Main Track Training Begins

Main TrackNow that the snow has finally melted, the track crew has been feverishly pepping the main oval for use on Friday. The training track opened Wednesday mid-morning and traffic has been steady.

Roughly 140 horses are on site now with major loads expected to arrive this weekend. Hawthorne wraps up their spring meet Sunday and then the Chicago contingent, including the leading owner in the country Midwest Thoroughbreds, will begin to arrive.

Jockey agent Richard Grunder will handle business for Ry Eikleberry, fresh off a Sunland Park riding title, and Giovanni Franco, currently the leading pilot at Turf Paradise.

Demand for stall space is high. Some trainers were put on hold and none got the total number they asked for. It would be great to have 2,600 stalls at Canterbury but the fact is there are slightly less than 1,600 and they need to be filled with useful horses that fit the program here and are ready to run. It takes at least 10 to 12 weeks to get a horse ready to race so those that have been wandering around a pasture since September are light years from being ready. Demand for space is a good problem to have but it also means that some things need to change from an owner’s perspective.

Road to Kentucky Contest

Just two weekly contests remain in the 2013 Road to Kentucky Contest and both involve Churchill Downs.

The Derby Trial is Saturday. Not really a Derby prep but a good reason to hold a free contest. Twilight racing at Churchill with a 5pm first post. Entry cards will be available throughout the day however.

The final contest is of course the Derby Day card and that begins next Saturday at 9:30am.

Even though no fillies are expected to run for the roses, a glance at the Road to Kentucky Overall Leader Board shows distaff dominance. The top four players are female. I don’t have the stats but I would say women are outnumbered by a wide margin. Jessica Rau has a nearly 2,000 point lead over Linda Hernandez who is just in front of Nancy Sobkowiak and Heidi Snow. While Rau is not home and cooled out, she is in the driver’s seat for the trip to the National Handicapping Championship next January.

Advance wagering on the Derby and undercard begins the morning of Friday, May 3.

If you have a Derby horse already feel free to share it with the readers via a comment.



  1. Press Box says:

    Correction: the main track did not open on Friday, April 26, but possibly will Saturday. The track crew needed additional time to prepare the surface.

  2. I Iike revolutionary in the derby

  3. I assume Canterbury has considered the installation of temporary stalls like we had here in the late ’80’s. Granted, they are not the best way to stable horses but it may be better than alienating owners.

  4. Have there been any thoughts on opening up Shire’s Square on big days, like it was back in the 80’s and early 90’s? Altho I was thrilled with the attendance, there were days last summer (Festival of Champions, Extreme Day, etc) where CBY was so crowded it was absolutely miserable. Couldn’t get to the betting machine, rest room, beer stand. Seems that it wouldn’t take much to get a beer stand, hot dog stand, and a couple mutual windows up and running over there.

    • Sherry – There are a lot of plans in the works to upgrade parts of the facility which will hopefully be completed prior to this racing season and during the 2013-2014 off-season. Additionally, there are plans to utilize Shire’s Square in a few different ways this year. Hopefully, the combination of these improvements will lead to a better fan experience and will ease the crowding.

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