By Noah Joseph
As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, another Canterbury Park racing season comes to a close. It’s a bittersweet time for sure, as nobody wants the season to end, but it was a great season.
After a 2020 season that saw very limited crowds due to the pandemic, 2021 attracted large crowds and the return of popular events such Extreme Day, dog races featuring breeds such as corgis, basset hounds, and wiener dogs. The daredevil and awe-inspiring acts of the Indian Horse Relay Races delighted race goers young and old. The pari-mutuel horse races had their great moments too, featuring the rise of stars such as Thealligatorhunter, Love the Nest, and Shinny, along with old veterans such as Mr. Jagermeister, Ready To Runaway, Clickbait, and Drop of Golden Sun.
Another big day was the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival, which was televised nationally for the first time on America’s Day At The Races. Racing fans were treated to some of the best horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys as they came to Canterbury for an incredible and rich day of racing. Jockey Florent Geroux won two races on the card, but the star of the show was former leading rider Jareth Loveberry returning to Minnesota and guiding King of Miami to an upset win in the Mystic Lake Derby, with the purse of the season.
This year, new riders such as Lindey Wade, Luis Negron, the Fuentes brothers Luis and Ruben, and Alfredo Juarez Jr., helped compliment an already strong jockey colony featuring the likes of Ry Eikleberry, Dean Butler, Alex Canchari, Alonso Quinonez, Quincy Hamilton, Roimes Chirinos, and Chad Lindsay.
As for trainers, Mac Robertson, Joel Berndt, and Robertino Diodoro once again topped the trainers chart in wins and money earned, and in doing so, helped keep top quality racing in Minnesota.
But the one thing this season provided the most was hope. As mentioned before, after a trying year in 2020, it was nice to see a return to normalcy. This season brought us back together, and in a way taught us that no matter how rough things may be, we can get through it and all will be okay.
So while we may feel melancholy that the season may be coming to a close, remember the classic quote by Dr. Seuss “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” This racing season brought a lot of smiles, and racing here at Canterbury will continue to bring smiles for years to come, because that’s the way it is.
Thanks for a great season.