the Ottman called it.
Had there been a pink-dress contest, one of Canterbury Park’s own, paddock analyst Angela Hermann, would have fared well if not stolen the award outright in a brilliant lace creation that appeared fuchsia in color but was labeled Shocking R (rose?). A $650 item that Ms Hermann testified under oath was purchased on sale.
HOIST HER FLAG STAKES
This race was named in honor of the track’s only two-time horse of the year, and included a rodeo before post time.
That incident resulted in the scratching of Hot Body, which reduced the field to six starters.
It turned into a one-horse race for first, and a one-horse race for second.
The winner was Second Street City, pictured above, with Denny Velazquez winning his first career stake race in a rout. Second Street finished 7 ¼ lengths in front of Missjeanlouise, who was 7 ½ lengths better than Tessie Flip. The winning time was 1:10.08.
Velazquez was completing his post-race interview as he headed to the jockey lounge, his attention focused on the person beside him inquiring about the race.
When he looked up, valet Nate Quinonez was waiting with a bucket of water to greet the first-time stake winner. “Oh, hell, no,” Velazquez yelped as he tried to outrun the dousing to no avail. There was more to come when he reached the jockey lounge.
Second Street City was not involved in the rodeo exhibition that preceded the race.
The jockeys had just mounted their horses in the paddock and began their walk around the ring. Cruzette, with Justin Shepherd up, froze, causing a traffic backup. Next in line, Scott Stevens dismounted. His horse, Tiz Roses, made an attempt to hit the infield but was quickly apprehended. But one slot back, Hot Body, with Anne Von Rosen up, bolted to the side and crashed through the fence surrounding the paddock walking ring. She was scratched from the race, examined later by track veterinarian Lynn Hovda and given a clean bill of health.
A field of seven lined up for this 1 1/16 mile event on the turf, but it belonged entirely to Starry Eyed Kate under a gutsy ride from Alex Canchari after they took charge on the turn and refused to give up the rail or the lead.
Quinichette and Dean Butler tried but faded to fifth. Grandma’s Rules tried too with a spirited stretch charge, but the winner outlasted that one by a neck.
The stake win was the fourth at Canterbury Park for the young rider this summer. He also won the Manitoba Derby and a stake at Oaklawn Park. It was also a positive way to serve out the remainder of a four-day suspension that began on Friday but was not enforced for stake race commitments.
The winner is trained by Mac Robertson and owned by Hugh Robertson and Barry Butzow.
Butzow extolled the manner in which Canchari took aspects of the race into account as they unfolded.
“The pace was slow (51.24 and 1:15.52) so he decided to just sit there on the rail,” said Butzow. “He’s a good little rider.”
On the rail?
“Yeah, I was skimming it,” said Canchari.
QUARTER HORSE HOPE BONUS CHALLENGE
Glory on the racetrack is a fleeting commodity, there one instant and gone the next.
Nobody knows it better than trainer Kasey Willis of Colman, Okla., who has lost a few matchups this summer in Shakopee to trainer Stacy Charette-Hill.
“It’s nice to get one back,” he said after the $30,900 Fillies and Mares Race for Hope Bonus Challenge at 400 yards.
How about finishing one-two, as Glory Rider and Dreamwideopen did for Willis on Saturday.
Willis and Charette-Hill compete at many of the same racetracks, so they’ve beaten and lost to one another on numerous occasions.
Willis wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his two starters. It might have ended up the other way around.
Dreamwideopen has the same dam, This Dreams Flying, as does another horse familiar to Canterbury folks, the Amber Blair-trained Hes Relentless, the fastest qualifier for the $2.6 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs this weekend.
But on Saturday it was Glory Rider under Agustin Silva who covered the 400 yards in 20.32, a head in front of his stablemate, who had a neck on the third-place horse, Corona Mit Go, trained by Charette-Hill.
“She stumbled a bit (out of the gate),” said Silva, “but she righted herself and went on with it.”
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.