By JIM WELLS
Shortly before the riders headed to the paddock for the first race on July 2, they sat in on a safety seminar.
Part of what was discussed included Canterbury Park’s ability to respond to a major accident, a life-threatening situation on the track.
Later that evening, Scott Stevens, Paul Nolan and Don Proctor were injured in the worst spill in track history. Stevens was hurt badly enough that a helicopter was used to airlift him to a hospital. That was a first at Canterbury, but the quick reaction and decision to use a helicopter were credited with saving his life.
He had broken ribs, punctured lungs, a spleen injury in addition to other contusions and possible breaks.
Saturday, Stevens said that if all goes well, doctors have told him he can get back on a horse in two months.
“That would be just about the time that Turf Paradise (in Phoenix) starts its meet,” Stevens said.
Indeed it would. Turf’s meet runs from Oct. 1 to May 8.
Stevens does have additional doctor visits and checkups scheduled before a definitive decision can be made.
Meanwhile, he can be found around the track or backside most days,
Saturday ‘s fourth race presented a unique viewing opportunity for Stevens. The lineup included three grays _ Silver Wilbur, Quintons Speedy and Arena Negra _ that he had won races on at one time or another.
None of the three made it to the winner’s circle on Saturday, though. A P Dreamer, ridden by Seth Martinez, finished in front of The Quinnster and Arena Negra.
Longshots spiced up the proceedings for a light fan turnout.
Bauble Boy, trained by Bernell Rhone, owned and bred by Jim Sterriker and ridden by Gus Rincon, upset the field in race three at 12-1.
The longpriced winner of the day came in race five when Case in Point, ridden by Adolfo Morales and trained and owned by David Applebee, upset a field of eight $7,500 claimers at about 7 ½ furlongs on the grass and, at 18-1, paid a whopping $39.60.
Juan Rivera made another trip to the winner’s circle aboard a four-year-old filly named Minnetonka Melody, trained by David Van Winkle and owned by Susan Nicol and Bona Fortuna, Ltd. The Pleasant Tap filly upset the field in race seven at 12-1.