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He Had The 1st Winner, 1st Loss


It didn’t take Miguel Silva long to introduce himself at Canterbury Park. He saddled the first winner of the meet, a six-year-old gelded son of Video Ranger named Arena Negra.
Arena Negra, ridden by Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, was not only the first winner of the meet, he was also the first claim.

Although Silva has reconciled himself to the loss, he wasn’t happy at first. The horse was claimed by his nearest neighbor in the barn, trainer Coty Rosin. There is an unwritten rule in racing about claiming from the same barn, but apparently it was an honest mistake, and Silva has since made his peace with the incident.

Silva has been to Canterbury Park before, but he is here this summer as his own man.
He worked previously for Keith Bennett, but arrived for the 2010 meet with a trainer’s license and his own stable of 15 horses with more due to arrive.

Silva arrived from Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where he has been for the last seven years. Previously, he spent a year at Bay Meadows in northern California where his brother Jose trains. Born in Mexico City, Silva learned horsemanship from his father, Miguel, who trains in Mexico City. Miguel, Jr., 38,has been in the U.S. eight years. He continued his education at Turf Paradise and then struck out on his own last year at Yavapais Downs in Prescott, Ariz.

He arrived for the 2010 Canterbury meet with his own crew. “Yes, I brought my own team with me,” he explained on Wednesday. “They’re good workers. They each have a horse in the barn, so they can have some fun, too.”

Silva hopes hopes to strike again for another win on Friday’s card. “I have three entered,” he said.

The star of his barn, Summer Nights, is not among them, however.
“I’m still looking for a race for her,” Silva said. “She’s my super star.” (She has since been entered in Saturday’s seventh race)


Summer Nights is a four-year-old who won seven of the 10 races she ran at Turf Paradise and Yavapi last winter.

“She went from $3,000 races to allowance races, and got better when I ran her on the turf,” Silva said.

Silva was given the unraced filly as a three-year-old by an owner who couldn’t afford to keep her, and he has nursed her along with loving hands.

She has won nearly $40,000.

Minnesota has provided Silva with more than simply another place to race his stable. During his previous trips to Canterbury as an assistant to Bennett, he met a woman from Minneapolis with whom he struck up a friendship. She is now his wife, Carrie.

It’s difficult to call Blan Wilson a gallop boy. After all, he is 58 years old and rode when racing was something altogether different than it is today.

Yet, you won’t find anyone on the backside who has any more fun with his job than Wilson does.
Wilson gallops horses for Dave Wolochuk, who is here for the first time from Phoenix, and was wearing a tee shirt Wednesday morning that demonstrates his sense of humor.

The shirt was addressed to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and said simply:
Dear Dorothy,
Hate You.
Hate Oz.
Taking the slippers.
Find your own way home.

Wilson and his brother, Roy, own a popcorn stand that they transport to different venues. “We have 55 different varieties of popcorn,” he said. “We take our stand to different events in Phoenix.”

A native of Chicago, Wilson has been working in the horse business since he rode at various Chicago-area tracks in the 1960s.

He has tales to tell and says many of them today’s racing fans would find incredulous. “They wouldn’t believe some of the things that went on,” he said.

He promises those stories for another time. In the meantime, he wants everyone to know that he considered and then decided not to purchase another tee shirt.

It depicted Lassie biting painfully into Timmy’s arm with the caption: “I’m sick of rescuing you all the time.”