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If At First You Don’t Succeed

By Noah Joseph

When we think of racehorses, we often think of them for their ability to run at blazing speeds, winning lots of races. Those who are able to do so become popular and in the process gain many fans to cheer them on. But what if there was a horse that lost a lot, a whole lot, and still managed to have fans cheer her on, no matter where she finished? Well, Canterbury had such a horse, and her name was Dear Hrishi.

Dear Hrishi was bred in Minnesota by her owner Rodney Miller. She was sired by Deerhound, who had also sired Countess Diana, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and won the Eclipse Award as Champion Two-Year Old Filly in 1997. Clearly, Dear Hrishi had a successful father. Her dam, or mother, was Hrishi, who also raced at Canterbury. She ran six times in Shakopee, but never won there.

Dear Hrishi made her debut at Canterbury on June 18th, 2009 and finished 2nd in a maiden special weight race restricted to two-year-old fillies bred in Minnesota and was good enough to run 4th in the Northern Lights Debutante that same year. But by the end of her two-year-old season, Dear Hrishi still did not have a victory. Her three-year-old season was exactly the same. Her four-year-old season was even more difficult, for on August 3rd, 2011, she clipped heels in a race and fell, losing her rider in the process. She had been the 2-1 favorite in the race as well. Both horse and rider walked away from the incident unscathed. A race during her five-year-old season pretty much summed up her racing career. On Father’s Day 2012, Dear Hrishi was leading a race with just a few yards to go, only to get beaten at the wire by a nose. It was just one tough loss after another. Surely she could win a race soon?

It’s 2013. Dear Hrishi is six years old and still yet to win a race, yet the fans still cheer her on each time she runs. The date is July 21 and Dear Hrishi is entered in a maiden race scheduled to be run on the grass. The race was moved to the dirt after rain forced the turf races to be moved to the main track. It just felt like today was going to be Dear Hrishi’s day to finally break through. In career start number 40, Dear Hrishi finally won a race. Track announcer Paul Allen told the crowd to rise and applaud as she came down the stretch, so many of whom had watched, bet, and supported Dear Hrishi through her losses. She even received a standing ovation returning to the winner’s circle. She won that day under jockey Derek Bell for trainer David Van Winkle. And just for good measure, Dear Hrishi won one more race for Van Winkle, this time on the grass under Juan Rivera. In addition to Van Winkle, Dear Hrishi was trained by Troy Bethke and Jefferey Lynn, who handled her in her last two starts in Chicago. Dear Hrishi retired in 2013 with 2 wins from 40 starts while finishing 2nd and 3rd a combined 24 times and earned over $120,000.

So while we cheer on the many favorites and winning horses at Canterbury, let’s also not forget to cheer for the underdogs as well; underdogs who might break through and succeed. Underdogs like Dear Hrishi.