by JIM WELLS
The weather was fit for neither man nor horse on Saturday, the temperature reaching as it did the high 80s with the humidity about the same.
Almost as if she knew the difference between an overnight and a stakes race, Mother Nature stepped in, blanketing the sun with cloud cover shortly before the co-feature events on the card, The Victor S. Myers and the Frances Genter stakes.
Without a sun beating down relentlessly , the temperature dropped noticeably into the mid 70s, sending a wave of relief through the paddock, grandstand apron _ any outdoor vantage point for that matter.
“Oh, that helped a lot, especially with these big-bodied horses,” said Cheryl Sprick, co-owner and breeder with husband Richard Brenner of Victor S. Myers winner Bet Your Boots.
Bet Your Boots, with Ry Eikleberry up, ran down front-running Sugar Storm, taking charge at the 16th pole, and finished 1 ¾ lengths in front.
Sprick was leaving the paddock when she asked how she handled the minutes before a big race. Was she nervous? “Terrified,” she said.
She was still nervous even with the result in, waiting to see how her horse came out of the race.
Bet Your Boots actually handled the sultry afternoon in the paddock just fine. “He really relaxed out there,” said trainer Troy Bethke.
So, the horse was actually better off than her owner?
“Well, Troy doesn’t train me,” Cheryl responded.
In the paddock before the race, Curt Sampson, owner of Sugar Storm, was weighing his horses chances. “We were the only horse to beat Bet Your Boots last year,” he said. “But I don’t know about today.”
Bet Your Boots was the track’s champion two-year-old after winning the Northern Lights Futurity last year and is now three-for-six on the Canterbury dirt, 5-1-3 from 14 career starts with earnings of more than $115,00.
“Ry rode him perfectly,” said Bremer.
A few minutes later, Sheso Dazzling lined up as the favorite in the Frances Genter, having shipped up from Iowa for trainer Kelly Von Hemel. Nothing worse than shipping in for a race you don’t get to run, exactly what happened in this case. Sheso Dazzling was scratched on advice of the veterinarian after acting up in the gate.
So, with the heavy favorite gone, the race took on a new dimension and Her Sweet Saint hit the winner’s circle under Derek Bell at 8-5 with a perfectly timed move that got her there a nose in front of the 6-5 Hidden Gold and Dean Butler.
Owner Wayne Simon was a bit concerned during the race because Her Sweet Saint was not where he thought she should be.
“We were a little far back,” he said.
Easy explanation, according to Bell.
“We were going to the lead but she didn’t break very well,” he said. “So I had to sit back and wait.”
His horse got there in time but there was a moment when…
“I thought she’d get there sooner,” Bell said. “But that other filly dug in pretty good.”
So, what did Simon think when Sheso Dazzling was scratched?
“I hate to see that happen,” he said. “But we would have liked to have beaten her.”
A HORSE WHO LOVES CANTERBURY
The Canterbury racing office should give this mare her own room at Canterbury, make it something with a separate kitchen, maybe a drawing room and a balcony, too. A Jacuzzi would be nice as well.
This mare truly loves the Shakopee track, that’s why. Shot of Silver, with Dean Butler up _ the hottest rider on the grounds this week by the way _ won the opening race on Saturday’s card.
Not a big deal if you look simply at the fact that it was a sprint for $7,500 claimers, fillies and mares three or older.
But consider this: Shot of Silver, owned by Tom and Karen Metzen, is 14-10-10 from 54 career starts. Eleven of those wins have come at Canterbury.
Eleven wins at Canterbury by a Minnesota-bred horse?
Give her the penthouse suite.