Buck hot dogs, soft drinks, admission and programs returned Thursday night and so, too, did good weather and the fans.
For that matter, so did a horse named Supreme Ghost.
The first buck night of the meet by almost any measuring stick was a rousing success.
Let’s start with the turnout.
A crowd of 7,196 was on hand.
Now the weather.
“Nicest day we’ve had so far,” said identifier Mark Bader.
“Gorgeous night. Just great for watching races,” said Minneapolis Star-Tribune handicapper Johnny Love.
Love doesn’t restrict his analysis of racing to merely a horse’s form. He likes to analyze the crowd as well. “Different people on every level (of the grandstand),” he said. “Different levels of knowledge, too.”
A certain area is frequently occupied by the grumblers, the players who find fault with the jockey, trainer or horse every time their selection comes up short. Then there are the neophytes, the infrequent visitors to Canterbury Park who make their selections based on colors, riders’ looks or the alphabet.
Other factions are divided, too, on their opinions of the handicappers. One side hangs on every word of their favorite handicapper. The other faction calls every word of the same handicapper’s analysis into question.
And so it goes.
Supreme Ghost apparently has some of Brett Favre or Roberto Duran in him. He retired a year ago, but was back in the lineup for Thursday’s sixth race. Trained now by Sandra Sweere, Supreme Ghost has won once and finished second once from eight career starts after finishing in front of one horse Thursday.
No race on the card stood up to the fifth (pictured above), one of those runs to the wire that quickened the pulse of everyone watching. It was obvious over the final 100 yards that a head bob would decide this race, and Mister Bernstein, with Derek Bell up, did just that, dropping his noggin in front of Incognito Bandito and Brandon Meier.
Defending quarter horse riding champion Nik Goodwin moved within one win of the lead by riding the first winner on Thursday’s card, V OS Red Hot Cole in the opener at 350 yards.
The star of the evening was Eddie Martin, Jr., who rode three winners to throw the thoroughbred race into a three-way tie for a short while, but Lori Keith bounced back in front of Martin and Ry Eikleberry with the winner of the ninth race, Ceeya Tuesday.
Keith got the mount on that winner after Justin Shepherd was sidelined following a spill in the fourth race, as was visiting rider Tim Thornton, who might have broken a bone in his shoulder. Shepherd reportedly was checked for an injured wrist.
Such are the vagaries of racing. Keith picks up a winning mount. Thornton pays a visit to Canterbury from Chicago, rides one horse and pays dearly.
FATHER’S DAY CARD LOADED
Sunday’s Father’s Day card came up impressively strong with 126 horses entered in 12 races including big fields in the co-featured Brooks Fields Stakes and the Skip Zimmerman Memorial Stakes for Quarter Horses. Additionally, as an added bonus, Heliskier makes his debut against open runners! He has been installed as the 3/2 morning line favorite in Race 7, a field of 11. It is likely to be his toughest test to date.
Quite a special treat for the race fans that will be in attendance. Don’t miss it!
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.