Shakopee Juvenile winner Sassy Seneca returns Saturday in Oaklawn stake

Sassy Seneca won the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile on closing day of the 2019 Canterbury Park meet, her second win in as many starts.  The 3-year-old filly owned by Novogratz Racing Stables Inc. has been training well for Mac Robertson, working a bullet six furlongs at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 9.

Robertson entered Sassy Seneca along with stablemate Ring Leader, also owned by Novogratz, for Saturday’s $125,000 Dixie Belle six furlong stake restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Ring Leader broke her maiden in one try on a June evening in Shakopee. She returned to action January 24 at Oaklawn and won on the lead at 12 to 1 odds. Only three others are entered in the Dixie Belle. That a Shakopee Juvenile winner might go on to bigger things is not out of the question based on past performances.

General Jack won the first Shakopee Juvenile in 2013, a race for some reason run on the turf. He eventually won a $200,000 stake at Indiana Grand and $278,358 in total earnings.  Native American dead heated with Grand Full Moon in 2014 when the race became a sprint. Both were trained by Robertino Diodoro. The former retired undefeated in five starts with $110,280 in purses, while the latter never won a stakes again but had a long career on the East Coast earning $122,759.

Stormation was the sensation in the 2015 Shakopee Juvenile. He entered the race three for three winning a maiden at Canterbury followed by a stake at Prairie Meadows and another here. He never regained the glory of that 2-year-old season but raced 32 times into 2019 with earnings of $217,121.

Even Thunder, the 2016 winner, is still racing and scheduled to start Friday at Laurel for trainer Jamie Ness. He was trained by Dan McFarlane in 2016 when he won the Shakopee. He was sold privately and won a $100,000 stake at Aqueduct that December. He also has earned six figures with a total of $296,466 in purses.

Amy’s Challenge battled with Mr. Jagermeister in 2017. The careers of both have been well chronicled here. She is a multiple stakes winner of $474,406 and Mr. Jagermeister last Saturday became the all-time leading Minnesota bred money earner with $547,460.

Mister Banjoman victorious in 2018, went on as a 3-year-old to win the Minnesota Derby. He is entered to run Saturday at Oaklawn in the race prior to the Dixie Belle and has amassed $203,121 in purses.

Robertson won his third consecutive Shakopee with Sassy Seneca.  A win Saturday would put her into six figure earnings, a number that is now expected of the winner of the Shakopee Juvenile.

Amy’s Challenge Earns 92 Beyer Speed Figure and other news

Yesterday’s Shakopee Juvenile on the final day of the meet should be enough to satisfy the desires of local racing fans as they wait for spring and the start of the 2018 meet. What was hyped both here and nationally as the race of the Canterbury season, the $80,000 six furlong sprint featuring some of the fastest 2-year-olds in North America, lived up to that hype and then some.

When Mr. Jagermeister locked up with Amy’s Challenge at the top of the stretch, onlookers knew that the next 220 yards was going to be something special. No one was disappointed when Amy’s Challenge, the odds-on favorite, prevailed by less than a length, not even Mr. Jagermeister’s trainer Valorie Lund. Not only was it a fast race, the fastest six furlongs of the 67-day meet with these two ultra-talented youngsters finishing 18 lengths clear of the others, but Lund knew that what she had believed all along was true. This Minnesota bred is the real thing. See the replay below.

As for Amy’s Challenge… she validated the 91 Beyer Speed Figure she was assigned in August by earning a 92 yesterday. Now it is on to Keeneland with Breeders’ Cup aspirations.

On the business side, things were good this meet with a slight gain in total handle compared to last season even though six fewer races were run in 2017. Total handle was $43.67 million, a .9 percent increase, while average daily handle was up 3.9 percent at $651,839. The number of starters per race increased 4.1 percent to 8.07, another positive indicator.

“Overall the race meet was a success,” company president Randy Sampson said. “We are very fortunate to have the support of both race fans as well as horsemen that each contribute to making Canterbury Park thrive.”

2017 By the Numbers for MN breds:

·         $5,062,227 Earned by Minnesota-breds (2nd Consecutive Year Exceeding $5 Million and a new Track Record)

·         150 Restricted Races run for Minnesota-breds (Highest since 2008)

·         1,759 Starts made by Minnesota-breds (Most since 2008)

·         Earnings by Minnesota-breds in Open Races increased by about $140,000 or 19%

Canterbury Park’s 2017 divisional champions:

Horse of the Year – Amy’s Challenge  (owner: Novogratz Racing Stable : trainer: Mac Robertson)
Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding –  Hot Shot Kid (owner: Warren Bush  ; trainer: Mac Robertson )
Sprinter – Honey’s Sox Appeal (owner: Bob Lindgren : trainer: Mac Robertson )
Older Horse – Hay Dakota (owner: Alice Mettler : trainer: Joel Berndt)
Grass Horse –  Some Say So (owner: Tom Rosin, Patti Miller and Mark Kane : trainer: Judd Becker)
Three-Year-Old Filly – Double Bee Sting (owner: Curtis Sampson : trainer: Tony Rengstorf )
Older Filly or Mare – Honey’s Sox Appeal (owner: Bob Lindgren : trainer: Mac Robertson )
Two-Year-Old -Amy’s Challenge  (owner: Novogratz Racing Stable : trainer: Mac Robertson)
Claimer – Monday Confession (owner: Pick 5 Stable : trainer: Karl Broberg)
Quarter Horse – The Fiscal Cliff  (owner: Thomas Lepic : trainer: Kasey Willis)



Considering Minnesota’s place in the horse racing universe, it truly doesn’t get any better than this, a race with this much talent on closing day, featuring not only three locally stabled speedsters but one of them a Minnesota-bred to boot.

And 2-year-olds at that.

For sheer star power, the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile is unmatched in track history in those respects.

“It is unprecedented,” said Dave Miller, the Equibase chart caller at Canterbury who has watched racing in Shakopee since its inception in 1985. Miller recalled other episodes of unforgettable races, yet none with the specifics this one offers.

Yes there is the saga of the nationally talented Lost Kitty from the D. Wayne Lucas barn, shipping in from California to take on the locally stabled Turbo Launch in the 1987 Canterbury Debutante, only to get her clock cleaned.

There is always the default race of local history, the 1989 Canterbury Juvenile featuring an up and coming star named Unbridled, who finished second under Mike Smith that day to Appealing Breeze, but the next spring won the Kentucky Derby and then the Breeders’ Cup Classic that autumn and was named the three-year-old male of the year.

Yet, those horses were shippers from other points in the country, and Saturday’s lineup includes locally stabled speedballs engaging one another in a full field.

There is Amy’s Challenge, conditioned by the 2017 champion trainer, Mac Robertson. Amy is a daughter of Artie Schiller from Jump Up and won her only time out, at Canterbury by 16 ½ lengths, posting a 91 Beyer Speed Figure that is tops among two-year-olds in North America. She is owned by Joseph Novogratz of Eden Prairie.

Her challengers are impressive in their own rights.

Soul of Discretion, out of the Dan McFarlane barn, won by 13 lengths in his maiden start, putting up an 85 Beyer, among the 12 best in the nation. He is by Discreetly Mine from Brief Mark and is owned by Yeamons Racing Stables.

And then there is the exceptionally swift Mr. Jagermeister, trained by Valorie Lund. He has four bullet works over the Canterbury surface and has won two of his three starts by many. A son of Atta Boy Roy from Frangelica, he was bred in Minnesota by Kristin Boice, a sister to Lund. He is owned by Boice, Lund and a third sister, Leslie Cummings.

“This race is going to be very challenging and exciting,” said Lund. “It should attract people in droves just to watch.”

“I thought this race turned out tough last year,” said McFarlane, who toyed with the idea of running his horse at Arlington Park because this race appears so tough.

Canterbury untied the purse strings to produce this race, to keep these stars in the local firmament.

Track president Randy Sampson made clear those intentions when the purse enhancements were announced. “We have an exceptionally strong group of 2-year-old horses this season,” he said. “We want to entice them to race in the Juvenile.”

First, another $25,000 was added to what originally was a $50,000 purse. On top of that a $25,000 bonus was added for horses foaled in Minnesota, making it the largest purse available to state bred horses.


The race of the year.

That’s precisely what it is, race of the year featuring babies that exhibit exceptional talent, enough to attract nation-wide attention, including, by several reports, an offer for the filly of a million dollars or more.

“Amy’s Challenge is a singular horse and Soul of Discretion is another very nice horse,” added Lund, who has watched those two with discerning eyes whenever she has breezed her colt during morning workouts.

“They look in fine form,” she said. “Again, this is going to be a very competitive race.”

What more could a race fan ask for closing day, but there is more: The $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint, matching old rivals Smooth Chiraz, a winner of the Minnesota Sprint Championship over Hold for More, who had beaten Smooth at the same distance, six furlongs, one month earlier.

There are new horses in this one, including Blue Anchor, shipped in by trainer Robertino Diodoro from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California, where the sprinter’s one win this year was at Santa Anita.

Yet, that’s not all on the final day of the 2017 race meet. For those whose interests lie someplace other than the horses, there is a championship of another matter on closing day: The wiener dog championship.

The race will draw a large number of fans, yet for those who love the horses, nothing can top the showdown between three of the best babies stabled at Canterbury, one a Minnesota-bred, since the doors opened in 1985.


video by Mouse

Trainer Valorie Lund Has Mr. Jagermeister Ready for Shakopee Juvenile

Mr. Jagermeister is a talented Minnesota-bred 2-year-old from trainer Valorie Lund.

On Saturday he faces perhaps the fastest filly in the country in Amy’s Challenge.

In this video Valorie discusses her colt and the upcoming race.

Dorsett in Del Mar Derby

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishDorsett, winner of the 2013 Mystic Lake Derby, is 6-1 in the second division of the Grade II Del Mar Derby to be held today at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California. Trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Terry Hamilton, Dorsett, 6-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by perennial top California rider Rafael Bejarano.

The $300,000 Grade II Derby closed with 23 entries and management split the race into two divisions worth $250,000 each. Dorsett will have his work cut out for him as he goes up against two rivals that have already defeated him this summer at Arlington. Infinite Magic, morning line favorite and winner of the American Derby, defeated Dorsett in that race back on July 13.

General Election is the other Chicago shipper. He defeated Dorsett back in May in the Arlington Classic. Neither Infinite Magic nor General Election has run since the American Derby.

Saddled with the outside post, Dorsett has his work cut out for him. However, drawing the services of a rider of Bejarano’s quality can only be viewed as a positive sign. Heading into racing today, Bejarano’s 43 wins on the meet is 17 clear of the next leading rider.

Dorsett continues a rather impressive parade of horses to ship out of Canterbury and into major races throughout the country this summer. Designer Legs, who broke her maiden at Canterbury for Gary Scherer on June 28, went on to win the Grade II Adirondack Stakes on August 11. Owned by Valene Farms, Designer Legs was placed first following a disqualification in the Adirondack.

Designer Legs runs in today’s Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Dallas Stewart. Shaun Bridgmohan has the call.

Earlier this week, General Jack, winner of the 2013 Shakopee Juvenile was posted as the morning line favorite in the Grade II With Anticipation at Saratoga but was scratched.

A Little Less Suspense

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Action FinishShe took one look over her shoulder, gave her mount a stout reminder with the stick and cruised home, much the best in the biggest race of the season, the history of Canterbury Park for that matter.

Everything unfolded much as it did last season, with one major exception.

“No inquiry,” said the woman of the hour, Lori Keith, who has been aboard the first two winners of the first two Mystic Lake Derbys.

That’s right, the winning owner, winning trainer and winning rider of the inaugural Derby last year, won Saturday’s second running, breaking from the same No. 2 hole in an eight-horse field, just as last year. But for more money,

The race offered $162,000 and change last year. It was worth $200,000 this time around, $120,000 of that to the winning horse.

Gladly missing from Ms. Keith’s point of view was the interminable wait that accompanied last year’s race after her horse veered in front of the second place horse in the final 50 yards.

The stewards decided in her favor, ruling that the infraction did not change the order of finish but gave Ms. Keith days nonetheless for what occurred.

None of that on Saturday.

Keith began moving her horse, Dorsett, heading into the turn behind Coastal Breeze after that one made a bold move. The eventual winner swept past Coastal Breeze as if he were taking a nap. Dorsett cruised into the stretch, passing horses as if he were a Porsche in the fast lane of a freeway.

Much the best.

A bystander asked Keith when she felt the race was hers. “Actually, I felt confident the whole way,” she said. “I had a ton of horse all the way.”

A push-button colt as it were.

“This colt has gotten better and better,” said trainer Michael Stidham. “He’s better as a three-year-old than he was at two. The rider – Lori – did a great job, too.” The owner of the horse, Terry Hamilton, was not present but made it known some time ago that it was his goal to win another Mystic Lake Derby. Consider that goal accomplished.

Dorsett, a son of Artie Schiller from Dontgetnmyway, had three lengths on Coast Breeze and Channing Hill at the wire, 4 and ½ on Impassable Canyon and Victor Lebron, finishing in 1:35.69.

Afterward in the winner’s circle, Keith wrapped up in a stunning hand-made quilt from the Mdewakanton Sioux Community, whose purse contributions at Canterbury included $150,000 for this race alone.

The Star quilt is a traditional Dakota blanket that symbolizes life, spirituality and community and is given to mark major milestones.

Dorsett - Mystic Lake Derby - 08-03-13 - R08 - CBY - Pres2

This was indeed a milestone, for Canterbury, its relationship with Mystic Lake, for Hamilton, Stidham and, of course, for Ms. Keith.


The focus in this one was on a two-year-old named Chairman Crooks, ridden by Dean Butler, trained by tony Rengstorf and owned by Curtis Sampson.

The horse was named to honor the late Stanley Crooks, Chairman of the Mdewakanton Sioux Community at Mystic Lake with a nod also to his father, Norman, the tribe’s first chairman.

Several dignitaries from the community were present for the race, and they saw a good showing by the horse named for their former leaders. Chairman Crooks acquitted himself nicely, finishing second to the 3/5 favorite General Jack, a ship-in from Belmont Park, whose stretch effort provided a three-length win.

General Jack, a son of Giant’s Causeway, was much the best in this one. “We wanted the lead but when that horse took it we let him have it,” said winning rider Victor Lebron. “We went to plan B. I relaxed my horse and he finished strongly.”

The winner finished second in his only other start, at Belmont Park. So he broke his maiden in $100,000 race.

Owner Tom Conway knew he had a good one after General Jack hung on to finish second in New York. “He hit the gate and got bumped three or four times during the race,” Conway said. “He had the lead, got bumped and fell back.”

Nothing of the kind on Saturday.

General Jack surged through the stretch to a three-length win over Chairman Crooks, 4 and ¼ in front of AP is Loose and Ms Keith, with a winning time of 1:29.70.


What a race!

Drama, excitement, suspense, investigations.

When it was done, Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, had the biggest win of his young career aboard Stoupinator, owned by Joseph Novogratz of Excelsior and trained by Mac Robertson.

“That was a great ride,” said Robertson assistant Bradley Hedges. “That kid has a nice set of hands. He can ride.”

When the hullabaloo was complete, Stoupinator was the winner by a head over Seeking Treasure who was a head in front of Kipling’s Joy and Raising Dakota who finished in a Dead Heat.

A massive investigation by the stewards, paralleled perhaps only by the Watergate investigation, changed the official order, however.

Thus, Stoupinator did no wrong and kept the win. However, Seeking Treasure, was disqualified from second and placed sixth for interference, meaning that Kipling’s Joy and Raising Dakota moved up from third and dead-heated for second and I’m Already Sexy finished fourth.

The race also included a bit of drama before it started. Jockey Luis Garcia, on Raising Dakota, had not signed his license application with the Minnesota Racing Commission and was called up in front of the grandstand.

A racing official arrived with the document. Garcia jumped off his horse and signed his name, remounted and – as mentioned – wound up running second.

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.

Chairman Heads Juvenile

Chairman Crooks -  06-16-13 - R01 - CBY - Stretch FinishThere are two distinguishable features about this precocious two-year-old – his name and his physical appearance. He is stout, muscular and powerful looking. He is Chairman Crooks; and If that sounds familiar, it should.

The horse was named for the late Stanley Crooks who died last August, the chairman of the 420-member Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the son of Norman Crooks, the tribe’s first chairman.

The name came about because of a promise made by Canterbury Park’s Curtis Sampson, the man responsible for returning racing to Minnesota who became a friend of Crooks in the final weeks of his life, after the Mdewakanton Community and the racetrack struck their historic deal.

“He knew we were going to name a horse for him,” said Sampson. “I said we would.”

Sampson wanted the name bestowed on the best two-year-old he could find, and he did just that after trainer Mac Robertson bought this horse for him at the Keeneland fall sale.

This son of After Market and grandson to Storm Cat is from Overly Tempting, and proved to be just that when Robertson first saw him.

The purchase was made and the horse was sent straight to Ocala to begin training. By the time his new owner saw him, Chairman Crooks looked like a body builder tuned up for the Olympics. “He was a real specimen already. In fact, he was only a two-year-old but he looked like a stallion,” Sampson added.

When the horse was then shipped to Arkansas to join the Sampson’s stable of youngsters, Chairman Crooks stole the show. “He was clearly the standout,” Sampson said. “He’s not a tall horse. He’s more like a quarter horse.”

Chairman Crooks has one race to his credit, a maiden-breaking effort at Canterbury Park his first time out, on July 14, in which he went gate to wire, winning by four lengths.

It gets a whole lot tougher Saturday in the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile at 7 and ½ furlongs on the turf. A tall order indeed, with two-year-olds trained by respected trainers arriving for the race, which is 2 and ½ furlongs further than the Chairman’s only other outing.

“There is a question of distance,” said the horse’s trainer Tony Rengstorf, who became the beneficiary of a horse already broken and ready to go when he took charge. “We’re going to learn a lot about him (on Saturday).”

There are factors to support Rengstorf’s belief that Chairman Crooks might be better suited to a shorter race. “He’s not very big, more like a quarter horse,” he said. “You might say he has more the makeup of a sprinter. We don’t know how far he can go. We’ll find out.”

Distance is not the only issue. General Jack is also. So is My Corinthian.

General Jack, a maiden son of Giant’s Causeway, ran his only race at Belmont Park, finishing second by a half length in a six-furlong debut clocked in 1:09 and 4/5.

My Corinthian is 1-1-1 from three starts after breaking his maiden at Colonial Downs. And there are six other starters.

“He’s a little young to tackle horses this tough,” said Sampson. “But we’re not backing off at all as far as our confidence. We only worked him once on the grass. He worked 7 and ½ furlongs and ran out a full mile and was strong at the end.”

The Juvenile is one of three stellar stakes on a card, highlighted by the $200,000 Mystic Lake Mile on the turf, the richest race in Canterbury Park annals.

A field of eight, headed by Dorsett and Officer Alex will line up for that one.

The first of the stakes trio is the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks at a mile on the turf. Eden Prairie and Kipling’s Joy head a field of eight.

Three races worth a guaranteed $400,000 with $270k of that amount from the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund that resulted from the agreement between Mystic Lake and Canterbury.

Chairman Crooks was named to honor the late chairman of the Mdewakanton Community but he might just as easily have been named for his father, too.

Norman Crooks bought a string of horses to race at Canterbury when the track opened in 1985. When he died, nine horses were turned over to his son.

“Stanley was working for Whirlpool at the time,” said Sampson, “and he couldn’t afford to keep the horses. He told me that he had wanted to do a deal (with Canterbury) of some kind for a long while that would help horse owners, the horsemen. He knew something about what it took to have horses.”

Today, Chairman Crooks will discover what he knows about stretching out and taking on the big boys.

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.

2013 Derby Day Nears

HAMMERS TERROR_The Mystic Lake Derby_07-28-12_CBY_Inside FinishOccasionally she’ll think about the race and the biggest win of her career, the stuff of warm feelings and pleasant thoughts, except for that interminable wait.

“It was intense, wasn’t it though,” says Lori Keith.

The subject at hand, of course, is the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby first held in 2012 and Keith’s controversial win aboard Hammers Terror. About half the grandstand thought the horse should have been taken down. The other half sided with Keith’s horse.

So did the Stewards, who ruled that Hammer Terror did in fact veer in front of Delegation in the final yards but the action did not change the outcome of the race in their view. Nonetheless they gave Keith days, even after she sweated out the decision on the race for what seemed like an eternity.

Keith talked about the race as she headed to the paddock on Sunday for the third race, which she won aboard Francisco Bravo’s Free Sailing.

She is hopeful of riding in the second Mystic Lake Derby next Saturday, for the same owner whose horse she rode last year.

“Things can change,” she said, “but there’s a good chance .” She referred to a three-year old colt named Dorsett, owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Michael Stidham, who have the same connections as Hammers Terror, the 2012 champ.

Hamilton has talked about how great it would be to win the first two Mystic Lake Derbys. He has to run a horse for that to happen, of course.

The $200,000 Derby will be run on the same card with the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks and the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes. All three to be run over the Canterbury turf course.

Questions about the second rendition of the Mystic Lake Derby abound at this point:

Will Dorsett indeed run and will the field include a Java’s War, a longshot who finished 13th in this year’s Kentucky Derby and, although nominated to the Derby, is a longshot to appear in next Saturday’s race?

Undrafted, owned by New England Patriots defector and current Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, has been nominated also.

Other nominees include Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s You Blue and Leaden In Ken, along with Bill and Al Ulwelling’s Finding Candy. In total, nearly 100 horses were nominated for the trifecta of grass races next Saturday.

The draw is scheduled on Wednesday for all three races.

My Corinthian, trained by Dan Kobiskie and scheduled to arrive Monday, will run in the Juvenile and will be the first horse on the grounds for Saturday’s stakes events.

The Shakopee Juvenile, at 7 and 1/2 furlongs on the turf, will be run for the first time. The Oaks, at a mile on the turf, was won last year by Soonerette, owned by Robert Zoellner, ridden by riding champ Tanner Riggs and trained by Donnie Von Hemel. The purse this year is $100,000, for the first time since 1995, when the Carl Nafzger-trained Fluffkins won. Von Hemel nominated no horses to the Oaks but has nominated Smack Smack, owned by Dream Walkin’ Farms, Inc. (the stable name of renowned country music singer Toby Keith) to the Juvenile.


Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid as he refers to himself, surged this week into second place in the rider standings, riding seven winners to wind up Sunday night with 31 winners for the meet.

That’s eight behind the leader, Dean Butler, a three-time champion. Ry Eikleberry had only one winner for the week and slipped into third place with 30 wins, followed by Lori Keith with 29 and Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell and Eddie Martin, Jr. at 25 wins each. Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens is next with 23 wins.

There was no change in positions among the track’s top trainers. Mike Biehler continues in front with 24 wins, followed by Bernell Rhone with 22 and Mac Robertson with 21.

Stormy Smith, who rode the winner of the Bob Morehouse Stakes, Western Fun, on Saturday, continues to lead the quarter horse riders. He has 16 wins. Jorge Torres is next with 14.


You Be Gator Bait, trained by Mac Robertson, is nominated but won’t run in the Shakopee Juvenile, not with a mere week’s rest. He won the opening race on Sunday’s card for Minnesota-bred maidens with Chris Fackler up. “He’s a hard worker,” Robertson said of the winning rider. The most likely spot to see the Minnesota-bred next will be on the 2013 Festival of Champions card in the Northern Lights Futurity.

Martin Escobar was the only double winner among the riders Sunday, with Hard Cider in the sixth and Scorsese in the seventh, his 10th and 11th winners of the meet.

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.

Mystic Lake Mile Preview

Mystic Lake Mile LogoPart of the ongoing story of any racetrack are its historic races, often named in commemoration of founding fathers, famous horses or grand contributors to the game.

Many of those races have storied pasts and memorable results. Such is the legacy of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury, first run in 1986 and twice later as a Grade III event, a race with winners whose names roll off the tongue like a Sunday litany: to name a few – Paulson & Summa Stables’ Sauna, Nature’s Way, Maktoum al Maktoum’s Balbonella, Down Again, Fieldy and Falls Amiss, in addition to Go Go Jack, KZ Bay, and most recently Ruthville in 2012, owned by Kentucky royalty, Arthur B. Hancock III.

The $100,000 race, at one mile on the turf, will be run for the 21st time on Saturday and has attracted a competitive field of 12 fillies and mares.

This stellar card includes the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile, also with 12 horses, and the $54,100 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby with a field of 10.

The eminent analysts of the pressbox and beyond, those irreproachable handicappers of unparalleled acumen and insight, have varied views on the race.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann sized up the day’s stakes races with this terse but terrific analysis:

“Whether it is their hockey team or their horses, those from Chicago play to win,” she said. “Leave any of them out at your own peril.”

You will find numerous horses with dossiers that include plenty of work in the Windy City.

For pressbox guardian and provider of program riches Jeff Maday, the Lady C looks like this:

“Kune Kune and (trainer) Joan Scott are right there. She should sit right off the pace and win… at a decent price,” he said.

“Hooh Why was good but maybe is past her prime. The (Barry and Joni) Butzow horse (Bryan’s Jewel) has a big chance but I hate that (No. 10) post out there.'”

And then there is irrefutable logic and insight of racing operations analyst Andrew Offerman:

“I don’t know quite what to make of this one,” he said. “Bryan’s Jewel (last year’s runnerup) is most likely to win. The horse was capable of winning a Grade III race and ran in a Grade I.”

Bryan’s Jewel won last time out, the Grade III Obeah at Delaware Park on June 15 at a mile and 1/8. Her previous race produced a win, too, in stakes competition at a mile and 1/16.

Track announcer Paul Allen was succinct in his outlook on the Lady Canterbury “I’ve been pulling for the local horses since KZ Bay won in 1997,” he said. There are chances from all over the country but don’t overlook local Lady Haddassah who is red hot and most importantly 15-1.”

Then there is the inaugural running Saturday of the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile at a mile on the turf for three-year-olds and older, also with a field of 12. “This is a heck of a race,” said the pressbox impresario. “I like A Diehl. That horse looks pretty good. But if they let Hammer’s Terror go alone, he could be tough to beat. Somebody needs to hook up with him. It will come down to the ride.”

The race features the winner and runner-up of the Brooks Fields Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on June 16. Hammer’s Terror, winner of the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby last summer, finished one length in front of Slip and Drive in the Brooks Fields. “He’ll be coming,” added Maday.

“You can’t rule too many of out of this one,” added Offerman. “You can make a case for eight of the 12 horses in this one. There can’t be too many people in this one who look at the PPs and think they don’t have a chance.”

Senor Allen has this pithy portrait of the race:

“If you missed Hammer’s Terror in the Brooks Fields, fret not. You’ll get it all back and then some when he wins the Mystic Lake Mile.”

Stacy Charette-Hill has been the queen of the quarter horse stables this summer and there is no reason to think she won’t be wearing the crown again after the Derby.

She has three of the horses in the field: First Prize Wagon, Hr Ebony Princess and Hr Money Maker, the fastest qualifier of the 10.

Hr Money Maker is a 3-1 morning line choice and will be ridden by the leading quarter horse rider of the meet, Jorge Torres.


Rumbauer (pictured below), a 2-year-old Artie Schiller colt, put on the late rush to win Thursday night’s third race convincingly, a five-furlong event for maiden two-year-olds.

Ridden by Ry Eikleberry, it was an impressive finish by Rumbauer, who is likely headed to the inaugural running of the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on the turf Aug. 3. “Maybe,” said trainer Dave Van Winkle, later adding, “that’s been our dream all along.”

Rumbauer -  07-11-13 - R03 - CBY - Finish

The race will be run on the undercard of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday, August 3.


Wagering on Thursday night’s card totaled $805,212. The $605,300 wagered off-track was the most wagered on a Thursday night (non-holiday) card since August 2004 and was close to breaking the all-time Thursday night (non-holiday) record of $634,407.

Pick 4 players will be happy to hear that the late Pick 4 handled $25,014 – the largest thus far in 2013 and a substantial increase from the average 2012 Pick 4 pool of $7,500. The 14% takeout wager returned $80.70 for $.50 with winners paying ($5.60, $9.00, $3.20 and $6.80).

There were two winning tickets in the early Pick 4 which returned a massive $5,246.2o for $.50. The key to hitting the early Pick 4 was coming up with Affirmed Cure, the $86.20 winner of the night’s 4th race. Not a bad return on investment for a $.50 minimum bet.

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.