Races Heat Up

Two Bayme -  08-15-13 - R02 - CBY - Inside FinishThursday’s card was the 51st of the meet.

So, let’s see now, that means there are 18 racing days remaining in this, the 19th meeting since racing resumed in Shakopee after a two-year-shutdown, under the name Canterbury Park instead of Downs.

Naturally, the focus on the leading rider, trainer and owner will draw increased scrutiny in these final days.

On Thursday night for instance:

The card got under way with Dean P. Butler holding a five-win lead over Alex Canchari, 47-42, in the rider standings. However, Canchari will begin a four-day suspension today that will have an impact on the final results. Next in line is Ry Eilkleberry who started the evening with 36 winners.

The fun began from there.

Eilkleberry won two races on the card, with Artistic Design in the first and Hannahslittleangel in the sixth.

Canchari, still on a tear that started two weeks ago, won the fourth race with Moonshine Promise at 9-1. Aha, but Butler took that one right back, winning aboard Ghost Skier in race five.

Meanwhile, Juan Rivera (pictured above on Two Bayme), struggling for wins this meet, rode two winners on the card,Two Bayme in race two and Supremo Struckgold in race seven, and has 10 for the meet.

The race for leading trainer, won by Mac Robertson since just before mud caulks were introduced to racing, actually every year since 2005, went unchanged at the top of the standings Thursday.

It looks like this: Mike Biehler leads with 28, followed by Robertson with 27 and Bernell Rhone with 26. Robertson, incidentally, needs five wins to reach 500 at Canterbury Park.

The top of the owner standings went unchanged, too: Midwest Thoroughbreds leads with 21 winners, followed by Al and Bill Ulwelling, champions in 2010 and 2011, with 20.

HE IS INDEED RELENTLESS

Hes Relentless continues to demonstrate he is just that – relentless. Once again, this two-year-old under the care of trainer Amber Blair has been impressive on the racetrack, this time posting the fastest qualifying time, 21.148, among the top five horses in heats Thursday at Ruidoso Downs for the All American Futurity.

Hes Relentless Race Replay

20130816_103510

Thursday’s qualifiers will join today’s five qualifiers – the first time trials have been conducted over two days – in the Grade 1 $2.6 million All American on Labor Day. Fourteen trials were conducted Thursday and the same number will be run Friday.

Hes Relentless, running for R.D. Hubbard, Tom Maher and Johnny Cope was supplemented to the race for $50,000, as was Especially Tres, the second fastest qualifier on Thursday with a time of 21.191.

Hes Relentless was the fastest qualifier also for the Heritage Place Futurity on June 1, winning his heat by 4 ¼ lengths, at Remington Park and was sent off the favorite in the Futurity. He was beaten a head by Big Biz Perry, a 30-1 longshot. Big Biz Perry won one of Thursday’s trials for the All American but did not qualify for the final.

Other qualifiers on Thursday include Especially Tres, Handsome Jack Flash and Houdini. You N How Many More and Fly Thru The Fire finished tied Thursday with identical times of 21.27.  You N How Many More won a draw on Friday morning for the fifth and final spot in the All American Finals.

NOTABLE QUOTES THIS MONTH, ANY MONTH

Lori Keith, describing her horse’s demeanor heading into the first turn of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.

Dorsett, who would win the race handily, was relaxed, maybe too relaxed heading into the first turn. “It was like he was asleep,” recalled Keith. “I didn’t want to be too far back, so I gave him a little s-m-o-o-c-h.”

Wide awake, just like that. And then some.

Dorsett snapped to attention with such gusto, Keith decided on the spot that a reminder was probably not necessary. “I didn’t smooch to him again,” she said. “He just took off when I did that one time.”

Seis The Royal Cash, at 16-1, won the North Central Quarter Horse Futurity, breaking from the No. 1 hole. The rail had been fast earlier in the meet, evened out and then went back to the rail.

Thus, Vic Hanson sized up his horse’s win thusly:

“We drew well,” he said.

A youngster next to the winner’s circle spotted Israel Hernandez, all 5-foot-1 of him, heading down the steps after a race. “He looks like a real jockey,” he said.

Richard Grunder

Just after the fifth race on Thursday, a notice was posted on the screen next to the tote board wishing announcer Richard Grunder a happy birthday. A picture of Grunder, circa 1989, accompanied the message.

“I keep it from everyone in the racing office all day,” Grunder moaned, “and then it gets displayed on the big screen.”

The source of the leak? Julian Assange? Edward Snowden?

Grunder had some thoughts on the matter, but nothing firm enough to make an arrest.

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.

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 CARD ABBREVIATED

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.

RICH PEOPLE HANDICAPPING

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.

Great Lakes Stakes Preview

It is the height of stakes season here at Canterbury Park, where we are in the midst of four stakes races for quarter horses in less than two weeks. The highlight of last weekend was the Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ Quarter Horse Futurity, on Sunday, June 24th. A field of ten qualifiers ran 350 yards for a Stakes-record purse of $46,000.

Not surprisingly, fastest qualifier Hada Certain Charm finished first, but not in the dominating performance many expected as the finish came down to a photo with his stablemate, Fly Eyeann. It was a tense moment for the crowd, who had bet the winner to near even money, but not for Ed Ross Hardy, who trained both horses. Hada Certain Charm broke out slightly and made a surging run at the end to win the race by a nose over Fly Eyeann, who won her trial for the race two weeks earlier but was only the seventh fastest qualifier. Despite a narrow victory, the Hadtobenuts gelding broke the Stakes record with his time of 17.934. The previous record of 18.007, set by Oak Tree Boulevard in 2009, was actually broken by the top three finishers of this year’s race, with Fly Eyeann at 17.949 and third place finisher Hastabealeader at 18.006.

Hada Certain Charm, by Hadtobenuts out of the Dash for Perks Mare Lk Classy Perk, was bred in Kansas by Leo Butell. Owned by Leo Butell and Mike Schau, trained by Ed Ross Hardy, and ridden by Nik Goodwin, the two-year-old gelding made his third lifetime start and his second start here at Canterbury after shipping in from Remington Park.

Fly Eyeann, ridden by Tom Wellington and also trained by Hardy, made her debut in the futurity trial and broke her maiden with a length-and-a-half victory. Owned and bred by Rodney Von Ohlen in Minnesota, the two-year-old filly by Mr Jess Perry sire Fly Jess Fly and out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Eyzanee has shown potential in the near-upset and will be a threat in her next start.

Tuesday, July 3: Great Lakes Stakes, $19,000, 440 yards

Leading Trainer: Ed Ross Hardy (4)

Leading Jockey: Ry Eikleberry (2) and Scot Schindler (2)

Record Purse: $30,300, won by Silver Fastback, 2008

Tuesday night’s card features the Great Lakes Stakes for three-year-olds and up running the classic quarter horse distance of 440 yards. This will be the 16th running of a race that gained prominence on a national level last year when the event was won by Jess A Runner. Jess A Runner broke the track record by nearly a second, covering the 440 yards in 21.126. The Kansas-bred gelding owned by J&K Running Horses, LLC, trained by Kenny Laymon, and ridden to victory by Doug Frink, went on to win the Grade 3 Two Rivers Stakes at Prairie Meadows last fall. Jess a Runner, now 6, has 9 wins in his 27 lifetime starts, 4 places, and 4 thirds, and has earned over $270,000.

The elite field for this year’s running of the Great Lakes Stakes may reveal another future star. If you watched the Skip Zimmerman Stakes on Memorial Day, you witnessed the incredible stretch run by Hollywood Trickster to come from seventh place to gain the upset victory by a half-length. At 7-5 on the morning line, #5 Hollywood Trickster is the early favorite for Tuesday’s race. Though 440 yards is the traditional quarter horse distance, many horses do not run that far in overnight races. Hollywood Trickster, on the other hand, spent his 2011 campaign running at 870 and 550 yards, and his late rush at the end of the Skip Zimmerman convinced many that a longer race will suit him perfectly. Hollywood Trickster is by the thoroughbred sire Favorite Trick, a popular distance sire for quarter horses.

In the Skip Zimmerman Memorial, Paintyourownwagon hopped at the start and finished a disappointing fifth. The four-year-old Pyc Paint Your Wagon colt won his next out against tough allowance company, but seeks to redeem himself against Hollywood Trickster. #1 Paintyourownwagon (2-1) made his Canterbury debut last summer in the Canterbury Derby, where he finished third behind I Am That Hero. He ran in the Prairie Meadows Adequan Derby Challenge behind T Gold J, who went on to win the national Adequan Derby final at the Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos in 2011. His lifetime earnings are just shy of $100,000 in his 17 lifetime starts. The Skip Zimmerman Stakes was his first race after a six-month layoff, and now he appears to be back in form and will be tough to beat. However, the distance is a concern, as he has started at 440 yards twice before but has not finished better than sixth.

The rest of the field will be had at a price, so start planning your exactas with these entries:

#2 Brooks Dream Girl (10-1) is still a maiden after seven lifetime starts. The three-year-old Brookstone Bay filly has found herself running against older horses in her last three starts. She finished a strong second last out and gained ground in a 350-yard race. She is bred to run longer; her sire also sired the winner of the 2009 Grade 1 All American Futurity, Runnning Brook Gal.

#3 Play the Pipes (5-1) is a four-year-old filly by classic sire Mr Jess Perry. Though she only has two wins in her 11 starts, her last five races have all been allowance races at Prairie Meadows, Remington, and Canterbury, including a win in the slop here two weeks ago. She will also attempt 440 for the first time, but her running style suggests she may be able to stretch out.

#4 A Faster Streaker (7-2) is a ten-year-old gelding with 13 wins out of 43 lifetime starts, and earnings of over $160,000. He will be making his first start at Canterbury; his last 12 races have been at eight different tracks. He will love this distance, having run first or second eight times in his 14 attempts at 440 yards.

Stakes action continues at a national level as well. Sunday, June 24th also offered the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity at Los Alamitos for – you guessed it – a purse exceeding $1 million. One Dashing Eagle covered 350 yards in a sharp 17:135, posting the best time at the distance for the entire meet to date. The victory planted the two-year-old son of first-year stallion One Famous Eagle in the number two position on the national top ten poll for two-year-olds, just a single point below top ranked PJ Chick in Black, winner of the Ruidoso Futurity.

PJ Chick in Black will not likely be among the nominated two-year-olds competing in trials for the second leg of the Ruidoso triple crown, but there will be plenty of horses competing for a spot in her place in the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity. 23 trials will be held at Ruidoso on Tuesday to select the ten fastest qualifiers to the final on July 22nd. Trials for the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby will be held on Thursday, July 5th, though the race will likely draw only a half-dozen trials.

Enjoy your extended week of racing here at Canterbury. Live racing takes place Tuesday through Saturday, with more stakes races to come for both breeds.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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

“Q” Stakes Previews & Recaps

Summer is the peak season of quarter horse racing, and this year is no exception. Let’s recap a few of the recent major races and use them to identify future handicapping opportunities.

June 9th brought us the Minnesota Stallion Breeders and North Central Derby, featuring three-year-olds running 400 yards for $12,500. Fastest qualifier and even-money favorite Painted Lies (pictured above) won as expected, but only by a narrow margin over second-fastest qualifier Feature Dreamgirl. Bred by Bob Moore Farms, LLC, Painted Lies is a son of leading sire Pyc Paint Your Wagon and out of Teller Lies, by leading sire of broodmares First Down Dash. Jockey Cody Smith brought the horse to his third consecutive win for trainer Amber Blair and owner Tom Maher.

The Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity and Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby were also held on June 9th, the day of the Belmont Stakes. As in the thoroughbred world, quarter horse fans will not see a Triple Crown winner this year, as the winner of each race will not start in the Rainbow Futurity or Derby. The connections of each horse have elected to skip the second leg and save their horses for Grade 1 All American Futurity Derby on Labor Day weekend.

Two-year-old filly and supplemented entry PJ Chick in Black defeated post-time favorite and fastest qualifier Krash Cartel by a neck to win the $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity. This race was her fourth win in as many starts and placed her at the top of the national poll for two-year-olds, over BP Cartels Alibi, winner of the Grade 1 $1,115,000 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park. Canterbury Connections alert: local trainer Ed Ross Hardy won the Heritage Place Futurity in 2010 with Givinitaroyaleffort. Llano Teller finished third in that race and went on to win the 2011 All American Derby.

Executive Brass defeated 2011 Two-Year-Old Champion Ochoa and 2011 Two-Year-Old Champion Colt Feature Mr Bojangles in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby. Ochoa, winner of the All American Futurity and post-time favorite, finished second to last in a disappointing performance. The result also ended a seven-race win streak for Rainbow Futurity winner Feature Mr Bojangles. Bred in Texas, Executive Brass was the fastest qualifier out of six trials for the race and covered the distance of 400 yards in 20.099.

There is a lesson here – handicapping does not end when the race is over. Stakes races, particularly those with trials, offer a good opportunity to review favorites, fastest qualifiers and winning payoffs. Take a look at race replays (always free at www.qracingvideo.com) and review the charts. Did it play out how you thought, and were there missed wagering opportunities?

In quarter horse stakes, the fastest qualifier often wins, but is not always the post-time favorite. In this year’s Ruidoso Derby, the fastest qualifier won and paid $10.60 to win because the public had more faith in the horses that had proven themselves in the previous year than they did the horse that outran them all in the trials. But the real money can be found when you wheel the fastest qualifier in a vertical or horizontal bet. In the Ruidoso Derby example, keying the fastest qualifier over the field in an exacta would have cost $18, but the exacta paid $696. Another option is to play the stakes race in a double, using the fastest qualifier as the single if the other race seems wide open. Last weekend at Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho, the fastest qualifier to the Maiden Frolic was only the second favorite choice to the betting public despite winning his trial by two lengths. The preceding race was a thoroughbred race with a five-horse field and a overbet favorite. The longshot won in the thoroughbred race, the fastest qualifier won the Frolic, and a $10 double bet returned $150.

What if there is no clear favorite, or if the fastest qualifier isn’t convincing? Reverse it: single in one leg and play the entire field in the stakes race. This is particularly useful in two-year-old races where there does not appear to be a clear winner; for example, if the fastest qualifier only won by a nose, or if there was a lot of traffic or weather in the trials. Remember that two-year-old races are most prone to trouble or gate problems and a longshot can easily win. The 2011 Ruidoso Derby was won by 11-1 Silver for Me in a wide open field. The Futurity was followed by a straightforward thoroughbred race with a seemingly unbeatable favorite. By keying the favorite in the thoroughbred race and throwing in the entire field in the stakes, your daily double investment would have earned you $152.

Trial and Stakes action continues this weekend at Canterbury, including trials for the 400-yard Canterbury Park Derby on Saturday. As there are only two trials, expect these races to be an excellent preview for the final in two weeks. Sunday afternoon is the 25th running of the Minnesota Stallion Breeders Futurity, open to progeny of nominated stallions who qualified in time trials on June 10th, 2012.

Minnesota Stallion Breeders Futurity, 350 yards, $46,000

Fastest qualifier and runaway winner #10 Hada Certain Charm appears to be impossible to beat in this race. At morning line odds of 6-5, the Ed Ross Hardy-trained Hadtobenuts gelding won by over two lengths and covered the 350 yards in a 24 mph headwind in 18.16, a trial so fast that seven entries of the ten-horse field qualified from the same race. Hada Certain Charm was bred by Leo Butell and is owned by Leo Butell and Mike Schau. Nik Goodwin has the mount and is winning 42% of his starts this meet. #4 Shes Zoomin Whiz was second behind Hada Certain Charm in the trial, and this Zoomin for Bux filly may be the one to challenge him in this race. She earned the second fastest trial time despite stumbling at the start, so a clean break will likely improve her performance. With a 6-5 morning line favorite, a good price can be found on every other horse in the race, so do not let high odds distract from talent. At 20-1, #6 Angel Flyin Knud, owned and trained by Randy Weidner, finished fourth in her trial and earned a 53 speed figure. However, her time of 18.88 was actually faster than that of the winner of the other trial, #8 Fly Eyeann, who won wire to wire in 18.99 and sits on the morning line at only 6-1. If the fastest qualifier is truly the horse to beat, then history has shown us there are some interesting investment options this weekend.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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 will share her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Saturday Stakes Preview

With all the news about I’ll Have Another’s attempt – ruined due to a scratch – to complete the Triple Crown, it may be overlooked that Quarter horses have an unofficial triple crown series, though the structure is a bit different. The quarter horse triple crown consists of three futurities, held at Ruidoso Downs throughout the summer. The first race is the same day as the Belmont Stakes, featuring two-year-olds running 350 yards for $600,000 in the G1 Ruidoso Futurity. July brings the second leg, the $700,000 Rainbow Futurity, and the biggest event in the sport of quarter horse racing, the G1 All American Futurity, will be held on Labor Day. The estimated purse for this race is $2.4 million, guaranteeing at least $1 million to the winner. The three-year-old series mirrors the futurity schedule. In recent years, the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American Derbies have rivaled the Futurities for purses and prestige, as horses compete for coveted open Grade 1 victories en route to national titles and awards.

Ruidoso Futurity, Grade 1, $600,000, 350 yards

The entries for the 2012 running of the Ruidoso Futurity are the ten fastest qualifiers from 25 trial races held on May 25th. We can expect similar trials for the Rainbow and the All American; to even qualify for these finals is an accomplishment. The fastest qualifier is the John Stinebaugh-trained Krash Cartel, who qualified with a time of 17:759 in his career debut, but more impressive is his four-length margin of victory. He’ll face the nine best horses from the 245 trial runners, such as PJ Chick in Black. Ridden by leading jockey Esgar Ramirez, this filly is undefeated in three starts, including the RG2 New Mexico Spring Futurity at Sunland Park.

Ruidoso Derby, Grade 1, $679,000, 400 yards

The 18th running of the Ruidoso Derby features a field of top three-year-olds that qualified from six trials on May 26th. This race will be a showdown between two horses: Ochoa and Feature Mr Bojangles. Ochoa was the winner of the 2011 G1 All American Futurity, a victory that led the Tres Seis gelding to be named 2011 Champion Two-Year-Old and Champion Two-Year-Old Gelding. Feature Mr Bojangles was the winner of the 2011 G1 Rainbow Futurity. By fourth-leading sire Feature Mr Jess, Feature Mr Bojangles has won his last seven in a row and will challenge Ochoa as well as fastest qualifier, Executive Brass, and longshot Dashing Spartacus, who defeated Ochoa in their trial.

In addition to the major events on the national scene, there is a Stakes race here at Canterbury as well.

Minnesota Stallion Breeders and North Central Derby, $10,000, 400 yards

Quarter horse racing at the 2012 Canterbury meet began with a pair of trials to determine the field for Saturday’s Stakes event. Two trials on May 27th yielded the ten fastest horses for this field, led by fastest qualifier Painted Lies. Painted Lies, the 7-5 morning line favorite, covered the distance in 20.29 and won his trial by a half a length. Painted Lies is by Pyc Paint Your Wagon, the leading sire by number of wins in 2012, out of the First Down Dash mare Teller Lies; First Down Dash is the current leading broodmare sire of money earners. The gelding’s five starts in 2012 include a fifth place finish in a $246,000 statebred derby at Remington Park behind second-place finisher Cruzin the Wagon. This horse has never run out of the money at Canterbury and is expected to pick up his third win in a row on Saturday. Trainer Amber Blair seeks her second win in this race after winning in 2010 with Moonlight Masquerade, who also holds the stakes record time of 20.149.

If you plan to beat the favorite in this race, you’ll have to be creative, but you can expect a good price on some potentially undervalued horses. To the outside of Painted Lies is the Ed Ross Hardy-trained Howdedoit, who ran fourth in his trial but still qualified for the final. At 10-1 on the morning line, the Ivory James gelding may have been able to save something for the final, and will benefit from drawing next to Painted Lies. The challenge of racing next to a particularly fast runner can unlock the competitive nature of a horse and maximize its own speed and talent.

Another horse to consider is one that finished only half a length behind the fastest qualifier, the 5-1 Feature Dreamgirl. This Utah-bred filly by perennial top sire Feature Mr Jess shipped in from Remington Park for the trial and was gaining ground near the end of the race. Her past performances are deceiving at first glance, as she has vastly improved both as a three-year-old and under current trainer Ed Ross Hardy. The 83 speed figure that she earned in the trial is the third highest lifetime speed figure in the entire field. Ed Ross Hardy has won this race four times since it was first hosted at Canterbury in 2003, including last year with Pithia, owned by Rodney Von Ohlen and ridden by Ry Eikleberry.

After the challenge of handicapping and the excitement of watching four Stakes races in one day, it is safe to say that I’ll have another. Let’s hope that means another winning ticket, as well.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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 will share her perspective on Canterbury Quarter Horse racing as well as insider information on America’s fastest athletes.