Thursday Night Racing is Back

This was a lot more like it, Thursday night racing as it was intended to be:

Moderate temperatures throughout the evening, a light, almost imperceptible breeze, a dry, fast racetrack and a veritable garment district of attire throughout the premises.

Recall last week and the initial Thursday evening of the meet? Wet, sloppy, intemperate, leftover hotdogs even at a buck apiece. Not the way to advertise one of the most popular racing evenings of the summer.

All was back to normal this time.

How about this mixture for eclectic:

Evening dresses, high heels, short shorts, blue jeans and flip-flops. Polo shirts and basketball trunks, three-piece suits and cowboy hats.

And the evening couldn’t have started any better on the racing front – hard to beat for drama.

Blocked along the rail, Nik Goodwin swung his mount, Terice, out into the middle of the track in the stretch drive and nosed out Tanner Riggs and Nokomis in a heart-pounding finish.

Race two was altogether different. Adolfo Morales took Souper Four to a commanding win for trainer Larry Donlin, not exactly a Secretariat-like Belmont finish, but if the race had been a mile and a half instead of a sprint, it might have been. Souper Four was adding to his lead even as he crossed the wire.

An old combo teamed up to take the third race, Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell winning aboard Take Heart for Mac Robertson.

Race four had a Hall of Fame rider in the spotlight, too. The redoubtable Scott Stevens, picking his spots with the precision of a veteran, brought home Our Miss Brookside on the turf for two-time champion owners Al and Bill Ulwelling.

A mention in the program that the Ulwellings can find the winner’s circle with their eyes closed did not go unnoticed by the father-son team. “I had to be led down here,’’ Bill quipped.

So your eyes were actually closed. “No, I watched the race,’’ Bill said.

Stevens is riding like the veteran he is this season. Some trainers believe he is riding better than he has in years. “A lot of people forget that he was hurt last year,’’ said Al. “He won a lot of races for us the year before.’’

Patriate , owned and trained by Bob Johnson, surprised a number of folks under Patricia Trimble in the fifth and returned $14 to win.

Johnson took some ribbing as he approached the winner’s circle. “Hey, you GD quarter horse trainer,’’ a colleague cracked. Johnson merely grinned.

Meanwhile, trainer Clay Brinson was back on the premises after a trip to Assiniboia Downs last Sunday and a perfect three-for-three effort for the day.

Schillerthekiller, with Morales in the irons, won the $30,000 Free Press Stakes above the border.

Back in Shakopee, the Brinson-trained Teton Motel won a claiming race early on the card. I’ll Show Them did just that for Brinson in the $50,000 Shot of Gold Stakes. Three-for-three.

“Not a bad Father’s Day,’’ he said.

The final thoroughbred event on Thursday’s card was not a bad race either. In fact, it was another thriller. Cachemassa Creek, the 6-5 favorite kept his head just ahead of 6-1 upset-minded Quinnster in a stretch duel to the wire.

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.

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