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Claiming Crown News & Notes

by JIM WELLS

The former manager of a world championship baseball team and current owner of standardbred horses addressed a roomful of thoroughbred people on Wednesday morning.

Tom Kelly, who managed the Minnesota Twins to two world titles, was the featured speaker and assisted with the draw for the Claiming Crown races.

Kelly, introduced by radio personality and Canterbury Park Hall of Fame member Dark Star, told the gathering what he tells Twins minor league players every year.

“It is not enough to simply show up,” he said. “You have to make something happen.”

Kelly stressed the importance of not only being part of an endeavor but of making a contribution above and beyond what is expected, of giving whatever you do your very best effort.

Kelly once raced thoroughbreds and later went into racing harness horses as well as greyhounds, which drew a snicker when it was mentioned during the introductory remarks.

Kelly acknowledged that reaction good-naturedly and then talked about how thoroughbreds, standardbreds and dogs were all athletes and that participation with any one of the three required a whole-hearted effort and dedication.

Canterbury Park president/CEO Randy Sampson expressed his pride that the Shakopee racetrack was where the Claiming Crown originated.

“It’s hard to believe that this is the 10th rendition of the Claiming Crown,” he said. “We’re very pleased and proud that this is where it started.”

Canterbury Park has hosted seven of the previous nine runnings of the Claiming Crown, which annually draws one of its biggest crowds and handles. The card includes seven Claiming Crown races offering $600,000 in purse money and is sponsored by Canterbury Park in conjunction with the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Assn. and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Assn.

Media relations director Jeff Maday recalled the first running of the Claiming Crown and a horse named Aplomado, held together during the stretch run by Laffit Pincay, Jr., as they hit the wire first in the Rapid Transit. “That was the same year that a trainer nobody had heard of showed up for the Claiming Crown with one horse,” Maday said.

The trainer was Scott Lake who became a household name in the thoroughbred world a few months later and has returned to the Claiming Crown year after year. Lake leads all trainers with eight Claiming Crown victories and has horses for Saturday’s running in the $50,000 Iron Horse, $75,000 Daily Racing Form sponsored Glass Slipper and the $150,000 Jewel.

Sixty-four horses are entered in the seven races, highlighted by the Jewel, in which Lake has the 7-2 morning line favorite, Coyoteshighestcall. The favorite in the $100,000 Bremer Bank claiming Crown Emerald is Self Made Man, a 2-1 choice trained by Mike Maker, who saddled three winners in last year’s Claiming Crown at Ellis Park.

Allnightdance, trained by Derek Ryan, is the 5-2 pick in the $100,000 John Deere sponsored Tiara. Inhonorofjohnnie, the 2005 winner of the Tiara, is a 4-1 choice.

The locally-based Eagle Storm, trained by Justin Evans, is the 7-2 favorite in the 13-horse field for the $75,000 Daily Racing Form Rapid Transit. Adore You will attempt to become the first horse to win consecutive races in the $75,000 Daily Racing Form Glass Slipper, but at 10-1 has her work cut out, particularly since she is up against 9-5 favorite Morghyn, trained by Tom Amoss.

Antrim County, trained by Cliff Wilkinson, is a 3-1 favorite in the $50,000 Iron Horse. Fireonthewire, trained by Kirk Zaidie, is the 7-2 morning line choice in the $50,000 Allied Waste Services-sponsored Express.

CHAPEL DEDICATED

THE Dean Kutz Memorial Chapel was officially dedicated in conjunction with the weekly Monday evening backside religious service, an event that drew more than 100 stable workers, trainers, owners and others interested in the building that was constructed to honor the memory of Canterbury Park’s first jockey in the Hall of Fame.

Kutz, who won riding titles at Canterbury Downs in 1987 and 1988, died in September 2004 of cancer, some time after a failed attempt to resume riding in Shakopee.

The chapel was the brainchild of horseman and architect Steve Erban, who presented the idea to members of the Kutz family following funeral services in North Dakota for the rider. The 3,000-foot structure, located near the racing office on the backside, will be used for weekly services conducted by racetrack chaplain Tommy Bartram and for other activities, including backside community affairs, English lessons and equine training courses.

Monday’s dedication was attended by Dr. Enrique Torres, executive director of the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America and Racing Hall of Fame rider Pat Day, who knew Kutz personally.
A dinner followed the dedication.

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