By Katie Merritt
Several years ago, owners Dale and Stacy Boyer decided that they needed something to occupy their time during the harsh Minnesota winters.
“We hate winter,” explained Dale, “So either we try to get out of here, or we look for something fun to do.” Canterbury College, a program set up by Canterbury Park that teaches fans more about handicapping, was running that winter and they decided to enroll. Living in Savage, they had been to Canterbury before, but just as casual fans, “Back then, it was pick the color, or the pretty horse!” laughed Stacy, “But once we did the Canterbury College, I think that’s what got us coming out more, because then we started to understand what we were looking at.”
When Dale and Stacy “graduated” from Canterbury College, they decided to give racehorse ownership a try. Most of their horses, like the one they have in training with Robertino Diodoro now, have been acquired through claiming races, but one of their favorites, Whiskey Decision, was one they bought as a yearling at the Fasig Tipton Sale. “We got to see him grow up, and that was really cool because we had never done that.” said Stacy. Claiming horses, however, has upsides too – “You don’t have to wait!” said Dale, “They’re ready to go!”
Having an owner’s license allows owners to go and visit their horses on the backside, which Stacy says is one of her favorite things to do. “I love being out there in the mornings. To me, it’s like you’re out of the hustle and bustle of the world. The backside is its own little town and it’s so calm and everyone’s friendly.” Even when Canterbury’s not running, Stacy and Dale still manage to get in some quality horse time. “One horse we used to have, Barb [a pony rider] bought him and uses him for morning workouts. And she lives in Prior Lake,” Stacy explained, “So over the winter we can still go visit him and feed him carrots.”
Dale and Stacy are torn on what their favorite part of race day is, when one of their horses is running. Stacy loves the finish, the feeling she gets watching their horses come down the lane. “I get too excited. I jump up and down and stuff!” she laughed. “I like that moment just before they go in the gate,” countered Dale, “It’s been three weeks, a month, or longer since the last time they ran. And you’re asking yourself, ‘Are they going to get out of the gate? What’s the trip going to be like?’ There’s just so much anticipation.”
The Boyers were torn on their choice of silks, too. They both wanted the silks to resemble NFL jerseys, but Stacy was team Dallas Cowboys, and Dale was team Minnesota Vikings. They decided to design their own silks, and compromised – they are half Cowboys and half Vikings, split right down the middle.
They may not agree on football teams, but one thing is for sure – they both enjoy the places they’ve visited and the people they’ve met through their involvement in the industry and racehorse ownership. “We’ve run at Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows, Turf Paradise, Santa Anita, Del Mar…”said Dale. “Standing in the paddock at Del Mar, we were thinking, ‘We never thought we’d have a horse running here.’ We didn’t win there, but just standing in the paddock was a cool experience.” Stacy smiled at the memory, adding, “And we’ve met great people. It’s fun getting to know the people back here. It’s like a little horse family that we come back and see every summer. We’ve made great friendships.”