Horse Owners Gary and Brenda Bergsrud

Gary Bergsrud has been around horses his whole life. After watching his father train and run horses in Devils Lake, North Dakota, he knew he wanted to own horses one day. Bergsrud met his wife and partner Brenda (pictured above with jockey Santiago Gonzalez) at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Canada. He owned horses there and she was working for a trainer at the time. The couple went on to own horses together and include their son, T.J. Bergsrud, to manage their horses as well.

After purchasing horses for a few years, the Bergsrud decided to breed and raise their own. “The horses that we had been buying just didn’t work out and we thought we could raise better horses,” he said. Recent success has proven them right.

In July of 2007, Bergsrud came to Canterbury Park after being persuaded by his friend and fellow horse owner Bernell Rhone. “We wanted to run better horses and needed a higher level track to race them at,” Bergsrud said. His first horse to run at Canterbury Park, Alacazar, won and Bergsrud and his family have been entering their horses here ever since.

Sandra Sweere has been training the Bergsrud’s horses for the past five years. “Sandra has been very good for us and always does her best to meet our horses’ needs,” Gary said. The couple currently own four horses at Canterbury Park and commute from their home in Rolla, North Dakota to watch them race.

Bergsrud says that when owning a horse at any level it is important to “stay on top of things.”  He adds that “it can be very easy to get a little behind on the management side of things, but if you are dedicated enough it will all work out.”

To stay on top of things, Bergsrud checks in on the horses at least two times a week to see how they are doing. “We have little time to do anything besides taking care of our horses and that’s the way we like it,” Bergsrud said.

A favorite memory that Bergsrud has is seeing Pinup Girl win the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes race at Canterbury Park earlier this meet. “She and Santiago Gonzalez had a great ride here and we expect a big year for her,” he said.

Bergsrud’s favorite part about breeding his own horses is having the chance to see them develop and watch them run.  “The whole process can take a lot of time and energy, but it is all worth it when you see your horse win,” he said.

Can Nicknames Make A Comeback?

A jockey new to Canterbury Park has joined the colony. That jockey is Santiago Gonzalez and he comes with a nickname: El Ciclon.  In English that translates to The Cyclone.

The native of Venezuela began riding at the age of 14 in his homeland and arrived in the States in 2013. He has won multiple graded stakes both at home and in the U.S.

According to a story in The Paulick Report, Gonzalez was given the nickname El Ciclon by a track announcer because of his “unrelenting, aggressive style.”

There is a dearth of nicknames these days it seems. Harken back to the Downs Days when they were more plentiful.  There was The Bunny, Race Ridin’ Rockn’ Rollin’ Ronnie Allen Jr. or simply Rock n Roll, not so flattering was The Human Anchor.

Many recall The Glove  —   Luis Canchari.  In 2011 The Mitten was proposed for Canchari’s son Patrick but the nickname just did not take.

In the mid ’90s, Luis Quinonez was known as The Q.  We have had the Turf Doctor, the Lawn Ranger, and Paul Nolan was the Sod Surgeon.  Anne Von Rosen became known to fans as The Baroness. It made sense, it stuck, and fans knew Anne because of it.  Don’t forget Tommy ‘Beef’ Wellington. And Kevin Gorg nicknamed rider Keith Davis The Barbecue Man, possibly confusing Keith for Ken but that is beside the point.

The Shakopee Kid/Minnesota Kid was picking up steam with Alex Canchari when he was riding here but likely drops off the radar now that he is in Indiana.

Nicknames allow fans to identify with the jockeys. They create association and we simply need more.  Suggestions are welcome.