BY JIM WELLS
On a damp, dreary afternoon only a few folks were present to witness a small piece of Canterbury history Saturday. Even track veterans paid scant notice when a filly named Mego hit the wire first in the second race on the card, a six-furlong sprint for $15,000 claimers. Not that they didn’t recognize the filly’s sire. Anyone with a faint grasp of Canterbury racing history might recall Thatsusintheolbean, who accomplished enough locally to be honored in the track’s hall of fame.. The Bean, as he came to be known, was trained by Doug Oliver and delighted racing fans with his consistency and soundness on the track. Oliver tried to sell the horse locally after retiring him but found no buyers and ended up taking $25,000 for him from breeders in New Mexico “I think that was a real steal for a horse like him,” Oliver said. “He never had a problem and retired completely sound.” The Bean, Canterbury’s 1999 Horse of the Year, didn’t have a long career at stud, however. He died _ shall we say _ going to the post. “I think it was early February of 2007,” said Oliver. “He was covering his first or second mare of the season and he fell over backwards and hit his head.” Therein lies the irony of the life and passing of a Canterbury champion. The Bean survived all the racetrack threw at him and retired sound enough to continue competing. Yet, he died trying to pass on those solid genes in a freakish accident. Oliver isn’t certain how many runners the Bean sired, a half dozen or more to be sure. He is certain of one quality in the Bean offspring he’s seen. “He wasn’t bred to quality mares, but he passed on his soundness and running ability just the same.” Oliver didn’t hesitate when he spotted one of the Bean’s daughters in the Arizona fall sale two years ago. He shelled out $32,000 for the chestnut filly, and she paid some dividends on the investment Saturday. “Yeah, she won easy,” said Bryan Oliver, Doug’s son and the owner of Mego. “Of course, all of his (the Bean) horses can run.” The Olivers ran another offspring of the Bean at Canterbury last year, a 3-year-old named Sean’s Olbean, named for Sean Kennedy, the longtime assistant to Oliver who died of cancer. But they had never had a Bean horse win at the track where its sire excelled….until Saturday.. So, what’s next for Mego after the third win of her career:? “They don’t write many non-winners of four here. Maybe we’ll run her on the turf,” Bryan Oliver said. “Her sire ran big here,” Doug Oliver added. He really liked it here.”Thatsusintheolbean dominated races on the lawn at Canterbury in 1998 and 1999. Who knows, his daughter might grow to like Shakopee lawn, too. CANTERBURY UPDATE
The leading rider and trainer of 2007 hit the board Saturday in the sixth race, teaming for a victory with Moon Kid, a five-year-old Texas-bred gelding. Derek Bell rode, his fourth winner of the meet. Mac Robertson saddled the winner, his third of the meet. Robertson was in the winner’s circle again after Manuel Vazquez rode Kid Mariah to a six-furlong win in the eighth. Bernell Rhone, the 1996 training champ, saddled two winners on the card _ Eagle Storm in the third race and Heza Wild Guy in the seventh _ and is tied with Robertson with four wins for the current meet. Paul Nolan brought in General Hog in the closing race on the card, his fourth winner of the meet. The winner was owned, bred and trained by Ernie Witt.