By JIM WELLS

Manny Silva took a trip to Oklahoma four years ago to buy a horse and ended up buying the farm.
He still has both.

Silva, a resident of Chicago, was at Canterbury Park on Sunday to see the mare win the feature event on the card..
Parkas, gloves and mufflers would not have been terribly out of order on a chilly, damp afternoon.

It’s cold. You can feel it,” said rider Ry Eikleberry before the start of the feature race, the 350-yard $20,000 Skip Zimmerman Memorial Stakes.

None of the autumnal weather seemed to bother rider Helen King and certainly not her mount, Whirling Cleat. Winning can sometimes make one oblivious to conditions such as Sunday’s.
King and 2-1 favorite Whirling Cleat won the race in track record time, 17.411, finishing a hair’s breadth in front of 7-1 choice Wheely Quick and Jerry Winters. Third was No Temper Here, ridden by Dylan Williams.

The winning horse shipped up from Remington Park for trainer David Brown.
Silva explained his interest in the horse he acquired as a yearling. “I’ve always liked the bloodlines with Dashing Cleat in them,” he said. “This one is really exceptional.”
The win was the sixth in 17 career starts for the winner, who has six seconds.
Silva went to Oklahoma to buy a filly four years ago, but made a bigger investment than planned.

“I ended up buying a farm in Paul’s Valley,” he said.
He was pleased with both investments on Sunday.

TIES TO THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY AND CANTERBURY’S PAST

Dave Shepherd hasn’t been a regular rider at a racetrack since a horse crushed his left femur and pelvis in a 2003 accident.
But there he was Friday night, guiding a longshot named Panther Springs for trainer Joe Merrick to the winner’s circle in the seventh race .
The pressbox began buzzing. “Shepherd? When did he last ride here, 1940?”

But there was more to the story than Shepherd’s re-appearance on the Shakopee scene. Immediately, quarter horse publicist Lori Locken began pointing out the winner’s connections _ Fourteen Enterprises LLC.

Translation?

The owners are Joe Merrick and Mark Allen, one of the owners of Mine That Bird, who won the Kentucky Derby but failed on Saturday to add the Belmont Stakes to his list of classic wins this season.

Merrick and Allen have been partners in various horses since the early 1990s. “I tell everybody that I’m a bad manager,” Merrick said. “We’ve been partners in about 20 horses but none of them was Mine That Bird.”

Merrick and Shepherd consoled themselves with their $20 winner on Friday’s card.
The Merrick barn took some heat from acquaintances for not providing a heads-up on this $20 winner. “Yeah, everyone’s giving us a hard time for not warning them,” Merrick said. “But it surprised us, too. We figured he needed a race.”

Panther Springs, a five-year-old son of Exploit from the Unbridled mare Most Admired, was 1-for-11 lifetime before Friday’s race.

“We bought him as a 3-year-old and figured he always had talent,” Merrick said. “It was just a matter of seeing what he likes and Dave and I figured that he likes to run fresh.”
Remember that next time, patrons.

Panther Springs was plenty fresh on Friday. His previous start was last Nov. 29.

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