IRMA CHANGING PLANS FOR RIDERS, TRAINERS

Mark Anderson

 

BY JIM WELLS

As Hurricane Irma bears down on the state of Florida, her wrath can be felt as far away as, well, the jockeys’ lounge at Canterbury Park.

Yes, the breath of the Caribbean monster can create a breeze this far north.

The implications of what she could wreak in the coming days is affecting the plans of riders and racing personnel in Shakopee, as they await an outcome after the storm makes landfall.

Take rider Nik Goodwin, who under usual conditions, would spend the next month or so in Bemidji near his family of origin, before heading with his own family to Ocala, Fla., where they have a home.

Irma has raised new questions to consider. Friday night, Goodwin wasn’t certain if he could carry through on his usual plans. He might have to head to Ocala to check on the family home once this storm has passed. “I have a neighbor keeping an eye on the house for me,’’ he said. “But I just don’t know. I might have to head down there to check on things.’’ The Goodwin home is raised on blocks, so he isn’t so much concerned about water damage as he is devastation from the 185 mph winds.

Normally, Goodwin spends time after the Canterbury Park meet in Bemidji and then returns to Ocala for the winter where he breaks babies and assists at some of the sales.

Irma has raised new questions to consider.

Nik Goodwin

For Mark Anderson, the clerk of scales and jockey room custodian, as well.

Anderson and family will return to Phoenix for the upcoming meet there, but for the second straight year a vacation in the Bahamas has been interrupted, this time by Irma.

Last year he and his wife, Melissa, had a trip planned to Nassau that was canceled when the resort employees went on strike.  So, they intended to make up for that disappointment with a trip to Nassau September 20-27.

It sounded real iffy at best on Friday night.

As the Andersons and the Goodwins consider their options over the coming days, other riders, trainers and track personnel are packing their bags, automobiles and trucks for new locations when the Canterbury meet ends next Saturday.

Jockey Leslie Mawing and family bought a home here in July, but he will spend the upcoming months racing in northern California and then Phoenix.

Trainer Troy Bethke doesn’t plan to go far at all, simply home to his farm in New Germany, a few miles down the road, where the advent of autumn is easing his workload. He’s been mowing 15 acres throughout the summer, usually once a week. Even snow looks good at this point. He’ll spend the off season breaking babies at the farm.

Tiffany Leggett, the horseman’s bookkeeper, can’t wait to return to the new home in Phoenix, but there will be a brief delay at the conclusion of this meet. She’ll spend a month at Keeneland Race Course bookkeeping before returning to Turf Paradise where she handles the billing for track veterinarian Reed Zimmer.

Shawn Coady, who moves his photography business from Turf Paradise to Canterbury each summer, will attend a wedding reception for his brother, Kurtis, also a photographer, in Louisville, Ky., and then return to finish up matters in Shakopee before heading home to Phoenix.

Oscar Quiroz, who assists Coady in the studio at Canterbury and doubled on the gate crew at various times this meet, will return to his job on the gate at Turf Paradise. He will miss opening weekend there because of a commitment at Prairie Meadows for the next month

Trainer Vic Hanson already has horses at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, and will depart Shakopee on Sunday. Rider Jenna Joubert is still considering her options, although Oaklawn Park and Remington are leading possibilities.

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