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Heliskier Does it Again… Just as Impressively

There are numerous sorts of intoxicating, maybe even medicinal qualities attached to the phenomenon of winning.

For Marlene Colvin, it might have meant a good night’s sleep Sunday night. For Cam Casby, it might have provided the perfect remedy for the summer cold she’s battling.

Clearly, winning as he did polished the already shiny image of the remarkable gelding Heliskier, who breezed home in 1:16 and 4/5 under a hand ride. It also made the filly Keewatin Ice, who hasn’t won in her last five outs, look like the lady who won the Northern Lights Debutante last Sept. 4, galloping home as she did (1:17) in the $35,000 Lassie Division of the MTA Stallion Auction Stakes.

All in all, winning proved to be the perfect tonic in each of these instances Sunday.

Colvin has been on a flying carpet ride with Heliskier, the last horse trained to saddle by her late husband, Bun.

It’s been ages since there’s been a Minnesota-bred such as this one on the grounds at Canterbury Park. The son of Appealing Skier from Plana Dance is five-for-five after simply loping away from four rivals, winning by six lengths without so much as a look at the stick in the $35,000 MTA Stallion Auction Stakes.

Consider this. Derek Bell has tapped this horse once, lightly on the shoulder in five races and probably didn’t even need to deliver that reminder.

“He’s a racehorse, the best I’ve been on,” Bell said. ‘I can’t imagine what he’d do If I asked him for anything.”

For her part, Colvin has been living in a heady world since this horse began racing. “Nobody paid any attention to me all those years I was mucking stalls back there in the barns,” she said.

“Now people I’ve never met come up to me and say ‘good luck, way to go or what a horse’ it’s kind of nice to have people pay attention to you that way.”

Indeed, although there is a tradeoff to the attention surrounding Heliskier. “I’ve been nervous all day,” Colvin said. “But I got a motel room. I’m not driving back tonight (to her home in South Dakota). I’ve learned that lesson.”

Heliskier went over $100,000 earnings after Sunday’s win, so Colvin could at least get a room with a magic fingers feature to ease any remaining tension.

“People tell me I can go someplace else now besides the Super 8,” Marlene said “I guess they just don’t know Marlene.”

She is, on the other hand, getting to know Heliskier. “I’m starting to believe in him,” she said.

Just as her husband did while breaking the horse. “The horse has a good head on him,” she said. “He knows what’s going on and learns quickly. Bun used to say you only have to show him something once. He might take a look at a deer that startled him in the river bottom the first time, but that was the only time.”

Just like last time, someone dropped approximately $200,000 to win on Heliskier on the final click of the tote board sending him off at 1-20.

Now to Cam Casby and her Keewatin Ice, a winner by eight lengths after Juan Rivera asked her at the head of the lane.

Casby never watches her horses race. She waits until the replay. “I can’t watch until I’m sure they’re home safely,” she said.

In that case, it was mentioned, she could have started watching at the head of the lane on Sunday.

Casby, who’ll be inducted into the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame in September, is battling a cold and hopeful that standing outdoors in the heat and humidity Sunday might assist in its demise.

Watching Sunday’s replay was enjoyable, particularly since Keewatin was on her game and made it easy on her owner.



Clyde Smith had a puzzled look on his face as he headed out the tunnel for Sunday’s final race of the day.

Smith had just been congratulated for his “hat trick” although either the intent or the meaning seemed to evade him.

Nonetheless, Smith and trainer Bob Johnson had just teamed up to win all three legs of the North Central Quarter Horse Futurity trials.

Some nice payoffs accompanied those wins.

Smith was on Dash Ta Ozona in the first of the three 350-yard dashes, finishing in 18.34 at odds of 6-1.

Jess Lika Blair finished in 18.24 under Smith in the next trial, winning easily with a return of $25 and change.

Hastabealeader was quickest of all with a time of 18:18 in the third trial of the card at 7-2 odds.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography