By Jim Wells
You’ve heard the advice in various forms and probably a couple of hundred times over the years…..
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, diversify your investments…axioms that have worn thin, lost some of their influence simply through repetition over time.
Sometimes, though, you don’t have a choice. Take the trainers with quarter horses in their barns. There is only one chance for them to strike it big, to mine gold so to speak, or cash in over the summer months in Shakopee.
The Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, the richest quarter horse race of the season: $146,400. It’s the one shot, the single opportunity for a quarter horse owner or trainer to take home the big bucks.
“It can make or break the summer,” said Canterbury’s two-time defending training champ, Jason Olmstead.
With that thought in the back of their minds, Canterbury’s quarter horse trainers rounded up their two-year-olds for Saturday’s five qualifying trials for the Northlands Futurity. The opportunity went to the 10 fastest qualifiers from the five races who’ll compete in the Futurity on July 8.
Olmstead, who saddled 13 starters Saturday, with lots of help, trained the winner of the Futurity two years in a row before being supplanted last year by an Ed Ross Hardy horse, A Jordon Reed. Hardy had also trained five previous winners of the race.
Of the 10 qualifiers Saturday, three are trained by Olmstead, who was clearly hoping for another one or two, but….
“Well, we got three in,” he said, taking a philosophical approach. “That’s better than two.”
Percentagewise, though, no one outdid trainer Jason Pascoe…three starters, three qualifiers, including the fastest of the afternoon, Mildred Didrickson, winner of the second race in 17.782.
Olmstead’s Maghelene was second fastest of the afternoon, winning the third race in 17.792. She won a spine tingler with Miss Energy P, getting her head up at the wire after a late charge.
Maghelene’s owner, Thomas Scheckel, offered this insight afterward: “She’d get away from the gate better with a little more weight and muscle on her.”
That is likely to occur in the coming months. After all, we’re talking two-year-olds. There is something else to consider here, as well. Miss Energy P’s time, 17.801, was third quickest of the day.
Shes Sizzling, a Pascoe-trained horse, was next on the list after winning the fifth race with a time of 17.895. And Hardy, who trained the winner of this race last year, will get another opportunity. He conditions Dashin My Lady, the fifth swiftest on Saturday in 18.033 after running second to Mildred Didrickson.
Olmstead unloaded the stalls in Saturday’s trials, by the far the most of any trainer with 13. “For this one, you can’t have too many bullets,” he said. “It really can mean the difference in having a good meet.”
That kind of commitment also meant that Olmstead needed a crew of eight to 10 stable hands to help transport horses to and from the racetrack before and after races. That, too, required timing and communication.
“You just hope everybody shows up on time,” he said. ” You know how that goes…one person can throw a chink in the works. As far as the game plan goes, this Futurity is No. 1 on the list.” With three horses qualified, it still is.
Mildred Didrickson Pascoe 17.782
Maghelen Olmstead 17.794
Miss Energy P Charette-Hill 17.801
Shes Sizzling Pascoe 17.895
Dashin My Lady Hardy 18.033
BHR Flashing Effort Johnson 18.034
Jess Doin Time Olmstead 18.035
Cashair Olmstead 18.044
Chicken Lips Pascoe 18.046
Devins Project Manriquez 18.059