BY JIM WELLS
He was a colt among weanlings, a giant among the Lilliputians. He was Mr. Jagermeister at his best, simply too much for six competitors to handle.
It was a scene similar to what high school opponents must have gasped at when they saw Lebron James for the first time. Are you kidding me?
Yes, it was that kind of dominating performance. Mr. Jagermeister set the pace, challenging six rivals to accompany him. A couple of them tried in the early going, but didn’t have the legs or the gas to stay with him after Leandro Goncalves let out the reins a notch now and then as they rounded the turn.
He is simply the best Minnesota-bred sprinter to come along in some time, and against Saturday’s lineup he stretched out with gusto, too, covering a mile and 70 yards in 1:40.37.
If Scott County were governed by a queen, he would be Sir Jagermeister after this compelling effort.
Keep in mind, of course, that he was running against other state-bred horses in the $100,.000 Minnesota Derby, yet he looked solidly like Canterbury Park’s horse of the year at the wire.
He had 10 lengths on Cinco Star at the wire and 13 ¾ on Twoko Bay. Winning rider Leandro Goncalves bounded down the steps from the winner’s circle without taking questions. He had another mount awaiting him at Prairie Meadows in Altoona Iowa, Saturday night in the $105,000 Iowa Breeders’ Derby.
Jagermeister’s winning time was .17 off the track record for the distance, despite running five wide throughout the race, as part of the strategy his trainer laid out to help him avoid pressure and relax.
“We wanted to keep him relaxed,” said trainer Valorie Lund, who can hardly wait for next season when she expects her star to fill out and mature even more. ” He’s matured a lot in the last 60 days,” she said. “He stays focused and keeps his mind on business.”
Lund predicted that Jagermeister will be one of the very best sprinters in the nation next year, unless his trainer screws up. “Would you fire the trainer if that happened,” she was asked.
“Yes, I would,” she said.
$100,000 MINNESOTA OAKS
The fillies in this race were given a round of applause, from a large gathering in the inner circle, as they left the paddock and made their way to the track.
Considered a wide open race with a nine-horse lineup, Firstmate was sent off the 2/1 favorite and would demonstrate minutes later that that confidence was not misplaced.
Wearing blinkers for the first time, she liked the distance, a mile and 70 yards, and glided home easily in front, besting Rock That Jewel, second choice with Simran at 5/2, by four lengths.
“I can’t take much credit, her handlers and exercise rider got her ready,” said winning rider Ry Eikleberry. “I had the easy part. All I did was ride her.”
With a finishing time of 1:44.66.
The theme for the day on Saturday was “dressed to the nines”, and employees and a number of patrons, too, were in resplendent attire despite the oppressive heat and humidity.
Winning owners Barry and Joni Butzow were among them, he in black tails and hat, she in blue hat and dress.
“I think the blinkers really helped,” he said “And she liked the track and the distance. The last race, the track had been sealed and she didn’t like it.”
There was no doubt about her preference on Saturday.
$39,800 CASH CARAVAN STAKES
Here we have a tale of two brothers that might one day add another chapter for a third up and coming sibling: Dickey Bob and Pyc Jess Bite MyDust, with a little brother at home on the farm in Gibbon.
Pyc Jess Bite MyDust is a speed demon who ought to apply himself to 400 yards as if he were a dragster. Trouble is, he misfires in the gate, doodles, dawdles, throws his head. He’s a real headache at times, even though his connections love him dearly for his talent.
Then there is Dickey Bob, no slouch himself, and a full brother to Pyc. Dickey won his second consecutive stakes race Saturday, beating his faster brother, who got away a tad late, by a head. Something very similar occurred on July 8 in the Bob Morehouse Stakes. Dickey Bob won that one too after Pyc Jess threw his head in the gate and finished third.
Winning rider Denny Velazquez took the win in stride, but Jason Olmstead, who won his fourth consecutive training title, and owners Bruce and Judy Lunderborg were disappointed that Pyc Jess Bite MyDust did not perform to her abilities.
Yet, it is difficult to be overly dismayed when your horses finish one-two as they did, with Dickey Bob a mere head in front of his brother Pyc , who had ½ length on Rey D Arranque.
And waiting at home is a baby brother born this spring. He seems to fit right in. His name is Bullet.
$45,000 NORTH CENTRAL FUTURITY
The winner in this one was toughest in the final steps after a 350-yard duel from the gate with the horse right next to him and became the first quarter horse to earn more than $100,000 at Canterbury during a meet.
Jess Doin Time prevailed in the final steps, finishing ½ length in front of Apolitical Mogul, who had two lengths on Zoes Sassy Miracle. The final time of 17.667 was a record for this stake.
The winning owner in this race made his way to the winner’s circle still shaking off the nervous energy that had overcome him as he watched the race. Tom Pouliot was shaking his head as he stepped into the winner’s circle. “That made me a bit nervous,” he exclaimed.
Jess Doin Time is an easy going filly that awaits her owner’s attention whenever he approaches the stall. “She wants that hug from me,” he said. “Every day.”
Olmstead was the winning trainer in this one, too, and now awaits the Minnesota Festival of Champions on September 2.
$50,000 MTA SALES GRADUATE FUTURITY
This five-horse race settled into a match race between Notte Oscura, trained by Gary Scherer, and Dame Plata, conditioned by Francisco Bravo.
Run at five furlongs, the race matched Minnesota-bred two-year-olds that passed through the sales ring of the MTA yearling sale.
Dame Plata took charge in the final strides to win by 2 ¼ lengths and give trainer Francisco Bravo a return welcome to Canterbury. He had been gone the last few weeks to take care of a medical issue, but was welcomed back in grand style with a winner’s purse of $30,000.