By JIM WELLS
So, what are the chances Canterbury Park will go dark if the state government is shut down on July 1?
That depends on a number of factors, including the person deciphering current events.
Jesse Overton, chairman of the Minnesota Racing Commission, is confident Canterbury will not be affected.
Richard Krueger, executive director of the commission, doesn’t share that confidence.
Although he concedes it is possible, Overton argues that the state will not let private businesses (Canterbury and Running Aces Harness part) go dark and put 3,000 people out of work. He argues that the legislature can’t allow a business with agricultural connections to “13 counties” shut down.
Meanwhile, horse racing lobbyists are not only working on convincing legislators to allow casino gambling at Canterbury Park, they are also reminding them that although the racing commission is state run, racing is a private enterprise producing and helping support numerous jobs in the state.
In 2005 the state government shut down for a few days and Canterbury was not affected because the legislature passed a bill preventing it.
Overton argues that is precedence with strong implications.
Krueger argues that he still needs state permission to pay people such as the racing stewards.
The bet here is that racing continues uninterrupted this summer.
A CONNECTION TO ROYALTY
Somerset Ballerina, the third place horse in Sunday’s fourth race, was sired by Gazebo from the T.V. Commercial mare Greenlane Lady.
That might not mean much except perhaps for those who keep close tabs on thoroughbred bloodlines.
Somerset Ballerina is owned by Jack Walsh of Somerset, who also stands Gazebo.
Gazebo is by Unbridled from With Every Wish, both from Frances Genter Stables.
A mare named Oatse is also by Unbridled from With Every Wish. Oatse, of course, has a rather famous son named Shackleford, winner of the 2011 Preakness Stakes.
RARE HAPPENINGS AT CANTERBURY
A rare, rare double disqualification in Sunday’s first race had pressbox historians scrambling to remember the last time it occurred at Canterbury or, for that matter, anyplace else they could recall.
Jon Mikkelson, Canterbury’s TV production manager, recalled a race, he thought at Santa Anita, a couple of years ago. He recalled it for good reason. “I was having a bad day. Kevin Gorg ( paddock analyst at the time) gave me a $5 ticket.”
Clearly Gorg didn’t think the ticket held the winner, but it did indeed after the horse was placed first following a double DQ. Senor Mikkelson was not about to forget such a fortuitous occasion.
Andrew Offerman, Canterbury’s living racing coordinator, not only recalled a double DQ but was able to produce a past performance on the race, also at Canterbury.
The race took place on July 27, 2008. Floodgate, ridden by Jesse Garcia, and Borja, ridden by Adolfo Morales, were taken down for interference.
Marky, the third place horse, was placed first.
Sunday, the racing stewards watched replays of the race and then went into conference on the matter after a horse involved in the race nearly became the center cream of an Oreo cookie, so to speak.
Not So Fast Festus and Mogadishu were dueling on the lead when Jack’s Roma tried to split them, got his nose between their rearends and then clipped heals with Mogadishu, stumbling badly before regaining his footing .
Mogadishu, ridden by Martin Escobar, hit the wire first with Not So Fast Festus and Derek Bell next and Jack’s Roma next.
As the stewards studied the matter, patrons with an interest waited nervously. After what always seems like an interminable wait, the stewards ruled that Jack’s Roma and Dean Butler deserved to be placed first. Mogadishu was placed second and Not So Fast Festus, third.
Handicappers who apply superstition to their methods might want to tuck this bit of information away: The double disqualifications in both Canterbury incidents occurred on Sundays in the first races of those cards.
Pithia Wins $15,250 MN Stallion Breeders’/North Central Derby
Pithia, a 3-year-old Minnesota bred quarter horse filly, owned and bred by Rodney Von Ohlen of Alpha, MN, won the $15,250 Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ and North Central Quarter Horse Derby on Sunday at Canterbury Park.
Trained by Ed Ross Hardy and ridden by Ry Eikleberry, Pithia overcame trouble early to pull away to a three-quarter length victory, covering the 400 yards in 20.22 seconds.
Bumped from both sides coming out of the gate, Eikleberry quickly righted the filly as she found her stride. “She just pulled away late,” Eikleberry said.
Hardy, leading trainer at Canterbury the past nine seasons, won this race for the third time in four years. “I was worried a bit at the start but in a couple jumps she was in front and we were alright,” Hardy said.
Pithia, the odds-on favorite, returned $3.20. Finishing second was Lien On Me for trainer Brent Clay and jockey Tom Wellington. Third was CS Arc Light, trained by Victor Hanson and ridden by Doug Frink.