BY JIM WELLS
Take your pick for the hottest horseman at Canterbury this weekend. It ended on an upbeat note for Seth Martinez, Juan Rivera and Ry Eilkeberry among the riders.
Trainers Clay Brinson and Red Rarick did all right for themselves, too.
Rivera, who rode two winners on Thursday’s card and one on Friday’s, added two more wins on Sunday, with Luvin Geroge in the second race and Nokomis, who paid $24,20, in the eighth.
“I had a good weekend and I’m having a good meet,” said Rivera.
Rivera won at least 40 races his first four seasons at Canterbury and then slipped to 33 last year.
“Now I have a chance to reach 40 again,” he said.
He has 35 wins with eight days of racing remaining.
Martinez, who won three races on Saturday’s card, won the first race on Sunday’s card aboard No Baggage, a three-year-old filly trained by Megan Miller. All three of his wins Saturday came on Brinson-trained horses. Brinson added another win on Sunday’s card in the fifth race with Carnera, a seven-year-old gelding by Old Trieste.
Red Rarick saddled two winners, Luvin George and Academy of Music in the sixth
Eilkeberry rode Carnera and Academy of Music for two thoroughbred wins and also won the only quarter horse race on the card aboard Elegant N Royal, trained by Ed Ross Hardy.
Hot or not hot, however, the rider to catch is still defending champion Dean Butler, who has 58 wins, 12 more than Eilkeberry and 13 more than Derek Bell.
BROWNER TACKLES ILLITERACY
Former Minnesota Vikings strong safety Joey Browner hosted a get-together in the track’s presidential suite on Sunday to help launch his foundation, dedicated to helping youngsters who might be left behind get a head start.
Browner’s foundation will purchase software and donate it to camps for youngsters around the state. The software is designed to help preschoolers learn to read before kindergarten and K 1-12 students hone their math and reading skills.
Browner was pleased with Sunday’s turnout of 50 people, who got lunch as part of a donation to the foundation.
Each of Sunday’s eight thoroughbred races bore the name of a former Minnesota Viking, a reference to the team or the National Football League. The card opened with the John Randle Dash, a timely tip of the hat to the team’s newest member of the NFL Hall of Fame.
Race two was called the Viking Alumni Mile. Then came the No Moe Single. Throw that one around the dinner table as part of a trivia discussion.
Race four was named after another Viking Hall of Famer _ The Randall McDaniel Derby, and race five honored a “classic” former coach with The Jerry Burns Classic.
Race six was The NFL Players Association Mile. Race seven was the 50th Anniversary Dash, a reference, of course, to the anniversary this year of the arrival of pro football in Minnesota.
The thoroughbred card wound up with the Joey Browner Foundation Sprint.
AN OLD GAME WITH A NEW TWIST
Ever played the quarter horse game?
Well, the bulky game is a thing of the past. Scott Meyer had a newer version of the “old” game on display near the gift shop during Sunday’s races.
The game is made entirely in Minnesota and is constructed of Minnesota ash. The board itself is hinged and folds, enclosing the deck of cards, dice and horses that are used.
There is a laser design of horses on the board. “All of the laser etching is done by Tim Pawelk of Buffalo,” Scott said. “He did the laser etching at Target Field.”
Meyer and his brother, Dave, assemble the product in Inver Grove Heights. They sell for $50 in the Canterbury gift shop. More information is available at http://www.quarterhorseracinggame.com/.
Elegant N Royal wins $22,650 Northern Plains Futurity with Eikleberry aboard.