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Ulwellings Mount Final Charge

UlwellingsCanterbury Park’s leading owners, referred to as Champion Owners in the official lexicon of the racetrack, were Al and Bill Ulwelling in 2010 and in 2011.

There was an interloper last year by the name of Ruben Martinez, but with time running down in the 2013 meet, the Ulwellings are fully a part of the race, firmly in second place, trailing Midwest Thoroughbreds powerhouse by three wins. In third place, eight behind the Ulwellings, is the Miguel Angel Silva barn, despite the loss this year of the powerful Martinez stable. Curtis Sampson moved into a tie for third on Sunday with his 15th winner of the meet.

The Ulwellings increased their investment substantially this season in response to purse increases. The results are demonstrable. “We beefed up this year,” said Bill. “We had 62 starts last year. “Our goal this year was 125.”

With four starters on Sunday’s card, the Ulwelling barn has now sent out 118 starters for the meet and will exceed their goal in the final days.

“We intend to keep firing,” said Bill. “It’s tough. I tell you that Midwest is firing bullets. We win two and they come back and win two. We win one and they win one. They got one yesterday and we didn’t.”

Bill had hope for something out of Sunday’s card as a catapult in the final 11 days of racing. “If we could get two today it would still be an interesting race,”he said. “It’s hard to beat them, running 20 horses for $4,000.”

This much is certain said Ulwelling, who once tested the odds by claiming horses from this adversary. “Everything we ever claimed from them never hit the board for us. They taught us a lesson,” said Bill.

The Ulwellings do have this for consolation:

Midwest Thoroughbreds horses had earnings of $343,180 heading into Sunday’s card. The Ulwelling horses had collected $422,270.


The stakes winners get the headlines. The attention declines from there in the sport of racing, downward to the point that a horse at the bottom of racing’s pecking order is routinely ignored, his or her name rarely if ever spoken, unless in contempt.

It can be a long climb into some sort of positive recognition. Many horses never get even a nod in that arena. A horse in Sunday’s second race got a small one.

Smart Masterpiece proved to be a smart bet for anyone who liked him, and the Canchari connection came through for those who did.

Trained by Luis Canchari and ridden by his son, Patrick, Smart Balance took a stunningly close win from Sal ‘Z Romeo in a true photo finish.

Thus, Smart Masterpiece divested himself of maiden status in his 19th start, picking up $10,000, twice the sum of his previous total earnings and just more than 10 percent of his original purchase price.

The original owner of Smart Masterpiece had a positive hunch about the 4-year-old gelding when a yearling and laid down $95,000 at a Keeneland sale for the son of Smart Strike from Showpiece and the grandson of Mr. Prospector and Holy Bull. Whatever promise that buyer saw translated into a mere $17,578 in earnings and maiden status before Sunday’s race.

The horse wound up in the Canchari barn in an undisclosed acquisition and ran his first race for them on June 14.

Here’s a look at the horse’s PPs over the course of his drop from $12,500 to $6,250 company with Canchari: 6th, 5th, 4th, 4th, 2nd, 1st.

That’s called progress, just enough to earn recognition among racing’s daily occurrences, in the small agate type of the sport.

And for those who believed…

Recognition in the form of $19.80 for a $2 ticket.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.