CANADA, OH CANADA
By JIM WELLS
It wasn’t exactly a caravan that left Shakopee for Winnipeg, Manitoba Sunday, but racing fans with their finger on the local pulse took notice just the same.
Three races at Assiniboia Downs attracted connections to some local stables for the card there on Monday offering a $30,000 stake, the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks and the $75,000 Manitoba Derby.
One of the cars that headed north on the eight-hour drive after Sunday’s card at Canterbury Park included jockey agent Richard Grunder, one of his riders, Adolfo Morales, and owner Paul Schaffer.
Morales has mounts Monday on Schaefer’s Himynameissarah, a 5-1 morning line selection in the Oaks, and on Bryan Porter’s Smuggler’s Hold , the 5-2 favorite in the Derby.
Among the other Shakopee regulars participating on the card are trainer Charles Smith, who has Mankato Strike in the $30,000 stake and two horses, 3-1 choice Lady Countdown and 5-1 choice Morsel, in the Oaks.
Ry Eikleberry, the talented young rider who has been making his mark at Canterbury and Turf Paradise the last two years, is named on the Red Rarick-trained Thelifeoftheparty, a 7-2 pick in the Oaks.
Padilla is named as trainer of Smuggler’s Hold, but the actual owner/trainer is Porter.
Smuggler’s Hold broke his maiden at first asking last summer at Canterbury and is considered a late bloomer by Porter.
The horse beat older horses six weeks ago then ran fourth after checking sharply in the Dean Kutz Stakes on July 2. He was third in a race at Oaklawn Park last March to Flying Private, the fourth-place horse in the Preakness Stakes.
He is looking for his fourth win in the Derby. “It’s a long drive if you don’t win,” said Grunder. “But you have to take a shot.”
BABIES DO OK
The babies were trotted out Friday night and the MTA Yearling Sale by many measures went well.
Of the 51 horses through the ring, 29 of them found new homes, a 57 percent result that improved upon the 45 percent result in 2009 when 15 more horses sold.
The sale topper was a filly by Greatness out of Glorious Grace that went for $22,500 to Jer-Mar Stable. The filly was consigned by Oak Tree Farm as agent for Frances Genter Williams.
The leading consignor was Prairie Hill Farms with five horses sold. Gross proceeds were down about $17,000 from 2009 with total sales of $165,000.
The average selling price was $5,690 and median price was $3,000.
“Based on the two-year-old sale, we had a lot more action in the barn for this sale,” said Kay King, executive director for the MTA. “Buyers and trainers were looking much more than in the last few years.”
King said that some of the purchases went to new buyers. “That might be a good sign,” she said. “We might be getting some new owners in the market.”
All in all, it went well in King’s view.
“Considering the economy and considering the state of racing in Minnesota and around the country, it was a successful sale,” she said.
RACE OF THE DAY
Race caller Paul Allen frequently entertains visiting groups in his cubicle atop the grandstand at Canterbury.
He often gives youngster and oldsters alike an opportunity to try their voices at the mike with declarations such as “it’s two minutes to post time.”
Sunday, he hosted a group for the fifth race and afterwards told them they had just witnessed the race of the day.
Indeed it was.
Pivot Pad appeared the winner inside the 16th pole, but Derek Bell coaxed a late, late firing out of Duke Deluxe who caught the leader at the wire to win by a neck.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get there,” Bell said. “When this horse gets down inside horses, he loses his mind, jumps around and switches leads.”
He also got up _ just in time _ for his fourth win in five starts at Canterbury this summer.
THE QUARTER HORSES WIND IT UP
It was a bad day for trainer Ed Ross Hardy. His horses won only two of the three races that concluded the card, the trials for the North Central Futurity.
Ry Eikleberry, the leading quarter horse rider in Shakopee, teamed with Hardy, the leading trainer, to win the first of the three races with Stolis Kool Chick in 18.059.
Hardy then sent out Oak Tree Boulevard and Tad Leggett and they demolished a field of eight rivals, winning by four lengths or more in 17.842. The winner is owned by Robert and Julie Peterson of Cokato.
Jason Olmstead took the Amber Blair-trained Cedar Creek to victory in the card-capper, winning in 18.424. Cedar Creek is owned by Tom Maher of Pierre, S.D.