We have the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost in the attic, the spirit of Canterbury’s past…and now, as it turned out Monday night, the apparitions of Vikings then and now.

Monday’s race card included two stakes named for horses that left that mark on racing history in Shakopee, the swift filly Princess Elaine and the tough old boy who left an interesting chapter in Canterbury annals, Blair’s Cove.

Let’s focus first on the Blair’s Cove Stakes, a mile and 1/16 event on the turf for which 10 horses lined up, including two horses named for Minnesota Vikings:  AP Is Loose and Teddy Time

For the NFL challenged, the first horse was named for Adrian Peterson, the running back now with New Orleans. Teddy Time was named for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, still recuperating from knee surgery with his future uncertain.

AP Is Loose, owned by Joel Zamzow and trained by Mac Robertson, was sent off the 4/5 favorite. Hold For More, the 2015 Horse of the Year, was second choice at 4-1. Yet it was Teddy Time, at 23-1, that took home the silver in the Blair’s Cove.


Teddy Time

The paddock area for both stakes races was a busy place but before this one it resembled the bargain room on Black Friday at Macy’s.  There, longtime rivals shook hands with one another, wished one another luck and then departed for the grandstand hoping that their luck exceeded that of everyone else’s.

A P Is Loose and Teddy Time are both trained by Mac Robertson. Francisco Bravo saddled Hold for More and Pensador. The conversation centered understandably on Hold for More and A P Is Loose.

Yet it was Teddy Time at 23-1 whose late rush under Quincy Hamilton caught A P (4/5) at the wire with a perfectly timed stretch move. Where’s Jordan at 12-1 was third and Speed Is Life at 8-1 next.

Hamilton was naturally pleased with the win. He couldn’t have written the script for this one any better than it played.

“Turf racing is all about saving ground and making a late run,’’ he said. “I knew I couldn’t circle these horses and hope to win, so I just stayed put and waited for a chance.’’

The chance came during the stretch drive as the horses in front of him fanned out. Hamilton saw the open ground he needed and set his horse down for the drive.

Winning owner Jeff Larson liked what he saw of Hamilton’s ride. “Quincy rode him last time and did a good job,’’ Larson said. “He rode a great race today.’’

Blair’s Cove, Canterbury Downs’ 1988 Horse of the Year, is the leading Minnesota-bred money-earner of all time, winning seven of 14 starts during his grand season in ’88. Trained by Noel Hickey, Blair’s Cove was a favorite in Shakopee, although he raced all over the U.S.  He won a $50,000 Stakes race in his first career start, at Churchill Downs, and collected $533,528 during a racing career in which he was 17-10-4 from 58 starts. A son of Bucksplasher, Blair’s Cove was named after an area in Ireland where the homestead of Hickey’s father once stood. Blair’s Cove made his first career start on June 21, 1987 and ran for the last time September 12, 1992 at Canterbury.


Some Say So

Call him a money rider, a man who gets up for a challenge or any comparable sobriquet but the best description of this high-energy jockey might be Stakes Stealer.

That’s what Orlando Mojica was on Monday, a stakes stealer, a rider who put his horse, Some Say So, on the front end, dared five opponents to come get her and when one did shook her off like a pesky fly to win the 24th running of the $50,000 Princess Elaine Stakes.  And in a stakes record time of 1:41.63.

Some Say So led from start to finish, leading the field to the wire in fractions of 23.87, 48.16, 1:11.38, and 1:35.3, finishing ¾ length in front of Honey’s Sox Appeal, never farther back than third. Her move in the stretch under Quincy Hamilton was repelled with a final thrust from the winner. First Hunter was third, an additional two lengths back.

Mojica is fast becoming the jock to turn to when the stakes are up, the stakes races for certain. He has won five extra-money races at Canterbury this meet, including the Lady Canterbury, and has been second in three others.

“This year has been great to me,’’  he said energetically. “ I’ve been very blessed in 2017.’’

Some Say So set all of the fractions and looked easily a wire to wire winner until Honey’s Sox Appeal made her bid in the stretch run and appeared set to overtake the front-runner.

“I saw her coming on the inside, and I couldn’t get my filly to move back in,’’ said Mojica. “She kept coming out on me, but she never quit.’’ And finished ¾ length the winner.

Mojica was excited and pleased too, not any more so however than Tim Rosin, one of three owners of the winner. “We bred her for these kind of races,’’ he said. “It’s a dream come true.’’

Then, as an afterthought, he added: “We have two or three of her brothers, too.’’

This race is named for Hall of Fame filly Princess Elaine. She won eight of her 15 starts at Canterbury and had her best year locally in 1988, winning four times, three of them, fittingly, in stakes races. She was 9-5-2 in 27 starts and earned $232,240 during a career that started in late October 1987 and ended on Oct 9, 1990.

Canterbury Hall of Fame horse Northbound Pride won the first running of the Princess Elaine in 1992 under Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens in 1992. There was a three-year hiatus while the track was closed until Yet the Best became it’s second winner in 1995.  The winning rider in that race and the next one too was Hall of Fame rider Luis Quinonez. Hall of Fame owner Cam Casby won this race three times with her horses.


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