Traffic back and forth from the barns to the main track during morning training hours has increased dramatically this week. Stall Superintendent Andrew Vold estimates that 1,000 horses are now on the grounds. Jockeys have been arriving steadily. Agent Chad Anderson recently landed rider Lindey Wade who earlier this spring was planning to be here until he wasn’t but then again was. It works that way. Orlando Mojica was to ride in Shakopee after a season away but family business will keep him home, where he is off to a very good start at Indiana Grand.
Jockey Ruben Fuentes bounded out of agent Pete Antonucci’s golf cart this morning with a “How are you? Great to be here.” Antonucci, who also handles business for Ry Eikleberry, will be sure to keep the graded stakes winner from Southern California busy. “I can’t go wrong with Mr. Pete,” Fuentes said.
We will soon find out as entries for opening night, Tuesday, May 18, will be taken this Tuesday.
Other riders include Luis Fuentes, Ruben’s brother. Alfredo Juarez, Jr., Quincy Hamilton, Chad Lindsay, Jose Vega from Tampa, Alex Canchari, known as the Shakopee Kid, and HOF Dean Butler are others on the grounds.
There is a certain excitement about the start of a race meet. And a lot of work, shipping in, unpacking, lining up help. It all takes time and effort. No one seems to have a sufficient number of stable assistants. Those willing to work can easily find it.
The rumor that trainer Justin Evans was returning to Canterbury for the first time since 2008 was proven true. There he was in Barn C1 earlier this week. Evans will likely have 20 or more horses once they all arrive. He dominated at Turf Paradise and should be active at Canterbury both at the entry box and the claiming box. And if 2008 form holds true, the winner’s circle.
The stewards’ office is not short on help however. All three desks are taken. Stan Bowker returns this season along with two new judges, Greg Hosch and Randy Bleseg.