Chalk Pub Talk with Lori Keith

Chalk_Pub_cover2

Thrills and Chills of Extreme Day

Zebra Start 7-20-13

Canterbury Park will send out exotic animals and accompanying jockeys for Saturday’s annual Extreme Day, an occasion when caution and civility are thrown to the wind and some people are caught downwind from the camels, zebras and ostriches. It is an occasion of fun and games along with the regularly featured thoroughbred races, including a few of an extreme nature.

During his second season as a jockey Ry Eikleberry consented to riding an ostrich during a promotion at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Listening to him retell the occasion, it sounds as if the memory isn’t about to fade anytime soon.

Eikleberry climbed aboard the big bird in the claustrophobic confines of the starting gate prepared to break cleanly and swiftly, in the fashion he always anticpates aboard a horse.

One problem.

“The bird turned its head and looked right at me,” he said.

Creepy?

It goes without saying, but the ordeal wasn’t over.

“Then it kept trying to peck me,” he said.

So, there he is, aboard a nice pair of Nocona exotic boots, and the thing was prepared to eat him.

Will that stop him from riding an ostrich during Canterbury Park’s Extreme Day promotion on Saturday?

Yup!

Eikleberry is leading all riders in the current standings in Shakopee. Who in his right mind would jeopardize that by risking a disabling peck in the eye from a bird that has been known to kick a human being to high heaven for simply looking at him…or her.

Not Eikleberry. He’s taking a philosophic approach to Canterbury’s Extreme Day and the chance to ride an ostrich, a camel or even a zebra.

Thanks. But no thanks.

“It was fun,” he said about the ostrich ride. “A real good, one-time experience.”

He will be part of other Extreme Day activities nonetheless.

He will ride Oughterson in the seventh race as the Battle of the Surfaces returns, with some minor adjustments. Races will be run simultaneously on the dirt and turf courses, but for wagering purposes it will be a single race.

That event will feature the largest field in the nation this year with a contingent of 20 horses, besting even the Kentucky Derby and its annual cavalry charge by one.

Twelve horses are entered to run on the grass, the other eight on the dirt.

You might recall that one of the starting gates failed to open in 2008 when this race was run for the second time. It is emerging from the ashes Phoenix-like for its first running since.

The grass horses will run a mile and 1/16 and those on the dirt a flat mile. Racing officials have analyzed the varying speeds of the two surfaces and the class of horses entered in the two fields to account for the difference.

Some of the jockeys aren’t so sure about that.

“A mile is a mile is a mile,” one of them responded.

Canterbury apparently will take everything to an extreme on Saturday.

Eikleberry will ride a horse called Rebel’s Myne in the sixth race, at a mere two furlongs. “I’ve ridden a lot of babies two furlongs.” he said. “But this is the first time I’ve ridden an older horse that distance.”

Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens will leave the exotic rides to the youngsters. He’s had enough spills and wrecks for one lifetime without setting himself up for a possible peck or two from an ostrich, a bite from a zebra or camel spit in an eye.

Besides, camels have been known to transmit the dreaded MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus to human beings, although pressbox impressario Jeff Maday is not in the least concerned.

“These camels were bred in Kansas,” he said. “No need to worry.”

Tell that to Lori Keith, who rode one of the smelly fellows to victory a couple of years ago. “I didn’t know they spit at you,” she said at the time.” Nonetheless, Keith was aboard the winning Rock N’ Spit.

There are also zebra races scheduled, and Keith was able to supply some insight on those beasts as well, supplied by trainer Mike Biehler. “He said they are kind of ornery and very hard to break,” she said.

In addition, one of the striped devils from a previous Extreme Day had the termerity on an occasion to bite off its trainer’s thumb..

Keith has the mount on Little Wagon in the Battle of the Surfaces, on the turf. She is foregoing another opportunity on the camels or ostriches, content to leave that to the track’s youngest riders, who still believe they are bullet-proof.

Despite her reluctance to mount another camel, the two-time winner of the Mystic Lake Derby likes the Extreme Day promotion.

“It’s good to cultivate the younger population, and this is good publicity-wise for Canterbury,” she said.

Although camels or zebras are not among his mounts on the card, Stevens will ride Ivory Fudge for trainer Robertino Diodoro on the main track in the Battle of the Surfaces race. He has the call on My Fine Lady in the sixth race, the two-furlong dash.

As one example for his enduring success at race-riding, Stevens pointed out some facts about one of his rivals in that race, an indication that he continues to do his homework.

Jorge Correno rides Just Meteor, a winner at five furlongs in his only Canterbury out. He has a six-race winning streak. “It would be 10 but he finished second in two races by a nose and a neck,” Stevens said.

Even so, he figures to be in the race. “I like my chances,” he said. “My filly is fast, real fast.” A nice feature in any race, yet especially at two furlongs.

 BY JIM WELLS

 

Lori Keith Back At Canterbury

Lori Keith 5 8

 

 

2013 Champions Determined

Sleep%20Walking%20-%20Senator%20Howe%27s%20Run%20for%20the%20Red%20Wing%20Roses%20-%2009-14-13%20-%20R04%20-%20CBY%20-%20Inside%20FinishThe skies were forbidding and dark much of the day, but the finish was one of the most colorful in Canterbury Park history as the 2013 race meet came to a stirring conclusion.

The weather was really not a factor until light rain began falling midway through the card. It was somewhat heavier by the eighth race.

The card included perhaps the most colorful and athletic promotion ever conducted on the premises, the championship race of the three-day Indian Relay Races.

An impressive turnout of 12,160 bid adieu to the season and reacted enthusiastically to the excitement of the relay races, won by a 23-year-old rider from the Shoshoni-Bannock Nation in Fort Hall, Idaho.

Most of them were gone by the time the trophy was presented to the leading rider this summer, Dean Butler.

The riding title for the meet came down to race four, in which Sleep Walking, ridden by Butler, held off Dakota Dusty and Alex Canchari. That increased his lead over Canchari to four at the time.

Canchari kept it interesting, nonetheless, hand-riding Theatre of Dreams to an easy win in race five to pull once again to within three and punctuating that with a win in the 10th race. Canchari and Butler were the only two riders to finish with total earnings of more than $1 million each. Butler’s total heading into Saturday’s card was $1,267,955. Canchari’s was $1,248,479.

Butler intends to take a couple of months off and then head to home to Tampa. Canchari intends to drops his tack at Hawthorne Race Course in suburban Chicago.

Mac Robertson had an 18-win lead over Bernell Rhone and Mike Biehler heading into the final card, his ninth consecutive training title safely in the bag. He added Saturday’s fifth and 10th races to increase his total wins for the meet to 51.

Lori Keith, who wound up as the meet’s fourth-leading rider, won her 41st race of the meet aboard Cap and Trade in the sixth. She intends to head to Oklahoma and then Arkansas and is sure to recall Canterbury 2013 as the meet in which she won a second consecutive Mystic Lake Derby, the biggest race of the summer.

Eddie Martin, Jr., had a solid meet, winning 37 races, as did Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, who won the seventh race, a $35,000 overnight stake, aboard National, trained by Miguel Angel Silva. Stevens concluded the meet with 34 wins and will return to Phoenix for the meet that begins on Oct. 5 at Turf Paradise. Martin was undecided about his next stop.

For 23-year-old rider Jerrad Serino the next stop is home. Serino was a convincing winner of the relay races, due largely to near perfect horse exchanges during both pit stops of the three-mile race. Three miles, three horses for each of the nine riders in the final, and the importance of the exchange after each mile became obvious as miscues during dismounting and engaging an awaiting exchange horse proved to be the difference.

“That was the most important,” said Serino, who stressed the importance of training and staying fit for these grueling races, all conducted bareback.

The win was the third of his career for Serino, whose twin brother got him interested in the sport three years ago. His entire family, everyone but Jerrad, has been involved with horses. “I didn’t like them as a kid. I wanted to play basketball,” said the 5-7, 145-pound Serino. What he did mostly was boxed, throughout his youth.

Riders frequently train for these races, not only by riding and conditioning their horses, but by using small trampolines, a foot or two off the ground, to strengthen their lower legs for bounding from one horse and onto another during exchanges.

Second place went to the His Bad Horse team and rider Lynwood His Bad Horse, Jr., a mere-16-year-old from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Third was Holds The Enemy, a Crow team, and rider Ferlin Blacksmith, who won two heats preceding the final.

In the first race of the last day of racing, Jake Barton picked up a check for the return trip to Phoenix aboard Smarty Gras, winning by two-plus lengths. Barton was a new addition to the jockey colony late in the season and intends to return again for the 2014 meet.

Until then, he will ride at Turf Paradise and, in his spare time, hunt the arroyos and washes of the Arizona desert for quail, his chief devotion outside of racing.

Martin Escobar brought in Lady Ban Shee in race two, rallying in the final 16th to shade Santa Fe Sue and Butler by a solid neck.

Strange things happen on closing day, such as…

Hi Prim, under Ken Shino, got up in the final jump to provide trainer Nancy Sheehan her first win of the meet, in her 51st try, and at 38-1 in race three. There was not much more than a half-length separating the top four finishers in that thrilling finish.

Immediately thereafter, paddock analyst Angela Hermann and track president/CEO Randy Sampson presented trainer Cory Jensen with the award for his leading owners of the meet, Midwest Thoroughbreds.

There were, of course, additional awards for the stars of the summer show – the horses.

Heliskier, owned by Marlene Colvin and trained by Robertson, was named Horse of the Year for the second straight meet, joining Hoist Her Flag as the only other horse in Canterbury history to win the title twice.

His dominance at Canterbury was demonstrated by two additional awards. Heliskier was named sprinter of the meet as well as the champion Older Horse.

Dorsett, trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Terry Hamilton, was selected champion Three-year-old Colt or Gelding on the strength of his Mystic Lake Derby win.

Badge of Glory, owned by Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick and trained by Rhone was selected champion Three-year-Old Filly, and Dontrattlemycage, owned by Nicholas Raver and trained by Nevada Litfin, was voted Grass Horse of the meet. Second Street City, owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, second in the owner standings, was voted champion Older Filly or Mare.

Wayne Simon owned and Robert Johnson trained Appeal to the King is the champion Two Year Old. Machorina, owned by Emerald Bay Stables and trained by Mike Biehler, is the Claimer of the meet, and Stone Cottrell, owned by Terry Riddle and trained by champion conditioner Stacy Charette-Hill, is Champion Quarter Horse.

Still competitive despite his near miss at a title, Canchari brought in Grizzled Robert, the final winner of the 2013 season. That cut Butler’s final margin to two. The horse is trained by, who else, Robertson.

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.

Races Heat Up

Two Bayme -  08-15-13 - R02 - CBY - Inside FinishThursday’s card was the 51st of the meet.

So, let’s see now, that means there are 18 racing days remaining in this, the 19th meeting since racing resumed in Shakopee after a two-year-shutdown, under the name Canterbury Park instead of Downs.

Naturally, the focus on the leading rider, trainer and owner will draw increased scrutiny in these final days.

On Thursday night for instance:

The card got under way with Dean P. Butler holding a five-win lead over Alex Canchari, 47-42, in the rider standings. However, Canchari will begin a four-day suspension today that will have an impact on the final results. Next in line is Ry Eilkleberry who started the evening with 36 winners.

The fun began from there.

Eilkleberry won two races on the card, with Artistic Design in the first and Hannahslittleangel in the sixth.

Canchari, still on a tear that started two weeks ago, won the fourth race with Moonshine Promise at 9-1. Aha, but Butler took that one right back, winning aboard Ghost Skier in race five.

Meanwhile, Juan Rivera (pictured above on Two Bayme), struggling for wins this meet, rode two winners on the card,Two Bayme in race two and Supremo Struckgold in race seven, and has 10 for the meet.

The race for leading trainer, won by Mac Robertson since just before mud caulks were introduced to racing, actually every year since 2005, went unchanged at the top of the standings Thursday.

It looks like this: Mike Biehler leads with 28, followed by Robertson with 27 and Bernell Rhone with 26. Robertson, incidentally, needs five wins to reach 500 at Canterbury Park.

The top of the owner standings went unchanged, too: Midwest Thoroughbreds leads with 21 winners, followed by Al and Bill Ulwelling, champions in 2010 and 2011, with 20.

HE IS INDEED RELENTLESS

Hes Relentless continues to demonstrate he is just that – relentless. Once again, this two-year-old under the care of trainer Amber Blair has been impressive on the racetrack, this time posting the fastest qualifying time, 21.148, among the top five horses in heats Thursday at Ruidoso Downs for the All American Futurity.

Hes Relentless Race Replay

20130816_103510

Thursday’s qualifiers will join today’s five qualifiers – the first time trials have been conducted over two days – in the Grade 1 $2.6 million All American on Labor Day. Fourteen trials were conducted Thursday and the same number will be run Friday.

Hes Relentless, running for R.D. Hubbard, Tom Maher and Johnny Cope was supplemented to the race for $50,000, as was Especially Tres, the second fastest qualifier on Thursday with a time of 21.191.

Hes Relentless was the fastest qualifier also for the Heritage Place Futurity on June 1, winning his heat by 4 ¼ lengths, at Remington Park and was sent off the favorite in the Futurity. He was beaten a head by Big Biz Perry, a 30-1 longshot. Big Biz Perry won one of Thursday’s trials for the All American but did not qualify for the final.

Other qualifiers on Thursday include Especially Tres, Handsome Jack Flash and Houdini. You N How Many More and Fly Thru The Fire finished tied Thursday with identical times of 21.27.  You N How Many More won a draw on Friday morning for the fifth and final spot in the All American Finals.

NOTABLE QUOTES THIS MONTH, ANY MONTH

Lori Keith, describing her horse’s demeanor heading into the first turn of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.

Dorsett, who would win the race handily, was relaxed, maybe too relaxed heading into the first turn. “It was like he was asleep,” recalled Keith. “I didn’t want to be too far back, so I gave him a little s-m-o-o-c-h.”

Wide awake, just like that. And then some.

Dorsett snapped to attention with such gusto, Keith decided on the spot that a reminder was probably not necessary. “I didn’t smooch to him again,” she said. “He just took off when I did that one time.”

Seis The Royal Cash, at 16-1, won the North Central Quarter Horse Futurity, breaking from the No. 1 hole. The rail had been fast earlier in the meet, evened out and then went back to the rail.

Thus, Vic Hanson sized up his horse’s win thusly:

“We drew well,” he said.

A youngster next to the winner’s circle spotted Israel Hernandez, all 5-foot-1 of him, heading down the steps after a race. “He looks like a real jockey,” he said.

Richard Grunder

Just after the fifth race on Thursday, a notice was posted on the screen next to the tote board wishing announcer Richard Grunder a happy birthday. A picture of Grunder, circa 1989, accompanied the message.

“I keep it from everyone in the racing office all day,” Grunder moaned, “and then it gets displayed on the big screen.”

The source of the leak? Julian Assange? Edward Snowden?

Grunder had some thoughts on the matter, but nothing firm enough to make an arrest.

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.

Sunday Racing Musings

FuturityOnce the obligations of winning such a race were attended to, once the handshakes, backslaps, hugs and nods of congratulation had been received, the interviews conducted and the rush of adrenaline subsided, there was time for family, close friends and the owners of the horse.

Yes, there are duties concomitant with riding the winning horses in significant races and for a second consecutive year they were assumed by Lori Keith.

In those heady moments of semi-solitude in the jockeys lounge after Saturday’s $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, Keith was on the phone with the owners of Dorsett, who had simply run away from seven rivals as if they were disgraced defensive backs trying to grab the churning legs of the horse’s Dallas Cowboys’ namesake during his prime.

Yes, Dorsett was named for Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett who, you might recall, set an NFL record of 99 yards for the longest run from scrimmage against the Minnesota Vikings on a Monday night in 1983.

In any event, Dorset’s owner and Dallas fan Terry Hamilton was on the phone with Ms Keith after the Derby, having watched the race at home in Canada. Keith was wrapped up in a stunning Star blanket, presented to her by Keith Anderson, vice chairman of the Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Mystic Lake, the sponsors of the race and the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement program.

Mrs. Hamilton had spotted the blanket on the television screen and fallen in love with it immediately. “Here, my wife wants to talk to you,” said her husband.

Within a matter of moments the two women, Mrs. Hamilton and Ms. Keith conducted their exchange of gifts. Mrs. Hamilton got the blanket. Ms. Keith got the Mystic Lake Derby trophy.

“What, you gave away my trophy,” lamented Mr. Hamilton.

In typical Sioux tradition, Mrs. Hamilton had presented a gift of the trophy to Ms. Keith, who in turn, presented the blanket to Mrs. Hamilton.

Ms. Keith, of course, also talked with her parents, owners of a bistro in the South of France, who watched the race at 12:30 a.m., their time, down the street from the restaurant. Lori imagined her father shooing patrons out of the bistro. “They had to be out by 11,” she said.

“They were happy and proud,” Lori said Sunday. “They were so pleased that I had mentioned them.”

As she does quite often.

The Hamiltons couldn’t have been happier, either. After all, Keith had ridden a Hamilton horse, Hammers Terror, to victory in the first Derby, last year, although she had to withstand a stewards inquiry in that one.

That’s what made Sunday’s victory even more enjoyable. No inquiry. A nice clean trip.

“I beat myself up for weeks after (the 2012 Derby),” Lori said. “So, this one probably was a little more enjoyable.”

Dorsett was simply much the best on Saturday, sweeping past seven rivals as if they were weanlings in the pasture for a three-length win. Vikings defenders clutching at his ankles.

Everyone, rider, owners and trainer, Michael Stidham, were pleased with the win.

“The horse continues to get better, and the rider did a great job,” said Stidham after the race.

Will there be a second encore?

“Well, a lot can happen with a two-year-old,” said Ms. Keith

“Between now and the three-year-old season.” Of course, but if anyone is curious, the two-year-old Hamilton has in mind for next year’s race is Heart to Heart.

By the way, long-suffering fans, the Vikings won that game in spite of Dorsett, 31-27.

Oh, and Hamilton ordered a second trophy – for himself.

CANCHARI TOO BUSY TO CELEBRATE

Luis Canchari and family were standing outside the winner’s circle Sunday afternoon, clearly still pleased with what their son, Alex, accomplished on Saturday.

Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid, in the biggest win of his brief career, won the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks aboard Stoupinator for trainer Mac Robertson and owner Joseph Novogratz, a head in front of Kipling’s Joy.

There was no time for celebration on Saturday night. “I had to be back at Mac’s barn at 5 a.m.” said Alex.

His family members were clearly delighted with his effort.

Alex’s mother gave him a kiss after the race. His dad was still beaming on Sunday.

“We are proud of him,” said Luis, who rode at Canterbury in the 1980s, having moved to Shakopee from Peru. “It would be nice to see a Minnesota kid win the riding title.”

Alex is doing what he can. He has 35 wins for the second, one behind Ry Eikleberry and six behind Dean Butler, the leaders.

CASH BEGETS MORE CASH

The Reiswigs of Bismarck, N.D. have a fond spot for the two-year-old filly Seis The Royal Cash, a daughter of Royal Cash Dawn.

Mom and daughter were purchased as a package. “We bought the mare in foal,” explained Brenda Reiswig. “We lost the mother a year ago, so this one has had a hard time. She has a special place in our hearts.”

Even more special now.

Seis The Royal Cash was sent off at 16-1 in Sunday’s North Central Quarter Horse Futurity, a bit of a shock to Reiswig. “I thought ‘oh, oh,’” said Reiswig.

All was well nonetheless.

Seis the Royal Cash, with Ismael Suarez Ricardo up, stunned nine rivals, taking the inside path to victory in front of Sportwagon and Engine Number Nine.

Trainer Vic Hanson summed up the victory succinctly.

“We drew well,” he said.

Indeed. The inside has been a boon of late.

“It evened out for a while there,” said Hanson. “Now it’s a little more to the inside, again.”

Nonetheless, Seis The Royal Cash claimed the winner’s share of the $45,050 purse for her connections, paying $35.20, $16.20 and $5.80 across the board.

Hanson handles the Reiswig horses at Canterbury, 20-some in all.

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.

Race of the Week: Mystic Lake Derby

MysticDerby_LogoThe second edition of the Mystic Lake Derby is fairly similar to the first, with connections hailing from all corners for this $200,000 purse at a mile on turf. Last year’s winning owner, Terry Hamilton, is back with the favorite in this year’s running in Dorsett, recently Grade 3 placed in the Arlington Classic.

To put the field’s complexion in perspective, two stakes winners have drawn in and they are 9/2 and 6/1 on the morning line. Surprisingly, that 6/1 stakes winner is the lone victor at a mile on turf thus far in his career. Red Zeus is an Arizona native who’s made his running here since spending the winter & spring in his home state, but came up with a solid victory last time on the main track against lesser foes. The payoffs may not need a Brinks truck for their removal, but this is still a guessing game to a degree with the undeveloped talent in the gate. Here we go!

1. Impassible Canyon – Can one ever throw out Mike Maker when he ships in for a stake? I don’t want to but I could be forced to with the difficulty in the first three legs of this late pick four. He gives up a whole lot of experience to this field and draws the rail to go with it. He’s not a speedy fellow out of the gate so that may not be an issue – but traffic could become one on a turf course that hasn’t been all that tiring on front runners. He has shipped many a place to find a comfortable surface and spot, and while he’s been close each time none of his races really scare you into singling him here. The fact still remains that his two best performances have been on Turfway’s synthetic track and Ellis Park turf. Not to undermine either place, but there are some big fish coming to swim.

2. Dorsett – This is your morning line favorite looking to keep the owner’s record perfect in this race. Hammer’s Terror was a little more seasoned by the time this race came around last year, but it appears this one is coming around a bit later in life with lots of talent. He can come from various points in the pack too, over many types of going. I’m sticking with lots of Chicago turf horses just because of what they’ve been through this spring as far as weather & whatnot. A lot of their allowance fields have been loaded with horses seeking turf and not getting it – when races stay on the grass they are TOUGH. His one really off race came on the dirt and unless that happens he’s a must use. Lori Keith will also try to keep her record perfect in the derby, and looks very live in that respect.

3. Finding Candy – He started off the year with a bang but hasn’t shown the same fight since that time. Maybe the slop was his friend that day? He fought it out on the front end gamely to break his maiden but winners have been a little too much for him early and late, as the margins of defeat in his last two have been hefty. Chongo did run impressively the other day but this horse is also back on less than a week’s rest… Hmmm. Interesting that he hasn’t flourished on turf as his mother’s only win came over the grass. This is one that may mature with grace but for now still has some things to iron out.

4. Coastal Breeze – Nothing wrong with a win streak. He’s looking for his third in a row in the Derby, and also draws Channing Hill up from Chicago to take the mount. He and Catalano have had their ups and downs at the Arlington Meet this spring but have been rock solid when right. This horse obviously fits in that category and has shown his versatility for all other surfaces besides dirt. Baffert enters a lot of maiden special weights in duos and this one always seemed to be a cut below his stablemate. Given a change of scenery the colt seemed much better off and showed the speed trained into him out west. Though his first try on turf wasn’t a resounding win, his subsequent synthetic efforts show the front running improvement to merit a shot here. Channing rode him in his first win, and the second and third finishers were well clear. May be the one in the right spot at the right time.

5. Kale’s Courage – He got a head start on some of his recently-arrived competition by getting a route win in over our track in May, though it was taken off the turf. What he beat that day remains to be seen, but given that it was on the dirt we still don’t know what the horse can really do on the track. There are a couple of winners in his family on the turf, and one can excuse his effort in the Iowa Derby against better. A couple that defeated him that day went on to run in the Jim Dandy last weekend, though not all that well. Lots of question marks here but he is the real deal.

6. Evan’s Calling – He has plenty of turf running behind him but only one win to show for those eight starts. Many were sprints in Louisiana, but the horse has learned to rate a bit as he’s gone along. He hasn’t won yet at a mile but has come around in that respect a bit lately. He was beaten pretty fair & square by Coastal Breeze two back but again, hasn’t necessarily needed the lead as he’s gained experience. He’s still good for non-2 competition though (like many) and will be a little up against it after trying stakes company once. He ran an even third in said race at the Fairgrounds and just doesn’t seem to have made steps forward as much recently as in the past.

7. Red Zeus – The raw stats are in his corner, but they are mostly due to his fifteen starts to dwarf the rest. He’s made three of them on turf and is a stakes winner over the surface, but that was against Arizona-breds and in fact we saw the top three finishers all come back to fill a trifecta in his last race on dirt. Were these three it in the quality three year old department this winter or is there more to it? He needs no pace help and is familiar with his jockey Alex Canchari. He hasn’t touched our turf before but got a bullet work in to prepare for this and is the one least-altering his schedule for the race. A few things to like about a local at a price – he will be on my ticket.

8. Officer Alex – The name immediately should say “I’m by Officer, and I learned how to run very early on.” He got in a couple of state-bred wins before hitting the road to Arkansas this spring, and had a very good spring after fleeing the Kentucky Derby trail early on. While he locked horns with grade 3 types a couple of times, both outings were unsuccessful and the same can be said of his two route efforts. He didn’t beat one horse home last time in his initial go over turf, and this one perhaps has the look of one seeking mud. He’s two of three over an off surface and his early lick makes him a must use if it’s washed off the weeds.

The three I’ll be using are Dorsett, Coastal Breeze & Red Zeus. This is a field that could line up at the end of it at the wire but this has the look of a lot more potential at this point than proven stardom. Find the colt moving forward at the right time and you could find value right along with it. Good luck in a grassy pick four on Saturday!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann serves as the Track Analyst for Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois and the summer of 2013 marks her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.

Mystic Lake Derby Day Nears

MysticDerby_LogoGo ahead and pick up the champagne, dig out the attire you wore last year for the race, careful to assure everything is the same, not a single accoutrement out-of-place, cross your fingers and don’t say anything that might be construed as a jinx.

“My dad’s superstitious,” said Lori Keith. “It will have to be the same shirt, everything.”

The topic at hand is the second running of the Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday and the preparations of Mr and Mrs. Keith – William and Philomena (or Bill and Phil as they’re known) – for Saturday’s race.

For the uniformed, Lori Keith, a native of England and a regular rider at Canterbury Park, won the first running of the biggest race in Canterbury Park history last year aboard Hammers Terror, owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Michael Stidham.

Bill asked his daughter in a recent conversation whether she would ride in the race again this year. When she informed him that the chances appeared good, he began making plans. “He wanted to know if he should get the champagne,” Lori said.

Keith’s parents, who own a restaurant in the South of France, watched the inaugural running down the street from the restaurant, at an acquaintance’s home. Good viewing, just a matter of connecting the laptop to the telly, as they say, and they saw their daughter win the biggest race of her career.

They plan on looking in again on Saturday.

Keith will ride a horse named Dorsett, owned once again by Hamilton and trained once again by Stidham. And, get this, she is breaking from the No. 2 hole in an eight-horse field, just as last year.

A year ago, Keith took the morning line second choice to the winner’s circle after surviving a stewards’ inquiry for interference in the stretch. This time she is on the 5/2 morning line favorite.

“I think he has a great shot,” she said. “On paper he looks very good, but I think it will be a very competitive race.”

Dorsett, a son of Artie Schiller from Dontgetnmyway, has two wins, a second and a third from eight career starts with earnings of $74,670. He is part of a field of eight that will engage at one mile on the turf.

$200,000 Mystic Lake Derby Field & Morning Line
PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1    Impassable Canyon Michael Maker Victor Lebron 5-1
2 Dorsett Michael Stidham Lori Keith 5/2
3 Finding Candy Michael Biehler Denny Velazquez 12-1
4 Coastal Breeze Wayne Catalano Channing Hill 4-1
5 Kale’s Kourage Kelly Von Hemel Ry Eikleberry 10-1
6 Evan’s Calling Neil Pessin Eddie Martin Jr. 8-1
7 Red Zeus Dan McFarlane Alex Canchari 6-1
8 Officer Alex Lynn Whiting Leandro Goncalves 9/2

Last year the purse was for a guaranteed $150,000 and produced a total of $162,000 and change after adding in the entry fees. This year the race offers a guaranteed $200,000. The lion’s share of that funding, $150,000, is provided by the Mystic Lake purse enhancement fund.

The inside post was drawn by Impassable Canyon, a colt by Tapit from Anna Forever, owned by F. Thomas Conway and trained by Mike Maker.

Finding Candy will line up in the No. 3 hole. He is a colt by Candy Ride, owned locally by Al and Bill Ulwelling and trained by Mike Biehler.

The No. 4 hole will go to Coastal Breeze, a colt by Empire Maker that is owned by Barry Golden and trained by Wayne Catalano. The No. 5 hole belongs to Kale’s Kourage who has earned $85,511 lifetime and has won three of his seven career starts. He is owned by Pam Von Hemel and trained by Kelly Von Hemel.

Lining up in the No. 6 spot will be Evan’s Calling, with one win in 11 career starts. The No. 7 belongs to Red Zeus, who has earned $112, 426, running primarily at Turf Paradise in Phoenix with two starts locally, including a win at six furlongs his last out. He is owned by Peggy Hopwood and trained by Dan McFarlane.

Officer Alex drew the outside post. He has earned $163,000 running on the circuit between Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park. He is trained by Lynn Whiting, who saddled Lil E. Tee, the winner of the 1992 Kentucky Derby.

So, there you have it, the lineup for the richest race in Canterbury Park history, a whopping $200,000 guaranteed and an opportunity for Lori Keith to top last year’s take.

“Oh, I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Is superstition a genetic trait?

SHAKOPEE JUVENILE AND NORTHBOUND PRIDE OAKS

Both races offer $100,000-guaranteed purses.

The Oaks at a mile on the turf has been run in some form, fashion or name since 1985 and was won in 2012 by Soonerette, ridden by riding champion Tanner Riggs for Donnie Von Hemel.

$100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks & Morning Line Odds
PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1    Eden Prairie Neil Pessin Channing Hill 3-1
2 Kipling’s Joy Michael Stidham Dean Butler 9/2
3 Stoupinator Mac Robertson Alex Canchari 5-1
4 I’m Already Sexy Wayne Catalano Scott Stevens 4-1
5 Seeking Treasure Larry Dunbar Ry Eikleberry 10-1
6 Raising Dakota Tevis McCauley Luis Garcia 8-1
7 Kissmeimdanish Valorie Lund Derek Bell 8-1
8 American Sugar Kenneth McPeek Victor Lebron 6-1

Saturday’s edition has a field of eight, including the Ken McPeek-trained American Sugar, who is trying the grass for the first time and is 5-0-3 from 13 starts with earnings of more than $200,000. Robert Lothenbach’s Eden Prairie is 2-0-1 from six grass starts and earnings of $70,000-plus. Michael Stidham’s Kipling’s Joy is 2-0-3 from nine career starts, both wins on the grass, with earnings of $62,200.

I’m Already Sexy arrived from Arlington Park and has won twice from three turf starts, is three-for-six overall, and earned $81,141. Wayne Catalano trains. Locally-owned Stoupinator, trained by Mac Robertson, has hit the board three times in three turf starts and is 2-1-2 overall from six career starts with earnings of $76,000. Here’s a look at the field:

The Juvenile, for colts/geldings and fillies, is being run for the first time, at 7 and 1/2 furlongs on the turf and has attracted a field of nine boys.

$100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Field & Morning Line Odds
PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1    A P Is Loose Michael Biehler Lori Keith 6-1
2 Aft Michael Lauer Leandro Goncalves 8-1
3 Rumbauer David Van Winkle Ry Eikleberry 6-1
4 My Corinthian Dane Kobiskie Luis Garcia 7/2
5 Fling Orrin Cogburn Eddie Martin Jr. 12-1
6 Clarisimo Sandra Sweere Nik Goodwin 10-1
7 General Jack Michael Maker Victor Lebron 3-1
8 Chairman Crooks Tony Rengstorf Dean Butler 6-1
9 Pure Surprize Vic Hanson Jenna Joubert 10-1

Among those is a 2-year-old colt named General Jack, a Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway who is looking to break his maiden on Saturday after running second among maiden special weights for $70,000 at Belmont Park.

He had a bullet work in late June and is trained by Mike Maker who has made a habit of winning big races at Canterbury.

Aft, trained by Michael Lauer, broke his maiden last time out in Indiana. Lauer tried to run Aft on the lead his first out and finished second. He ran him off the pace in his second start with improved results.

My Corinthian has hit the board three times in three career starts and was the first of the shippers to arrive, stabling here on Monday. He is trained by Dane Kobiskie. He is 1-1-1 from three career starts and is 1-1-0 from two outs on the grass.

Mike Biehler will saddle A P Is Loose, who ran third in his first start, at Canterbury on July 11. Clarisimo, trained by Sandra Sweere, is another local horse who broke his maiden here on June 16. Dave Van Winkle will saddle locally stabled Rumbauer, who broke his maiden under Ry Eikleberry on July 11 in his second start.

Vic Hanson will send out Pure Surprize, a local juvenile who broke his maiden at first asking on July 14. Fling, trained by Orrin Cogburn, did not hit the board in two previous starts.

Curtis Sampson’s Chairman Crooks, named for the late leader of the Mdewakanton Community, is trying the grass for the first time. He broke his maiden first time out, on June 13.

Wagering Opportunities Abound

The three races will be run as races 6, 7 and 8 on the card with the Oaks leading off, followed by the Juvenile and then the 2nd running of the Mystic Lake Derby. Post times are 4:10 CDT, 4:40 CDT and the Mystic Lake Derby will go off at 5:12 CDT. The three races anchor Saturday’s late pick 4 which continues to feature a 14% takeout, among the lowest in the country. Additionally, the three stakes comprise an all-turf Pick 3 also featuring the same low takeout rate of 14%.

Check back here often to learn more about the participants for Saturday’s big races over the coming days.

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.

2013 Derby Day Nears

HAMMERS TERROR_The Mystic Lake Derby_07-28-12_CBY_Inside FinishOccasionally she’ll think about the race and the biggest win of her career, the stuff of warm feelings and pleasant thoughts, except for that interminable wait.

“It was intense, wasn’t it though,” says Lori Keith.

The subject at hand, of course, is the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby first held in 2012 and Keith’s controversial win aboard Hammers Terror. About half the grandstand thought the horse should have been taken down. The other half sided with Keith’s horse.

So did the Stewards, who ruled that Hammer Terror did in fact veer in front of Delegation in the final yards but the action did not change the outcome of the race in their view. Nonetheless they gave Keith days, even after she sweated out the decision on the race for what seemed like an eternity.

Keith talked about the race as she headed to the paddock on Sunday for the third race, which she won aboard Francisco Bravo’s Free Sailing.

She is hopeful of riding in the second Mystic Lake Derby next Saturday, for the same owner whose horse she rode last year.

“Things can change,” she said, “but there’s a good chance .” She referred to a three-year old colt named Dorsett, owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Michael Stidham, who have the same connections as Hammers Terror, the 2012 champ.

Hamilton has talked about how great it would be to win the first two Mystic Lake Derbys. He has to run a horse for that to happen, of course.

The $200,000 Derby will be run on the same card with the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks and the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes. All three to be run over the Canterbury turf course.

Questions about the second rendition of the Mystic Lake Derby abound at this point:

Will Dorsett indeed run and will the field include a Java’s War, a longshot who finished 13th in this year’s Kentucky Derby and, although nominated to the Derby, is a longshot to appear in next Saturday’s race?

Undrafted, owned by New England Patriots defector and current Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, has been nominated also.

Other nominees include Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s You Blue and Leaden In Ken, along with Bill and Al Ulwelling’s Finding Candy. In total, nearly 100 horses were nominated for the trifecta of grass races next Saturday.

The draw is scheduled on Wednesday for all three races.

My Corinthian, trained by Dan Kobiskie and scheduled to arrive Monday, will run in the Juvenile and will be the first horse on the grounds for Saturday’s stakes events.

The Shakopee Juvenile, at 7 and 1/2 furlongs on the turf, will be run for the first time. The Oaks, at a mile on the turf, was won last year by Soonerette, owned by Robert Zoellner, ridden by riding champ Tanner Riggs and trained by Donnie Von Hemel. The purse this year is $100,000, for the first time since 1995, when the Carl Nafzger-trained Fluffkins won. Von Hemel nominated no horses to the Oaks but has nominated Smack Smack, owned by Dream Walkin’ Farms, Inc. (the stable name of renowned country music singer Toby Keith) to the Juvenile.

CANCHARI SURGES IN JOCKEY STANDINGS

Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid as he refers to himself, surged this week into second place in the rider standings, riding seven winners to wind up Sunday night with 31 winners for the meet.

That’s eight behind the leader, Dean Butler, a three-time champion. Ry Eikleberry had only one winner for the week and slipped into third place with 30 wins, followed by Lori Keith with 29 and Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell and Eddie Martin, Jr. at 25 wins each. Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens is next with 23 wins.

There was no change in positions among the track’s top trainers. Mike Biehler continues in front with 24 wins, followed by Bernell Rhone with 22 and Mac Robertson with 21.

Stormy Smith, who rode the winner of the Bob Morehouse Stakes, Western Fun, on Saturday, continues to lead the quarter horse riders. He has 16 wins. Jorge Torres is next with 14.

SUNDAY HAPPENINGS

You Be Gator Bait, trained by Mac Robertson, is nominated but won’t run in the Shakopee Juvenile, not with a mere week’s rest. He won the opening race on Sunday’s card for Minnesota-bred maidens with Chris Fackler up. “He’s a hard worker,” Robertson said of the winning rider. The most likely spot to see the Minnesota-bred next will be on the 2013 Festival of Champions card in the Northern Lights Futurity.

Martin Escobar was the only double winner among the riders Sunday, with Hard Cider in the sixth and Scorsese in the seventh, his 10th and 11th winners of the meet.

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.

Royal Birth Touches Canterbury

Canterbury%20Park%207-25-13Superstitions abound around any racetrack, among the riders, the trainers and the public as well.

So wrap your belief in signs, omens, precursors and presentiments around this tidbit: birthdays were being celebrated along with actual births at Canterbury Park on Thursday and some of the results were eye-opening.

Lori Keith, Canterbury’s third leading rider at the moment, was talking with her father very recently, as she does most days. Keep in mind, Ms. Keith is English and her parents, English as well, of course, own a restaurant in the South of France.

Naturally, phone conversations take place via long distance.

The subject of the recent royal birth came up the last time father and daughter talked. Ms. Keith was reminded by her father that she celebrated her 31st birthday on the very day George Alexander Louis, son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was born.

Furthermore:

“He was born at St. Mary’s Hospital, the same place I was born,” said Ms. Keith.

Read what you may or must into that bit of information. It is interesting under any conditions, perhaps even fortuitous. At least the Ulwellings, Al and Bill, hoped as much after receiving the news about the royal connection to the woman riding their horse.

“You can’t make up stuff like that,” said Al.

“Maybe that means good luck. I hope so,” said Bill.

After all, Keith had mounts on Ulwelling horses in the sixth and seventh races. She finished out of the money on the Ulwellings’ Gilden Quest in race six. Then the belief in lucky charms proved reliable as Keith won the seventh aboard Sheisinittowinit, surviving a stewards’ inquiry in the process.

For her part, Keith had different notions entirely about the fact that the new English prince and she were born on the same date, at the same hospital.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said.

So, there you have it. A prince of England born at St. Mary’s Hospital in London at the same location and on the same date as the third-leading rider at Canterbury – I say Canterbury – Park in Shakopee.

It doesn’t end there. As Minnesota Twins fans and anyone able to read well know, the team’s catcher from St. Paul and his wife are the proud parents of fraternal twin girls.

Identical twin boys, Colton and Cooper, were born the same day to the grandson and significant other of Tom and Karen Metzen. So the Metzens are great grandparents and celebrated the occasion on Thursday evening with the winning horse, Awesome year, in race six. The trainer? David Van Winkle, who was celebrating his 50th birthday. It didn’t end there. The Van Winkle-trained Jantzesfancyfriend won the ninth race, too.

Rebecca Ramm, who handles the main phone line to Canterbury among other duties, including coffee making, was also celebrating. Her friend Shahara is the mother to the twin boys.

Maybe there is something to this omen thing, after all.

HBPA GOLF TOURNAMENT

Jack Walsh, the preeminent horse owner from Somerset, Wis., oversaw the HBPA Golf Tournament Monday for the third consecutive year and reported that 86 signed up for the tournament and 85 showed up.

“That’s unusual,” Walsh said.

The tournament was won, incidentally, by the team of Chad and Mark Anderson, Mike Chambers and Todd Rarick.

They finished at 14 under par.

“Chambers eagled the ninth hole, I think it was,” said Mark Anderson. “That sort of pumped up the team from there.”

THURSDAY TIDBITS

Alex Canchari strolled into the jockeys room after winning the third race aboard Wilhelmina, blood running from one of his hands. What happened? he was asked.

“The band aid came off,” he said. Canchari, who once made tacos in the taco stand at the track, cut the hand while preparing a meal for his parents. “I was opening a can,’’ he said.

Race four was won by Larren Delorme on Premodixon, sent off at 13-1, a complete surprise to the rider.

“I figured I had a good shot,” said Delorme. “He was legitimate. More consistent (than 13-1).”

Race five went to Hakuchi, trained by Robertino Diodoro and ridden to a second straight win by Scott Stevens. “Only two mounts I’ve had for him,” said Stevens.

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers