General Jack in With Anticipation

General Jack - Shakopee Juvenile Stakes - 08-03-13 - R07 - CBY - Inside FinishGeneral Jack, winner of the inaugural Shakopee Juvenile Stakes – a part of of the 2013 Mystic Lake Derby card – is favored on the morning line in Thursday’s Grade II With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York. Trained by Michael Maker, General Jack will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik – unquestionably the top female jockey in North America.

General Jack shipped into Canterbury following a tough-luck second place finish in a Maiden Special Weight at Belmont on July 12 as the prohibitive favorite. The public took notice of his horrific trip in Elmont, NY and sent him to the post at 3/5 in the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile. Under a patient ride by Victor Lebron, he left no doubt about his superiority drawing away to win by a widening three lengths.

Installed as the 5/2 favorite by NYRA morning line maker Eric Donovan, General Jack will be hooking up with a duo that he already ran against in his maiden race in 3rd place finisher Bashart (4-1 third choice) and winner Tiger Bourbon (3-1 second choice). It is evident that Donovan feels strongly about the group that finished 1-2-3 in that July 12 Maiden Special Weight at Belmont as they are the top three choices here. That trio was 7-lengths clear of the rest of the field back on July 12.

The 81 Beyer Speed Figure run by General Jack in the Shakopee Juvenile is 7 points superior to any other runner in the With Anticipation. Out of the multiple graded stakes winner J’Ray who did her best work at 9 furlongs and by Giant’s Causeway, General Jack’s pedigree suggests that he should thrive in the 8.5 furlong With Anticipation.

One tip for the live racing fans, take a good look at this race and note how General Jack performs. Chairman Crooks, the runner-up in the Shakopee Juvenile, comes back to the races in an allowance race on Friday night and is likely to be prohibitively favored. General Jack’s performance could give you a good indication as to Chairman Crook’s chances.

TWO GRADED STAKES WINNERS AT SARATOGA?

General Jack will attempt to become the second horse with Canterbury connections to win a graded race at Saratoga during the 2013 meet. 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 is working toward the Grade I Spinaway Stakes which will be held this Sunday at Saratoga Race Course. Entries for the Spinaway will be taken tomorrow.

Canterbury horses have shipped around the country with success in the past; however, two graded stakes victories at one of – if not the – best race meets in North America would be unprecedented.

CONNECTIONS ON BOTH COASTS

Canterbury connections haven’t been restricted to the east coast this summer. Delegation, runner-up in the 2012 Mystic Lake Derby, ran sixth in last Saturday’s Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar beaten only a length for second behind runaway winner and current top handicap horse in North America Game On Dude.

Additionally, the two-year-old daughter of Canterbury Hall of Famer Glitter Star, debuted at Del Mar on August 18 running a solid third.

UPDATE (8/29 – 10:15AM): General Jack was scratched from the race this morning. No word yet as to the reason.

Makeover Proves Successful

POR at competitionSo you think former racehorses are tied even in retirement to the track, forever awaiting the call of the starting gate, pinning their ears at the sound of the bugle, their nervous systems overcome by adrenaline and their instincts in command of their wills?

Once a racehorse always a racehorse? Can’t teach an old thoroughbred new tricks?

Don’t tell that to Lindsay Jensen and her seven-year-old mare Porsha, or to any of the other 11 horses and riders they competed against in something called the Extreme Retired Racehorse Makeover competition in Negley, Ohio, the first week of August.

With a mere 100 days of “re-training” to accomplish the task, Lindsay had Porsha reschooled well enough to take second place overall in the competition, using a free-style performance that had the crowd on its feet and hooting in appreciation.

Porsha was known as Doc of the Bay when she competed on the racetrack, a 2006 foal bred in Louisiana by Valene Farms of Minnesota. She finished that first career with a 3-9-6 record from 36 career starts and earnings of $84,000.

From the moment she started working with the small thoroughbred – Porsha’s only about 14.2 hands – Lindsay figured she had a good mare, one that would listen and learn.

For the most part that impression was correct, although at one point during training Lindsay said that an eye-to-eye heart-to-heart became necessary.

She left Rush Meadow Farm near Delano for the event not quite sure what to expect when they arrived as a matter of fact. “We were having a lot of issues about a month before the competition and that delayed training,” she said. “I couldn’t get anything done with her. She didn’t want to work.”

Imagine that, a horse led to water that won’t drink.

Then, with only days to go before the competition, something clicked, the sun shone through and Porsha started behaving like a student who knew her stuff. “A light just seemed to go on,” Lindsay said. “Really wonderful.”

Porsha was once again the sweetheart she had been originally. Working with her was once again a joy.

“I don’t know what set her off,” Lindsay questioned. “We’d be doing reigning-horse spins and she wouldn’t stop. I took her to the vet to see if something was wrong, just to make sure. She was sound.”

Armed with new information and a more profound understanding of the issue, Lindsay had a reaction most people might understand.

“Then I was mad,” she said.”We had a pretty big fight. I took her for a couple-of-hours ride and that made her mind right. She’s been perfect ever since.”

Nonetheless, Lindsay dropped the spin from her routine. She had enough to worry about without adding that to the list. She figured the spin must have set off a “brain trigger” of some kind. Doubts lingered in her mind. Would all go right in the arena, in front of a crowd, when every little thing mattered?

“She was the best she could have been, and I rode the best that I could,” she said.

The competition included a water jump and circle work around “those big construction cones. I did a couple of flying lead changes with her, too,” Lindsay continued. “Actually, at the end, while on her, I picked up the cones and carried them off. She did really well.”

The routines also required a freestyle demonstration and a basic pattern used in barrel racing.

“I had schooled her a lot on the barrels and it paid off,” Lindsay said. We had a little bobble but still managed to finish second.”

Porsha had been playing “demolition derby” with the second barrel during training, so Lindsay tried taking her a little wider on the turn. “She listened too much and took a huge wide step,” she said.”But she was really good anyway.”

Then came the part that thrilled the crowd, the most original freestyle exhibition of the competition. Armed with a 22-pistol loaded with blanks, Lindsay stood in the saddle and began firing off round after round, six in all, and Porsha stood there with her.

“Everyone was cheering,” Lindsay said, “and my legs were shaking when I was standing there, thinking that this might be the dumbest thing I’ve done all year.”

Just dumb enough to finish second in the nation, with a horse that once raced at Canterbury. Definitive proof that some horses can learn new tricks, after all.

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.

Sunday Saratoga Connections

Designer%20Legs%20-%20%2006-28-13%20-%20R06%20-%20CBY%20-%20FinishMost of the attention Sunday in the $20,000-added Cash Caravan Stakes was on defending champion Streak N Hot, Bob Morehouse winner Western Fun and a well-rested Naketa, making her first start in 13 months.

That’s the fun of a 440-yard quarter horse dash, as Explosive Guns demonstrated with an explosive burst under Jorge Torres, enabling him to put the tip of his nose in front of Tres My Tracks and Ry Eikleberry in the final jump

“He broke a little slowly,” said Torres, the leading quarter horse rider at Canterbury. “I gave him a little smack and he picked it up from there.”

Explosive Guns was a 6-1 choice in the six-horse field, behind Western Fun at 2-1, Tres My Tracks at 5-2 and Streak N Hot at 7-2. Western Fun was third under Stormy Smith and Naketa, 5-1, next with Mark Luark up.

The winner, timed in 22:09, is owned by Fred Pelzer of Royalton.

In the winner’s circle was Doug Hoseck of Hector, the owner of Beauty’s Prince, the No. 6 horse in the race and also the owner of Cash Caravan, who raced three seasons during the Canterbury Downs era.

Fourstardave Brings Back Fond Memories

Remember Fourstardave, the winner of the third St. Paul Derby and second New York-bred to win the most prestigious race in Canterbury Downs history?

Well, the folks in New York certainly do. Known as the Sultan of Saratoga, Fourstardave is one of three horses buried in Claire Court at Saratoga, honored thusly because he won at least one race at the Spa from 1987 to 1994.

Fourstar finished his career with a 21-18-16 record from 99 starts and earnings of $1.636 million.

He was preceded as a St. Paul Derby winner by another New York-bred named Cheapskate, who won the inaugural race in 1986 as a 72-1 longshot.

All of that is a long way of saying that $500,000 Grade II Fourstardave Handicap was run at Saratoga on Saturday. Earlier run as the Daryl’s Joy Handicap, Fourstardave won the race himself. It was renamed in his honor for the first time in 1996.

The winner on Saturday was the current horse of the year, Wise Dan, who took charge in midstretch to win easily by a length over King Kreese despite carrying 129 pounds, 12 more than the second place horse.

CANTERBURY MAIDEN-BREAKER TACKLES SARATOGA

The 97th running of the $200,000 Grade II Adirondack drew special attention from a number of folks at Canterbury Park on Sunday. The race included a two-year-old filly named Designer Legs (pictured above) who broke her maiden in Shakopee on June 28 with Denny Velazquez up.

Trained at that point by Gary Scherer, Designer Legs is owned by John and Sally Valene, long-time participants in Minnesota’s thoroughbred industry. The two-year-old daughter of Graeme Hall from Elegant Designer is currently trained by Dallas Stewart.

The Valenes watched the race at Canterbury Park and were delighted with the win, which required a stewards’ inquiry to alter the outcome.

Designer Legs finished maybe a long nose behind Who’s In Town. However, that one was involved in a significant bumping incident with the heavy favorite Fiftyshadesofgold. The stewards determined that Who’s In Town caused Fiftyshadesofgold a chance at a better placing and a defeat by a nose for Designer Legs became a victory via disqualification.

Velazquez was asked about the horse shortly before Sunday’s race. After breaking her maiden in Shakopee she won for a second time at Prairie Meadows.

“She’s a very nice filly. A fast filly,” he said.

He had a chance to ride her at Prairie Meadows as well.

“Yeah, you liked her so well you stayed here to ride an ostrich,” Scott Stevens joshed the young rider.

Small consolation, but Velazquez did win the ostrich race on extreme day.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann was on the right horse on the right day, however. She was on Designer Legs like a Wall Street broker on an inside tip.

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.