Amanda Poston – Minnesota HBPA Groom of the Week

Amanda Poston is the Minnesota HBPA Groom of the Week. She currently works for trainer Tony Rengstorf. After leaving her job as a software engineer, she reinvented her life in the way that made her the happiest, working with horses. Amanda started her journey being around horses by taking lessons as a kid, but broke her arm doing gymnastics and ultimately had to stop riding until she graduated college. As a software engineer, Poston worked for Target and even had a hand in the development of the new self-checkout machines. After Target, she engineered at another company but still felt like something was missing.

In April of 2020, she decided to make a bold move. She sent an email to Canterbury Park to ask if any trainers needed help on the backside and one thing led to another. “Last summer I worked on the weekends because I was a software engineer, and I asked Tony what I had to do to gallop,” Poston said. Galloping refers to riding a racehorse during morning training hours. Exercise riders are extremely important in the training process.  “His answer was ‘Move to Arkansas.'” So in January she made the trip to Arkansas and started learning how to gallop. Four months later, she headed back northward, back to Canterbury Park to become a groom since there was a need in that area. “I just love the job. It’s something I enjoy doing even on the worst, hottest, most humid, awful day. It’s still better than the best day of software [engineering].” When asked if she had a favorite horse she likes to work with, Poston instantly and enthusiastically pointed to, Hismuddawasamudda, a three-year-old bay gelding. “He was my first mount!”

When asked if there was anything she would tell someone looking to get into this line of work, the only advice she had was, “It sounds really dumb but you kind of just have to do it. However you can get your foot in the door, whether it’s showing up to do barn-hop on the weekends or hotwalking, it’s worth a shot.”

Canterbury Park applauds Amanda for the work she’s done this season and offers congratulations for being recognized as the Minnesota HBPA Groom of the Week. She was presented with an award last night during the races.

Story and photograph by Megan Bormann

Drop of Golden Sun Races Tuesday at Will Rogers Downs

The race meet at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma begins Monday. The meet is 29 days, running Monday through Wednesday, March 22 through May 26. It will likely be the starting point of 2021 campaigns for several thoroughbreds that will race at Canterbury Park this spring and summer.

Canterbury mainstay Francisco Bravo has for a number of years used WRD to get ready for Shakopee, and in the process has won many races there with his Oklahoma bred contingent and open company horses. Mike Biehler will train at WRD and wife Lori Biehler, nee Keith, is a jockey. Karl Broberg and Robertino Diodoro will also enter at Will Rogers Downs.

Tony Rengstorf

Tony Rengstorf will see action with his stable including Minnesota bred Drop of Golden Sun who is entered Tuesday in race 3, a $27,500 allowance at six furlongs. The 6-year-old gelding draws the rail in a six-horse field and is 7/5 on the morning line. Alfredo Triana, Jr. is named to ride.

“He is not really a sprinter anymore,” Rengstorf said of Drop of Golden Sun who did his best work last year around two turns. That is not conceding defeat Tuesday however as Rengstorf expects a competitive effort, maybe even a win, that could lead to a stakes race on April 14.

Rengstorf has stalls at Oaklawn as well and will move horses around as needed. He opted for Will Rogers to start the year for Drop of Golden Sun although the horse has been working at Oaklawn.

“I’ll have a lot of horses [at Canterbury] this year but only one 2-year-old,” he said. The owners he has are anxious to find additional older horses for Shakopee.  “My owners are looking to claim more.” That means shopping at Oaklawn as that meet winds to a conclusion in early May.

Drop of Golden Sun was voted 2020 Older Horse of the Canterbury Park Meet based on three wins from four starts including two statebred stakes, and a nostril defeat in another.

Find the Canterbury Park Racebook calendar here.

Canterbury Park First Half in Review

By The Oracle

We recently passed the halfway point of the 2020 Canterbury Park live racing season.  Here is a look inside-the-numbers- at what has transpired on the race track so far this summer.  The following statistics are for thoroughbred races only.

The Odds: 

Favorites are winning 35% of the thoroughbred races at Canterbury Park so far in 2020.  This is one percentage point lower than the national average, and four percentage points below the 2019 Canterbury meet.  When favorites lose, that’s when giant payouts can occur!  We have already had three Pick 5 payouts in excess of $50 thousand dollars for a 50-cent wager this year.

Historically, turf racing at Canterbury Park has yielded a lower percentage of winning favorites than races on the main track.  This is holding true this year, as favorites on the turf are winning at a 31% rate compared to 36% winning favorites on the dirt.

Regarding extreme longshots, there have been ten 20-1 and up winners this year.  Seven of those ten longshot winners occurred in dirt sprints and two were in turf sprints.  Four of the big longshots occurred in maiden special weight races.  In fact, playing every horse to win at odds over 20-1 so far this meet would have been a break-even proposition thus far, with 10 winners from 346 starters through July 27. Maiden claiming races continue to be the most formful, with no big longshot winners and 36% winning favorites from 66 races.

The Jockeys:

Looking at the top ten jockeys in the standings, the All-Star performer for best return-on-investment (ROI) was Alonzo Quinonez.  Alonzo is currently fourth in the standings with 18 wins, and he is returning an impressive $1.39 for every dollar wagered on his mounts.  Quinonez shows 15 of his 18 wins on the main track, and he has been particularly good in dirt routes with a 26%-win rate, which included a $73 winner.  Alonzo also brought home a big longshot on the turf with $94 winner Lilfeatheredindian, triggering a giant P5 payout of $98 thousand dollars.  Quite a strong performance by Alonzo Quinonez in the first half of the meet!

The Trainers:

While Mac Robertson and Robertino Diodoro historically dominate the trainer standings, this year it’s pretty bunched at the top of the leaderboard.  The All-Star award goes to Tony Rengstorf, who is returning a generous $1.98 for every dollar wagered on his horses.  Of his 11 winners, 4 of them have been at 8-1 or higher and he has been very successful in sprint races on both the main track and the turf.  Claiming races have been his best category as he is 5/16 (31%) with an ROI of 3.58.  One of those winners paid a whopping $80!  Congratulations to Tony Rengstorf for an excellent first half to the 2020 season!

Honorable mention goes out to Francisco Bravo (1.56) as he also generated much first half success for the betting public!

Summary:

That’s a brief look at how the favorites fared and who the top jockeys and trainers were over the first half of the Canterbury Park live meet from an ROI perspective.  Notice that most of the leading riders and trainers from a win perspective do not show up high on the ROI list.  The public tends to overbet the leading jockeys and trainers so it pays to keep an open mind.  Good luck in the second half of the meet!

The ROI All-Stars

By The Oracle

We are nearing the halfway point of the 2017 Canterbury Park live racing season.  Here is a look inside-the-numbers at what has transpired on the race track so far..  The following statistics are for thoroughbred races only.

The Odds: 

Favorites are winning 35% of the thoroughbred races at Canterbury Park.  This is two percentage points below the national average for this year, and four percentage points below the 2016 Canterbury meet.  A smaller percentage of winning favorites can lead to larger payoffs!  The maiden special weight category has been the most formful so far, yielding 16 winning favorites from 36 races (44%).  However, this category also unleashed a 55-1 longshot winner on May 6, a horse named Lookin Ata Runaway.  This filly was making her first start as a 3-year-old, was trained by Tony Rengstorf and ridden by Jareth Loveberry.  Congratulations to those connections!

Historically, turf racing at Canterbury Park has yielded a lower percentage of winning favorites than races on the main track.  This is holding true this year, as favorites on the turf are winning at a 30% rate compared to 36% winning favorites on the dirt.

Regarding extreme longshots, there have been nine 20-1 and up winners this year.  Of those nine, four were in turf races and five were on the main track.  This is significant as there are many fewer turf races run than dirt races.  Look for longshots on the Canterbury turf course!

The Jockeys:

Looking at the top ten jockeys in the standings so far, the All-Star performer for best return-on-investment (ROI) was Jareth Loveberry.  Jareth is currently tied for the lead in the standings with Orlando Mojica with 31 wins, and he is returning an impressive $1.23 for every dollar wagered on his mounts.  Loveberry is a new rider to Canterbury Park this year, and the fans may have been focusing more on the established local names like Dean Butler and Alex Canchari.  Loveberry has done his best work on the main track this year, winning 26 of his 31 races on that surface, including that 55-1 longshot discussed above.  Horses like that definitely help the ROI!

Orlando Mojica is also having an excellent meet.  Mojica did very well last year in his first season at Canterbury Park, and he has continued to excel this year.  He is winning at a 22% rate over the turf course (11/50) and is showing a flat bet profit on that surface of 31%.

Alex Canchari deserves a mention as his 21% win percentage is best among the top ten riders.  Due to injury, Alex has had fewer mounts than the jockeys atop the standings, but he could be poised for a strong second half of the meet.  Alex was especially reliable with favorites in the first half, winning at a 44% rate (12/27), and he is quite capable of going on a tear and getting in contention for leading rider.

The Trainers:

The top ten trainer list had three trainers achieving a positive ROI at the midway mark.  Tony Rengstorf got the All-Star award with 12 wins from 67 starts, achieving an ROI of $1.80 for every dollar wagered.  This was due mainly to the 55-1 winner on May 6 described above.  He has excelled in dirt sprints (10/39, ROI = $2.87) and maiden races (5/18, ROI = $4.73), but is currently 0/12 on the turf.  Seven of those turf runners did finish in the top 3, however.

Francisco Bravo has also had a very good first half, winning 16 races with an ROI of $1.23.  His best category was claiming races, winning with 5 of 20 runners (ROI = $2.29) including a 20-1 winner named Awesome Emmit on June 30 in a claiming race that was moved from the turf to the main track.  Jockey Quincy Hamilton was aboard that one.  Bravo has also done extremely well in maiden claiming races, winning with 5 of 9 runners (56%) for an ROI of $2.12.

McLean Robertson has been the dominant trainer this year at Canterbury Park, as his 29 wins from 114 starters nearly doubles the win total of the second-place trainer in the standings.  Not only is Robertson leading in terms of win percentage (25%), he is also showing an ROI of $1.10 for every dollar wagered on each of his starters.  That’s a rare achievement for a trainer who is so well known by the local bettors.  Robertson is winning the big money races too, as 22 of his 29 wins have come in Allowance or Stakes races.  He even slipped a 23-1 shot past the crowd on July 3, when Teddy Time ran down A.P is Loose to win the Blair’s Cove Stakes on the turf with Quincy Hamilton aboard.  That was an easy name play exacta box for Vikings fans!

Summary:

That’s a brief look at how the favorites fared and who the top jockeys and trainers were over the first half of the Canterbury Park live meet from an ROI perspective.  Good luck in the second half of the meet!

 

Photo provided by Coady Photography

Aroney – A Class Act

Aroney is a 9-year-old bay gelding, non-descript aside from the heart-shaped white marking on his face, just below his forelock. His strong muscles ripple underneath his gleaming coat and his ears are pricked, sensitive and alert, belying his age.

 Aroney was recently acquired by Nextgen Racing Stable, a group of owners that run their horses at Canterbury Park. The partnership is comprised of relatives of Canterbury Chairman of the Board Curt Sampson, including his son Russ Sampson and several nieces, nephews and grandchildren. He is trained by Tony Rengstorf, and is entered to run tonight in the second race. Orlando Mojica will guide him from post position nine.

The gelding isn’t a superstar – in fact he hasn’t won since last September when he won a starter allowance at Kentucky Downs at a mile and a half on the rolling turf course. He comes into the race off of several disappointing performances at Oaklawn, but those races were contested on the dirt, a surface that has clearly been at least part of the cause of many of Aroney’s subpar performances. Tonight, Aroney was supposed to return to the grass, his preferred surface, but inclement weather has forced all turf races to the main track.

Aroney holds a spot in Canterbury’s record book at that ‘about 1 and 1/16 mile’ on the turf. Almost four years ago on June 20, 2013, the last season he raced in Minnesota, Aroney blazed through the distance in 1:40.83, setting a turf course record that still stands. He also raced in Minnesota the year prior, when he won three races in a row. Over the course of the two summers that Aroney was stabled at Canterbury, he ran 11 times. Of those 11 starts, he won four and finished second in four.

The gelding is what many would consider to be a bit of a war horse, or at least well on his way to becoming one. He has raced 82 times, consistently running between 12 to 14 times a year, never sidelined, rarely getting a break of more than a month at a time. He has won 10 races, come in second in 13 and third in 12. He has earned $227, 201 dollars in his 7-year career, a good chunk of that won here at Canterbury Park. Aroney has been in and out of different shedrows all over the country, his papers have changed hands many times, and his name has appeared on the set-lists of different trainers.  He probably hasn’t made any of them rich, but he’s tried hard, and he’s won for most, if not all of them. He’s paid his way.

Aroney’s return to Minnesota is somewhat like a coming home party. In addition to being the place where he ran his best races, and the only track where he set a course record, there is another reason that Aroney is tied to Minnesota racing history. Aroney’s original owner was Minnesotan Bentley Smith, son in law of Frances Genter, a famed, Derby-winning Minnesotan whose Genter Stables owned and bred some of the fastest and finest thoroughbreds to race in the mid and latter parts of the 20th century, up until her passing in 1992. After she died, Smith took over responsibility of her stable before branching out and creating his own. Like his mother-in-law, most of Smith’s horses were in training with the Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger, who won the Derby for Mrs. Genter in 1990 with champion colt Unbridled. Aroney was one of the last to run for the successful duo before Smith’s death in 2011.

Aroney was originally purchased by Dave Astar of Astar Lindquist, LLC from the Bentley Smith Estate Sale in 2012. It was Astar who bought him as a little piece of Minnesota nostalgia and brought him to Canterbury for the first time, proud to own a homebred of the late, great Bentley Smith. Aroney ran successfully for him for a couple years before he was eventually claimed. This winter in Oaklawn Park, trainer Tony Rengstorf recognized the horse with the heart on his head, and remembering what he had accomplished at Canterbury Park in the past, purchased him privately at the end of the Oaklawn meet. Nextgen Racing Stable was eager to acquire Aroney and bring him home to Minnesota. “We want to see if he can regain his old glory,” explained Russ Sampson.

As Aroney attempts to regain that old glory, he continues to carry the torch for Bentley Smith. He is now the only horse still running that was once owned by the Minnesota horse racing legend. But Aroney is also what the future is made of. Nextgen Racing Stable was formed to carry on the racing tradition of the Sampson family, and what better way to build a foundation for future generations in Minnesota racing than to stake it on the strength and nostalgia of that which came before. Aroney may just be a non-descript bay horse with a heart on his head, but he represents much more in the past and future of Canterbury Park and horse racing in Minnesota.

Katie Merritt is a senior at the University of Kentucky and currently an intern in the Canterbury Park Press Box. Before returning to school she galloped at several tracks around the country, but spent the majority of her time working for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes. Katie galloped Aroney in 2010 and 2011 while working for Wilkes. 

Opening Weekend Highlights; More to Come Friday

The first race of the Canterbury 2017 live race meet, an allowance optional claimer, was won by Aces High.

The 6-year-old chestnut gelding is owned by Pocket Aces Racing, LLC, trained by Eric Heitzmann, and ridden by Alex Canchari.

“I’m leading trainer!” joked Heitzmann in the winners’ circle after the race. “It feels great to be back in Minnesota and that’s a good way to start off the meet. We love coming to Canterbury, the track, the atmosphere, the people! I’m a Louisiana boy, but if I had to pick up my roots and be somewhere else it would be here!”

Alex Canchari, last years’ second leading rider, went on to win two more races on opening night, giving him a riding triple. He won the third race on the only first time starter in the field, a 4-year-old gelding named Saganaga, trained by Gary Scherer. Saganaga actually has a bit of family history here at Canterbury Park – his dam, Pretty As A Smile, won the Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship Stakes in 2008. Later in the card, Canchari won the sixth race aboard Justfortherunofit, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Sandra Sweere.

Denny Velazquez also had a riding double, winning the second race on Trappingsofsilver and the seventh race on Fridaynitestar. Both are trained by Joel Berndt.

Chad Lindsay, a newcomer from the southern California circuit, was excited to win his first race at Canterbury Park for trainer Robertino Diodoro.  While the first three races were all decided in photo finishes, the fourth race was won in convincing fashion by Sidearm, Lindsay’s mount. “It feels good to win a race here on opening day,” said Lindsay, walking back to the jock’s room after the race. “I came here to win races, so it’s great to get off on the right foot.”

Alex Canchari continued his winning ways on Saturday, taking the L’Etoile Du Nord Stakes, the first stake of the Canterbury meet.  He was all smiles coming into the winners’ circle. “I was feeling really confident at the quarter-pole,” he beamed after the race.  Thoughtless, his mount, was the only entrant for trainer Mac Robertson on opening weekend, making every start a winning one for last year’s leading trainer.

Nik Goodwin made his first win of the meet aboard Shrewd Move look easy as he slipped through along the inside rail at the top of the stretch to take the Paul Bunyan Stakes. “I was tracking the horses in front of me, and when they came off the turn they were making their move and the rail opened up, and I had a lot of horse to take me through and he just kept running,” said Goodwin after the race. Shrewd Move was the longest shot in the field and paid a whopping $34.40 to win.

Speaking of big pay-outs, Jareth Loveberry won his first race of the meet Saturday on the aptly named Lookin Ata Runaway. The longshot paid $112.20 to win in the fifth race.  Lookin Ata Runaway was the second of three wins for trainer Tony Rengstorf.  He won the third race with Lasoeurcadetecheri and  the last race with My Apparition. Orlando Mojica was aboard that one who also paid a handsome price of 17.00 for the win. The three wins allowed Rengstorf to exit the weekend as the leading trainer. Scherer, Diodoro and Berndt each had two victories.

The 20,258 in attendance Saturday for live racing and Minnesota’s Biggest Kentucky Derby Party was the fourth largest crowd in Canterbury Park history.

Racing continues Friday and Saturday.

First post on Friday is 6:30 p.m. The fourth race, restricted to 3-year-old fillies, includes a trainer familiar to Canterbury horseplayers in Tammy Domenosky. She was a top conditioner herein the late 2000s, finishing in the top five in ’08 and ’09. Domenosky primarily trains in Chicago but raced a bit at Oaklawn over the winter. She has entered Lookforasmile who won her first start in a maiden claimer in February in Hot Springs. Leslie Mawing will ride the ship-in.

Saturday’s card will begin at 12:45.

 

Notes compiled by Katie Merritt.

Video by Michelle Blasko.

Katie Merritt is a senior at the University of Kentucky and currently an intern in the Canterbury Park Press Box. Before returning to school she galloped at several tracks around the country, but spent the majority of her time working for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.

 

Tony Rengstorf

Tony Rengstorf

By Kristin Bechthold

Trainer Tony Rengstorf currently trains 20 horses at Canterbury Park. Rengstorf also trains at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Originally from Minnesota, he now owns a house in Hot Springs, Arkansas in addition to his house in Nicollet, Minnesota on Spring Lake.

Since Rengstorf grew up on a dairy farm, the agricultural business has been all he’s ever known. In 1983, he moved from Minnesota to Kentucky to begin working with horses. He started on the racetrack as a hotwalker and groom, and also worked at a breeding farm in Lexington. “I’ve kind of done it all, actually,” he said. “A little bit of everything.” He began working at Canterbury when it opened in 1985.

For Rengstorf, the most rewarding aspect of being a trainer is helping people. Although winning and being competitive comes along with the job, he finds that making a difference in someone’s life for the better is the most important thing. “Whether it be helping them get stalls here or giving them a job, I love to help any way I can,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love to win races, but I think helping people is the most important thing.”

 

 

Although he is devoted to his career as a trainer, the most valuable thing in Rengstorf’s life is his family. He has three children: one daughter, Katelyn, and two sons, Levi and Noah. One of his other favorite pastimes is watching Noah play football, who is his youngest son at sixteen years old.

As a true outdoorsman, Rengstorf indulges in hobbies that allow him to be outside and enjoy the fresh air. Two of these include hunting and fishing. He takes full advantage of his home on Spring Lake by spending most of his free time on the water in the summer. He hunts with his sons in the fall, mainly deer and turkey.

Although he loves Minnesota, Rengstorf’s dream retirement plan is to move to a small cabin in the mountains and live off the land. “Where that is, I don’t know,” he said with a laugh. “Somewhere out west probably.”

Video: The Exercise Riders

GallopingCover01aExercise riders serve the valuable purpose of getting all horses ready to race by riding them throughout the early morning hours day in and day out. They are some of the unheralded heroes behind the success of every horse, trainer and jockey. This week’s Canterbury Spotlight checks in with Tiny Volby, an exercise rider at Canterbury Park.

Video: Michelle Benson

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.