By Noah Joseph
A racehorse’s success and career consistency is often looked at when judging whether that horse is considered to be an all-time great. Many of the greatest horses to run at Canterbury were very consistent during their time here, however very few came close to the consistency of Sir Tricky.
Sir Tricky was bred in Minnesota by William Hobbs, who also owned him during the early stages of his career. Sir Tricky was a son of Sir Cat, a multiple graded stakes winner, and his dam was Tricky Sugar, a modest race mare. Unlike most Minnesota breds, Sir Tricky did not break his maiden at Canterbury, but rather at Prairie Meadows in Iowa in his 2nd career start for his trainer Kelly Von Hemel. He finished 6th in his debut at Canterbury. Following his maiden breaking score, Sir Tricky returned to Canterbury to compete in the 2003 Northern Lights Futurity where he was sent off as the favorite. He bobbled coming out of the starting gate and went four wide on the turn but came on to finish 3rd. Rested up for his three-year-old season, Sir Tricky returned the following year with a gutsy victory in an allowance at Canterbury in which he held on by a nose to win. He would later go on to finish 3rd in the Victor S. Myers Stakes that same year. Sir Tricky did not race at all in 2005, but when he did return, a change was made that would reshape racing in Minnesota.
In 2006, Sir Tricky joined the barn of trainer Mac Robertson, who claimed him for his father Hugh that April at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. Mac then brought Sir Tricky back to Minnesota where he won an allowance race before running 4th in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes. As this season went on, Sir Tricky came close to winning many of his races, but just couldn’t quite get over the hump, however that was about to change.
In one of those previous races, Sir Tricky ran on the grass for the first time and seemed to take a liking to it. With that in mind, Sir Tricky was entered in the Minnesota Turf Championship on Festival of Champions Day and sent off as the favorite in a field of eight. He won by over a length under jockey Israel Ocampo for new owners Barry and Joni Butzow. Now Sir Tricky was a proven horse that could run well on turf and dirt, and that victory was a sign of things to come, as he won the 10,000 Lakes Stakes on the dirt in 2007, as well as placing in three other stakes events that season at Canterbury on both surfaces.
2008 was another great year for Sir Tricky, as he won three stakes races that season. He won the Blair’s Cove Stakes on the grass along with the Minnesota Sprint Championship and Kenny Schoepf Stakes on the dirt. In 2009, Sir Tricky won the 10,000 Lakes Stakes for the 2nd time in his career. But he was getting older, and that would be the only win of the year for him. The following year started off as a massive disappointment for Sir Tricky as he struggled to find victories, but once again, the turf changed the trajectory of how his season would go. A win in a claiming race on the grass seemed to pick him up and return him to his old form. A follow-up victory in another claiming race on the lawn confirmed that theory.
Now nine years old, Sir Tricky was entered in the Minnesota Turf Championship for the 2nd time in his career, and just like when he won in 2006, the crowd made him the favorite. The old veteran proved just how good he was, winning the race by a length under Seth Martinez. Sir Tricky was back on the top of his game, and he knew it too. This win would be the final race and final victory for Sir Tricky, as he was retired soon afterwards, but not before being named the 2010 Champion Grass Horse during the Canterbury season.
All in all, Sir Tricky raced 44 times in his career and won 13 times with 12 of those wins coming at Canterbury. He won seven stakes in his career on both turf and dirt, as well as in sprints and route races. He is also tied for 7th in numbers of wins at Canterbury Park and Downs, and 11th in all-time earnings in Canterbury history, and the 2nd highest Minnesota-bred money earner in track history. Because of these accomplishments, Sir Tricky is a member of the Canterbury Hall of Fame.