By Noah Joseph
Saturday is Extreme Race Day, a highlight of the year at Canterbury Park, now in its 11th edition. It’s a wild and wacky day for all featuring camel, ostrich, and zebra races. The first Extreme Race Day was held in 2007, and I was there at age nine. So this is a recollection of memories from that day.
It was a cloudy yet pleasant Sunday afternoon as my family and I entered the track. After a couple of “normal” thoroughbred races got the day started, things got wild with thoroughbreds running the unique and rare distance of 4 ½ furlongs and quarter horses running 100 yards, the shortest distance run at the track. Golden Zoomer won that race and set a track record that still stands.
After the shortest race came the longest race, a virtual marathon of 2 miles and a 16th on the dirt, which was won by Agent Dansuer.
We had camel and ostrich races, but then came the most captivating race of all with horses racing on the dirt and turf at the same time! That and the quarter horse dash are still run every Extreme Day.
Other fun races included a two year old maiden battle of the sexes sprint that took place on the turf and a 770 yard race between the thoroughbreds and quarter horses, with the thoroughbreds winning. The last extreme race of the day, a turf race, was the Dirty Dozen for horses who had never won on the turf. A couple of quarter horse trials then closed out the card.
The inaugural Extreme Race Day was a huge success. It caught on so quickly that other tracks started doing extreme races as well, but Canterbury will always be the first to have done it. And I can guarantee that this year’s Extreme Race Day will be just as fun and exciting as it was in 2007.
Noah Joseph is a longtime Canterbury Park and horse racing fan. He’s been attending races at Canterbury since 2000 when he was 3 years old and has enjoyed every minute of it. Noah provides a weekly piece on CanterburyLive.com.