BY JIM WELLS
You can take this straight from the horse’s mouth.
The Hot Shot Kid is back.
Not only did he win the $50,000 Victor S. Myers Stakes on Tuesday, he was on the winner’s back.
In plain English, Alex Canchari is back and he can thank the Hot Shot Kid for that return.
Is there a better headline for this one: The Hot Shot Kid rides Hot Shot Kid to the winner’s circle.
Granted there are some qualifications. Canchari, for one, has been back riding several days after suffering a fracture to his right hand. “The doctor called it a boxer’s fracture,” he explained. But Tuesdya’s win, with only partial use of his right hand, perhaps was testament that the fire is back in the belly regardless of the slow healing process.
He might not feel as it he’s entirely back physically but a stakes win like that on Tuesday will do wonders for the state of mind.
Trainer Mac Robertson was singing Canchari’s praises afterward. “This horse just seems to like him,” he said. “They have a connection.”
Canchari still has trouble with the whip in the right hand, but he now has the next several days to continue healing during the recess in racing at Canterbury.
“That will help a lot,” he said.
As for a special relationship with the Hot Shot Kid….”I’ve always gotten along with him. He’s the best horse I’ve been on here….. ever. He does it all so easily. A real pro.”
Hot Shot Kid was on or within a length of the lead the entire
As they say in the riders’ parlance, “he’s a push-button horse.”
Canchari rode his horse as if it were a Porsche running against VWs and he used a finishing kick to finish 2 ¾ lengths in front of Fridaynitestar and 6 ¼ ahead of Fireman Oscar, in a winning time of 57:60.
The winner is by Majestic Warrior from Our Sweet Mary and is owner by Warren Bush, who is also the breeder.
$50,000 FRANCES GENTER STAKES
Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men….have to be readjusted entirely.
That was certainly the case in this race, in which Gary Scherer sent out two horses, Xerxes Avenue and Ryan and Madison, convinced that the latter would take the lead.
“I expected her to be up their testing the lead,” Scherer said.
Ah, one factor unaccounted for: Xerxes got away from the gate smoothly and effortlessly and went straight to the lead, where Nik Goodwin let him lead the way to a front-running gate-to-wire performance.
It’s been a grand summer for Goodwin, who rode his 1,000th thoroughbred winner earlier this month and will set the all-time record for quarter horse winners with his next trip to the winner’s circle with that breed.
Upon entering the winner’s circle and claiming a spot, a bystander mentioned that he could have won the race on the winner’s back. “Yeah, if they announced you at 45 pounds over,” came the rejoinder from a nearby acquaintance.
In any event, Goodwin took what was given him and turned it into a victory for himself, Scherer and owner Jeff Drown.
“She just broke so well and ran so easily,” Goodwin said. ”
Scherer’s attitude under the circumstances might best be described as one of acceptance. Something such as “good thing you did what you wanted instead of what I told you.”
Sometimes you have to play the hand dealt you and Good did just that.
Scherer had a theory on how this race developed the way it did. Xerxes is developing at a consistent pace, improving and getting better as others of her class are flattening out.
The way that theory played out on Tuesday was that Xerxes strolled to a decisive victory, finishing an easy length in front of Double Bee Sting and 7 ¾ ahead of Pinup Girl.
The race is named for the Grande Dame of Minnesota racing, Frances Genter, who with her husband bred, raised and raced some of the best horses in the U.S. Ms Genter, in her early 90s at the time, had the joy of watching Unbridled win the 1990 Kentucky Derby.
$60,840 BANK OF AMERICA CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE
A good horse is hard to find and over time people have been willing to pay vast amounts to acquire one. Million dollar babies are common any more and the Arabian beneficiaries of oil money have paid much more for some of their yearlings.
Anyone familiar with Shakespeare is certainly acquainted with what must be the bargain of the ages for one lucky breeder: A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.
Nonetheless, sometimes all you have to do is breed one. Take the case of Thomas Lepic and The Fiscal Cliff, a four-year-old colt who added the Bank of America championship Challenge to his dossier on Tuesday, finishing a solid 1 ¼ lengths in front of Okeyfreight and four lengths in front of the third place finisher, Fowl Play.
Lepic is from Iowa City, Iowa and wrestled at the University of Iowa, but horse racing seems to be his passion. He is president of the Iowa Quarter Horse Association.
The Fiscal Cliff, under Benito Baca, won for the second time at Canterbury this meet and this time the winner’s share was a healthy $29,203, a figure he can add to previous earnings of $358,118.
Lepic credited this horse’s success ( he is 12-6-0 from 19 career starts) to his even temperament, his sound mind. The best way to put it, Lepic said, “is that he is a special horse.”
$33,750 MERIAL DISTAFF CHALLENGE
It’s a 700-mile drive from Diamond, Mo., to Canterbury Park, but it doesn’t seem to bother Don Webb in the least.
Not when he gets results like he did on Tuesday.
Jr Rock Star, under Brayan Velazquez, emerged from a convergence at the wire as the winner of this race and $15,525, finishing a head in front of Blacks Cartle and two heads in front of Bye Bye Birdy.
Webb bought the horse as a yearling and has about nine more at racetracks. He has been in racing for 34 years.
Tuesday, Jr Rock Star outdueled nine foes to reach the wire first in a scintillating photo finish to send Webb and his wife back to Missouri with a fond recollection of their most recent trip to Minnesota.