An appropriate win for an aptly named racehorse in Saturday’s feature event, the $23,200 Bob Morehouse Stakes. Morehouse, a Minnesotan with a Western heart and the experience to go with it, gave quarter horse racing a big jump start in Minnesota, and a horse named Western Fun won the race named in his honor.
With Stormy Smith up, Western Fun broke smartly but then became enthralled with the beer fest taking place in Shire’s Square and started stopping.
“Cody’s horse (Tres My Tracks) was really coming on and my horse was looking at the tents,” said Smith, referring to Cody Smith. “She got going again just enough to hold him off.”
Western Fun had a half length on Tres My Tracks, who finished in front of Streak N Hot and Teller IM Out.
The winner, clocked in 20.55 over the 400-yard course, is owned by Hall of Famer breeders Bob and Julie Petersen.
Western Fun is a four-year-old filly by Tres Seis from Southern Fun and is 6-5-2 from 21 career starts.
A homebred, she had earned just short of $50,000 prior to Saturday’s feature event.
“We had four babies from that blind mare that passed away,” said Bob Petersen. “They were all winners and three of them won stakes.”
That includes Western Fun, who won the Minnesota Derby last year.
Morehouse, a wrangler and stunt man in a number of early westerns, played a prominent part in the state’s quarter horse racing and breeding industries. His stallions produced the winners of 10 of the first 13 runnings of the Northlands Futurity. His Rafter M. Ranch outside Watertown remains in the family although it’s intent today is geared by two of his daughters, Becky Boll and Terry Hintze, toward raising horses for barrel racing instead of quarter horse racing.
It seems reasonable to assume he would be proud of the operation nonetheless, given his attraction to many things Western.
He not only worked on several films made by John Ford and John Huston, he rubbed elbows with some of the greats of Hollywood Western history, John Wayne, Jimmy Cagney and Audie Murphy among them.
The influence of the West was evident in everything Morehouse did, his artwork, sculptures and whittling. He also wrote and sang a number of Western songs.
His daughter, Bobbi, presented the trophy to the Petersens Saturday. In attendance as well were daughters Holly and Jody and granddaughters Gabrielle and Gianna.
Petersen was acquainted with Bob Morehouse, who passed away in 1988. “He started things here,” Peterson said. “He really got it going.”
So did Western Fun Saturday, just in time.
BASHFORD MANOR RING A BELL?
Horses will begin arriving Monday for the premiere stakes events of the season scheduled next Saturday.
Well, okay, one horse anyway, and his biggest race to date will remind long-time Canterbury fans of a Hall of Fame horse from the track’s early days.
My Corinthian, trained by Dane Kobiskie, will arrive from Laurel Park for the $100,000 Shakopee Stakes, being run the same day as the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby and the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks.
My Corinthian placed third in the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs, a race won in 1987 by Blair’s Cove, a Canterbury Park Hall of Fame horse for whom a stakes race is run each year in Shakopee.
Trained and owned by Noel Hickey, Blair’s Cove won the Bashford Manor before it was graded. He became one of the early stars at Canterbury Downs.
Stable superintendent Mark Stancato says the early arrival of My Corinthian caught him off guard.
“I’m not used to getting a call a week in advance,” he said. “They are coming on Monday for a race they haven’t entered.”
My Corinthian broke his maiden for fun and placed second in a third start.
SERVICES SET FOR ELERY SCHERBENSKE
Funeral services will be held for Elery Scherbenske, 85, next Friday in his hometown of Ashley, N.D.
Scherbenske started training in 1948 and had horses at Canterbury Downs and Park off and on since 1985.
He owned the livestock sale barn in Ashley and frequently had horses at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg.
“He trained until he was 80 years old. He had a good life,’’ said his son Percy, who has had a stable at Canterbury since 1985.
Percy said he has talked with the racing office and a memorial race will be worked on for later in the meeting.
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.