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Familar Names in Familar Places


A mare with a name right out of a 50s sitcom won the Princess Elaine Stakes Thursday.

            A gelding once given the kind of respect reserved for Rodney Dangerfield won the Blair’s Cove Stakes.

            Trainer Mac Robertson saddled a Princess Elaine winner for the third time. Trainer Bernell Rhone and rider Martin Escobar were Blair’s Cove winners  for the third time.

            Justin Shepherd was aboard Dear Fay, whose stretch burst made her a 9-1 winner for Robertson and owner Bo Vujovich and produced a deluge of exuberant clichés.

            “She’s a pushbutton horse, a Cadillac,” Shepherd said. “She’s the kind of horse that makes somebody like me look good and that’s hard to do. She ran her eyeballs out.”

And finished in front of Go Go Jill, Talkin About and last year’s winner It’s Tamareno.

            A footnote from Hall of Fame member Sheila Williams:

            “Frances Geraldine, Dear Fay’s mother, holds the track record at Prairie Meadows for 5 ½ furlongs.”

            Then there is 7-1 Ragged Edge, ridden by Escobar, who finally got the kind of respect he was craving.

            “We put a $2,500 reserve on him (at the Minnesota yearling sale) and got no bids,” said Richard Bremer, who owns the horse with his wife, Cheryl Sprick.

            An Iowa trainer later told them that the horse needed a different career.

            And a paddock analyst once said she could put on a horse suit and run faster that Ragged Edge.

            “That all changed when we put him on the grass,” said Cheryl.


            Ragged Edge is 4-3-1 in 10 grass starts. He had earned $68,119 of a career total $71,508 on the grass before Thursday’s race.




            The hot topic among the press-box wags before race 5 naturally involved two-time Horse of the Year Heliskier, winless in three outs this year and at Canterbury since Sept. 1 last year.

            “I’m concerned,” said owner Marlene Colvin in the paddock before the race. “I think he’s lost a bit.”

            She was hopeful just the same. “His mother (Plana Dance) liked the grass,” she said. And the $35,000 sprint was on the grass.

            One thing. That  line of conversation ignored an expanding narrative involving trainer Robertino Diodoro who pledged one morning last winter in the stable area at Turf Paradise in Phoenix that he was not about to repeat his 2013 meet in Shakopee when he had a disastrous summer.

            He is keeping that pledge.

            With Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens in the irons, Diodoro’s Castletown  went gate to wire in a track record :55.38 to hold off not Heliskier, but another charge out of the Mac Robertson barn, Dakota Mac.

            “That gray horse scared the hell out of me on the turn,” Diodoro said afterward.

            The track record?

            “No, you never expect something like that,” said Diodoro.

“But he’s been training really well.”

Heliskier, meanwhile, settled for fourth in the seven-horse field.

Stevens and Diodoro teamed up for that win and in the following race as well, with Kylee’s Star in a maiden claiming event.

            Thus Diodoro recorded his 19th and 20th wins of the meet, five more than Robertson, Canterbury’s perennial training champ.

            Until the Princess Elaine when Robertson’s horse, Dear Fay, cut the margin to four.

by Jim Wells

Game Type Tables Waiting
2-100 SL Holdem41
3-6 Kill Holdem31
8-16 Kill Holdem21
20-40 Holdem11
50-100 Holdem11
10-20 MIX13
2-100 SL OMAHA11