By Mari Ballinger
They’re the five best friends that anyone could have. Lee Hesselroth, Don Grossbach, Jerry Moser, Gary Jennenke, and Tony Ebert all met through friends of friends, and have since formed a partnership to own horses.
Some of the friendships are new, while others have known each other since youth. In fact, Hesselroth and Grossbach go way back when, as they grew up in Braham, MN together. They both have always enjoyed bringing their families to the track to experience horse racing together. Hesselroth and Ebert met at St. Cloud State University, during their fun days, and have remained close ever since.
Hesselroth has been in the racing industry for 37 years and was present opening day at Canterbury Downs on June 26, 1985. Since then, he has made a lot of racing memories. His favorite taking place at Arlington Park in 1994, one of the years Canterbury had no live racing. Stakes races for Minnesota breds were held that summer at Arlington nonetheless. Filly Afred’s Dream, who Hesselroth bred, was racing in the Northern Lights Debutante with 41-1 odds to win. The 2-year old blew everyone away and ended up winning the race by six lengths. No wonder that race chalks up as Hesselroth’s most memorable moment.
The group’s favorite memories go far beyond winning races though, including:
“I love going to the backside to see the horses train and check up on them,” said Tony Ebert.
“Owning a horse and watching it race is kind of like watching your own kid participate in a sporting event,” said Don Grossbach. “It’s very exciting and rewarding.”
“Definitely not the bills,” joked Lee Hesselroth.
Currently, they own gelding Moment of Magic. He has six starts at Canterbury Park this year, placing first in a maiden claiming race June 21. And, their future plans on owning additional horses? Well, these easy-going guys are going with the flow and have no set arrangements.
Any advice for potential horse owners?
“Buy a fast one,” Greg, a friend of Lee’s, chimed in.
When the friend group isn’t at the race track, some of their favorite hobbies include golfing, curling and biking.