Dorsett to Tackle Hawthorne Derby

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishThe first set of Canterbury Connections was a complete bust, We were seeking prices and found overmatched horses. More combatants are taking to other racetracks now that the season’s been done for a few weeks, so we’ll try again.

Many Canterbury horses are showing up in the entries at Hawthorne, and even though I only sampled Stickney for a few months it’s a track I enjoy taking a glance at. There are of course, other venues hosting Canterbury animals but let’s take a look at this weekend:

Friday – 10/4 – Hawthorne

Race 3 – Chongo – He isn’t the most experienced Midwest runner in the world but he sure is improving at the right time. He didn’t try to get on Hawthorne dirt this year but with turf racing virtually non-existent thus far in 2013, Chongo had to break his maiden on the main track. He did so very impressively despite the light figure, and improved in his summer in Minnesota. His pedigree has a fair amount of turf in it but nothing screams that he’s any better on one surface than the other, and he’ll be a much better price than some of the faces Chicago’s seen lately. Alex Canchari will don the green & black silks for the mount, a local who’s quite familiar with the Hawthorne track.

Race 9 – Image of Grandeur – 6-1 is a decent enough number right? He ran well enough up here to take place honors in three of his four efforts in Shakopee but has not cracked the win column this year. Our track is not quite as kind to closers as Hawthorne is, especially after dark. There isn’t an abundance of speed, and it appears the Robertson charge He’s Bonafide will take some catching should he be allowed to lope along. It doesn’t seem to matter what the pace scenario is, the later it gets at Hawthorne the better the closers rattle along.

Saturday – 10/5

Race 5 – (G3 Hawthorne Derby) – Dorsett – Yeah, we can’t really call him our own but he won the biggest race we run. After a “meh” race at Del Mar (move a bit WIDER Bejarano), they’ve regrouped with Terry Hamilton’s colt (pictured above) and will try another graded race. While he usually lands just a couple of lengths behind in these events, he is once again working well for this and lands in a nice inside spot to sit behind the front runners. He’s never touched Hawthorne grass but many of these fit that mold – he’s at least shown the versatility to take his act on the road and handle different courses. This is not exactly a horse that I bubble over with confidence in, but his price will be right and if he takes another step forward he’s got talent.

Keeneland – Race 8 (G1 Breeders’ Futurity) – General Jack – The 2013 Shakopee Juvenile winner has been off since a relatively easy score here on August 3. He’s the 5-1 second choice on the morning line in a race the connections are likely using to determine whether he has a future on the Kentucky Derby trail or whether he will stick to turf (for that matter, it could determine whether they try the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf). He was entered in a Grade 2 at Saratoga toward the end of August but was scratched. Now he boasts three solid drills at Churchill’s training track. Was second in a live maiden race at Belmont earlier this year… mixed signals on this guy’s future.

Remington Park – Race 8 – George Ray – He ended his season up here a winner, and he certainly will be given every chance from a pace standpoint to get two in a row for Tim Padilla. The nine-year-old seems to going well right now and will make his first appearance on Remington soil. As the year’s gone on he’s decided he’d rather sprint, and if his two routes up here this summer exit the equation he fits beautifully in this spot. There’s lots of early pace surrounding him in the gate, and as long as he can keep a traffic cop on standby he could be a decent price on the board. There is another Padilla charge trying the grass in the 9th, She’s Mighty Fast, who could be used with this horse in horizontal wagers but she may be a furlong or so short of her best distance.

Prairie Meadows – Race 9 – Cowboy Kudzu – We have seen a few of the faces in here, but the most recognizable one from this summer resides on the rail. However, Stacy Charette-Hill has not had the filly on the inside for a long time and her statistics may enough money that way to leave Cowboy Kudzu at a juicy price on the board. He started out nearly perfect as a two year old but is obviously delicate – He spent his three year old campaign on the pine. At four he’s been a mixed bag….must have needed his first couple at Remington then won here only to be vanned off. He needed time after that but returned with a decent third at much shorter. He’s been off since that time but must be feeling ok if he’s returning in this spot. He’s still 3 for 3 at 350 yards and should be a price. Take a look at the board when these hit the track though, as the more live Harris animal will probably show it with his price.

These are just a few of the locals stepping out elsewhere – Good luck betting them this weekend!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela just completed her third year as Canterbury Park’s Analyst.

Nebraskans Reunite in MN

Chris%20Fackler%207-18-13Centura High School is located in rural central Nebraska on the banks of the Loup River and draws its students from Boleus, Dannebrog and Cairo, where it is located.

A recent count put the enrollment for grades 7 through 12 at 250 students, so it is not a large school by any means. So, what are the chances that three of its graduates would wind up at Canterbury Park this summer?

That’s precisely what happened when jockey Chris Fackler decided to drop his tack here for the 2013 meet. Fackler, 23, had never raced in Shakopee before but is now here with two other alumni of Centura – Mark and Chad Anderson, former riders themselves now employed in other aspects of racing.

At one time, Fackler was the toast of Grand Island and Lincoln, where he was known as the Boleus Bombshell while tearing up those tracks, especially during his bug days.

“I never ventured too far from home,” Fackler said.

He had been to Canterbury Park twice before, for about an hour each time. “I visited a friend here in 2009 I think it was,” he said. “And another time I was here to drop off some horses.”

Fackler began riding at age 17 and rode his first winner, a horse named Rahy Royal, at Lincoln in July of 2007.

He had galloped horses for about a month in Fort Piere, S.D., before getting his first mounts there. “It’s a small track and they don’t require much,” he said. “It’s a small track in a small town. They just don’t want riders to fall off and get hurt.”

Fackler has ridden at the Nebraska tracks as well as Beulah Park in Ohio, Remington Park in Oklahoma and in Indiana some, too.

He made the decision to give Canterbury Park a try after working for Mac Robertson in Hot Springs, Ark., last winter. “I found out he was from Nebraska too,” Fackler said. “They cut purses and days a bunch in Nebraska, so I figured I’d follow him to Minnesota.”

The initial meeting with Robertson did not go quite as planned.

“A buddy of mine from Beulah was working for Mac and invited me over,” Fackler said. A debate ensued when Fackler arrived bundled up and looking 25 pounds heavier than his actual weight. “It was cold,” he said.”I had a lot of clothes on and Mac thought I was too big to ride.”

The issue was straightened out and Fackler wound up working horses for the Robertson barn. “It was a big transition from Nebraska, where the horses are not the quality of those Mac had,” said Fackler. “With him the horses come first, and that’s the way it should be.”

Fackler’s interest in racing started young. “I was probably in diapers when I got on my first horse,” he said. His father rode horses years ago and later did some training, yet his friends always thought Chris would outgrow the chance to ride.

“They never thought I’d stay small enough,” said Fackler, who is 5-6 and generally weighs between 106 and 115 pounds.

Fackler arrived in Minnesota with around 500 wins for his career and anxious to make connections with local barns. He has scrounged up only a handful of mounts, however, primarily from the Robertson barn.

Nonetheless, he likes what he’s seen so far of the track in Shakopee.

“I like it,” he said. “These are some of the best crowds I’ve seen. They don’t get crowds like these at Remington and Oaklawn except on special days. The pools aren’t all that big, though, for the size of the crowds.”

Another aspect of Minnesota nice has also caught Fackler’s attention.

“Everybody here seems to love the horsemen. You go out to restaurants, or just people in general, when they find out you’re in racing they give you a lot of respect.”

Fackler is aware that the Anderson brothers, Mark and Chad, are in Shakopee, too. Chad is an agent for Hall of Fame riders Scott Stevens and Derek Bell. Mark is the track clocker and a placing judge. Fackler has a passing acquaintance with the brothers, although there is one other connection. “They’re older than I am,” he said. “But my sister does have a picture of me as a baby and one of them is holding me.”

A small Nebraska world shrunk even more in Shakopee this summer.

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.

Torres Arrives in a Big Way

Jorge%20Torres%207-4-13When Jorge Torres went to work last January for the Stacy Charette-Hill barn outside Lexington, Okla., he was biting at the bit, eager as all get out to raceride. That notion was firmly implanted, or at least the seeds, when he was a youngster, perhaps three or four, and an uncle gave him a leg up back home in Mexico.

“I was around horses my whole life,” said Torres. “I can’t remember that far back.”

But Charette-Hill put her version of a hammerlock on those desires with a word of caution after hiring Jorge as a gallop boy. “If you sit chilly,” she told him, “it will all work out and you’ll get first call on the whole stable.”

It arrived sooner than he could have imagined, once Stacy observed the way he sat a horse. “I told my husband this last winter, that the boy looks good. He is a good hand on a horse. I told him we’d give him an opportunity and we did.”

Stacy restricted him to older horses during the last Remington Park meet, but he has taken over as the barn’s leading rider, and has demonstrated why since riding they landed at Canterbury Park for the first time this meet.

Torres has had first call, as he did Friday night in the richest quarter horse race in track history, the $133,525 Mystic lake Northlands Futurity.

His call was High Ace, from five horses Stacy entered for the race, although one of those, Lil Miss Party Doll was scratched Friday morning.

That’s right, futurity. Torres is riding anything in the Charette-Hill barn these days, including the babies. He was 12-9-6 from 74 mounts during the very competitive meet at Remington from March to June. Heading into Friday night’s card in Shakopee he was 12-5-0 from 20 starts, twice as many winners as the next three riders, all tied with six wins each.

“He had his pick and Ace is the one he wanted,” said Stacy. For good reason, High Ace had the fastest time of the 10 qualifiers, 17.692.

“He has a good head. He’s a good kid who sticks pretty much to himself,” she added.

Torres originally wanted to ride Mighty Coronas First. “Then he told me,” said Stacy, ” that he knew she could make a major mistake and that he’d rather take his chances on gettin’ to run than not gettin’ to run at all.”

He’s been gettin’ to run the entire Canterbury meet and it’s turned out better than expected.

“I love this,” Torres said. I really do.

He has been tearing up the track.

And grateful for the chance given him by Stacy and her husband, Randy Hill.

“Oh, yeah, they’ve been very, very good to me. They gave me the opportunity to ride,” said Torres, 30.

Torres began racing for the first time at Remington Park’s last meet, but it’s not as if he hasn’t had plenty of previous training. “I’ve ridden a lot of match races,” he said. “A lot of them. All my life.”

He sought out racing when he first arrived in the U.S. at age 18, and is now married with two children. His wife, Jessica, is an Oklahoma native. They have a son, Jorge Luis, who is eight and a daughter, Aubrey Elaine, 2.

They have returned to Oklahoma. “My wife needed to take a test for nursing,” Jorge explained. “Her mother and her aunt are in that business, too.”

He’s not certain at all that he’s passed on any racing genes to young Jorge, who doesn’t seem very interested in horses. It’s another matter with Aubrey, who clearly loves them.

Jorge, Sr., by the way, has taken to Canterbury this summer as if it were a second home.

“I like it very much here,” he said. “I like the people. They are very nice. We plan to stay here until Prairie Meadows in August.”

There isn’t a reason for match races in Torres’ immediate future. They would appear to be part of his past. As he puts it, what he’s doing right now doesn’t seem like work.

“It’s more part of life,” he said.

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.

Brooks Fields Stakes on Tap

Brooks FieldsWhen you walk into Churchill Downs the history of its most famous race is displayed along the upper reaches of the grandstand outside the paddock, one Kentucky Derby winner after another, starting with Aristides in 1875.

Thoroughbred racing is empty without its history, without the stories of its great horses, sires and broodmares, jockeys, trainers and founding figures.

Brooks Fields is one of them, a man who forever will be associated with Canterbury Downs and the arrival of pari-mutuel racing in Minnesota in 1985. It is not a stretch to call him ‘Founding Father.’ It seems the perfect appellation under any circumstances but even more so on Father’s Day.

He will be remembered again on Sunday, as he is each year, with the running of the Brooks Fields Stakes, a $50,000 race this time thanks to a $15,000 endowment from the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund.

Fields made his mark in the grain business and took on horse racing as a retirement endeavor. An entire industry is indebted to him for that commitment and will salute before and after the eighth race.

The likely favorite in the 7 and ½ furlong dash on the grass is 4-year-old colt Hammers Terror, the Kentucky-bred winner of the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby last summer who has shipped in from Arlington Park. Winless in two starts this year, in five since the Derby, Hammers Terror will be ridden by locally based Dean Butler.

The chief competition will likely emerge from the Mac Robertson barn, a horse named Slip and Drive who shares blood with the favorite. Both are by Artie Schiller.

Red Lead’s speed makes him part of this picture, too. Lori Keith, who rode Hammers Terror in the Mystic Lake Derby, has the mount here.

Meanwhile, family members and friends will be on hand for the Brooks Fields Stakes. Sarah Neesan, Brooks’ daughter, will present the trophy to the winning connections after the race.

Fields had a reputation as a people person. “They were his passion,” said Sarah. “He loved people.”

Even though he knew little about horse racing when he set the groundwork for its place in Minnesota, he learned to love the sport as well.


Another tribute on today’s card will honor Skip Zimmerman, a former owner who was once the president of the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association.


The $20,000-added race has drawn a field of eight for the 350-yard event. A 4-year-old filly named Huckleberry Mojito (above), trained by Ed Ross Hardy and ridden by Nick Goodwin gets a slight nod over the competition here. Mojito proved dominant last summer at Canterbury notching victories in the Canterbury Derby and Fillies Race for Hope Distaff.

Iris Cartelsbadnews, Bf Farm Boy and Red Hot Zoomer, another Hardy horse, are the likely challengers.

The MQHRA will honor its former president with this edition of the annual race. Zimmerman grew up with horses in North Dakota and got into the racing business in the early 1970s .


Maybe more compelling than the feature race on Sunday is the matchup of 2012 Canterbury Horse of the Year Heliskier (below) outside of state-bred competition for the first time.


Unbeaten in seven starts, Heliskier is the prohibitive favorite in an 11-horse field, his largest to date.

Owned by Marlene Colvin, trained by Robertson and ridden by Derek Bell, the 4-year-old gelding is by Appealing Skier from Plana Dance.


Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens had back-to-back winners on the card, piloting The Flying Whizzer at 17-1 to the winner’s circle in the second race. Stevens was on the winner in the very next race, too, Sentiment Gray.

ML Futurity Trial

Jockey Jorge Torres and trainer Stacy Charette-Hill won four of Saturday’s six quarter horse trial races for the $133,525 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity. Charette- Hill qualified five of her six runners for the July 5 final, including fastest qualifier High Ace (pictured above) who covered the 350-yard distance in 17.692 seconds.

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.

Photo: Coady Photography

Blair Stable Flush with Talent

BlairStableWell, it was a week late in coming and the money wasn’t quite the same, but she’ll take it just the same. A win is a win after all.

Amber Blair got her stakes win on Saturday with BP Painted Lady in the Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ and North Central Derby. A nice stakes win in a $22,300 race, nothing to sneeze at.

The three-year-old filly was considered a shoo-in as the odds-on favorite and justified that confidence under Cody Smith.

Not bad at all.

Blair saddled a favorite named Hes Relentless (#7 in the video below) on June 1 at Remington Park, too, but got beat a head for the winner’s share by a 30-1 longshot named Big Biz Perry.

The race was the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity. The purse was worth $1 million as part of a $2 million card, the richest in Remington Park history.

Clearly the hoopla surrounding an event of that size was enough to cope with, but Blair also had the favorite in the race, which attracted additional attention.

“Obviously there had been a lot of hype about the horse. He was carrying a lot of weight (figuratively) that day. Our horse ran his race. The filly just left the gate a little sharper and got a jump on him. Two more jumps and he would have had her.”

Such is the stuff of horse racing, just like any other sport.

Hes Relentless is in Blair’s barn at Canterbury awaiting transfer in the coming weeks to the All American trials at Ruidoso. It’s likely he’ll make a stop at the thoroughbred farm managed by Amber’s father, Randy, in Oklahoma and travel later to New Mexico from there.

Hes Relentless is owned by Tom Maher and provided Blair with the biggest opportunity of her career. “It was bittersweet for sure,” she said. “We had never gotten to experience something like that. Nothing went wrong, I just guess that filly is very mature and prepped well.”

Blair is a regular at Canterbury Park. She finished third in the quarter horse standings a year ago and is back this season with the largest stable she’s had in Shakopee. “We have 30 head,” she said. That requires the help of four grooms and she probably could use a couple more.

Her father has been in the horse business his entire life, but Amber was planning on a different career for herself.

“He made me go to college,” she said, “so I had options, but I veered back to this.”

Amber considered a degree as a teacher in early childhood development, but wound up with an associated degree in science and agriculture. So, she does work in early development… in a way.

“I guess so,” she said. “Sometimes it seems like I’m running a daycare back there.”

Blair was born in Creston, Iowa, but her father went to work at a farm in Georgia when she was an infant and from there they moved on to Oklahoma, where she has been since.

The horse business started with her grandfather. “My dad’s dad was a horse trader. They had ponies and horses and broke them. I’ve always lived on a farm that he managed somewhere. I was born in Iowa and was there 30 days, just enough to have been an accredited Iowa-bred.”

So, she is an Oklahoman now, but a Minnesotan come summer, and is off to a solid start once again in Shakopee, picking up her second win of the meet in Saturday’s Derby.


Sunday’s 10-race card was cancelled after the third race when jockeys refused to ride due to what they deemed unsafe riding conditions. Several riders complained that their mounts were sliding around on the slick surface and were fearful that an accident was likely.

Jockeys met with track president Randy Sampson and other management in an attempt to resolve the issue. They wanted to continue riding but asked for some additional work on the track, hopeful of improving conditions.

Tractors worked over the track surface twice but the conditions were still deemed dangerous by the riders when the work was finished.


Canterbury Hall of Famer Sheila Williams reported that a heretofore untested handicapping tool worked marvelously for her on Saturday.

She referred, of course, to the Belmont Stakes.

The new technique? She called it the “Old Family Money” approach.

An explanation:

Well, she said, “Orb won the Kentucky Derby and is owned by the Phipps family, old money to be sure.”

“Then we had Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, win the Preakness Stakes.”

So, for Saturday’s Belmont Ms. Williams was all over Palace Malice, owned by Dogwood Stable and the 13-1 winner of the race.

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.

Local Stable Destroyed

RandyWThey could see the tornado behind them from the rearview mirror, bearing down on the farm where their horses were stabled, where other vehicles they owned were parked, where so much of their lives was invested.

Had it not been for the storm watchers who ordered them to leave, Randy Weidner and his partner, Lyndsay White, would have been still on the grounds, loading horses into a trailer when the tornado struck in its full fury. As it was, they escaped with maybe three minutes to spare, Weidner said, traveling as quickly as possible in the traffic surrounding them to safety at a friend’s place nearby.

Those memories now have a surreal quality in the aftermath of the storm in Moore, Okla., that killed 24 people, injured 200 and left countless animals dead, 80 of them or more at the Orr Family Farm and Celestial Acres Training center where Weidner and White kept an apartment and 12 horses.

The horses are gone now, all 12 of them under their care, and one of their four dogs was still missing Wednesday. It was just another Oklahoma day until the storm arrived.

“We have tornadoes around here all the time, some the day before and there were no sirens,” Weidner said. “But when I saw it coming out of the barn window and saw the storm chasers, too, I realized we were in trouble.”

Weidner and White escaped with only the clothes on their backs and three of their four dogs. “The other dog was way down at one end of he barn and we couldn’t find him,” Weidner said. “The humane society has run pictures of a dog that looks just like him. We’re hoping it is.”

Weidner, a native of Rosemount and former president of the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association, was on the cell phone Wednesday, conveying the horrific details of this nightmare as he drove back onto the farm and immediately broke down at the sight of dead horses being loaded onto a truck.

Perhaps some were horses he trained, horses that should have been stabled now at Canterbury Park as he returned to Oklahoma for another load.

Weidner didn’t recognize his pickup truck on the grounds. It was about 300 yards from where he parked it. “The only way I could tell it was mine was by the Minnesota license plates,” he said.

The only thing left of the barn where his horses were kept was the cement floor. “We knew before we got to the freeway that the tornado had struck the farm. We heard it on the radio,” he recalled. “There wasn’t a board or a brick left of the barn. The horses… that was a sight nobody should see.”

A catastrophe fund has been established in Weidner’s name at the Wells-Fargo bank in Shakopee. Donations can be made there or at any Wells Fargo branch.

Trainer Mark Lee lost 12 thoroughbreds at the same facility. A man he works with somehow survived under the debris of a flattened barn. “I don’t know how he did it,” said Lee, “but somehow he pulled himself out of the rubble.”

Amazingly, Lando Hite, an exercise rider/groom, found shelter in the only place he could, a horse stall, and lived to tell the story to local television stations.

People continue to express condolences, saying that at least there was no loss of human life only animals, something Weidner does not want to hear.

“I resent that,” he said. “People don’t know that these horses are like family to me. You spend all your time with them, every day, tending and caring for them.”

As of now, Weidner expects to start the meet at Canterbury with four horses, three of them thoroughbreds, the fourth a quarter horse, although owners at other tracks have expressed an interest in sending their horses with him to Minnesota. He is about to start his third meet, as uncertain as it is, at Canterbury Park, and also competes at Prairie Meadows, Hialeah and Remington Park.

Weidner grew up around horses and competed in the Minnesota State High School rodeo, in bareback riding. He would up as an assistant trainer in Maryland, where he met Lyndsay, or Sky as she is known. They struck out on their own about 3 and 1/2 years ago.

Now, they will start again.

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.

Photo Courtesy of the Q-Racing Journal

Stakes Racing Recaps

There has been plenty of quarter horse stakes action over the past half dozen racing days at Canterbury Park. Who won? Who lost? Who set a new track record? Here’s a recap of Canterbury’s recent big races:

Great Lakes Stakes

Stakes action kicked off last week with the 16th running of the Great Lakes Stakes, featuring three-year-olds and up running 440 yards for $21,000. The field included winner of this year’s Skip Zimmerman Stakes, Hollywood Trickster (pictured above), a New Mexico-bred gelding who came from seventh place at the break to win by half a length. The five-year-old repeated in the Great Lakes Stakes when he broke next to last and flew up the stretch to defeat Paintyourownwagon by a neck. Hollywood Trickster was the post-time favorite and covered the quarter mile in 21.744, earning a 104 speed index. Paintyourownwagon finished second with a 103 SI, and A Faster Streaker was a close third, earning a 101 index.

Hollywood Trickster is owned by Christine Hovey and trained by Ed Hardy; Derek Bell was up for this win. Unlike many horses racing at 440 yards, Hollywood Trickster is actually attempting shorter races than he is used to; the son of thoroughbred Favorite Trick, out of a Heza Fast Man mare is a talented 550 and 870 performer. He lives up to his name at 440 yards, deceiving us into thinking he is too far behind to win but gains enough momentum to pull off a dramatic ending. His replay is the last race on the video below:


Northlands Futurity

Midnight Sunlight was the upset winner in Thursday’s running of the $59,800 Northlands Futurity, though a closer look at her past performances suggests that this win should not have been that much of a surprise. The filly did not break on top, but was moved quickly to second place and kicked into gear late in the race to defeat Mr Shakem Diva by a nose at the wire. Mr Shakem Diva turned in a breakout performance, leading the race until the final strides and narrowly defeating post-time favorite and fastest qualifier Bp Painted Lady. Bp Painted Lady was bumped coming out of the gate and was clear of traffic soon after; she moved up steadily throughout the race but lacked the needed kick to get ahead of her foes. The three-way photo finish suggests that we may have several future racing stars on our grounds.

Owned by Brenda Reiswig, and ridden by Stormy Smith, Midnight Sunlight earned the first Northlands victory for trainer Vic Hanson. Midnight Sunlight’s success began with her breeding; bred by Bobby Cox in Texas, the filly is by one of the leading two-year-old sires, Ivory James, out of Quick Moon Sign by Royal Quick Dash, a top Texas broodmare sire. The filly was the fastest qualifier to the $350,000 Grade 2 Oklahoma Futurity this spring at Remington Park. There were 15 qualifying trials with nearly 150 horses, and her time of 15.391 was the best on the card for the 300 yard trials. She ran second in the final to Dash for Coronas, who went on to qualify for and run fourth in the Grade 1 $1,100,000 Heritage Place Futurity, also at Remington Park.

Midnight Sunlight ran 350 yards in 17.843; Mr Shakem Diva was a nose behind at 17.846 and Bp Painted Lady ran 17.864. Each horse earned a 93 speed index. It may be time to put all three of these horses in your virtual stable: Midnight Sunlight is just beginning to show her true talent and will be one to watch in the years to come. Mr Shakem Diva had the race won at 250 and 300 yards, so be ready to put money on that one when he runs a shorter race. Bp Painted Lady closed fast at the end of the race to get up for third; in an allowance race and maybe at a longer distance, she’ll have no trouble getting the win.


Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby

Huckleberry Mojito did not disappoint in the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby last Saturday. The three-year-old daughter of Feature Mr Jess won in style, leading at the first call and pulling away from the field to win by nearly two lengths. Huckleberry Mojito was the fastest qualifier to the derby with 19.97; on Saturday she stunned everyone with a final time of 19.625, setting a new track record and earning a remarkable 108 speed index. The previous track record was 16.692, set by Mr Hempens Feature in a trial for the 2010 Canterbury Derby. He lost to Time for Wilena in the final, who set the stakes record for this race with 16.699. Huckleberry Mojito now owns both the track and stakes record.

Feature Mr Jess is a leading quarter horse sire, but handicappers and breeders know that his daughters, while particularly talented, take more time than usual to mature. Feature Mr Jess fillies tend to be better as three-year-olds than in their first year, and like their sire, the longer the race the better. Huckleberry Mojito is no exception, showing tremendous improvement this year with every race.

Huckleberry Mojito was bred in Texas by Gary and Patty Peterson, owned by L M R 2011, and trained by Ed Hardy, giving him his seventh Canterbury Derby win. Nik Goodwin chalks up another quarter horse win; bet on a quarter horse for no other reason than Goodwin getting the mount this meet and you’ll hit first or second place over 90% of the time. Her replay is the second race on the video below:


This blog was written by AQHA Q-Racing Ace Jen Perkins. Jen travels to tracks across the country to educate fans about handicapping and Quarter Horse racing, and shares her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography