By Noah Joseph
Over the years, Canterbury has had some powerful Minnesota bred horses, especially during the early 2000s. Horses like Crocrock, Bleu Victoriate, Nidari, and J.P Jet were winning everything in sight. While those names come up in conversation frequently in local racing circles, one name is often forgotten. That horse is Now Playing.
Now Playing was bred in Minnesota by his owners Art and Gretchen Eaton. He was sired by Senor Speedy, a multiple graded stakes winner in the early 90s who also competed in the Breeders’ Cup. Now Playing’s dam, Easter Morn, was also a homebred by the Eatons, who had owned and bred horses for years on their Leanin’ Tree Farm in Randolph. Now Playing won his debut at Canterbury in July of 2000 by three lengths with Derek Bell aboard. Bell continued to ride Now Playing to many of his victories. Now Playing then finished 2nd in the MTA Stallion Auction Laddie Stakes before winning his first stakes race, the Northern Lights Futurity.
As a three year old in 2001, Now Playing won the Minnesota Derby as the favorite and was second in the Vic Myers Stakes. Now Playing had a disappointing four year-old season, winning just one race, but it would be a key turning point in his career. He won his first race on the grass, and as he got older, the more Now Playing loved the turf. At age five, Now Playing won three times on the lawn, including the Minnesota Turf Championship. Now Playing made a sequel the next year by winning the Minnesota Turf Championship again. It would be his last career victory, as he failed to win at ages seven and eight. He retired in 2006.
All in all, Now Playing won nine times from forty starts, including four stakes victories. He finished in the money eighteen times, and retired with earnings of over $143,000.In the end, Now Playing’s career was two thumbs, or two hooves, up.