Mr. Jagermeister If You Please

BY JIM WELLS

He was a colt among weanlings, a giant among the Lilliputians. He was Mr. Jagermeister at his best, simply too much for six competitors to handle.

It was a scene similar to what high school opponents must have gasped at when they saw Lebron James for the first time.  Are you kidding me?

Yes, it was that kind of dominating performance. Mr. Jagermeister set the pace, challenging six rivals to accompany him. A couple of them tried in the early going, but didn’t have the legs or the gas to stay with him after Leandro Goncalves let out the reins a notch now and then as they rounded the turn.

He is simply the best Minnesota-bred sprinter to come along in some time, and against Saturday’s lineup he stretched out with gusto, too, covering a mile and 70 yards in 1:40.37.

If Scott County were governed by a queen, he would be Sir Jagermeister after this compelling effort.

Keep in mind, of course, that he was running against other state-bred horses in the $100,.000 Minnesota Derby, yet he looked solidly like Canterbury Park’s horse of the year at the wire.

He had 10 lengths on Cinco Star at the wire and 13 ¾ on Twoko Bay. Winning rider Leandro Goncalves bounded down the steps from the winner’s circle without taking questions. He had another mount awaiting him at Prairie Meadows in Altoona Iowa, Saturday night in the $105,000 Iowa Breeders’ Derby.

Jagermeister’s  winning time was .17 off the track record for the distance, despite running five wide throughout the race, as part of the strategy his trainer laid out to help him avoid pressure and relax.

“We wanted to keep him relaxed,” said trainer Valorie Lund, who can hardly wait for next season when she expects her star to fill out and mature even more. ” He’s matured a lot in the last 60 days,” she said. “He stays focused and keeps his mind on business.”

Lund predicted that Jagermeister will be one of the very best sprinters in the nation next year, unless his trainer screws up. “Would you fire the trainer if that happened,” she was asked.

“Yes, I would,” she said.

$100,000 MINNESOTA OAKS

The fillies in this race were given a round of applause, from a large gathering in the inner circle, as they left the paddock and made their way to the track.

Considered a wide open race with a nine-horse lineup, Firstmate was sent off the 2/1 favorite and would demonstrate minutes later that that confidence was not misplaced.

FirstMate

Wearing blinkers for the first time, she liked the distance, a mile and 70 yards, and glided home easily in front, besting Rock That Jewel, second choice with Simran at 5/2, by four lengths.

“I can’t take much credit, her handlers and exercise rider got her ready,” said winning rider Ry Eikleberry. “I had the easy part. All I did was ride her.”

With a finishing time of 1:44.66.

The theme for the day on Saturday was “dressed to the nines”, and employees and a number of patrons, too, were in resplendent attire despite the oppressive heat and humidity.

Winning owners Barry and Joni Butzow were among them, he in black tails and hat, she in blue hat and dress.

“I think the blinkers really helped,” he said “And she liked the track and the distance. The last race, the track had been sealed and she didn’t like it.”

There was no doubt about her preference on Saturday.

$39,800  CASH CARAVAN STAKES

Here we have a tale of two brothers that might one day add another chapter for a third up and coming sibling: Dickey Bob and Pyc Jess Bite MyDust, with a little brother at home on the farm in Gibbon.

Pyc Jess Bite MyDust is a speed demon who ought to apply himself to 400 yards as if he were a dragster. Trouble is, he misfires in the gate, doodles, dawdles, throws his head. He’s a real headache at times, even though his connections love him dearly for his talent.

Then there is Dickey Bob, no slouch himself, and a full brother to Pyc. Dickey won his second consecutive stakes race Saturday, beating his faster brother, who got away a tad late, by a head.  Something very similar occurred on July 8 in the Bob Morehouse Stakes. Dickey Bob won that one too after Pyc Jess threw his head in the gate and finished third.

Winning rider Denny Velazquez took the win in stride, but Jason Olmstead, who won his fourth consecutive training title, and owners Bruce and Judy Lunderborg were disappointed that Pyc Jess Bite MyDust did not perform to her abilities.

Yet, it is difficult to be overly dismayed when your horses finish one-two as they did, with Dickey Bob a mere head in front of his brother Pyc , who had  ½ length on Rey D Arranque.

And waiting at home is a baby brother born this spring. He seems to fit right in. His name is Bullet.

            $45,000 NORTH CENTRAL FUTURITY

The winner in this one was toughest in the final steps after a 350-yard duel from the gate with the horse right next to him and became the first quarter horse to earn more than $100,000 at Canterbury during a meet.

Jess Doin Time prevailed in the final steps, finishing ½ length in front of Apolitical Mogul, who had two lengths on Zoes Sassy Miracle. The final time of 17.667 was a record for this stake.

The winning owner in this race made his way to the winner’s circle still shaking off the nervous energy that had overcome him as he watched the race. Tom Pouliot was shaking his head as he stepped into the winner’s circle. “That made me a bit nervous,” he exclaimed.

Jess Doin Time is an easy going filly that awaits her owner’s attention whenever he approaches the stall. “She wants that hug from me,” he said. “Every day.”

Olmstead was the winning trainer in this one, too, and now awaits the Minnesota Festival of Champions on September 2.

   $50,000 MTA SALES GRADUATE FUTURITY

 

This five-horse race settled into a match race between Notte Oscura, trained by Gary Scherer, and Dame Plata, conditioned by Francisco Bravo.

Run at five furlongs, the race matched Minnesota-bred two-year-olds that passed through the sales ring of the MTA yearling sale.

Dame Plata took charge in the final strides to win by 2 ¼ lengths and give trainer Francisco Bravo a return welcome to Canterbury. He had been gone the last few weeks to take care of a medical issue, but was welcomed back in grand style with a winner’s purse of $30,000.

A Race Is A Race

By Noah Joseph

This Saturday, two of the richest races for Minnesota bred thoroughbreds are being run at Canterbury Park. The Minnesota Oaks for fillies, and the Minnesota Derby for colts and geldings, are both being held for the 30th time, both with a record purse of $100,000. These races, restricted to three year old Minnesota breds, have produced some of the best horses of all time. Both races debuted with a strong start in 1988, and they have showcased the best of the breed ever since.

Princess Elaine won the inaugural Minnesota Oaks under Chris Valovich. She would later be inducted into the Canterbury Hall of Fame. The Oaks gained another Hall of Famer when Northbound Pride won the following year with Scott Stevens aboard. It’s uncommon to see jockeys win the same race three years in a row, but jockey Luis Quinonez did just that, winning the Oaks from 1995 to 1997. Susie Blues set the stakes record for the race in 2002 under jockey Derek Bell in a time of 1:41.66, and the record hasn’t been broken. Hall of Famer Glitter Star took the Oaks in 2005 with Seth Martinez, who like Quinonez, scored his third Oaks win in a row. Last year’s race was won by Double Bee Sting with jockey Jareth Loveberry.

As for the Minnesota Derby, Hall of Famer Blair’s Cove won the inaugural Minnesota Derby under Larry Melancon, in which owner Irish Acres Farm won the first two runnings, the second with A Nice Lark. Canterbury legend Crocrock took the 2000 Minnesota Derby on the road to becoming one of the greatest Minnesota breds to ever run. J.P. Jet holds the race record in a time of 1:40.26, which he set in 2002. Wally’s Choice won the 2004 Minnesota Derby, and later that year won the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby. Last year’s Minnesota Derby was won by Hot Shot Kid and jockey Alex Canchari.

Blair’s Cove

This year’s Minnesota Oaks and Derby will have strong fields, and we just may see the coronation of another legend in the history of Minnesota racing.

BLAZING ANGEL, PENSADOR WIN OAKS, DERBY

PENSADOR - Minnesota Derby - 07-30-16 - R08 - CBY - Finish

BY JIM WELLS

Follow the thread of time connected to Saturday’s stake races at Canterbury Park and it will lead slowly back to those early days of racing.

The Minnesota Derby and the Minnesota Oaks were won for the first time in Shakopee by Blair’s Cove and Princess Elaine, later lionized for their victories in those 1988 appearances and for their numerous accomplishments thereafter. There were races named in their honor, trophies inscribed with their names and fond memories exchanged before and after the memorial races each year.

There were countless others of note in the years that followed: Timeless Prince, Silver Me Timbers, Wally’s Choice, Northbound Pride, Argenti….

Numerous winners of the two races have gone on to stellar careers, and perhaps the same can be said someday about Blazing Angel and Pensador, the Oaks and Derby winners (both races were worth $85,000) on Saturday, although there are footnotes to these races. And in the $40,000 MTA Sales Graduate Futurity, a horse named Fridaynightstar was a Saturday afternoon winner.

  MINNESOTA OAKS

Nobody in this race wanted the lead, the entire field deferring politely like dinner guests turning down the last piece of pizza, until Blazing Angel, under Geovanni Franco, said  “I’ll take it.”

“It was the strangest thing,” said one fan after another. “Everybody held back, waiting for someone to make a move.”

Blazing Angel, at 26-1, began moving on the turn, put her head in front at the head of the lane and beat Honey’s Sox Appeal to the wire by 2 ½ lengths. It was 3 ¼ additional lengths to Unbridled Mayhem, in a winning time of 1:43.25.

Owned by Astar Lindquist Stable, the winner picked up a check for $51,000.

 

BLAZING ANGEL - Minnesota Oaks - 07-30-16 - R07 - CBY - Finish

 

Dazzlingsweetheart, the even-money favorite, ran off the pace and was never truly in contention, fading as she hit the top of the lane, and finished well back.

The winner’s only win in 10 previous starts was at 7 ½ furlongs over the same track in mid June. Nonetheless, trainer Gary Scherer was convinced that stretching her out would make the distance. He had run her at a mile and 1/16 previously at Keeneland and said he liked what he saw.

Saturday’s crowd clearly saw something different and turned her into a $55.80 winner.

 

MINNESOTA DERBY

 

Call it a sign from above, a stroke of luck, a windfall or any other designation of blind luck.

Winning owner Dale Schenian called it a miracle.

Dale Schenian
Dale Schenian

Somebody or something intervened sight unseen, like a whisp of wind and changed the entire texture of the derby.

The odds-on favorite for the race, Smooth Chiraz, described by trainer Francisco Bravo as a competitive but easy-going, mellow fellow, broke open the gate, ran off and was subsequently scratched by the track veterinarian.

Bravo had second horse in the race, Pensador, who took advantage of his stablemate’s absence and ran just back of the leaders before making his bid on the turn and finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Smooth Stroke and another 5 ¾ in front of Reigning Warrior.

The win was the third for Schenian and Bravo.  Hold for More, Horse of the Year in 2015, won last year and Crocrock won in 2000.

Bravo said afterward that he wanted to run Smooth Chiraz but was overruled on the matter by the track veterinarian. “I’m very careful with my horses and I thought he was OK,” Bravo said.

Nonetheless, Smooth Chiraz had already run at least a quarter of a mile after breaking through the gate.

And Schenian, the vice chairman of Canterbury’s board of directors, had his third Derby win.

“What a gift that was,” he said. “God bless America.”

 

     MTA SALES GRADUATE FUTURITY

How’s this for a return on investment.

Trainer Joel Berndt picked out a yearling at the MTA sale last year, Fridaynitestar, for $4,100 and Saturday afternoon in the horse’s first start picked up a check for $24,000

“I liked how he looked physically and I liked the stud (Five Star Day),” said Berndt about the purchase.

He liked how he looked even better on Saturday.

Under Denny Velazquez, Fridaynitestar took charge at the top of the stretch and finished 2 ¾ lengths in front of Got Even Smarter and another length in front of Nite Goggles.

If Berndt was pleased with the horse, his owners were delirious. Kevin Lay, Paul Meshke and Charlene Gabler celebrated enthusiastically as they awaited the winner’s return from the track.

 

FRIDAYNITESTAR - MTA Sales Graduate Futurity - 07-30-16 - R06 - CBY - Presentation

 

Corgi Dog Races

A four-year-old named Pendleton emerged the winner of the first annual Corgi races in Shakopee. Pendleton is described by his owners,  Alicia and Jake Ellwein of Oak Grove, as “a sophisticated Corgi who will bow to any lady when asked.” He also trained for his first races on a diet of lamb and rice.

GOOD GUYS, AND HORSES, CAN FINISH FIRST

Dazzlingsweetheart
Dazzlingsweetheart

BY JIM WELLS

 

Young horses are often a handful_ fractious in racetrack parlance. Difficult in the barn, or the paddock or the gate.

Now meet the morning line favorites for the $85,000 Minnesota Oaks and the $85,000 Minnesota Derby, Dazzlingsweetheart and Smooth Chiraz, a couple of three-year-olds who not only defy such descriptions but are quite the opposite.

“She’s a real sweetheart,” said Barry Butzow, who owns the Oaks favorite with his wife, Joni.

“He’s very kind and quiet. You don’t even know he’s in the barn,” said Francisco Bravo, trainer of Smooth Chiraz.

There’s a simple explanation for Dazzlingsweetheart’s easy-going demeanor. It’s a difficult assignment to unnerve a horse who experienced the worst and then some as a weanling.

She was in a barn that was destroyed by a tornado. “She should have died,” Butzow said, “but somehow she survived.”

Butzow said he choked up when he got this response from the breeders after purchasing this daughter of Dazzling Falls:

“You just paid for our new barn,” he was told by the breeders, Mary and Eric Von Seggern of Pilger, Nebraska.

“That tornado took their whole barn,” Butzow said.

If there is an equine equivalent for PTSD, Dazzlingsweetheart might have contracted it.  Regardless of the explanation, she was slow to mature and didn’t hit the racetrack until this year, her three-year-old season.

The Butzows sent her to Florida as a yearling, to a handler they use there. She wasn’t ready yet at age two so they held her back until May 21st this year when she broke her maiden in Shakopee. She won both of her starts thereafter, including the $60,000 Frances Genter Stakes her last time out.

She is 3-for-3, the only unbeaten filly in today’s race.

And that personality?

“We had 25 people at the barn last Sunday,” Butzow said. “A lot of kids. She simply loves kids.”

She loves winning, too, and is a 9/5 morning line favorite among eight rivals in today’s race, including Honey’s Sox Appeal, a 5/2 choice who ran second to the presumptive favorite in the Frances Genter.  Joe Sharp will saddle Dazzlingsweetheart today and Chris Rosier will ride.

Smooth Chiraz
Smooth Chiraz

 

Then there is Smooth Chiraz, a gelded son of Chitoz, who won the Victor S. Myers Stakes in commanding fashion the same afternoon the Frances Genter was run. This fellow is two-for-four this year and four-for six lifetime with earnings of $128,884.

“Usually a horse like this comes back from a workout and can be kind of mean to handle. He’s big and he’s strong, but he’s really mellow,” said Bravo.

The hotwalkers love this guy despite his size because of that attitude. “His mother (Memory Divides) was the same way, really easy going,” Bravo added.

Smooth Chiraz won the Victor S. Myers in his last out by seven lengths and will face some of the same competition today, namely Smooth Stroke and Pensador.

Despite his relaxed demeanor, there are specific occasions when his blood pressure rises.

There are times when you have to watch yourself around him. “The only time you have to be careful, ” Bravo said, “is when you are coming off the race track with him and he hears horses behind him. He either wants to run with them or away from them. He’s very competitive.”

Equally so at dinner time, or any other time for that matter. “He loves to eat,” his trainer said. “He eats constantly. But he sits back in his stall without a fuss.”

Chiraz, with Dean Butler in the irons, will be the favorite in today’s field of 11 for the Derby, and rightly so. Yet Bravo, naturally, is not taking anything for granted.

“Not ever,” he said. “You never know.”

Dazzlingsweetheart Attempts to Remain Undefeated in Saturday’s Minnesota Oaks

DAZZLINGSWEETHEART - Frances Genter Stakes - 07-04-16 - R06 - CBY - Inside Finish

Smooth Chiraz favored in MN Derby; Record purses offered to state-bred 3-year-olds

Dazzlingsweetheart, undefeated in three career starts, faces eight others in Saturday’s $85,000 Minnesota Oaks at Canterbury Park. The one mile and seventy yard race is restricted to state-bred fillies. The 3-year-old is owned by Barry and Joni Butzow of Eden Prairie, Minn. and is trained by Joe Sharp.

Dazzlingsweetheart will be ridden by Chris Rosier, who has been aboard for each of the three wins. Her most recent victory came in the six furlong $60,000 Frances Genter Stakes when she found the early lead and drew off to win by more than three lengths. While she has already defeated six in the Oaks’ field, and has been installed as the 9 to 5 favorite on Saturday, this will be uncharted territory as she attempts her longest distance yet.

“I think she can get there,” said Rosier, a veteran jockey who rode in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. “She doesn’t need to be on the front. She just ended up there last time. She races best when covered up.”

Saturday’s Minnesota Oaks and co-featured Minnesota Derby, both being run for the 28th time, offer record purses of $85,000.

Smooth Chiraz, the 6 to 5 favorite in the Minnesota Derby, has won four of six career races and $128,884 in purses. He captured last season’s top prize, the Northern Lights Futurity, and this year won the Victor Myers Stakes by a commanding seven lengths. Smooth Chiraz also tries a two-turn race for the first time. The 3-year-old will be ridden by leading jockey Dean Butler and is trained by Francisco Bravo.

First post for the 10-race program is 12:45 p.m. The Derby and Oaks will be run as the seventh and eighth races.

Canterbury also will be hosting a new event dubbed Corgis & Cupcakes. Six corgi exhibition races with a total of 72 dogs will be held on the main track between horse races. A final race featuring the top two dogs from each heat will be held after the eighth horse race. There will also be nine Twin Cities’ bakeries selling cupcakes and other baked goods.

General admission is $7 for adults; children 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is also free. More information is available at www.canterburypark.com .

 

La Petite Cheri remains undefeated

LA PETITE CHERI

La Petite Cheri, 2015 Northern Lights Debutante champion, remained undefeated in three starts by winning the second race last Friday. The 3-year-old filly was facing older Minnesota-breds in a dirt sprint in her seasonal debut.

“We don’t like to run 3-year-olds against older,” Canterbury Chairman of the Board and La Petite Cheri’s owner Curtis Sampson said as he entered the walking ring prior to the race. “We didn’t really have a choice. She’ll probably run fourth.”

The patriarch of the Sampson empire had to be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

La Petite Cheri, a filly that won last year by sitting well off the pace and closing, showed a different style this time. Jockey Hugo Sanchez had her right near the pace.

Russ Sampson, Curt’s son, takes credit for the ride. “I told Hugo, you go and claim the rail, then give her a breather.”

Hugo did just that and then, at the top of the stretch, La Petite Cheri swung into position behind the lone speed, Shaboom and Dean Butler, and out finished her elder to win by a half-length.

“Hugo said he could have won by more,” Russ said.

The betting public got it right, as late money poured in on La Petite Cheri, making her the favorite at 1.90 to 1 odds.

“We could have run her in the 3-year-old stake,” Russ said, referring to the open-company L’Etoile du Nord on May 22. “We decided to stay with Minnesota-breds.”

A Minnesota-bred did run in the L’Etoile du Nord however and finished second. That was Jeana Baby, a filly bred by the Bleu Valley Farm and the late Cam Casby. She sold for $100,000 at auction and ran four times in California. She was claimed for $50,000 from her maiden breaking win in that fourth start.

“That filly may be the one to win it all,” Russ said. ‘All’ would be the Frances Genter Stakes on July 4 and the $85,000 Minnesota Oaks on July 30. Both races are restricted to 3-year-old Minnesota-bred fillies.

Minnesota Bred Stakes Nominations Show Strength of Industry

Canterbury Park

Nominations to the main targets for those owners and trainers with young Minnesota bred thoroughbreds closed in early April.

The Northern Lights Futurity drew with 59 nominated 2-year-old colts, and the Northern Lights Debutante, for Minnesota bred 2-year-old fillies, attracted 57 nominations.

Many familiar names fill both lists with Sampson, Schenian, Almar, Astar, Sprick & Bremer, Ulwelling and others well represented. There are encouraging signs that new blood continues to get involved as well. Bob Lothenbach, well known nationally, has a couple of homebreds on the list. Names that might not be as familiar, such as Empire Racing, with one nominated in each race, can also be found.

The Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks , each with an $85,000 purse, benefit this year from the large foal crop, nearly 300 percent larger than the prior year’s crop, that was a result of the 2012 SMSC purse enhancement agreement.

The Oaks has 52 nominations and the Derby 54.

Longshot winner of the 2015 Debutante, La Petite Cheri, is on the Oaks list. At this time she has no published works but with the premier Minnesota bred races not run until July 30 there is no urgency.

Of the 52 nominations, only 15 did not race last year. The last filly to win the Oaks with no 2-year-old racing experience was Chasin Mason in 2006.

Smooth Chiraz, undefeated winner of the Northern Lights Futurity, is on the list of Derby hopefuls. Pensador, the favorite in the ’15 Futurity, is in training at Lone Star with Francisco Bravo. He worked four furlongs April 10 at Lone Star.

Canterbury Park’s Minnesota-bred stakes calendar is different this summer than in past seasons, with the 2016 Festival of Champions being slightly earlier on the calendar. This should provide Minnesota bred an additional opportunity to race after Festival. Here are some key dates to remember for Minnesota-breds:

 

May 20       Opening Night                       $60,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes

May 21        Preakness Stakes Day           $60,000 Lady Slipper Stakes

July 3          Fireworks                               $60,000 Princess Elaine & $60,000 Blair’s Cove

July 4          Fourth of July                      $60,000 Victor S. Myers & $60,000 Frances Genter

July 30        Festival Preview                   MN Oaks, MN Derby & $40,000 MTA Futurity

August 21    Festival of Champions        8 Stakes & More than $600K in Minnesota-Bred Purses

Sept. 5         Labor Day                               $55,000 MTA Stallion Auction Stakes

 

Horses will begin arriving at Canterbury April 24.

more news………

Jockey agent Pete Antonucci will represent Manoel Cruz at the upcoming meet. Antonucci also handles business for four-time leading Canterbury rider Dean Butler.

Cruz, a multiple graded stakes winner, has 2,776 career wins and more than $60 million in purse earnings.

Meanwhile, Butler is just four wins away from the milestone 2,000 win mark. He will continue riding at Tampa Bay Downs until traveling north for the local meet.

STARS SHINE UNDER SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Hold for More wins Minnesota Derby
Hold for More wins Minnesota Derby

BY JIM WELLS

They might start referring to this August experiment as Saturday Night Lights, and thereby turn it into something permanent for future meets. Then again, the jury is still out with most of the month still ahead.

Nonetheless, Saturday night’s mix of stake races and enticing repasts from a variety of concessionaires who parked their food trucks around the premises made for a large turnout of 14,345 and a festive atmosphere.

Anyone handicapping these races might possibly refer to it as an evening filled with food for thought.

So, chew on this for a moment or two:

A horse named Hold for More might be doing just that as he continues to accrue points in the consideration for Horse of the Year.  There were only minor questions before he lined up against eight others in the $80,000 Minnesota Derby:

Precisely how much class does he have, and can he handle a mile and 70 yards with the same aplomb and efficiency he displayed at sprint distances?

He answered both queries in convincing fashion. The evidence continues to mount that he has much more class than the other 3-year-old Minnesota-breds on the grounds; and, yes, he has the lungs, stamina and desire to run long.

Afterwards, the comments at trackside echoed his superiority. “He is the class.” “A mere formality.”

Under Dean Butler, Hold for More ran well back, as much as six lengths, behind the pacesetters _ Valet and Plenty of Sun _ moved forward on the turn and drew off in the stretch to a commanding three-length win over 3-1 second choice Steviefromstanley, with Plenty of Sun an addition 6 ½ lengths back.

Owner Dale Schenian, who understandably rates his Hall of Fame horse Crocrock No. 1 on his all-time list,  is waiting for more from Hold for More. “He’s No. 2 and still climbing,” Schenian said.

Sent off the 2/5 favorite, Hold For More is four-for-four this year, six for seven lifetime, with one second. A son of Hold Me Back from Miners Mirage, he was bred by Dean and Teresa Benson at their Wood-Mere Farm.

Trainer Francisco Bravo’s biggest concern Friday night was all the activity his horse had not before encountered. “The lights and all the people,” he said. “He was shaking his head and looking around.”

Yet when it mattered most, he attention was squarely focused on the finish line.

The Derby was preceded by the $80,000 Minnesota Oaks, at the same distance and featuring two tough fillies expected to slug it out for this crown.

Shaboom went off the favorite in the Frances Genter Stakes but was put away by Silver Magna. Those two gathered the lion’s share of attention at the betting windows, going off at 3/2 and 7/5 respectively.

Surprise!!!

Which is precisely how owner Jeff Larson put it when his Sioux Appeal commanded the stretch for a 4 ¼ length victory over Silver Magna with Captains Glory another length back. Shaboom had nothing left for the stretch drive and finished off the board in fifth.

Larson, a Hudson, Wis., resident, summed up the victory this way: “It was a nice surprise, he ran a good race and the jockey (Leandro Goncalves) rode a good race.”

Goncalves and Sioux Appeal were well back and moved up on the turned taking the lead at the stretch call.  “We just stayed behind the speed and moved up inside waiting for our chance,” said Goncalves.

The chance came with the leaders faltering and the favorites unable to match strides with the winner.

In an earlier race, Stormation was much the best at 1/5 in the $40,000 Careless Navigator Overnight Stakes. Trained by Robertino Diodoro and ridden by Jorge Carreno, he finished a length in front of stablemate Cake Baby but was never in serious trouble.

Diamond Joe, with Dean Butler up, was an easy winner at 4-1 in the $40,000 John Bullit Stakes at a mile and 1/16, finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of 12-1 Evansville Storm.

The win was the 20th for Diamond Joe, placing him among the top five all-time Nebraska-bred winners, a list that includes his sire, Dazzling Falls, at the top and Who Doctor Who, a favorite among Canterbury fans in the 1980s in second place.

Trainer Chuck Turco was a youngster at the time Who Doctor Who made his impression but is quite familiar with Nebraska-bred feats accomplished at Canterbury Park over the decades.

Diamond Joe’s win was one more reason he considered him a special horse. The fact that he grooms the horse himself is another. Saturday night’s accomplishment is another.

On a night of fine food, a large crowd and four stake races, Sir Searsucker expanded his lungs and his credentials with a convincing win at a mile and 3/8ths on the turf. Yes, that distance is correct, although there were a number of folks in the crowd who cheered twice, unaware that the distance required more than one pass in front of the grandstand.

At that point, the question arose in the hallowed confines of the press-box (racing’s closest thing to a center of learning or perhaps medieval library) regarding the reasons for the large Saturday evening turnout.  Was it the food trucks, offering a wide and seemingly unending variety of choices, or the allure of a race such as the one featuring Sir Searsucker.

“Well, the crowd did react twice for the race,” said pressbox librarian Jeff Maday, never one to closet his sense of humor and whimsy.

On a night of plenty, additional food for thought.

STARS SHINE UNDER SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Hold for More wins Minnesota Derby
Hold for More wins Minnesota Derby

BY JIM WELLS

They might start referring to this August experiment as Saturday Night Lights, and thereby turn it into something permanent for future meets. Then again, the jury is still out with most of the month still ahead.

Nonetheless, Saturday night’s mix of stake races and enticing repasts from a variety of concessionaires who parked their food trucks around the premises made for a large turnout of 14,345 and a festive atmosphere.

Anyone handicapping these races might possibly refer to it as an evening filled with food for thought.

So, chew on this for a moment or two:

A horse named Hold for More might be doing just that as he continues to accrue points in the consideration for Horse of the Year.  There were only minor questions before he lined up against eight others in the $80,000 Minnesota Derby:

Precisely how much class does he have, and can he handle a mile and 70 yards with the same aplomb and efficiency he displayed at sprint distances?

He answered both queries in convincing fashion. The evidence continues to mount that he has much more class than the other 3-year-old Minnesota-breds on the grounds; and, yes, he has the lungs, stamina and desire to run long.

Afterwards, the comments at trackside echoed his superiority. “He is the class.” “A mere formality.”

Under Dean Butler, Hold for More ran well back, as much as six lengths, behind the pacesetters _ Valet and Plenty of Sun _ moved forward on the turn and drew off in the stretch to a commanding three-length win over 3-1 second choice Steviefromstanley, with Plenty of Sun an addition 6 ½ lengths back.

Owner Dale Schenian, who understandably rates his Hall of Fame horse Crocrock No. 1 on his all-time list,  is waiting for more from Hold for More. “He’s No. 2 and still climbing,” Schenian said.

Sent off the 2/5 favorite, Hold For More is four-for-four this year, six for seven lifetime, with one second. A son of Hold Me Back from Miners Mirage, he was bred by Dean and Teresa Benson at their Wood-Mere Farm.

Trainer Francisco Bravo’s biggest concern Friday night was all the activity his horse had not before encountered. “The lights and all the people,” he said. “He was shaking his head and looking around.”

Yet when it mattered most, he attention was squarely focused on the finish line.

The Derby was preceded by the $80,000 Minnesota Oaks, at the same distance and featuring two tough fillies expected to slug it out for this crown.

Shaboom went off the favorite in the Frances Genter Stakes but was put away by Silver Magna. Those two gathered the lion’s share of attention at the betting windows, going off at 3/2 and 7/5 respectively.

Surprise!!!

Which is precisely how owner Jeff Larson put it when his Sioux Appeal commanded the stretch for a 4 ¼ length victory over Silver Magna with Captains Glory another length back. Shaboom had nothing left for the stretch drive and finished off the board in fifth.

Larson, a Hudson, Wis., resident, summed up the victory this way: “It was a nice surprise, he ran a good race and the jockey (Leandro Goncalves) rode a good race.”

Goncalves and Sioux Appeal were well back and moved up on the turned taking the lead at the stretch call.  “We just stayed behind the speed and moved up inside waiting for our chance,” said Goncalves.

The chance came with the leaders faltering and the favorites unable to match strides with the winner.

In an earlier race, Stormation was much the best at 1/5 in the $40,000 Careless Navigator Overnight Stakes. Trained by Robertino Diodoro and ridden by Jorge Carreno, he finished a length in front of stablemate Cake Baby but was never in serious trouble.

Diamond Joe, with Dean Butler up, was an easy winner at 4-1 in the $40,000 John Bullit Stakes at a mile and 1/16, finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of 12-1 Evansville Storm.

The win was the 20th for Diamond Joe, placing him among the top five all-time Nebraska-bred winners, a list that includes his sire, Dazzling Falls, at the top and Who Doctor Who, a favorite among Canterbury fans in the 1980s in second place.

Trainer Chuck Turco was a youngster at the time Who Doctor Who made his impression but is quite familiar with Nebraska-bred feats accomplished at Canterbury Park over the decades.

Diamond Joe’s win was one more reason he considered him a special horse. The fact that he grooms the horse himself is another. Saturday night’s accomplishment is another.

On a night of fine food, a large crowd and four stake races, Sir Searsucker expanded his lungs and his credentials with a convincing win at a mile and 3/8ths on the turf. Yes, that distance is correct, although there were a number of folks in the crowd who cheered twice, unaware that the distance required more than one pass in front of the grandstand.

At that point, the question arose in the hallowed confines of the press-box (racing’s closest thing to a center of learning or perhaps medieval library) regarding the reasons for the large Saturday evening turnout.  Was it the food trucks, offering a wide and seemingly unending variety of choices, or the allure of a race such as the one featuring Sir Searsucker.

“Well, the crowd did react twice for the race,” said pressbox librarian Jeff Maday, never one to closet his sense of humor and whimsy.

On a night of plenty, additional food for thought.