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.

15,168 Enjoy July 3rd

TamarenoAlex Canchari was searching for ice in the jockeys room after the second half of the co-feature Wednesday night.

“What’s up?” someone asked.

“I’m trying to cool off,” said Canchari.

“Oh, wait a minute…” he added.

Yes, indeed, wait a minute. Canchari had just won three races in a row, including the Princess Elaine and Blair’s Cove stakes, each worth $50,000.

The hottest rider on the grounds was wiping perspiration from his forehead and looking for ice to stuff in his helmet. He reconsidered.

Three years ago, Canchari was selling tacos in the Cantina at Canterbury Park, having grown up in Shakopee, the son of Luis Canchari, who rode at Canterbury in the late 1980s.

“In all of the places you’ve raced have you ever ridden three winners in a row?” paddock analyst Angela Hermann asked Alex in the winners’ circle. “No, ma’am,” he said.

“Have you ever ridden two $50,000 stakes winners in a row?” she added. “No, ma’am,” Canchari repeated.

“Welcome home,” she said.

Canchari capped off his sterling afternoon (and early evening) on Ghost Dance, a six-year-old gray gelding who won two grass races late in the meet last summer, both allowance events.

“We’ve been thinking about this race since,” said winning trainer/owner Bryan Porter. “This is the race we’ve been pointing for.”

The race included Mack’s Blackhawk, third in last year’s race; Tubby Time, the defending champion, and Coconino Slim, the runner-up last year.

Ghost Dance ran down Mack’s Tiger Paw, Tubby Time and Coco Slim to give the Minnesota Kid (those words are emblazoned on the side of his pants) his third win on the card, with a winning  time of 1:40.86 for the distance. (Correction: an earlier version of this blog referred to the final time as a track record. In fact, Aroney had previously broken the track record for the distance at the meet running 1:40.83 on June 20. Therefore, Ghost Dance’s final time of 1:40.86 was not a new track record for the distance.)

A crowd of 15,168 was on hand for the annual card that concludes with fireworks. Many of them witnessed Canchari’s winning run on It’s Tamareno (pictured above), trained by Percy Scherbenske, in the Princess Elaine Stakes.

Scherbenske was concerned before the race about the distance, a mile and 1/16 on the turf, the same as its Blair’s Cove. Both were run on the grass.

Distance was not the issue afterward for Scherbenske. It was a question of surface. “She runs best on the grass,” he said.

Canchari, the Minnesota kid, heartily agreed after she split horses at the sixteenth pole to finish a head in front of Happy Hour Honey and another neck in front of Talkin Bout, with a time of 1:42.46.

The festive July 3rd crowd wagered $316,993 and an additional $861,768 was wagered throughout the country on Canterbury’s holiday card.

SUN SHINES FOR STORMY, BF FARM BOY

Stormy Smith knew exactly what he was getting into, or make that “on,” in the $22,900 Great Lakes Stakes Wednesday afternoon.

Smith had gotten on the horse, BF Farm Boy, a few days ago and liked what was beneath him during a morning work. “I also saw the horse race at Remington Park on May 12. He got beat a neck by Cold Cash 123 and that horse is something,” Smith recalled.

BF Farm Boy, breaking from the No. 2 hole, slipped badly on the break and the No.1 horse, Wagon Empire, got a decisive jump. Then BF Farm Boy got his feet back beneath him and ran down the leader to win in a (hand-time) 21:83.

Owned by Wade Siegel and Don Boyle and trained by William S Harris, BF Farm Boy recorded the sixth win of his 30-race career.

“We gelded him last fall and that seemed to help,” said Harris. “I had just told my wife how good the footing was and then he slips. But when he gets a chance to run he’s a darn good horse. As you saw.”

A Splash of Hell, ridden by Ry Eikleberry, was third. Cody Smith brought in Painted Lies for fourth.

DERBY WINNER STOPS AT CANTERBURY

Turn back to the first Saturday in May, 2009 and a winner named Mine That Bird, who arrived at Churchill Downs under the most unceremonious of conditions, having traveled 1,700 miles from New Mexico in a trailer attached to a pickup truck.

Something will remind trainer Chip Woolley of that unforgettable day on occasion and he’ll pull up a memory or two to mull over. “I can’t watch an entire tape of that day and race without getting a little emotional,” Woolley said. “I guess it’ll always be that way.”

As it should.

There is another memory he’d just as soon put behind him.

Woolley has been running a stable at Prairie Meadows the last three summers and likes to fish in his spare time. He likes to pursue the wily carp with bow and arrow. On a recent outing he had finished for the day and was heading back. “It was getting king of dusky,” he recalled. The heavy rains this year have increased water levels in many places, including the Des Moines River. “There are a lot of logs and branches,” he said. “You don’t want to run into one.”

Woolley encountered one on the return trip up-river, but the log turned out to be the body of a 35-year-old man and he reported the finding on the spot.

Woolley paid a brief visit to Canterbury in the 1980s, but is truly impressed with the facility this time around. “They’ve got something for everyone here,” he said. “How many places to get something to eat here… 30? l really like the place. There’s not another track like this.”

Unless, of course, it’s Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May and you’re leading a horse named Mine That Bird to the paddock.

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.

What’s on Tap for July 3rd

Turf ChuteCanterbury’s July 3rd card may be the best of the season to date. The eleven races are comprised of three stakes and 107 entries (3 of which are on the also-eligible list) including two state-bred turf stakes, the $50k Blairs Cove and the $50k Princess Elaine.

In the Blairs Cove, a one mile and one sixteenth turf route for Minnesota-breds, Tubby Time (7/2 morning line favorite) looks to win the race for the third year in a row, but he’ll have to contend with the likes of Mack’s Blackhawk who exits the Grade III Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs and stablemate Coconino Slim who exits two sharp efforts earlier this year in Arlington Park allowance races following his win in the 2012 Minnesota Classic Championship in the 2012 Festival of Champions.

The Princess Elaine, the filly and mare counterpart to the Blairs Cove, appears relatively wide open. It’s Tamareno (6-1 morning line), who crushed state-bred N1X foes in her last out taking home the majority of the $32k purse, may be the one to beat as she has done some solid running on the Arlington Park throughout her career. In fact, her last out was only her second career race in Minnesota, having finished second in a state-bred N1X in 2012. Percy Scherbenske may have made a very sharp claim for owner Jack Guggisburg tagging this one for only $16k last September at Arlington Park.

The third race the tri-feature is the $20,000 added Great Lakes Stakes which will be run at 400-yards for quarter horses as the second race of the afternoon. Bf Farm Boy, 3rd place finisher two back to 2011 Word Champion Quarter Horse Cold Cash 123, looks to bounce back from a disappointing local debut in the Skip Zimmerman Stakes back on June 16. A Splash of Hell, runner-up in the Skip Zimmerman is the morning line favorite at 3-1.

The 2013 card features two Pick 4s (which along with our Pick 3s feature one of the lowest takeout rates in North America at only 14%). The first Pick 4 starts in Race 4 with state-bred maiden claimers going one mile, it continues as eleven $6,250 N2Ls do battle over six and one half furlongs, the third leg is comprised of second-level allowance foes doing battle at six furlongs and finishes up with an open $34k allowance over five furlongs on the turf which drew a capacity cast of 10 bolstered by one on the also-eligible list.

The second Pick 4 starts in Race 8 and is comprised of thirteen $6,250 N3Ls, the two aforementioned thoroughbred stakes on the turf and closes with a full field of $4,000 claimers going one mile and seventy yards.

Wagering on Canterbury’s July 3rd card has been historically been very strong and promises to be once again in 2013. In 2012, total wagering surpassed $1.1 million including pick four pools of  $20,640 (Early Pick 4) and $28,657 (Late Pick 4). That card featured only 84 starters in 11 races (7.64 starters per race) and was run in 105+ heat.

With 107 entries in 11 races before scratches (average field size of 9.72) and perfect weather forecast for the day (83 and sunny) it has the potential to be the best July 3 card in Canterbury Park history. So expect even bigger pools, bigger payouts and more excitement than ever before. Plus, all 11 of our races are scheduled to be broadcast live on TVG (Channel 602 DirecTV and 405 Dish Network). First Post is 4pm CDT.

Don’t forget, for all of you able to attend in person, we’ll shoot off some of the best fireworks in the entire metro area following the night’s card. In any case, be sure to spend your July 3rd playing (at) Canterbury Park!

Canterbury Fireworks 7-3-12 #3