The 4th of July

Badge Of Glory - Frances Genter Stakes - 07-04-13 - R08 - CBY - Under Rail FinishNo one in the public eye of American Racing captured the hearts of the thoroughbred world more convincingly than a 92-year-old woman from Minnesota in 1990.

Frances Genter, the grand dame of American racing, is still recalled for her Kentucky Derby win with Unbridled and the emotional race call of trainer Carl Nafzger that year at Churchill Downs.

Her lack of height and advancing years prevented Mrs. Genter from seeing clearly over the heads of fans in front of her, so Nafzger, at her side, called the race as Unbridled brought home the roses that afternoon.

Although the Kentucky Derby win thrust her into the national spotlight, Frances Genter and her deceased husband, Harold, were widely credited with helping build the Florida thoroughbred industry.

They owned some of the legendary horses of racing and breeding including champion two-year-old filly My Dear Girl, 1951 Santa Anita Derby winner Rough ‘n Tumble, 1967 Florida Derby winner In Reality, and 1980 Flamingo Stakes winner Superbity.

Canterbury Park annually stages a race named for the Eclipse-Award winning Mrs. Genter, as it did on Thursday in front of more than 14,000 fans with the $50,000-guaranteed Frances Genter Stakes.

It is certainly appropriate that a jockey who was riding at Canterbury Park the year Unbridled won the Derby was also aboard the winner of this race named for the owner of the 1990 3-year-old North American Horse of the Year. It is also fitting that he won this race only once before in its 23 runnings, in 1990 aboard Superb Sympathy.

Hall of Fame jockey Scott Stevens, who put in the ride of the season so far, in an obscure race on Wednesday, had to change plans quickly during the course of the race after strategy A was dismantled quickly.

The plan for his horse, Badge of Glory was simple. “We wanted the lead,” Stevens said. “But we couldn’t keep up with Mac’s horse (Hall of Fame trainer Mac Robertson’s Blue Moon Magic).”

Then the plan disintegrated as Stevens’ horse began taking dirt in the face. “By the time I got her to settle, I think we only had two horses beat,” Stevens added.

His observation was exact.

With a half mile to go in the six-furlong event, Stevens was in front of only Top Vow and Adorkable. It was a glory run from there. “When I asked her, she really came running,” Stevens said.

Running indeed. Badge of Glory, owned by Cheryl Sprick and Richard Bremer, picked off horses one by one, eight in all, to finish one length in front of 54-1 outsider Sultry Queen with Anne Von Rosen up and 1 ½ in front of the tiring even money favorite Blue Moon Magic and Derek Bell.

The win was the third in the Frances Genter Stakes for trainer Bernell Rhone, who won last year with Happy Hour Honey and in 1997 with Anisha.

Badge of Glory wanted the lead on Thursday but benefited from the swift early pace up front when Sentiment Gray and Juan Rivera went right at Bleu Moon Magic to create fractions of 21.67, 44.66 and 57.98. The winner, a chestnut filly by Badge of Silver from Dracken, caught the tiring horses in front of her with a winning time of 1:12. 74.

The victory made Badge of Glory the fifth Minnesota-bred filly of all time to complete the Northern Lights Debutante/Frances Genter Stakes sweep capturing both the two-year-old and three-year-old Minnesota Sprint Stakes joining Her Sweet Saint (2010), Chick Fight (2009), Sentimental Charm (2006) and Samdanya (1998).

LUCKY DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN THE SAME THING

Trainer Randy Weidner, a native of Rosemount, was back in the winner’s circle Thursday with a horse named Track A Tac, his first winner since a tornado devastated his barn in Moore, Okla.

Track A Tac won the 350-yard dash, Thursday’s 10th race, just as his trainer and owner, M and M Racing Stables had hoped.

“This horse was waiting for me when I got here (after the tornado),” said Weidner. Originally, the horse was supposed to go to Oklahoma but the owner , Pat Krieg of Tucson, arranged for the horse to pick up a ride to Minnesota from Turf Paradise in Phoenix.

Pat was in North Dakota this week to attend her brother’s funeral. Her brother, Greg Marquardt, 63, was a jockey and raced in his younger days against Bernell and Russ Rhone and Gary Scherer.

So, the victory was bittersweet for Krieg.

And Weidner, too.

“When we got her we had a one-horse stable,” said Weidner, who is batting .500. Track A Tac is his second starter at Canterbury.

The horse’s barn name, by the way, is Lucky.

PICK YOUR PUPPY

Oscar appears to have some competition this year from a hippy cousin in the Dachshund ranks.

Oscar, the defending Wiener Dog race winner from 2012, was a little restive on Thursday but still beat nine rivals to the wire first in the warm-up for the Labor Day finals.

On his heels was Philly, a wirehair Dachsund, who hasn’t raced in nearly two years but looked in rare form nonetheless.

Philly is owned by Mike Linnemann and Emily Gage and is not to be taken lightly. He has two third-place finishes in this race and would like to change that this time around.

THE VIDEO SAYS IT ALL

Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget that Canterbury held its annual hot dog eating contest on the fourth. However, the display of gluttony was too much for this blogger to overcome. Watch the video:

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.

11,000+ Enjoy Rescheduled July 4th Festivities

Who was your favorite winner over the weekend: Serena Williams, the Bulls at Pamplona, Oscar the wiener dog, Lori Keith, Soonerette, Huckleberry Mojito or the hot dog champ?

They all deserve a tip of the cap, but Soonerette and Huckleberry Mojito (pictured above) were truly the stars of Saturday’s card in Shakopee.

There were 11,337 fans on hand who might have ideas of their own, but most of them would surely agree with the two equine stars.

Soonerette, the 3-year-old filly out of the Donnie Von Hemel barn shipped in from Arlington Park and stole the early show under a smart ride from Tanner Riggs in the $75,000 Northbound Pride Stakes.

Then in the $40,650 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby, Nik Goodwin, the leading Q rider on the track, guided Huckleberry Mojito to an easy win, setting a track record of 19.3 in the process.

By that time Keith had already ridden three winners on the card, Williams had long put her Wimbledon trophy in a safe spot, the bulls were resting up for another shot at the Spanish crowd and Oscar was on his way home to Ellsworth, Wis., with his championship booty.

NORTHBOUND PRIDE OAKS

Whenever the money gets better, the horses start arriving and three of them shipped in for the race named after one of Canterbury’s Hall of Fame runners from the past.

There was Banded from Prairie Meadows, Starship Duchess from Arlington Park and Soonerette (above) from the same suburban Chicago site.

The mile race on the turf belonged entirely to Soonerette and Tanner Riggs, who guided the Master Command filly to a gate to wire triumph for her 60 percent cut of the $75,000 prize.

The margin at the wire was two lengths back to Banded, with Starship in third after a perfectly executed ride from Riggs, who got very basic instructions in the paddock from Von Hemel’s assistant.

He was told the put the horse at the lead out of the gate and that’s just what he did.

“They just told me to let her roll,” Riggs said, “and that’s what I did.”

Riggs regarded the win as payback to Von Hemel for favors done over the years. “He gave me horses to ride at Arlington,” Riggs said, “and kind of worked as a mentor to me.”

Von Hemel was not present but Tanner’s uncle and aunt, Roger and Lisa Riggs from near Mitchell, S.D., were. “We like to come up and watch Tanner ride when we can,” Roger said. “He rode a good race today.”

A bystander took a look at the winning horse and remarked. “You wouldn’t have guess that horse would win it. He’s kind of ratty looking.”

Sometimes looks are deceiving and that was certainly the case in this race.

CANTERBURY PARK QUARTER HORSE DERBY

Huckleberry, a three-year-old daughter of Feature Mr. Jess from Eye Opening Special, opened a few eyes and then tried to close some, too.

Under Goodwin, she broke cleanly and charged to the front, finishing easily in front of Painted Lies and Paint Or More.

“I wasn’t think record, but I knew she was traveling pretty fast,” said Goodwin. “She broke straight and I just tried to guide her from there.”

Moments later in the winner’s circle, the winner nearly took out winning trainer Ed Ross Hardy, delivering a kick to his leg. The impact was reduced by Hardy’s proximity to the horse. Had he been a couple of feet further away, it might have leveled him.

The win was the third straight for Huckleberry, who was the fastest qualifier for the Derby in the June 23 trials.

The winner has a historic blood-line connection to Canterbury. Her dam won the Express Handicap twice, the 350 Handicap and the Bob Morehouse, all in Shakopee.

Huckleberry apparently shares one more trait with her mama, who was about as ornery as they come on occasion.

None of that seemed to matter in the winner’s circle on Saturday.

CONTROVERSY DOGS WIENER RACE

There were concerns earlier in the week that Oscar might not be ready for the finals of the 2012 Dachshund Dash, not ready even though he was a prohibitive favorite after qualifying with one of the fastest times ever.

Oscar (in the lead above) suffered a mishap last week and has been on antibiotics the last few days. It seems that he got a little overly excited when his owner Chrissy Bitterman got home from work the other day and she inadvertently stepped on him.

That raised all sorts of concerns prior to Saturday’s championship, postponed from July 4 along with the rest of that card.

Nonetheless, Oscar was a clear winner once again, as he was in the qualifying heat, outrunning nine rivals to win easily, although not without controversy. Oscar shot out of the gate like a rocket and straight to the finish line where Bitterman, of Ellsworth, Wis., awaited him with a treat.

He stopped upon reaching the finish, however, and there was some brief uncertainly whether he had actually crossed the line.

A review determined that, yes, in fact, his nose had broken the plane.

“He always stops like that,” said Bitterman, ”as soon as he gets to me. He’s been trained to do that.”

Upon hearing that Oscar had run on antibiotics, an anti inflammatory drug for his recent injury, there was a minor objection that it had not been reported in the program, as such cases are with the horses.

Another quick review determined that what applies in the horse world is not necessarily a factor in the dog domain.

Bitterman also explained that Oscar’s full name is Oscar Michael, named after her late son. She was not aware of the contest until a friend e-mailed her in June suggesting that she enter Oscar in the contest.

Oscar has been on a bland diet all week along with the medication. Even his treats had to be changed.

A 10-pound, 15-inch 2-year-old, Oscar did his training in a cornfield on property owned by Jan Godden of River Falls, a friend of Bitterman’s.

“He’d run all over that field,” said Bitterman. Well, until the injury, he did.

“I didn’t know if he could run very fast today,” she added

Oscar answered that concern with an affirmative “No problem.”

Afterward there was a treat awaiting him in the winner’s circle. His diet still didn’t allow the usual treats, so Bittmeran prepared something special.

A bit of bacon.

TOP DOG GULPS FIVE DOGS

The rules to the hot-dog eating contest have changed in the last few years, putting some of the top dogs of year’s gone by at a disadvantage.

At one time, the number of hot dogs consumed in a period of time determined the winner. The contestant to consume five hot dogs the fastest has been the winner of recent contests.

That puts a seven-time winner such as Paul Gustafson of Wayzata, affectionately known as Gus D Dawn, at a decided disadvantage. “I guess I’m just getting old,” he lamented after Saturday’s contest, won by Mark Pederson of Little Canada.

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.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Video Credit: Jon Mikkelson & The Canterbury Park Television Department

11,000+ Enjoy Rescheduled July 4th Festivities

Who was your favorite winner over the weekend: Serena Williams, the Bulls at Pamplona, Oscar the wiener dog, Lori Keith, Soonerette, Huckleberry Mojito or the hot dog champ?

They all deserve a tip of the cap, but Soonerette and Huckleberry Mojito (pictured above) were truly the stars of Saturday’s card in Shakopee.

There were 11,337 fans on hand who might have ideas of their own, but most of them would surely agree with the two equine stars.

Soonerette, the 3-year-old filly out of the Donnie Von Hemel barn shipped in from Arlington Park and stole the early show under a smart ride from Tanner Riggs in the $75,000 Northbound Pride Stakes.

Then in the $40,650 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby, Nik Goodwin, the leading Q rider on the track, guided Huckleberry Mojito to an easy win, setting a track record of 19.3 in the process.

By that time Keith had already ridden three winners on the card, Williams had long put her Wimbledon trophy in a safe spot, the bulls were resting up for another shot at the Spanish crowd and Oscar was on his way home to Ellsworth, Wis., with his championship booty.

NORTHBOUND PRIDE OAKS

Whenever the money gets better, the horses start arriving and three of them shipped in for the race named after one of Canterbury’s Hall of Fame runners from the past.

There was Banded from Prairie Meadows, Starship Duchess from Arlington Park and Soonerette (above) from the same suburban Chicago site.

The mile race on the turf belonged entirely to Soonerette and Tanner Riggs, who guided the Master Command filly to a gate to wire triumph for her 60 percent cut of the $75,000 prize.

The margin at the wire was two lengths back to Banded, with Starship in third after a perfectly executed ride from Riggs, who got very basic instructions in the paddock from Von Hemel’s assistant.

He was told the put the horse at the lead out of the gate and that’s just what he did.

“They just told me to let her roll,” Riggs said, “and that’s what I did.”

Riggs regarded the win as payback to Von Hemel for favors done over the years. “He gave me horses to ride at Arlington,” Riggs said, “and kind of worked as a mentor to me.”

Von Hemel was not present but Tanner’s uncle and aunt, Roger and Lisa Riggs from near Mitchell, S.D., were. “We like to come up and watch Tanner ride when we can,” Roger said. “He rode a good race today.”

A bystander took a look at the winning horse and remarked. “You wouldn’t have guess that horse would win it. He’s kind of ratty looking.”

Sometimes looks are deceiving and that was certainly the case in this race.

CANTERBURY PARK QUARTER HORSE DERBY

Huckleberry, a three-year-old daughter of Feature Mr. Jess from Eye Opening Special, opened a few eyes and then tried to close some, too.

Under Goodwin, she broke cleanly and charged to the front, finishing easily in front of Painted Lies and Paint Or More.

“I wasn’t think record, but I knew she was traveling pretty fast,” said Goodwin. “She broke straight and I just tried to guide her from there.”

Moments later in the winner’s circle, the winner nearly took out winning trainer Ed Ross Hardy, delivering a kick to his leg. The impact was reduced by Hardy’s proximity to the horse. Had he been a couple of feet further away, it might have leveled him.

The win was the third straight for Huckleberry, who was the fastest qualifier for the Derby in the June 23 trials.

The winner has a historic blood-line connection to Canterbury. Her dam won the Express Handicap twice, the 350 Handicap and the Bob Morehouse, all in Shakopee.

Huckleberry apparently shares one more trait with her mama, who was about as ornery as they come on occasion.

None of that seemed to matter in the winner’s circle on Saturday.

CONTROVERSY DOGS WIENER RACE

There were concerns earlier in the week that Oscar might not be ready for the finals of the 2012 Dachshund Dash, not ready even though he was a prohibitive favorite after qualifying with one of the fastest times ever.

Oscar (in the lead above) suffered a mishap last week and has been on antibiotics the last few days. It seems that he got a little overly excited when his owner Chrissy Bitterman got home from work the other day and she inadvertently stepped on him.

That raised all sorts of concerns prior to Saturday’s championship, postponed from July 4 along with the rest of that card.

Nonetheless, Oscar was a clear winner once again, as he was in the qualifying heat, outrunning nine rivals to win easily, although not without controversy. Oscar shot out of the gate like a rocket and straight to the finish line where Bitterman, of Ellsworth, Wis., awaited him with a treat.

He stopped upon reaching the finish, however, and there was some brief uncertainly whether he had actually crossed the line.

A review determined that, yes, in fact, his nose had broken the plane.

“He always stops like that,” said Bitterman, ”as soon as he gets to me. He’s been trained to do that.”

Upon hearing that Oscar had run on antibiotics, an anti inflammatory drug for his recent injury, there was a minor objection that it had not been reported in the program, as such cases are with the horses.

Another quick review determined that what applies in the horse world is not necessarily a factor in the dog domain.

Bitterman also explained that Oscar’s full name is Oscar Michael, named after her late son. She was not aware of the contest until a friend e-mailed her in June suggesting that she enter Oscar in the contest.

Oscar has been on a bland diet all week along with the medication. Even his treats had to be changed.

A 10-pound, 15-inch 2-year-old, Oscar did his training in a cornfield on property owned by Jan Godden of River Falls, a friend of Bitterman’s.

“He’d run all over that field,” said Bitterman. Well, until the injury, he did.

“I didn’t know if he could run very fast today,” she added

Oscar answered that concern with an affirmative “No problem.”

Afterward there was a treat awaiting him in the winner’s circle. His diet still didn’t allow the usual treats, so Bittmeran prepared something special.

A bit of bacon.

TOP DOG GULPS FIVE DOGS

The rules to the hot-dog eating contest have changed in the last few years, putting some of the top dogs of year’s gone by at a disadvantage.

At one time, the number of hot dogs consumed in a period of time determined the winner. The contestant to consume five hot dogs the fastest has been the winner of recent contests.

That puts a seven-time winner such as Paul Gustafson of Wayzata, affectionately known as Gus D Dawn, at a decided disadvantage. “I guess I’m just getting old,” he lamented after Saturday’s contest, won by Mark Pederson of Little Canada.

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.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Video Credit: Jon Mikkelson & The Canterbury Park Television Department

Wiener Dog Finalists Set (With Video)

Canterbury Park’s annual wiener dog races are turning into some pretty serious business. This year, five trials had to be conducted to determine who would be able to race in the Wiener Dog finals on July 4. Dogs from all over the metro area competed in trials on Saturday and Sunday with the top two advancing from each heat.

There were two things the owners of Aspen wanted the world to know about their four-year-old when he came off the track after winning his qualifying heat Sunday.

“He’s not for sale,” said Jake Launert.

“He’s a he not a she,” said Justine Launert.

Jake’s comment was made in jest.

Justine’s was a mere correction to a program item that implied Aspen was a she.

The Launerts were competing with Aspen for the first time in Canterbury Park’s annual wiener dog competition. Heat winners advance to the championship round on July 4.

The Launerts acquired Aspen from a Colorado breeder. Hence, the name Aspen. They attribute his success at Canterbury to the training he gets in their St. Louis Park neighborhood.

“He runs with a Boxer in the neighborhood, so he’s pretty fast,” Justine said.

He also does some 50 yard dashes to build stamina.

What works for one dog doesn’t necessarily work for another.

Dagwood, who qualified by finishing second in his heat, trains on “copious amounts of string cheese,” according to his resume. He is owned by Emily Sowieja and her fiancé, Alex Behrendt, both of St. Paul.

Although he does no outdoor training, Dagwood does run the hallway of Sowieja’s apartment after walks, a 50-yard workout.

QUALIFIERS FOR THE JULY 4TH CHAMPIONSHIP:

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Aspen, owned by Jake and Justine Launert
Beans, owned by Tyler and Alyssa Borgemoen
Charlie Brown, owned by Dustin and Crystal Brown
Charlie, owned by Tamra Gillen
Dagwood, owned by Emily Sowieja and Alex Behrendt
Doug, owned by Matt Nourie
Miss Daisy Mae, owned by Lynn and Todd Novitsky
Murphy, owned by Kellie Murphy and Tyler Zarbok
Oscar, owned by Chrissy Bitterman
Roxy Glamour Princess, owned by Kim and Layne Poppovich