Silver Magna

Silver Magna


One of the most colorful times on the racing calendar takes place annually with the running of the stakes for the state’s best horses, events that typically fill up the paddock with women festooned in big hats and colorful dresses and men in the latest summer suits from Brooks Brothers or Jos A Banks.

Races for the state-bred horses give Minnesota’s breeders and owners their opportunity for puttin’ on the ritz while entertaining friends and associates in one of Canterbury Park’s trendy bistros.

Two long-time races for 3-year-old fillies and colts, named for prominent figures in Minnesota’s thoroughbred history, were part of the Fourth of July festivities on Saturday, but were not accompanied by the same luster and splendor of years past…with discernible reason.

Small fields, four for the $60,000 Victor S Myers Stakes and five for the $60,000 Frances Genter Stakes, were reflective of a downturn, a lean season, of Minnesota-bred foals four years ago. Be fruitful and multiply was not an applicable admonition. Breeders were uncertain about the future of Minnesota racing and where it was headed and consequently unwilling to invest in the future.

The next year Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino joined forces, an agreement that changed the present and the future for the state breeders, at least for the subsequent decade.

Nonetheless, that season of doubt four years past was felt Saturday afternoon with the small lineups for the two prominent state-bred races.

The six-furlong Victor S. Myers was a cake walk for odds-on choice Hold For More and Canterbury’s leading rider Dean Butler, who guided his colt four wide into the stretch and drew off to a 6 ½ length victory over Keith’s Legacy, who had 1 ¾ lengths on Chris Mars.

“You just hope with a horse like this (he might have added in a race like this) that something doesn’t happen, that he takes a misstep or gets hurt some other way,’’ said trainer Francisco Bravo.

The winner got the perfect trip which gave owner Dale Schenian, vice chairman of Canterbury Park, the perfect 74th birthday celebration. Schenian thanked the trainer, the rider and everyone in attendance for making this such a special day on his day or as he put it, “On everybody’s day.’’

The winners were filled with confidence surely only enhanced by the lack of competitors.

“Things can happen, in any race,’’ said Bravo. “But this horse is very competitive.“

So much so that he can’t be worked in company with other horses. “He goes too hard. He overdoes it against other horses,’’ Bravo added.

Part of the reason he made it look, oh, so easy on Saturday.

It was another matter in the girls race. Shaboom, two-for-two over the Canterbury track, both this year, was sent off the overwhelming choice at 1-5, giving Butler a chance for a stakes sweep.

Shaboom went straight to the lead and was in command looking for all the world like a sure thing as the odds-on choice. Then, Silver Magma, the first homebred from the Al and Bill Ulwelling stable to make it to the track, ignited. Trainer by Mike Biehler and ridden by Denny Velazquez, Silver Magma, who had stalked the favorite throughout, took charge in the upper stretch and drew off to a 2 ½ length victory as the 6-1 third choice.

“We won other stakes races,’’ said Al Ulwelling, “but this is the best one yet.’’ Breeding, owning and racing  a horse can do that to a person, especially a horse that has been raised as this one was. Silver Magna lost her mother shortly after birth and was taken home and bottle fed, nursed and cared for, much of the time, by Al’s daughter. “For me, this is our best win ever,’’ he said.



This Wagon’s Okay used to run with his mouth open, a trait his trainer, Stacy Charette-Hill, was determined to correct. So, she consulted with Jorge Torres, her rider, and discovered that the horse was rolling up his tongue.

Charette-Hill is dead set against using tongue ties but resorted to the measure after watching her horse train in one without incident. One problem, when she tried to race the gelding, he resisted breaking from the gate and got a late start.

End of the tongue tie.

No problems thereafter.

Saturday, This Wagons Okay, a four-year-old son of PYC Paint Your Wagon, made it look easy under Torres. After bobbling slightly at the start, This Wagons Okay drew away from six competitors to beat Wicked Valentine by 1 ¼ lengths with Zoom two additional lengths back in the $29,075 Great Lakes Bonus Challenge at 400 yards.

The winning time was 20.13.

“I knew if he got away from the gate OK that he’d do well, and this time he pretty much did,’’ said Torres.





  1. Jim Wells – thank you for writing such good articles!!

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