by JIM WELLS
WHAT’S IN A NAME….
The lineup goes something like this in the Olesiak family, at least the part that has been prominent at Canterbury Park: Justin was 23 in April. Jacob was 21 in May. Jordan turned 25 in June, and Jesse was 27 in July.
Aunt Gloria? Well, she’s not saying.
Part of the Olesiak team will be missing for Friday night’s first race, however. Gloria plans to be present when her horse, Uncle Brother, runs. As will Jordan, the trainer. Jacob might otherwise have the mount on Uncle Brother but is in Fargo, where he is the leading rider at North Dakota Horse Park, for a commitment there. So, Jesse Garcia gets the mount.
All of the Olesiaks were directly involved in Canterbury racing at one time. Jesse now helps out with a veterinary service on the backside. Justin is training horses and works as a farrier in northern Minnesota.
Tim Olesiak is Gloria’s brother and father to Justin, Jordan, Jacob and Jesse. Tim and Gloria are part of a family of nine who grew up on one of the largest dairy farms outside Cloquet. They had work horses and rode as youngsters but that was it.
Tim’s sons came by their love of racing from their mother Lori’s side of the family.
“The Olesiaks were known for milking cows, and Wilson House, the boys grandfather on their mother’s side, was known for raising thoroughbreds,” Gloria explained.
Grandpa Wilson scared the daylights out of his grandsons as youngsters when he put them on his thoroughbreds, but eventually they mastered their fear and learned to ride.
Racing eventually became a way of life for them.
For Gloria’s daughter, Natalie, as well. She has ponied horses for some time but now has a degree in equine massage therapy and is on leave after giving birth to another grandchild for Gloria.
Gloria had been into raising and selling quarter horses for some time when she started following Jordan’s career. Eventually, she told him she wanted to claim a thoroughbred and asked how to go about it. Jordan claimed Uncle Brother for her. That was five years ago and now she has a second thoroughbred as well.
Jacob made a connection for her with trainer Justin Evans, and Gloria purchased a horse named Wonwongwing. The horse is running in Fargo and when it first arrived, Gloria was asked the inevitable question.
“Everybody was asking, ‘what is this, a Chinese horse or somethin’,’ ” Gloria said.
Better yet, Gloria sold shares of the horse for a dollar apiece to some of her grandchildren.
She called after the horse won for the first time, and her four-year-old granddaughter, Lexi, knew immediately how to relay the message. “It’s grandma,” she said, “and Wonwongwing won.”
Try saying that 10 times real fast.
Try saying that 10 times real fast.
“I have 10 grandchildren,” Gloria added, “and some day we’re going to have a horse and name it Ten Grand.”
In the meantime, Jordan Olesiak plans to continue a tradition started by his father. Actually, he already has. Six months ago, a son was born to Jordan. His name: James Jordon Olesiak.
STEVENS BACK IN THE SADDLE
Scott Stevens worked four horses on Thursday morning and was scheduled to ride one race on that night’s card.
He considered that good news. “My knee actually feels better riding horses than it does walking,” he said.
He got other encouraging news this week, too, after tearing up his left knee while trying to restrain a horse after galloping out in a recent race.
“The knee is coming around. I’ve been going to therapy on and off all week and the knee continues to improve,” Stevens said.
There was other promising news, too.
Doctors originally told him that after tearing the ACL and spraining the MCL that he would require surgery. “Now they saying we’ll play it by ear,” he said.
Stevens said that because his quad muscles are so strong that doctors think they will take over for the torn ACL. They also think that the sprain to the MCL has been his biggest issue. The sprain has healed considerably this week.
Stevens is named on four mounts for the Festival of Racing on Sunday.