HORSEPOWER A BIG TOPIC ON SATURDAY
By JIM WELLS
On the nicest afternoon of the 2009 race meet, Canterbury Park had a car show and gave away an antique Mustang, one of America’s best-loved examples of raw horse-power.
It was an ideal afternoon to stroll about the grounds between races, or stretch out in one of the outdoor seats on the second level of the grandstand and take in the glorious afternoon.
In the minds of many fanatical Minnesotans Saturday, there was only one explanation for the splendid weather. Mother Nature was demonstrating her delight at the arrival of No. 4 in a Vikings jersey the night before.
The subject conjured up memories but produced no good luck for Dave Astar of Astar Thoroughbreds in Hastings in Saturday’s third race.
Astar lived in Green Bay at one time in a home around the corner from the man himself. That was during the early days and youthful indiscretions of the patron saint of Wisconsin football fans.
“I can assure you he was no saint,” said Astar.
Not exactly a scoop, but evidence just the same that all subjects Favre are on the table again.
Favre was no saint in his youth, and Timeless Fortune, Astar’s horse in the third, was no winner in the third race, finishing out of the money.
There was no shortage of opinions or thoughts on the arrival of Bret Favre a day after his uneventful debut in Vikings purple.
Quarter horse publicist Lori Locken produced a photo from the Wednesday Star-Tribune of anxious fans lined up for a look at Favre in his first Vikings practice on Tuesday. Prominent in the photo was…yes, Locken herself.
FIRST WINNER OF THE YEAR
Wolsfeld Woods took an abrupt right turn during his stretch drive while winning the fifth race convincingly and shedding his status as a maiden.
“I thought he was going for a hot dog,” said winning rider Derek Bell.
The win was the first of the meet for the horse’s owners Robert and Marion Ranwick of Plymouth.
Trained by their son, Bobby Ranwick, Jr., the winning colt is by Sir Cat from the Ranwicks’ mare, Siberian Princess.
The Ranwicks parted with the mare two years ago but she was later returned to them. “She’s ready to drop a foal any time now,” said Bob Ranwick, Sr. “She’s in foal to Dynomania.”
The Ranwicks have five horses in training and have been involved with thoroughbreds for eight years, breeding and racing them.
At one time they had as many as 17 or 18 horses. “We board horses, too, so that became quite a job,” Bob said.
HOPE FOR A RACINO
Bob Ranwick, like many horsemen, is puzzled by the state legislature’s refusal to help racing and the state itself by permitting slot machines at Canterbury.
He is puzzled by their inability to see the industry associated with racing, an industry that stretches throughout the state in various capacities.
He is convinced that many legislators might gain some valuable insight simply by paying a visit to Canterbury.
“This is a great family place,” he said. “I had no idea it was either before my first visit here.”
Why so ideal?
“Well, it’s a better family place than a Twins or a Vikings game,” he said. “Here you don’t have all the cursing and heavy drunkenness.”
HEAVY, HEAVY HORSEPOWER
Canterbury gave away a 1966 Mustang on Saturday, but the track’s leading rider, Dean Butler, is due for an even bigger ride in the coming days.
Every time Butler rides a winner from the Scott Rake stable, Rake lets him drive his Maserati
Better yet, the thrilling event has occurred twice, and each time Butler won eight races that week.
“He’s having a break-out year,” said trainer Bernell Rhone, who is Butler’s father-in-law. “He works at it, too. He studies it.”
Butler has a Maserati drive coming up after winning on Thursday’s card aboard Man of Men.
“You know, that car has a button you can push that brings it to 500 horsepower,” Rhone added. “It’s too powerful, just an accident waiting to happen.”
It’s another matter when the subject is natural horsepower, however.
“Wouldn’t it be something if you had a horse like that,” said Rhone.
HORSEMEN HELPING HORSEMEN
Hall of Fame trainer Dave Van Winkle signed up for some extra duty on Saturday.
He had only one horse of his own to saddle but agreed to handle three horses for Mike Biehler and one for Tim Padilla because those two trainers were out of town.
As it turned out, Biehler returned in time to saddle two of his own but the gesture was appreciated just the same.
“They’d do it for me, too, so it’s no big deal,” said Van Winkle.