General Jack in With Anticipation

General Jack - Shakopee Juvenile Stakes - 08-03-13 - R07 - CBY - Inside FinishGeneral Jack, winner of the inaugural Shakopee Juvenile Stakes – a part of of the 2013 Mystic Lake Derby card – is favored on the morning line in Thursday’s Grade II With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York. Trained by Michael Maker, General Jack will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik – unquestionably the top female jockey in North America.

General Jack shipped into Canterbury following a tough-luck second place finish in a Maiden Special Weight at Belmont on July 12 as the prohibitive favorite. The public took notice of his horrific trip in Elmont, NY and sent him to the post at 3/5 in the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile. Under a patient ride by Victor Lebron, he left no doubt about his superiority drawing away to win by a widening three lengths.

Installed as the 5/2 favorite by NYRA morning line maker Eric Donovan, General Jack will be hooking up with a duo that he already ran against in his maiden race in 3rd place finisher Bashart (4-1 third choice) and winner Tiger Bourbon (3-1 second choice). It is evident that Donovan feels strongly about the group that finished 1-2-3 in that July 12 Maiden Special Weight at Belmont as they are the top three choices here. That trio was 7-lengths clear of the rest of the field back on July 12.

The 81 Beyer Speed Figure run by General Jack in the Shakopee Juvenile is 7 points superior to any other runner in the With Anticipation. Out of the multiple graded stakes winner J’Ray who did her best work at 9 furlongs and by Giant’s Causeway, General Jack’s pedigree suggests that he should thrive in the 8.5 furlong With Anticipation.

One tip for the live racing fans, take a good look at this race and note how General Jack performs. Chairman Crooks, the runner-up in the Shakopee Juvenile, comes back to the races in an allowance race on Friday night and is likely to be prohibitively favored. General Jack’s performance could give you a good indication as to Chairman Crook’s chances.

TWO GRADED STAKES WINNERS AT SARATOGA?

General Jack will attempt to become the second horse with Canterbury connections to win a graded race at Saratoga during the 2013 meet. Designer Legs, who broke her maiden at Canterbury for Gary Scherer on June 28, went on to win the Grade II Adirondack Stakes on August 11. Owned by Valene Farms, Designer Legs was placed first following a disqualification in the Adirondack.

Designer Legs is working toward the Grade I Spinaway Stakes which will be held this Sunday at Saratoga Race Course. Entries for the Spinaway will be taken tomorrow.

Canterbury horses have shipped around the country with success in the past; however, two graded stakes victories at one of – if not the – best race meets in North America would be unprecedented.

CONNECTIONS ON BOTH COASTS

Canterbury connections haven’t been restricted to the east coast this summer. Delegation, runner-up in the 2012 Mystic Lake Derby, ran sixth in last Saturday’s Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar beaten only a length for second behind runaway winner and current top handicap horse in North America Game On Dude.

Additionally, the two-year-old daughter of Canterbury Hall of Famer Glitter Star, debuted at Del Mar on August 18 running a solid third.

UPDATE (8/29 – 10:15AM): General Jack was scratched from the race this morning. No word yet as to the reason.

Goebels Honored

GoebelsThe humidity draped over Shakopee Saturday afternoon like a damp garment clinging to every available inch of a person’s torso, making it difficult to breathe, think clearly or drink more than two or three cups of hot coffee at a time.

How to describe such a day?

The term ‘oppressive’ comes to mind. Or how about a long-respected Minnesota term, ‘sticky.’ Or as mother always used to say, ‘it certainly is close.’

Without a nice southerly breeze, as pointed out by the press-box’s Jilique Eikleberry, it might best have been described as ‘gross.’

It was our introduction this summer to something known throughout time as the ‘dog days,’ a baffling term to anyone familiar with man’s best friends.

Nonetheless, mankind is determined to blame anything disgusting on the family pet.

For what it’s worth, Sunday’s weather is expected to be warmer and clammier.

The horses were having none of it as an excuse Saturday and went about their business as if it were any other day, with appropriate attention from their grooms and their water hoses.

Only Annie Peach, ridden by Ry Eikleberry and trained by Minnesota conditioner Percy Scherbenske, was the first winner on the card in a $30,000 sprint for maidens. Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens brought in the next winner, for Phoenix trainer Mike Chambers, a mare called Sixtysixmargaux.

The true highlight of the day, however, was race three, the Alvin Goebel Memorial, dedicated to one of the founders of Minnesota racing.

Friends and acquaintances gathered in the President’s Lounge at Canterbury to honor Alvin (pictured above with wife Marlys), who died in January, 2012, having raised and raced horses for 70 years.

Many of those very people along with others familiar with the Goebels, were pulling for a horse named Speakers Action in race two, a mare once owned by Alvin and Marlys but now flying the colors of Tom and Karen Metzen and David Van Winkle.

It was perhaps appropriate that the third race, honoring Mr. Goebel, was won by Blumin Sweetheart, a 2-year-old filly trained by Canterbury Park’s newest member of the 500 wins club for trainers, Mac Robertson.

Announcer Richard Grunder, filling in for Paul Allen who was attending to his duties as the voice of the Minnesota Vikings, gave an account of his first encounter with the Goebels. “It was 1970,” he said. “I was a senior in high school and was at Assiniboia Downs.”

Indeed, Grunder was the track announcer for the Minnesota Derby, held at Assiniboia in those days, from 1975 to 1982.

The two horses from the Goebels’ stable he remembers best were In Moderation and Careless Navigator. Needless to say, there were countless others.

Grunder recalls watching In Moderation during workouts. “She was a freaky fast filly,” he said. “One of the fastest Minnesota-bred fillies I ever saw.”

There were those folks, of course, not deterred in the least by the ‘close’ conditions Saturday. “I don’t mind it a bit,” said trainer Bernell Rhone, who spends his winters in Florida.

There was the voice of reason, too, the reminder to all Minnesotans of something they sometimes forget this time of year.

“I’d much rather ride in this weather,” said jockey Rusty Shaw, “than in the cold.”

Amen.

ROBERTSON ADDS ANOTHER MILESTONE

Justin Shepherd brought in Bing’s Magic in Friday night’s card finale, providing trainer Mac Robertson with the 500th Canterbury win of his career. Shepherd was on Blumin Sweetheart in the third on Saturday to make it 501 for Canterbury’s perennial training champion.

Robertson thus joins Bernell Rhone, Doug Oliver and Mike Biehler as a winner of 500 or more Canterbury races.

“That’s a lot of wins,” Robertson said after Saturday’s win No. 501. “I don’t like to think about it.”

2012 MYSTIC LAKE DERBY RUNNER-UP WHERE THE TURF MEETS THE SURF

2012 Mystic Lake Derby runner-up, Delegation, is entered in the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic on Sunday at Del Mar. At 8-1 on the morning line, he’s the co-fourth choice in a field featuring 2012 Pacific Classic winner Dullahan and the current leading choice to be named the 2013 Horse of the Year Game on Dude. Certainly a tall task, Delegation exits an impressive performance in the Dominion Day Stakes last time out at Woodbine where he set the pace and drew clear to win by 9-plus lengths while earning a 110 Beyer Speed Figure.

Delegation has quickly become one of the most accomplished horses to run at Canterbury in recent memory. He has two graded stakes victories since running second in the Mystic Lake Derby as well as a third place finish in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. A win in the Pacific Classic would push him over $1 million in career earnings, a feat recently accomplished by Win Willy, the 2009 Rebel Stakes winner.

Win Willy broke his maiden at Canterbury as a two-year-old in 2008 and went on to earn more than $1 million including a victory in the 2011 Oaklawn Handicap.

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.