Heliskier Unbeaten Streak Hits 7

HeliskierThe sheen in his brown coat accents his muscular frame, and he stands out immediately from other horses around him. The unbeaten son of Appealing Skier truly is something to behold. There is not another horse on the grounds in this four-year-old gelding’s class. He is a man among boys, a giant among Lilliputians, a horse among weanlings.

“This is not a horse you come to bet on,” said Canterbury Park paddock analyst Angela Hermann. “This is a horse you come to see.”

What a sight to see.

Heliskier made it seven for seven on Saturday, leaving eight other horses huffing and puffing behind him in the $50,000-guaranteed 10,000 Lakes Stakes.

Willow Parish took a short stab at it, challenging Heliskier early on and finished in front of one horse. Speakfromyourheart had similar thoughts and wound up fourth. His rider, Lori Keith, shrugged her shoulders afterward and said,”well, we tried to catch him off guard.”

She couldn’t have been more facetious.

For the first time in seven races, Derek Bell, the only jock to ride Heliskier, gave him a tap on the shoulder down the lane. He didn’t need it and galloped home 5 ½ lengths In front of Freedom First, who had a head on Bobble Doit and another 1 ¾ lengths on Speakfromyourheart.

“He’s a monster. He’s put on 150 pounds (since last year) and is two inches taller,” said Bell.

“He’s the big horse in the barn and he knows it,” said Brad Hedges, assistant to trainer Mac Robertson.

Owned by Marlene Colvin, Heliskier brought tears to her eyes in the paddock before the race. The horse was the last one raised by her late husband, Bun.

Marlene is not alone in that regard, however. Heliskier brings out the emotion in lots of folks.

“He’s so good he brings tears to your eyes,” said Hedges.

Other Saturday Racing Tidbits:

Alex Canchari, the native of Shakopee, graduate of Shakopee High School and one-time employee at Canterbury Park, had a request of the track photographers, the Coady brothers, after the first race on Sunday. “Hey, whenever I win a race,” said Canchari, “just make a picture for me and put it on my bill.”

Canchari, whose father, Luis, was a local rider in the 1980s, placed his first photo order of the season after Saturday’s opening race and after riding a gelding named Third Rail, trained and owned by John Shryock. “He tried pulling himself up at the 16th pole,” said Canchari. So, Canchari went to work himself with three reminders from the stick. “Most horses don’t come back like that on a tiring track,” Canchari added. “That was pretty nice.”

Two riders who won races on the season-opening card the night before were back in the winner’s circle Saturday. Keith, who won three races on the card, brought in the second half of the daily double aboard Finding Candy, trained by Mike Biehler and owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, withstanding a challenge from the favorite, Stone Crazy, with Eddie Martin, Jr. up. “Yes, I could feel him (coming on),” said Keith, whose horse rebuffed the mild challenge and went on.

Martin countered in the very next race, making easy work of it aboard Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Eighteen Wheels. Midwest horses will be making many more trips to the winner’s circle this summer.

Keith won the fifth race on Krissy’s Tiger Paw and the ninth with Mingun’s Peaches.

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.



  1. bob gustafson says:

    First of all, let me say I’m a huge fan of this horse but now the time has come to stop beating up on these overmatched Miinnesota breds in these restricted races.I understand that it is nice to take down all this “free money” in these races and certainly don’t fault the connections for doing so. Last year Jeff Mayday wrote a post comparing Heliskier to Crocrock. Personally I think he is a better horse than that and said so at the time. So now it’s time to find out. Bring him back in the Dark Star Cup in three weeks and maybe a horse or two will ship in that will make him run to get a win.

  2. Brien Geerdes says:

    When does Heliskier run again?

  3. Tim Mc Lellan says:

    He looked impressive with nice fractions. He is a very nice horse, the 2nd best MN-Bred I have seen. To be called better than Blairs Cove, he needs to win in open company.

    • bob gustafson says:

      Tim, you’re on the right track naming Blairs Cove as the best although super Abound is the only Mn. bred to win a Grade I race. As you probably know, Blairs Cove in his first career start broke his maiden in a stakes race at Churchill Downs. He went on to eventually win two Grade III races on the turf at Arlington later in his career. Heliskier will have to do more than just win any old race in open company. He needs a stakes win or two to make any valid comparisons. I hope he gets the chance. He will probably need to compete at another venue to allow that to happen. Another graded stakes win for a Mn. bred, probably just a pipe dream, but who knows.

  4. Jeff Apel says:

    I like what those in Nebraska say. A match race featuring this fine Nebraska-bred against Diamond Joe, the best Nebraska-bred in years. DJ is now in Minnesota with trainer Chuck Turco, who would certainly welcome the challenge of a border war. How about it, Canterbury Park?

  5. Bob Gustafson says:

    I was just looking at the horses nominated for the Honor The Hero stakes and I see that Jer Mar stables Slip and Slide is listed and shows a couple of works at Canterbury. It does call into question your statement about not another horse on the grounds being in Heliskier’s class. A horse that finished third in a Grade I stake only beaten five lengths behind horse of the year Wise Dan, not in the same class as a horse who has only competed in races restricted to Mn. breds, Hmmm?

    • jameseugenewells@yahoo.com says:

      Talk to the men who’ve ridden the horses for their opinions.
      Joe Mauer was a better catcher as a minor leaguer than many major leaguers and knowledgeable baseball people knew that all along.

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