The traffic was backed up for two miles on Highway 169 during the first two races on Sunday. The exit to Canterbury Road was a tough place to reach with the heavy Father’s Day turnout, and anxious horse players could be spotted on their cell phones in numerous automobiles along the way.
The phones pressed tightly to their ears and strained looks on their faces, you could almost read their minds and interpret the conversations.
“Hey, pal, I’m stuck in traffic and can’t make the first race. Lay 10 across the board for me on that Justin Evans horse.
“And, hey, just in case I can’t get to the window in time for race two, put 20 across on the horse that cute little English girl, Lori Keith, is riding, will ya.”
Well, the conversations might have been something on that order, or they might have been altogether different, but the point is Canterbury hosted another large turnout for Dad’s Day and the lines at the concession stands were nearly as long as those on Highway 169.
And in both cases,. our mythical horse player in the cell phone conversation would have been a winner. Dean Butler rode the winner of race one, the Evans-trained Chickster, owned by Canterbury’s champion owner the past two seasons, SEJ Stables (Curt Johnson et all) of Detroit Lakes. Keith was on the winner of the second race, a gelding named Musical Groom, trained and owned by Zachary Armstrong of Piedmont, Ohio.
There is a standing order in press boxes that no cheering is allowed. The idea is that the working press needs to maintain its objectivity and not take a personal interest in the outcomes of the games or races being covered.
There was an understandable exception on Sunday when a 4-year-old filly named Somerset Wish, ridden by Adolfo Morales and trained by Larry Donlin, broke her maiden in a 5 ½ maiden claiming event.
The horse is owned by Star of the North Racing LLC of Little Canada, a group headed by Dave Miller, who calls the charts for the Daily Racing Form at Canterbury. The group also owns a full brother to Somerset Wish named Somerset Sam. Both horses were bred by Jack Walsh of Somerset.
Miller has had problems calling charts sometimes when his horses have run in the past. He has had to re-watch races to call the charts afterward., but is more experienced now. There was no need to re-watch anything Sunday.
“No, I didn’t even yell this time,” Miller said. “She crossed the wire first and I just said, ‘OK.”’
There were plenty of other highlights on Sunday’s card as well. For the second day in a row, Jesse Garcia, Canterbury’s impresario on frontrunners, rode a winner for SEJ Stables, gate to wire. This time it was With Smoke, a 4-year-old gelded son of Smoke Glacken.
“Like I said, I want my horses in the race and Jesse’s great about putting them there and riding them the whole race,” said Evans.
The fifth race on the card, a $20,000 allowance race was won by Onotheregostokyo, ridden by Dean Butler and trained by Bernell Rhone. The horse is owned by HBPA president Tom Metzen and Bill Lethert of Inver Grove Heights. The horse was entered in the Brooks Fields Stakes last Saturday but was scratched at the gate.
And, so it went on another Father’s Day. SEJ Stables added to its lead for a third straight owner’s championship. Garcia continued to win on frontrunners. And the Daily Racing Form’s calm, collected chart caller got a winner of his own.