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Canterbury Connections in Dubai and Arkansas (3/28/2008)

Canterbury Maiden-Breaker Ships to Dubai
Esperamos, who broke his maiden at Canterbury Park on July 26th of last year is entered to run in the $2 Million Dubai Golden Shaheen Stakes (Group 1) tomorrow morning at approximately 9:55am CST. The Golden Shaheen Stakes is a six furlong sprint on the undercard of the Dubai World Cup, the richest race in thoroughbred racing boasting a purse of $6 million.
Esperamos was owned by Joseph Novogratz, a Minnesota resident, who sold him privately for six figures following a nine-length victory at Oaklawn on February 8th. Canterbury Park’s 2007 leading trainer Mac Robertson took over training duties for Esperamos during the 2007 meeting and immediately turned a seven race losing streak into a five race winning streak.
Esperamos was purchased by Royce Jaime, a co-owner of Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Thor’s Echo. Upon purchase, Wesley Ward assumed training duties for the four-year-old gelding. Esperamos has won $81,429 from twelve lifetime starts and is 15-1 on the morning line for the Golden Shaheen. Garrett Gomez has the call for the new connections. A field of fifteen horses has been drawn for the Golden Shaheen.
Champion Two-Year-Olds Back in Training
Northern Lights Champion Wild Shifter and Northern Lights Debutante Champion A. J. Bakes have both been training in Arkansas in preparation for the upcoming Canterbury meet. The roadtrip brought an opportunity to talk to trainers Todd Hoffrogge and Troy Bethke, who train A. J. Bakes and Wild Shifter respectively.
Wild Shifter won two races in six attempts last summer beating state-bred maidens as well as winning the 2007 Northern Lights. Troy Bethke conditions Wild Shifter for owner David Hansen. “He’s doing well, he looks like he’ll be ready to go fairly early in the season,” Bethke said. Although he has no published works, hopes are that Wild Shifter will be ready for his three-year-old bow in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes on Saturday, May 17.
A. J. Bakes posted an even more impressive 2007 season defeating all Minnesota-breds who dared to challenge her. She even beat Wild Shifter in an open allowance race on July 21st before going on to score victory in the Northern Lights Debutante by 11 and ¾ lengths. A. J. has worked four times over the Oaklawn Park strip and will be working consistently towards the Lady Slipper on Saturday, May 17. “We’ll get serious here within the next couple of weeks. We wanted her to get her legs under her first,” Hoffrogge said.
Tie Rod Working Towards Return
Tie Rod, owned by John Pendergast and Joe Johnson has been working for his return to the races at Turf Paradise. Tie Rod broke his maiden at Canterbury Park in 2006 and also won the Brian Barenscheer Juvenile that same year.
In 2007, Tie Rod went on to win the Rattlesnake and the Turf Paradise Derby before being laid off. Unraced since February 17, 2007, Tie Rod has posted four works within the past three weeks and looks to be doing quite well. Joe Johnson, the owner and trainer of Tie Rod, has been at Canterbury Park in the past, most recently in 2007. Maybe Tie Rod will make his 2008 debut early in the Canterbury meet?