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Showdown on Tap for Training Title


Top this if you can.

Robertino Diordoro, trailing Mac Robertson by three wins for the trainer’s title, saddled five winners Friday night and has a 55-54 advantage heading into the final day of racing.

Robertson, meanwhile, saddled one winner on the card to set up what promises to be a shootout for the championship.

Diodoro capped off his hot streak with victories in the $50,000 John Bullit Stakes a mile and 1/16th and then, in one of the most exciting races of the season, the $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint at six furlongs.

Orlando Mojica rode Patriots Rule in the John Bullit, and Leslie Mawing had the mount on Bourbon Cowboy in the Tom Metzen, edging favored Hot Shot Kid by a head.

Today’s showdown should be a classic. Robertson has 16 horses entered in 10 races; Diodoro has nine in eight races.

The race for leading owner is a dead heat heading into the final card, between Joe Novogratz and Charles Garvey.



The passage of time is a slippery item to get a handle on; the hours slide by quietly, often without notice.

As they did for numerous horsemen who considered Friday night that another meet is at its end, another segment of their lives is over, so on to the next.

The meet, scheduled for 70 days of racing but reduced to 69 with a weather cancellation, ends Saturday with a 14-race card.

“This one seemed really fast,” said trainer Troy Bethke. “It went spinning by.”

Fellow conditioner Bernell Rhone couldn’t have agreed more.

“Where did it go,” he said. “Where did it go.”

Time, of course, is always a factor at the race course, where horsemen are constantly in use of stopwatches, timing this workout and that .

Friday night humidity was once again a factor, although most horsemen brushed if off; after all many of them train and compete at southern racetracks, so Minnesota humidity at its worse can’t always match up to what transpires elsewhere.

“I’m just getting acclimated is all,” said Rhone, who will head next to Florida where he will compete during the coming months.

Still, there is much to be determined Saturday concerning races for leading rider, leading trainer and leading owner.

Perennial training champ Mac Robertson will empty the barn today in pursuit of another title, leading Robertino Diodoro by a single win.

For all intents and purposes, Ry Eikleberry has the riding title locked up, leading Orlando Mojica by eight wins.


Doug Oliver, a three-time training champion at Canterbury, is in Shakopee this weekend to watch a horse in which he has an interest run in the $75,000  Shakopee Juvenile Saturday

The horse is trained by his niece, Kim Oliver, and will be ridden by Scott Stevens.

Oliver is retired, for an intents and purposes, but still saddles a few now and then. He has been camping in the Colorado mountains with his son, Brian, and will return to Phoenix for the meet at Turf Paradise in October.