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Opening Night A Success

Day 1 of the 54-day season, the 30th since the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack reopened in 1995, began with the veteran Minnesota-bred Thealligatorhunter winning by a half-length in an enterprising trip that saw the 6-year-old checking in traffic in the early stages and rallying from off the pace in the stretch, while drifting out ever so slightly which was his M.O. earlier in his career.


Thealligatorhunter (pictured above) paid $4.80 and provided jockey Alonso Quinonez with the first of two victories on Saturday’s eight-race program. Thealligatorhunter, trained by Tim Padilla who also co-owns with Pete Mattson, has now won 10 times at Canterbury. His local earnings total $331,609, the 14th most in the history of the track.

A loud and festive on-track crowd wagered $234,225. The addition of off-track wagering made for a total handle of $1,071,735.

Jockey Luis Fuentes also won twice with three second-place finishes and new-to-the-colony Franklin Ceballos won a pair, both for trainer Ron Westermann.

This was the first time Westermann won two races on a single card at Canterbury. “Heck, I only won two races all last year,” Westermann said. “Ten seconds but only two wins.”

Franklin Ceballos

Jockeys Alfredo Barajas and apprentice Serafin Carmona each had a win.

Other trainers winning one each included Padilla, Mac Robertson, Miguel Silva, Coty Rosin, Larry Donlin and Matt Williams.

Three of the eight races were won by the favorite, two of those odds-on. There were a number of prices as well including the race 5 winner Mr Insensitive at 14-1. The early pick 5 ended in that race and paid $14,411.

There were four claims on opening night  including Shake Up trained by Westermann who was claimed by Miracle Logistics and trainer Joel Berndt. Trainer Jose Silva, Jr. claimed two Joe Blair Roberts one.

Racing at Canterbury continues next Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26. The season will run through Sept. 28