By Noah Joseph
We’re approaching the halfway point of the racing season, and as the competition heats up, fans will definitely agree that over the past couple of weeks, there have been several hot days at Canterbury Park. While it’s been hot here at the track, there have been some horses in track history that have been hotter, both for how they performed and in their names too. Let’s take a look at some “hot” horses in Canterbury history.
One of the more popular horses in recent memory to race at Canterbury is Hot Shot Kid. True to his name, Hot Shot Kid (pictured above) burst onto the racing scene like a hot shot as a 3-year-old and took Canterbury by storm. In 2017, he won four consecutive races, including Canterbury’s biggest races for Minnesota-bred 3-year-olds, the Victor S. Myers Stakes and the Minnesota Derby, earning him the Three-Year-Old Champion at Canterbury. In fact, from 2017 to 2020, Hot Shot Kid won at least one stakes race every season at Canterbury, the best of which was in 2019, in which he won an unbelievable five stakes races, which led to him being named Champion Older Male, Champion Sprinter, and Horse of the Year at Canterbury. He is tied for third all-time in total wins in Canterbury history with 14, and is also Canterbury’s all-time leading money winner, with earnings over half a million dollars. Hot Shot Kid races on Saturday in the Ralph Strangis Stakes, providing another opportunity to see a Canterbury legend and future hall of famer in action.
Another horse entered to run on Saturday is Hotasapistol. Certainly no smoking gun, Hotasapistol has won at least one race each season at Canterbury so far in her career. Her biggest victory came in 2020, where she pulled off an upset in the Minnesota Oaks, winning at odds of 10-1. Her unexpected victory helped her be named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly at Canterbury that season. Hotasapistol is entered to run in the Minnesota Turf Distaff Stakes if the race is moved to the main track from the grass. If she draws in, she might just torch the competition.
Rock’ N Fire was a fan favorite when he raced at Canterbury over 15 years ago. However, his popularity was not just due to his success, but also for his antics. Rock’ N Fire was frequently bumped coming out the gate, but most of the time he was able to overcome it, as he did in the Victor S. Myers Stakes in 2006, which he ended up winning. But his most memorable race came later that season in the Minnesota Classic Championship Stakes. Sent off as the 8-5 second choice, Rock’ N Fire led for much of the race, and he looked like a sure thing turning for home. But all of a sudden, Rock’ N Fire’s chances of winning almost went up in flames, as without warning, he bolted to the far outside and lost the lead. After a couple cracks of the whip, Rock’ N Fire, still zigging and zagging, put his mind back on running, and charged past the leader as if nothing happened, and went on to win. Rock’ N Fire’s victory was so incredible that it was ranked 3rd on ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the day. Rock N’ Fire’s Classic win is an all-time Canterbury classic.
All three of these horses showed a competitive fire in them that helped their way into track lore. Which horse will have that same flame that will carry them to glory during these hot summer days? The only way to find out is to come to Canterbury, because for the rest of the season, the heat is on.