Great Grays

By Noah Joseph

In the colorful world of horse racing, there is one piece that really sticks out; gray horses. It’s amazing to see them, considering that only about 4 percent of horses born are gray. Over the years, gray horses have made their presence felt at Canterbury.

By far, the most famous gray to run at Canterbury was Hoist Her Flag. The daughter of Aferd, Hoist Her Flag was the terror of the track, beating almost all her female foes and running against the best of the males. She won 19 times in 49 starts in career that lasted five years and was twice named Horse of the Meet. She has a race named after her every year at Canterbury.

Hoist Her Flag

This year’s Hoist Her Flag Stakes winner drew a striking resemblance to the race’s namesake. Puntsville, a gray daughter of Cashel Rock, won the race in a style similar to Hoist Her Flag. She broke on top, held the lead, and won going away, with her gray tail swaying and waving like a flag of victory. The Hoist Her Flag Stakes was the ninth career victory for Puntsville, along with her second win this year, and her third career stakes victory.


The appropriately named Skatingonthinice was a horse who looked like ice. Just like ice, she left usually left her competition slipping while she slid to victory. Twice, she did in stakes. In 1990, she won the Minneapolis Handicap at Canterbury. She was also a successful broodmare.

Lastly, most gray horses usually inherit their gray coats as they age, but one filly was born with it. Sentimental Charm inherited her ghostly look by her father, Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, and her mother River Cache, an unraced daughter of Unbridled. Sentimental Charm was a successful runner, finishing in the top three 15 times in 17 starts, winning seven stakes. As a broodmare, she produced three foals, all gray, but only one raced at Canterbury. That was her daughter Sentiment Gray, sired by Holy Bull, who was also gray.


Owner Dan Mjolsness with Hoist Her Flag