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Much of the Gang is All Here

The main track was opened for training on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. It did not take long for a crowd to gather in what is a bit of a homecoming for many. New gap attendant Destany Hall accompanied by Amber Carlisle, head of racing operations, were the first to arrive. Trainer Larry Donlin was not far behind.

Trainer Bernell Rhone, the first to bring a horse onto the grounds at what was then Canterbury Downs in 1985, was present. Tony Rengstorf arrived on horseback. Before long the first of many Mac Robertson trainees entered the track for a timed workout. Over the first two days of training, Robertson accounted for half of the workers.

Others included trainers Kevin Danger, Katlin Bedford and Tim Padilla, owner Don Hoover and agents Chuck Costanzo, Chad Anderson and Richard Grunder along with outrider Gross Hecker.

Racing secretary Rob Junk made an appearance at the gap as did track superintendent Javier Barajas.

Jockeys Sofia Barandela and Serafin Carmona kept busy the past two mornings. Scott Stevens was seen Thursday with one of his riders Luis Valenzuela. The pieces are all falling into place. Troy Bethke, a mainstay at Canterbury for going on 40 years, has arrived as has Valorie Lund who will call one of the new barns home.

There were 350 horses on the grounds as of this morning. Entries for opening night May 18 will be taken Saturday.

Padilla was responsible for the 2023 success of Minnesota bred Doctor Oscar who won three times at Canterbury and was named horse of the meet. Doctor Oscar (pictured above), owned and bred by Pete Mattson, is entered to race Friday at Prairie Meadows in a $40,000 handicap. He is the third on the morning line at 7 to 2 in that seventh race on Prairie’s opening night card. Alonso Quinonez will be aboard and may find himself on the pace setter from the outside post. With the 10,000 Lakes Stakes three weeks away, Padilla found a good spot for the 5-year-old. Doctor Oscar won the 10,000 Lakes last season.