Canterbury Park 2021 Quarter Horse Stakes Schedule features $175k est. Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity and across-the-board purse increases

Canterbury Park’s 2021 quarter horse racing season will offer 15 stakes races and increased overnight purses. The Shakopee, Minnesota racetrack’s 65-day mixed-breed meet begins May 18 with the first quarter horse races set for May 31.  The Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, the richest race of the season featuring an additional $20,000-added in purse money in 2021, is scheduled for Aug. 11. Should the estimated purse of $175,000 be reached, it would be the largest in the 34 renditions of the centerpiece 2-year-old race. Also on Aug. 11 will be the $100,000 estimated Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby, also featuring an additional $20,000-added in 2021.

In response to what Canterbury racing officials predict will be a very competitive spring and summer in the Midwest, with tracks vying for the same horses, overnight purses for both open races and races restricted to Minnesota-breds in all categories have been increased. For example, maiden purses which were $11,500 in 2019 and were subsequently reduced to $10,000 in 2020 as a result of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic will now be $16,500 in 2021. Allowance races for non-winners of two ran for $14,000 in 2019, $10,500 in 2020, and will be worth $17,500 in 2021. The majority of races will be run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to avoid overlapping race days and opportunities with Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

“Increasing purses will make racing at Canterbury more attractive to the participants and make quarter horse racing in the Midwest in general a healthier proposition for trainers, owners and breeders,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We have worked thoroughly this off-season with the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association to come up with the best possible quarter horse racing program for Canterbury Park and to provide the best opportunity for interested parties to find success racing quarter horses at Canterbury Park and in the Midwest.”

July 6 features three Bank of America Regional Challenge Races, the Canterbury Park Distance Challenge, the Canterbury Park Distaff Challenge, newly designated Grade 3 in 2021, and the Grade 3 Canterbury Park Championship Challenge, won in 2020 by Danjer, a multiple Grade 1 winner recently named AQHA Champion Aged Horse and Champion Aged Gelding.  Also on that day will be the MQHRA Stallion Auction Futurity with an estimated purse of $75,000.

Minnesota- bred quarter horses will have six stakes beginning with the $35,000-added Bob Morehouse Stakes on May 31 and concluding with the Minnesota Futurity and Minnesota Derby, each worth more than $50,000, on Sept. 8. The $25,000-added North Star State Futurity and North Star State Derby are new opportunities for Minnesota-breds in 2021 intended to bolster opportunities for state-breds.

Initial nomination payments for the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity and Canterbury Park Derby, as well as the $50,000-added Minnesota Quarter Horse Futurity and $50,000-added Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby are due on March 1.

Stall applications for the 2021 meet, due April 2, along with the first condition book, will be available Feb. 9 at .

Quarter Horse Racing Straight And Strong At Canterbury Park

American Quarter Horse racing continues to be an important component of the Canterbury Park racing season. The 2020 mixed-meet format will offer more than 100 races offered exclusively for America’s fastest athlete, the quarter horse. Total purses should near $1.8 million. While the first quarter horse condition book won’t be available until mid-May, owners and trainers can be assured that the same races, distances and conditions that have become commonplace at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack will again be offered. Overnight races will have a bottom level purse of $7,500 for $5,000 Maiden Claimers and an Open Maiden Special Weight purse of $11,500 ($13,500 for Minnesota-bred restricted). Quarter horse overnight purses max out with a no-condition allowance race purse worth $18,000.

Amber Fontenot, who has served as Canterbury’s assistant racing secretary, has been named Quarter Horse Racing Secretary.  “I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with the quarter horse trainers and owners and develop great working relationships so that we can all be successful,” Fontenot said.

The previously released 2020 quarter horse stakes schedule, with $800,000 in purse money, includes the track’s signature quarter horse race, the $150,000 estimated Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, being run for the 33rd time, on Sunday, Aug. 9. Also that day is the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby with an estimated purse of $75,000.

July 5 will feature only quarter horse racing. The race day, dubbed the Fastest Day in Minnesota Sports, will offer six stakes including the Canterbury Park Championship Challenge which was designated a Grade 3 race by the AQHA Graded Stakes Committee. The Gopher State Futurity and Gopher State Derby are also on July 5 along with the Distaff Challenge and Distance Challenge.

“Canterbury Park will offer a strong quarter horse program and I expect that we will see some very talented horses racing this summer, horses that can compete anywhere in the country,” Fontenot said. “There is a tradition of quality here that we will maintain.”

Nomination deadline for the 2020 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, Canterbury Quarter Horse Derby, Gopher State Futurity, Gopher State Derby, Minnesota Futurity and Minnesota Derby is Monday, March 2. Nomination forms and info can be found here.

Stall Applications and other 2020 Live Meet Information can be found at

Royal Cash Flash Cashes In


Occasionally all you need to know about a race is the history of the right horse, its past performances naturally, but also heritage and most importantly the intuition of the owner.

A conversation with Canterbury’s champion quarter horse owner Brenda Reiswig would have revealed everything necessary before Sunday’s $72,300 Gopher State  Futurity. As she examined her fluctuating emotions in the days approaching the race, one thing stood out:

Royal Cash Flash, is a daughter of Seis The Royal Cash, who won the same race in 2013 and broke from the No. 1 hole, just as Royal Cash was about to do.

“Do you really need any more information than that,” Brenda wondered. “I just had such a feeling,” she said.

Royal Cash, incidentally, also had the best qualifying time in the 10-horse field, 17.74.

“She did it. She did it, didn’t she,” Reiswig said, awaiting the arrival of Royal Cash and rider Jorge Torres in the winner’s enclosure.

She had indeed, with room to spare, with a time of 17.59.

Even Mason Lincoln, assistant to trainer Clinton Crawford, had been informed of the winner’s connection to another winner of the same race.

By Reiswig, of course.

There was no way for Reiswig to have known, but some of the riders discussed racing conditions on Sunday and how the track had been sealed perfectly, with nothing of concern about any of the lanes, including the rail.

Sometimes that kind of information isn’t important if you have the inside dope, the story behind the story.


California Blossom and Stormy smith stole the show, picking up the winner’s share of the pot in a track record time, in the 20th running of the race

The winning time was 17:36 for the 350-yard dash.

Winning rider Stormy Smith was not surprised that his horse had run its race in record time.

Everything was perfect for such a race. “This horse was at the top of her game,” he said. “Record ?  We got out of the gate quickly, the track was tight. I knew we were going fast.”

Trainer Bob Johnson took a phone call in the winner’s circle from winning owner George Seward. A brief chat followed, before Johnson excused himself to take care of matters at hand.

“She’s a quality horse,” he said. “George called me about her when he got her and said he had a project for me.”

The “project” won her second race of the season Sunday, worth $12,500.

     The 1889 FUTURITY

Johnson and Smith got their first wins on the card with Divas First Moon, an easy winner in the  $15,000 Futurity.

Johnson saddled four of the five horses in the race, but needed only one in this particular case. Divas First Moon dominated.


Hot Shot Kid and Fireman Oscar waged a nose-to-nose battle to the wire in Saturday’s $50,000 race.

Heather Grevelis caught the action on camera, with a shot of Hot Shot Kid (literally) eyeing his challenger in the final strides.

“You aren’t going past me,” Hot Shot seems to suggest.

And the Fireman didn’t.


Sunday’s Gopher State Futurity Offers $72,300 Purse

Sunday’s feature race is the $72,300 Gopher State Futurity. The 10 fastest 2-year-olds from trials held July 28 race 350 yards in the third of 11 races on a card that also includes The 1889 Futurity with a $15,000 purse and the $25,000 Skip Zimmerman Memorial.

The two fastest qualifiers to the Gopher State, Royal Cash Flash (3-1) and Left Town (9/2), drew posts one and two respectively.  Jockey Nik Goodwin qualified both A Valiant Diamond and Nanyehi. On Sunday he will ride Nanyehi, breaking from post 10.  Froylan Ramirez gets the call on A Valiant Diamond. Both are trained by Pat Swan.

Leading trainer Jason Olmstead will saddle both Tipsy Girl B and A Tres of Sign. Olmstead’s go-to rider Cristian Esqueda rides A Tres Sign from post nine.

“I like where I drew,” Olmstead said. “I’ve got two good fillies.”

BHR Flashing Effort wins MN Stallion Breeders’ Quarter Horse Futurity

Trainer Bob Johnson, who estimates he has run a horse in each of 31 renditions of the race dating back to 1986, won the Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ Quarter Horse Futurity for the seventh time on Sunday at Canterbury Park.

The 350-yard dash for 2-year-olds, with a $30,305 purse, went to BHR Flashing Effort by a head over favorite Haute Wagon. Johnson trains BHR Flashing Effort for Chad Pederson’s Broken Heart Ranch. Chase Clark was in the irons.

The colt acted up in the paddock but when he arrived at the starting gate, BHR Flashing Effort “got his game face on,” Clark said.

Johnson felt the colt had plenty of talent even if his lone start at Ft. Pierre resulted in a fourth place finish, beaten more than two lengths. “He got run over and still closed,” Johnson said.

Final time for the day’s opener was 18.46 seconds. FHR Flashing Effort returned $18.40 to win.

PYC Jess Bite Mydust victorious in inaugural North Star State Stakes

In the next race, PYC Jess Bite Mydust won the inaugural $24,000 North Star State Stakes by a neck and paid $2.60 as the betting favorite. The 4-year-old Minnesota bred is trained by Jason Olmstead and is owned by the breeder Lunderborg LLC.  Cristian Esqueda was aboard. Jess a Rumor was second and Jess a Chance was third.

“He’s just a really nice horse. I came back from Oklahoma to ride him,” Esqueda, who yesterday rode at Remington Park, said.

Final time for the 300 yards over a fast track was 15.73 seconds.

MQHRA 2014 Year-End Award Recipients

MQHRA Award Winners

The mission of the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association is to promote, preserve and enhance the Quarter Horse racing industry in the state of Minnesota. The MQHRA strives to provide beneficial services and representation locally and nationally, and encourage membership growth and participation by valuing each individual and recognizing outstanding achievements.

Today MQHRA will acknowledge several exceptional members through the presentation of our 2014 year end awards in the winner’s circle after race three.

There are two categories of awards: Minnesota-bred and Open. In order to be eligible for year-end awards, the owner of the horse must have been a paid member of MQHRA during the time the points were earned, and horses must have made at least one start at Canterbury Park. Award winners are determined based on official AQHA points earned by a given horse during the year.

Rodney Von Ohlen is the owner of both the 2-year-old MN bred reserve champion, Tty From Mr Pye, and 3-year-old MN bred reserve champion, Furys Folly. Tty From Mr Pye is the winner of the 2014 Minnesota Quarter Horse Futurity, while Furys Folly won the 2014 Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby.

Tom Pouliot’s Tres My Tracks captured the 4-year-old and up MN bred reserve champion title. Tres My Tracks finished fourth in the 2014 Bob Morehouse Stakes and second in his final two starts at Canterbury Park.

Fred Pelzer received two awards for his six year old gelding, Explosive Guns, who captured the 4-year-old and upward MN bred champion title and distance MN bred champion. Explosive Guns ran fourth in the 2014 Cash Caravan Stakes.

Robert and Julie Petersen took home the award for 2-year-old MN bred champion with Cokato Cartel, who broke his maiden last year at Canterbury before finishing third in the Minnesota Quarter Horse Futurity. Dirt Road Queen clinched the title for 3-year-old MN bred champion and high point MN bred champion with wins in the 2014 Cash Caravan Stakes, 2014 Bob Morehouse Stakes and 2014 Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ NCQHRA Derby.

Tom and Bill Maher are the owners of Coronas Concierge, the 2-year-old open champion and highpoint open champion. Coronas Concierge won his trial for the 2014 NCQHRA Futurity before going on to win the futurity.

Painted Lies, the 4-year-old and up open champion, is also owned by Tom Maher.

Paul and Maren Luedemann and Peter Hanssen achieved the title of 3-year-old open champion with Tucan Sam, who placed third in each of his four starts at Canterbury Park in 2014.

Jess Another Reb, owned by John Witte and Meritt Pride is the 2014 distance open champion.

The Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association would also like to honor Claire and Al Lundgren for more than 3 decades of service on the MQHRA Board. Thank you for your dedication to our mission of promoting Quarter Horse racing in Minnesota.

QH award winners