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News and Notes April 24

A Minnesota-bred warrior passed away this winter. Careless Navigator, bred by Canterbury Hall of Famers Alvin and Marlys Goebel, fell victim to laminitis. He was a marvel on the track. All 17 of his races were run in Shakopee. The multiple stakes winner recorded nine victories and earned $211,516 under the tutelage of trainer Vic Hanson. His early speed and acceleration on the turn often left his foes reeling.
Careless Navigator’s 2-year-old season was flawless. He broke his maiden at first asking, followed that up with a win in the Timeless Prince Stakes, and finished the season winning the ultimate prize for MN bred babies the Northern Lights Futurity.
In 2005 Careless Navigator struggled. He went winless in three starts.
His 2006 campaign was a different story. Anne Von Rosen, who would ride the son of Pioneering in his final 11 starts, piloted him to a layoff win in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes. The speed that he displayed in ’04 was back. He won three more races that season including the Minnesota Sprint Championship.
Last summer he won twice in five starts including a successful defense of his MN Sprint Championship title, drawing off for a 4 ½ length score.
Careless Navigator was named 2-year-old of the meet in 2004, sprinter of the meet in 2006, and champion older horse of the meet in 2006 and 2007.
“A horse like that is hard to come by,” Marlys said. The Goebels have been in the business for decades, long before shovels broke ground for the Shakopee oval. They have experienced the peaks and the valleys of the game. They ran horses when there was no money and found their way into the winners’ circle when the dream of a Minnesota racetrack came true. Their dedication to racing and to their horses paid off with Careless Navigator. He is a member of a small group of elite Minnesota-breds. “He was one of the ones,” Marlys said. “He tried his best every time.”
Hoffrogge likely to scratch A. J. Bakes from Prairie Meadows stake
2007 Northern Lights Debutante winner A. J. Bakes has been entered in the $50,000 Goldfinch Stakes at Prairie Meadows on Saturday but will be a scratch according to trainer Todd Hoffrogge.
City Pages Best of the Twin Cities
The annual Best of the Twin Cities issue of City Pages hit the newsstands yesterday. Pick up a free copy at Canterbury Park.Best JockeyBest Horse Trainer

News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.

Florida Derby winner and likely Kentucky Derby favorite Big Brown blew through five furlongs at Florida’s Palm Meadows training center early this morning in :58 3/5. The move did nothing to diminish trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.’s already sizable confidence level in his colt.
“It’s a horse race, and I have the best horse in the race. It’s that simple,” Dutrow said after the workout. “We’re going to Kentucky to win, anything less than that is not going to be okay with us. There’s such good karma going around the stable now that I don’t see how he can get beat.”
Dutrow watched Big Brown work from the top of the stretch. Later, he told exercise rider Michele Nevin, “I can’t believe he went that fast. He looked like he was just galloping along when he went past me.”
The son of a successful New York-based trainer, the younger Dutrow, 47, has already trained a Horse of the Year in Saint Liam, who took the 2005 title after winning that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. So Dutrow is well familiar with what it takes to win a big race.
“I love the spot I’m in,” he said. “I can’t see anyone going into this race nearly as well as we are.”
Big Brown has won all three of his starts, the first two by a combined 24 lengths and his last, the $1 million Florida Derby, by five lengths. He has suffered from quarter cracks earlier in his career, but Dutrow said the colt’s one-time brittle feet are no longer a concern.
“His feet have been cold the last three or four weeks,” he said. “I’m not worried about his feet at all.”
Big Brown is expected to depart Palm Meadows on Monday for Churchill Downs in Louisville, where he is expected to be the Kentucky Derby favorite.
“He’ll be the favorite on Derby Day, I can guarantee that,” Dutrow said. “We’re a betting stable, and we’ll make sure he’s the favorite.”

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced this week the formation of the Horseplayers’ Coalition, a consortium of horseplayers whose common objective is to seek legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact racing fans and pari-mutuel racetracks.
The Horseplayers’ Coalition will provide grass roots support for the NTRA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Participants can track the progress of legislation online at, where they will also find legislative news, press releases and position papers on a variety of legislative issues. The Web site will also be the portal for Coalition members to send grass roots communications to members of Congress using stylized message points.
“Our nation’s horseplayers provide the capital that fuels so much of the horse industry, and the new Horseplayers’ Coalition will finally give this group a means of speaking with a unified voice in Washington, D.C.,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA.
“The concerns of horseplayers are an important part of the NTRA’s lobbying efforts,” said Peggy Hendershot, Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the NTRA. “We encourage all fans to take an active role in these efforts by joining the Coalition. Together we can make a real difference in addressing the many issues, like withholding and taxation, that affect players on a daily basis.”
The cost to join the Horseplayers’ Coalition is $25. Individuals may enroll online at They may also join by sending a check for $25, payable to NTRA, to Horseplayers’ Coalition, c/o NTRA, 2525 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 400, Lexington, Ky., 40504.
Horseplayers can also join the Coalition by participating in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Tour (NHC Tour). A portion of each $125 NHC Tour registration fee will be earmarked for the Coalition, and supporters will also automatically receive access to NTRA Advantage, which provides preferred pricing on products and services from such NTRA Advantage Partners as John Deere, UPS, OfficeDepot, Sherwin-Williams, Toshiba and others.
The New York Times will release next week a compilation of some of the best writing about the Triple Crown to appear in the paper over the last 130 years. Edited by Joe Drape, the book will be titled “To the Swift: Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory”.
The book includes bestselling and award-winning contributors: Jan Smiley, Laura Hillenbrand, Red Smith, Dorothy Ours, Steven Crist, Jim Squires, Arthur Daley, Dave Anderson, Stephen Dobyns, George Vecsey, William Grimes and others.
“To The Swift” chronicles the triumphs of horses like Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Affirmed, Citation, Seattle Slew and Secretariat, and also the agonizing near misses of Real Quiet and Charismatic.
The book, which will be available May 1 for $25.95, includes rare and classic photos, lists of winners, and other material from the archives of The New York Times.