Rains Subside, Summer Arrives

Going Running wins at 32 to 1

Going Running wins at 32 to 1

 

The first day of summer brought with it sunny skies, warm weather and absolutely no rain, although a person half expected to see an ark unloading its cargo upon arrival at soggy Canterbury Park.

The seas were calm,  islands were beginning to emerge from the depths once again, and a person no longer needed to worry about being swallowed up by the very ground on which he walked.

            Plastic sheeting was still draped from the ceiling of the pressbox, where umbrellas would have been necessary to accomplish any computer work on Thursday, when biblical rains and flooding rendered the ceiling of the grandstand useless and resulted in a cancellation of the day’s racing card.

            Consider the return to racing Friday night a mere dress rehearsal for the return of meteorlogical normalcy on Saturday. The pressbox was in fine fettle after that card but was fighting off depression once again on Saturday.

            “Everything’s back to normal,’’ said pressbox impresario Jeff Maday. “We were all “up” last night and we’re all “down” today.’’

            The rhythms of racing have never been explained more poetically.

            The prospects for a “decent” day diminished entirely when Nik Goodwin piloted Going Running to the winner’s circle at 32-1 odds for trainer Ed Ross Hardy, nonetheless, in a 5 ½ furlong sprint. That result sent Maday and paddock analyst Angela Hermann to the television monitors to watch replays of the race from various angles in an attempt to apply some sort of credence to the outcome.

            “Is there a trophy or something for someone who picks a 3-2 winner?” Hermann wondered out loud.

            And so it went.

            There was a modest turnout for the card, due in all likelihood to the need of most Minnesotans to spend the weekend removing debris from their yards or hauling  in sand and dirt to rebuild washed-away ground.

The hottest topic of the 10-race card was the focal point of Race 9, a 3-year-old colt by Bernardini named Edison, trained by Robertinio Diodoro and not long ago in the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher. Edison was a $950,000 purchase in March of 2013 but has switched barns and owners.

            Consequently, he has become a topic of conversation, speculation and wonder in the nooks and crannies at Canterbury Park. “We paid the most we’ve ever spent for a horse on him,’’ said owner Rick Running Rabbit, “but it’s an undisclosed price.’’

            “I know what they paid for him, but I’m not saying,’’ said rider Scott Stevens.

            Running Rabbit did divulge some information on another horse of his, Broadway Empire, who ran sixth in the Metropolitan Mile recently. “We paid $25,000 for him,’’ he said.

            That byplay took place after Saturday’s ninth race as turf racing resumed in Shakopee Saturday after a hiatus of eight days because of rain and soggy ground.

            Stevens guided Edison, a 3/5 favorite, to a convincing win on the grass at about a mile and 70 yards,  holding off Smiling Charlie and Alex Canchari in the final strides.

            “I thought I was going to run past you,’’ Canchari said to Stevens.

“We were just waiting,’’ said Stevens. “I moved before I wanted to so we just waited.’’

Edison had plenty left. “I couldn’t pull him up,’’ said Stevens.

The turf was listed as yielding but some onlookers wondered if that was too generous for a label. “Was it yielding or marshy,’’ Ry Eikleberry was queried after guiding Gatling Gun to victory in a seventh race sprint.

“It wasn’t bad at all,’’ said Eikleberry. “My horse moved real well over it.’’

Trainer Valorie Lund was in complete agreement.

“He ran very well and seemed to do it easily,’’ she said.

Thus, summer arrived in Shakopee and with it the hope that the rains move to the West Coast where they might be appreciated.

by Jim Wells

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