The sheen in his brown coat accents his muscular frame, and he stands out immediately from other horses around him. The unbeaten son of Appealing Skier truly is something to behold. There is not another horse on the grounds in this four-year-old gelding’s class. He is a man among boys, a giant among Lilliputians, a horse among weanlings.
“This is not a horse you come to bet on,” said Canterbury Park paddock analyst Angela Hermann. “This is a horse you come to see.”
What a sight to see.
Heliskier made it seven for seven on Saturday, leaving eight other horses huffing and puffing behind him in the $50,000-guaranteed 10,000 Lakes Stakes.
Willow Parish took a short stab at it, challenging Heliskier early on and finished in front of one horse. Speakfromyourheart had similar thoughts and wound up fourth. His rider, Lori Keith, shrugged her shoulders afterward and said,”well, we tried to catch him off guard.”
She couldn’t have been more facetious.
For the first time in seven races, Derek Bell, the only jock to ride Heliskier, gave him a tap on the shoulder down the lane. He didn’t need it and galloped home 5 ½ lengths In front of Freedom First, who had a head on Bobble Doit and another 1 ¾ lengths on Speakfromyourheart.
“He’s a monster. He’s put on 150 pounds (since last year) and is two inches taller,” said Bell.
“He’s the big horse in the barn and he knows it,” said Brad Hedges, assistant to trainer Mac Robertson.
Owned by Marlene Colvin, Heliskier brought tears to her eyes in the paddock before the race. The horse was the last one raised by her late husband, Bun.
Marlene is not alone in that regard, however. Heliskier brings out the emotion in lots of folks.
“He’s so good he brings tears to your eyes,” said Hedges.
Other Saturday Racing Tidbits:
Alex Canchari, the native of Shakopee, graduate of Shakopee High School and one-time employee at Canterbury Park, had a request of the track photographers, the Coady brothers, after the first race on Sunday. “Hey, whenever I win a race,” said Canchari, “just make a picture for me and put it on my bill.”
Canchari, whose father, Luis, was a local rider in the 1980s, placed his first photo order of the season after Saturday’s opening race and after riding a gelding named Third Rail, trained and owned by John Shryock. “He tried pulling himself up at the 16th pole,” said Canchari. So, Canchari went to work himself with three reminders from the stick. “Most horses don’t come back like that on a tiring track,” Canchari added. “That was pretty nice.”
Two riders who won races on the season-opening card the night before were back in the winner’s circle Saturday. Keith, who won three races on the card, brought in the second half of the daily double aboard Finding Candy, trained by Mike Biehler and owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, withstanding a challenge from the favorite, Stone Crazy, with Eddie Martin, Jr. up. “Yes, I could feel him (coming on),” said Keith, whose horse rebuffed the mild challenge and went on.
Martin countered in the very next race, making easy work of it aboard Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Eighteen Wheels. Midwest horses will be making many more trips to the winner’s circle this summer.
Keith won the fifth race on Krissy’s Tiger Paw and the ninth with Mingun’s Peaches.
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.