By JIM WELLS
The uniquely shaped structure that is the Dean Kutz Memorial Chapel can be seen from just about any vantage point in the grandstand, standing out as it does on the backside with its singularly configured roof.
The chapel honors the jockey who died of throat cancer in 2004 after making his mark as a rider during the early years of Canterbury.
Downs. Kutz won Canterbury riding titles in 1987 and 1988.
Sunday after the $35,000 Dean Kutz Stakes, Dean’s brother Wade and sister Connie stood in the winner’s circle with the winning connections to Stachys, who had a length on Shoot It’s War at the wire.
Rider agent Richard Grunder rushed into the winner’s circle to join the picture taking ceremony. He was the first agent for Kutz at Canterbury in 1985 and the last for the rider during his illness shortened meet in 2002.
“He was a great guy. One of the best,” said Grunder. Kutz, his former agent said, kept his sense of humor even with his voicebox gone during his final meet.
The winning rider aboard Stachys was Eddie Martin, Jr., whose horse had barely a length on Shoot It’s War and Ry Eikleberry at the wire.
That made a happy man of Martin, who rode the winner in the next race as well, the $35,000 Northbound Pride Stakes.
Martin and Eikleberry finished one-two in the Northbound Pride Stakes as well, although Martin and Hunter’s Tiger Paw had to survive a claim of foul from Eikleberry and Cell Line Forever to get the first stakes win of his career for Cory Jensen.
“I wasn’t too worried,” said Jensen, who watched the replay of the race. “I didn’t see anything to get too worried about.”
Hunter’s Tiger Paw had just demonstrated a tremendous heart, giving up the lead in deep, deep stretch only to take it back at the wire.
“She’s tough. A big heart,” said Jensen, who’s pointing her toward the Minnesota Oaks July 31 for winning owners/breeders Kris and Joel Zamzow.
The final added-money race on the card was the $15,000 Great Lakes Stakes, and Eikleberry got his stakes win aboard 1-5 favorite Kool Hand Dutch, who covered the 440 yards in :21.79.
HOSPITAL RELEASES NOLAN, PROCTOR
Two of the three riders injured in Friday night’s four-horse collision at Canterbury were out of the hospital and moving about on Sunday.
Don Proctor was on his way home to Wyoming to heal. Paul Nolan was at Canterbury, watching his colleagues race as part of the Fourth of July turnout.
“I’m beat up but I’m making it,” said Proctor. “I’m going to take the week off, go home and rest. I’ll be back about the middle of next week.”
Proctor said he decided to head home because the temptation to resume riding might be too strong if he stayed near Canterbury. “I just might want to get out there too soon,” he said.
Proctor fractured a vertebra and x-rays revealed that the two below it are “out of whack.” He said the two misaligned bones might be the result of some previous incident. Proctor hopes to be riding again in a week, two at the most.
Nolan was seated in the horsemen’s section with his wife, Sherry, on Sunday. “I’m sore and I’m a little stiff. It could have been worse,” he said. Nolan broke the transverse process in his spine. Recovery will take whatever time it takes, he said, but he is hopeful of riding by the Claiming Crown on July 24.
Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens is still hospitalized after being injured worst of all in the spill. Stevens was on the lead when his mount broke down and fell, causing two others to fall over him. He suffered broken ribs, punctured lungs, and a back injury.
Stevens was moved from ICU into his own room on Sunday.