Ask Adolfo Morales where he’s from and he has to think for a moment. You can almost hear the tumblers in his mind falling into place, clicking one by one, trying to find the right response from among several. Do you mean originally, most recently, this year or last?
The question, you see, is much too black and white. Morales, after all, is from many places, depending on the year, sometimes the month, although the answer has been much simpler in recent years, ever since he settled down, so to speak.
His paternal grandfather, Arturo, was Chilean but moved to Peru as a young man. Adolfo’s father and he as well were born in Lima, so they are by blood Chilean, but by birth Peruvian.
Pay attention, here’s where it becomes complicated. Arturo and Jose were riders who wound up as trainers. Adolfo, not surprisingly, although not in response to his father’s first wish for him, wound up galloping and then riding racehorses, first in Lima, then in Florida, then in New York, then back to Florida , then back to Peru, back to Florida and then to Minnesota and finally Phoenix. There was a six-month stint in Saudia Arabia, too.
The cities are correct, the exact sequence may not be. Even Adolfo has to think diligently to recall the years and the places he’s been since first landing in the United States at age 17 and sometimes they run together on him.
Now 41, that’s a lot of years to arrange in correct chronological order.
For what it’s worth, for approximately the last six or seven years, Adolfo has called Phoenix home from September to May and Shakopee for the remainder of the year. Morales was in Florida when he ran into none other than Luis Canchari, who suggested he give Minnesota a try. Phoenix, with its eight-month meeting, of course, is the perfect place for a rider with a family.
Adolfo and his wife, Paola, their 17-year-old son Alonso and 11-year-old daughter Ximena have a home in Peoria, about 20 minutes from Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Everything is much easier now that he has settled on the current rotation.
Alonso is working on turf crew this summer and doing some galloping as well. “He wants to buy a car, so I told him he has to work,” Adolfo said.
Adolfo and his wife met, where else, at the racetrack in Lima, where she was Monterrico’s answer to Canterbury’s Angela Hermann.
Morales rode his first winner, Susie’s Swinger, at Calder Race Course.
Of more significance is this tidbit: He is the only jockey to have won all four legs of Peru’s Quadruple Crown, in 1992, on a horse named Stash.
In 1973, a horse named Santorin won the Quadruple. Adolfo’s father was on him for the final three legs of the championship. How’s that for a little piece of Peruvian racing history all from one family
Morales is headed from Canterbury to Assiniboia Downs Thursday morning to ride Schillerthekiller in a 30 grand stakes race there. The two paired up to win a stakes at the same track a few weeks ago.
Trainer Clay Brinson and Morales made the hike to Canada as a team that time. “I’m driving by myself this time,” Morales said, adding, with a thin grin, “you wouldn’t want to come along, would you?”
Morales has been a regular at Canterbury the last six years. He left for Canada with eight wins, four seconds and three thirds from 33 mounts. “Best percentage among the riders,” he pointed out.
The win he added on Thursday’s card came in the second race aboard Broken Aero. In the winner’s circle, all prepared to take part in the upcoming photo, was Ximena.
“Do you know the winning rider?” she was asked. “Oh, yes, I just met him – on the street somewhere,” she responded.
Not likely, even for a globe-trotter like her daddy.
How’s this for a family reunion!
In a $60,000 photo finish, Midnight Sunlight, trained by Vic Hanson with Stormy Smith up, nosed out Mr Shakem Diva in the Northlands Futurity, capping a thrilling race decided by not much more than a nostril.
Most interestingly, though, was this added dimension to the race. The winning owner, Brenda Reiswig of Bismarck, N.D., is a sister to David Wisdom, the owner of Mr Shakem Diva, trained by Ed Ross Hardy and ridden by Clyde Smith.
“It’s all in fun,” Reiswig said, adding that next up for the winner is a Futurity at Remington Park
FOURTH OF JULY ON SATURDAY
All events planned for the postponed July 4 card will be conducted as part of Saturday’s card. The $75,000 Northbound Pride Stakes and the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby will be run.
It’s a big day for weiners as well.
The wiener dog finals will be conducted. There will be a hot dog eating contest and free hot dogs for the patrons.
FIRST TIME WINNER
Trainer Sandra Sweere got her first win as a trainer in Thursday’s second race. She saddled Broken Aero, owned by Ruth Casanova.
Sweere worked in Troy Bethke’s barn for some four years before getting her training license two years ago. Her starts have been few and far between for a couple of reasons. Thursday’s was just her fourth.
She owned three of the horses she saddled in the last two years. One of them was knocked out of racing after running into a dumpster in the stable area. A second broke a shoulder and the third pulled a ligament.
“I guess I can train horses,” Sweere said. “I just can’t own them.
This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography