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Hometown Heroes

By Noah Joseph

Last Wednesday during the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival, locally based Jazzy Times ran down invaders High Crime and Wellabled to win the $100,000 Dark Star Turf Sprint under jockey Chad Lindsay for owner Dennis Smith and trainer David Van Winkle. Throughout Canterbury’s history there have been many instances in which locally based horses like Jazzy Times have taken on and defeated shippers from out of town in major races.

Turbo Launch

In 1987, Turbo Launch was considered to be the best two-year-old in training based at Canterbury. She had won the first two starts of her career in maiden and allowance company, but she had never been class tested. She would get that chance in the Canterbury Debutante Stakes. The only thing standing between her and victory was the California based Lost Kitty. Trained by the legendary D.Wayne Lukas, Lost Kitty was coming off victories in the Del Mar Debutante against fillies and the Del Mar Futurity against colts at Del Mar in California, and was made the heavy favorite in the nine horse field for the Canterbury Debutante. But Turbo Launch was not going to let Lost Kitty get away with an easy win. Turbo Launch was ahead in the stretch, despite floating a bit wide off the turn with Lost Kitty struggling behind her, presumably shocked by what was happening in front of her. Turbo Launch won the race by 4 lengths with track announcer Tony Bentley exclaiming “Turbo Launch! One for the home team!” as she crossed the finish line. Turbo Launch unfortunately injured herself in the race and didn’t run for almost 18 months after her win in the Canterbury Debutante. She ran only five more times after that before being retired. Turbo Launch is also known for being the grand-dam of 2001 Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given.

In 2017, the Mac Robertson trained filly Hotshot Anna was considered to be one of the favorites

Hotshot Anna

in the Northbound Pride Oaks (now called the Curtis Sampson Oaks). She had broken her maiden at Canterbury the year before and followed it up by running well against tougher competition that winter and spring in Louisiana and Arkansas. But in the Northbound Pride, she would have to defeat a quality field that included New York invader Super Marina, the then-undefeated Miz Clipper from Chicago, the Bill Mott trained Bernadiva, and Starr Bear, who was trained by Brad Cox (who just won this year’s running of the Oaks). Despite the strength of the horses from out of town, the Memorial Day crowd made Hotshot Anna the favorite that day. However as the field came into the stretch, it looked like the shippers were going to win another stakes race at Canterbury. But Hotshot Anna had other plans as she angled to the outside and ran by the shippers to win by a neck over Starr Bear. Hotshot Anna was ridden by Alex Canchari.

Paul Nolan and K Z Bay

By far the biggest and best-known local upset in Canterbury history was in 1997 with K.Z Bay in the Lady Canterbury. The hard knocking daughter of Charley Barley had not won a stakes race in her career and was coming off an uninspiring last place finish in the Shakopee Handicap two weeks prior. But her owner and trainer Robert Ryno decided to enter K.Z Bay in the Lady Canterbury against horses trained by nationally well-known trainers like Bill Mott, Noel Hickey, David Vance, Phillip England, Bobby Barnett, and Elliot Walden. In fact, K.Z Bay was the only horse based at Canterbury to take part in the Lady Canterbury that year, and her form proved that as she was the longest shot on the board. Well, the fans would soon be eating crow as K.Z Bay led the field wire to wire under jockey Paul Nolan to win in a major upset, as track announcer Paul Allen gave us the famous call of “Can you believe this?! K.Z Bay at 30-1 wins the Lady Canterbury!!” That race would be the biggest win of K.Z Bay’s career and also the biggest upset in the history of Lady Canterbury.

So while it’s always nice to cheer on the invaders and big names that come here to Canterbury to compete in our major races, it’s always a good thing to give our local connections a chance to shine and honor their talent when they win. They are the horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys who represent our great racetrack and we should appreciate them not just on our big days, but every day.