Free-to-Enter Handicapping Contest Continues; Amy’s Challenge Has Set Back

Canterbury’s Horse of the Meet, Amy’s Challenge, will not race Friday at Keeneland after suffering severe cramping, know as tying up, earlier this week at the Lexington, KY racetrack. Read more about it in this report from DRF’s Nicole Russo. Amy’s Challenge recorded the highest Beyer Speed Figures of any filly in North America in her two wins at Canterbury Park this summer. There is a chance she races later in the Keeneland meet according to trainer Mac Robertson.

The weekly Countdown to the Cup Handicapping Contest continues this Saturday with a noon entry deadline. The featured track is Keeneland as it will be for the remainder of the contest through Oct. 28. Keeneland has a stakes-filled program Saturday including these races:  $1 Million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), $400,000 First Lady (G1), $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), $200,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select.

Entry to the contest is free. Players must select one horse in each of Keeneland’s 10 races and earn points based on a mythical across-the-board wager. The five top total scores for the day earn a betting bankroll for Breeders’ Cup weekend, Nov. 3 and 4.

Congrats to the Week 2 winners:

$200 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Alex Meyer

$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Jesse Overton

$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Robin Dawe

$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Matt Wiebke

$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Dan Ovando

Breeders’ Cup notes provided by Breeders’ Cup publicity staff:

Keeneland, Belmont Take Center Stage for Final Set of Breeders’ Cup Auditions

Friday’s kickoff to a tremendous Opening Weekend at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., along with a huge Saturday and Sunday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., headline the final Breeders’ Cup Challenge weekend, which sees 13 automatic qualifiers take place. The Shadwell Turf Mile headlines an eight-race Challenge schedule at Keeneland, while the Jockey Club Gold Cup tops four at Belmont and will offer the final berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Toss in the “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship in Arcadia, Calif., and the first Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar will be front and center by Sunday evening, as the majority of the heavy lifting will be complete.

Keeneland’s “Fall Stars” weekend is sure to live up to the billing, as all eight Challenge races will play a pivotal role in their respective Breeders’ Cup division during the first three days of the 17-day meet. Saturday, the “Win and You’re In” action is led by the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (GI), which will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile, though it’s far from the only highlight on a Challenge schedule that also includes the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI, Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), First Lady (GI, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf) and Thoroughbred Club of America (GII, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint).

Juddmonte Farm’s homebred TIME TEST (GB) will likely go favored for trainer Chad Brown, even though he’s been runner-up in all three U.S. starts this year. The 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE) was transferred from Roger Charlton’s barn in Europe after a 2016 campaign that saw him win the York (GII) to close out his year in July and made his first start for Brown when he was second in Aqueduct’s Fort Marcy (GIII) in May. Time Test, who is 6-for-14 lifetime, was also second in Belmont’s Manhattan (GI) in June and enters off a second-place finish to divisional leader World Approval in Saratoga’s Fourstardave (GI) August 12.

Terry Hamilton’s HEART TO HEART, second in the local Maker’s 46 Mile (GI) the last two years, rates a legitimate wire-to-wire threat for trainer Brian Lynch, while WinStar Farm’s homebred AMERICAN PATRIOT upset the Maker’s Mark this year for trainer Todd Pletcher but has been well-beaten in both starts since. Grade I winners DIVISIDERO and MONDIALISTE (IRE) are also expected for the “Win and You’re In” Shadwell Turf Mile, as are BALLAGH ROCKS, LE KEN (ARG), OFFERING PLAN and SUEDOIS (FR), while LANCASTER BOMBER is possible.

The $500,000 Claiborne Futurity, run at 1 1/16 miles, is headlined by Carolyn Wilson’s THE TABULATOR, who already earned a berth into the Juvenile with his victory in Churchill Downs’ “Win and You’re In” Iroquois (GIII) September 16 for trainer Larry Rivelli. The 2-year-old son of Dialed In is 3-for-3 lifetime, which includes a win in Prairie Gold Juvenile at Prairie Meadows in July.

Albaugh Family Stable’s FREE DROP BILLY, who was second in two Saratoga stakes starts this summer for trainer Dale Romans, including a neck beat in the Hopeful (GI) September 4, will make his two-turn debut, as will Valene Farm’s GIVEMEAMINUTE, who was just a neck behind when third in the Hopeful for trainer Dallas Stewart. TEN CITY, who was third in the Iroquois, is also expected for the “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, as are sharp maiden winners BOURBON RESOLUTION, BRAVAZO, LONE ROCK, LONE SAILOR and STRONGER.

The 1-mile, $400,000 First Lady will have an extremely strong field, with The Club Racing, Needle In a Haystack and Sagamore Farm’s MISS TEMPLE CITY leading the way for trainer Graham Motion. The 5-year-old daughter of Temple City has been a superstar over the Keeneland turf, going 4-2-2-0 on the course, which includes grade I wins over males in last year’s Maker’s Mark and Shadwell Turf Mile. Overall, Miss Temple City is 7-for-19 lifetime and got a confidence boost in her last start, when she won the Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs September 9.

Dom Felipe’s DONA BRUJA (ARG) will cut back for trainer Ignacio Correas after a dead-heat second in Arlington Park’s August 12 “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. (GI), an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, while Godolphin’s DICKINSON won the local Jenny Wiley (GI) in April over divisional leader Lady Eli but has lost three straight since for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Graded stakes winners HAWKSMOOR (IRE), ROCA ROJO (IRE) and ZIPESSA are also likely for the “Win and You’re In” First Lady.

The $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America, run at six furlongs, is expected to draw a short field, with Carl Moore’s FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM looming as a decisive favorite for trainer Bret Calhoun. The 4-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy is 8-for-11 lifetime and 3-for-4 this year, including grade III wins in Churchill’s Winning Colors and Chicago and was just second, beaten a neck, to divisional leader Paulassilverlining in Saratoga’s Honorable Miss (GII) July 26.

Claiborne Farm’s homebred BENDABLE, who won the Desert Stormer (GIII) in June at Santa Anita for trainer Richard Mandella, as well as Kirk and Judy Robison’s VERTICAL OAK, who aired in the Prioress (GII) September 3 at Saratoga for trainer Steve Asmussen, are also expected for the “Win and You’re In” Thoroughbred Club of America, as are I’M A LOOKER, IVY BELL, MOIETY and SWEET KHALESI

Alcibiades, Phoenix Highlight Opening Day

The “Win and You’re In” action kicks off with Friday’s Opening Day card, with the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (GI) offering an automatic starting berth into the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (GII) awarding a berth into the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, respectively.

The Alcibiades, run at 1 1/16 miles, drew a few stakes winners still trying to make up the pecking order in the local 2-year-old filly ranks. Dawn and Ike Thrash’s KELLY’S HUMOR could be a slight favorite over nine rivals off her second in Churchill Downs’ September 16 “Win and You’re In” Pocahontas (GII), another automatic qualifier for the Juvenile Fillies. The daughter of two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Midnight Lute (2007 and 2008) won the Ellis Park Debutante in August for trainer Brad Cox before suffering her lone defeat in three starts in the Pocahontas.

A solid bid is also expected from Lothenbach Stable’s BET SHE WINS, who won the Arlington Lassie at Arlington Park by 9 ½ lengths for trainer Chris Block.  The filly is owned by Robert Lothenbach of Wayzata, Minn. CAROLINE THE GREAT, DANCING, HEAVENLY LOVE, OVERLY THINKING, PRINCESS WARRIOR PACIFIC GALE, and SASSY SIENNA have also been entered in the “Win and You’re In” Darley Alcibiades.

The six-furlong Phoenix has an 11 horse field, led by Katherine Ball’s homebred LIMOUSINE LIBERAL and Bob LaPenta’s WHITMORE. The former, a 5-year-old son of Successful Appeal, was second, beaten a neck in the Phoenix last year for trainer Ben Colebrook and has won of 3-of-5 this year, including the Churchill Downs (GII) in May. The latter, a 4-year-old son of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, was an early-season divisional leader for trainer Ron Moquett off a trio of stakes wins, including the Maryland Sprint (GIII) at Pimlico in May, but has lost two straight, including when third-place at 1-2 in the DeFrancis Dash (GIII) at Laurel Park September 16.

PJG Stable’s FAVORITE TALE was third in the Sprint over the track in 2015 and was second in his lone start this year in Parx Racing’s Banjo Picker Sprint September 2 for trainer Guadalupe Preciado, while Ammerman Racing’s THREEFIVEINDIA exits a solid optional claiming win at Saratoga August 26 for trainer Chad Brown. AWESOME BANNER, IT’S THE JOURNEY, MR. MANNING, LOOSE ON THE TOWN, RICHARD THE GREAT, SEVENTH SENSE (TUR), and UNCONTESTED are entered in the “Win and You’re In” Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix.

Spinster, Bourbon Headline Sunday Card

Sunday’s $500,000 “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte Spinster (GI), run at 1 1/8 miles, will award an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff and, along with the “Win and You’re In” Dixiana Bourbon (GIII), will anchor the final Breeders’ Cup Challenge telecast and will air on NBCSN from 5-6:00 p.m. ET.

The Sprinter is expected to have a compact field, with G. Watts Humphrey’s homebred ROMANTIC VISION leading the way off her win in Churchill’s Locust Grove (GIII) September 16 for trainer Rusty Arnold. The 5-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid is 5-for-18 lifetime and won her first career graded stakes at Churchill when she beat Merriebelle Stable’s BLUE PRIZE (ARG), who has been second in all four U.S. starts this year for trainer Ignacio Correas. The 4-year-old daughter of Pure Prize was a dual-grade I winner in her native Argentina before coming to the U.S. late last year and is 2-for-8 lifetime.

John Gunther’s homebred TIGER MOTH, who was third in the Locust Grove for trainer Brad Cox, and MARTINI GLASS and MO D’AMOUR are also expected for the Juddmonte Spinster.

The $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon, run at 1 1/16 miles, will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and is expected to draw an overflow field of 2-year-olds looking to give definition to a division that is always wide open at this point in the year. The Bourbon could be led by Jerry Durant’s BUDRO TALKING, who is undefeated in two starts for trainer Danny Pish, including a win in his turf debut in Louisiana Downs’ Sunday Silence September 9, which gives him a leg up on a group that figures to be made up of mostly maiden turf winners.

Hoolie Racing Stable’s ADMIRALTY PIER, who was third in another “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Turf, Woodbine’s September 17 Summer (GII), and Run For The Cross’ HIGH PROVIDENCE, second in the Sunday Silence for trainer Jason Meaux, are also scheduled to run in the “Win and You’re In” Dixiana Bourbon, as are ARAWAK, DIAMOND OOPS, FLAMEAWAY, FRED’STWIRLINCANDY, JOHN TIPPMANN, MACHTREE, TAP DADDY, TIGERS RULE, TRENTON TRAVELER and WICKED TRICK.

Jockey Club Gold Cup Tops Quartet of Weekend Challenge Races at Belmont

Belmont’s Fall Championship Meet peaks Saturday, when the $750,000 “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) will award the last-of-7 automatic qualifiers for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, while the $500,000 “Win and You’re In” Champagne (GI) will offer a berth into the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The Gold Cup, run at 1 ¼ miles, is shaping up as a wide-open race, with favoritism up for grabs, though Donegal Racing’s KEEN ICE could get the nod, as he’s the most well-known and starts as one of three for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 5-year-old son of 2007 Breeders’ Classic winner Curlin was third in last year’s Classic at Santa Anita, won the track and distance Suburban (GII) in July and enters off a second-place finish to divisional leader Gun Runner in another Classic qualifier, Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Whitney August 5. Keen Ice, who also beat American Pharoah in Saratoga’s Travers (GI) in 2015 when trained by Dale Romans, is just 3-for-23 lifetime, but two of those wins came at 1 ¼ miles.

The most intriguing runner is Paul Reddam’s PAVEL, who blitzed the field by 6 in the Smarty Jones (GIII) at Parx Racing September 4 for trainer Doug O’Neill and will tackle older horses for the first time, while making just his fourth lifetime start. The son of Creative Cause won his debut sprinting at Santa Anta in July then was fourth in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (GII) later that month. WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Head of Plains Partner’s GOOD SAMARITAN, third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, won the Jim Dandy in his dirt debut but was just fifth in their Travers (GI) as the favorite August 26, will also debut against older horses, while Pletcher’s DESTIN and RALLY CRY will get some support in the “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup, as will the speedy DIVERSIFY.

The one-mile Champagne is expected to lure a talented, albeit unproven, field that will test Belmont’s demanding one-turn mile. Favoritism could go any number of different ways, but Godolphin’s homebred ENTICED impressed in his debut win at Saratoga for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and the 2-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro is bred to be a star, as mom It’s Tricky was a three-time grade I winner. Woodford Racing’s ENGAGE, a son of Into Mischief, will get plenty of support for trainer Chad Brown and looked good winning his second career start at Saratoga September 4.

Gold Square’s AVEENU MALCAINU, who is undefeated in two starts against New York breds, including the August 25 Funny Cide for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, and Mr. Amore Stable’s FIRENZE FIRE, who won Saratoga’s Sanford (GIII) in July for trainer Jason Servis but was just fourth in their Hopeful (GI) September 4, are also major players, as are sharp but unproven Saratoga maiden winners HAZIT and HONORABLE TREASURE. BAHAMIAN, CREA’S BKLYN LAW, KOWBOW KARMA and STRONGER could also run in the “Win and You’re In” Champagne.

Flower Bowl, Frizette Offer Bids Sunday

Sunday the “Win and You’re In” action continues at Belmont with $500,000 Flower Bowl (GI), which will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and the $400,000 Frizette (GI), which will offer up a berth into the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

The Flower Bowl may be short on entries, but it’s shaping up as serious tilt, with trainer Chad Brown holding a pair of major players in Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ DACITA (CHI) and Juddmonte Farm’s homebred GRAND JETE (GB), 1-2 finishers of Arlington Park’s “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. (GI) August 12. The former, a 6-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy, won the berth into the Filly & Mare Turf that the Beverly D. awarded, but it was the latter, a 4-year-old daughter of Dansili (GB), who was probably best after encountering heavy traffic entering the far turn and not getting out until it was too late, yet still closing with a rush to dead-heat for second. Dacita, who was ninth in the Filly & Mare Turf in 2015 at Keeneland, is 10-for-19 lifetime, while Grand Jete, who won the Eatontown (GIII) at Monmouth Park in June, is 4-for-12 lifetime.

Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum’s NEZWAAH (GB) is expected to add some international appeal for trainer Roger Varian. The 4-year-old daughter of Dubawi (IRE) won The Curragh’s Pretty Polly (GI) in July then was fourth in York’s August 24 “Win and You’re In” Darley Yorkshire Oaks (GI), also an automatic qualifier for the Filly & Mare Turf, when finishing behind the superstar filly Enable (GB), who Saturday added to her legend in Chantilly’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (GI, see race recap below). Stakes winner GUILTY TWELVE is also a likely starter in the “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl, while GRATEFUL, PUCA and WAR FLAG are all possible.

The one mile Frizette will be led by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stable and Michael Imperio’s LADY IVANKA, who already earned a berth into the Juvenile Fillies when she won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Spinaway (GI) September 2 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. The 2-year-old daughter of Tiz Wonderful is 2-for-2 lifetime and has a stalking style that figures to appreciate the added distance.

Klaravich Stable’s SEPARATIONOFPOWERS will offer the main danger for trainer Chad Brown and the daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) will try to turn the tables after running third as the favorite in the Spinaway, while Saratoga maiden winners CALEDONIA ROAD, CRITIQUE and PURRFECT MISS must all be respected in the “Win and You’re In” Frizette. PACIFIC, WALL OF COMPASSION and YESTERDAY’S NEWS are all possible, as is MAYA MALIBU, who was second in the Spinaway and would be a huge threat, though she is more likely to run Friday in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Alcibiades (GI, see preview above), another automatic qualifier for the Juvenile Fillies.

Sprint Bid on the Line in Santa Anita Sprint Championship

Saturday’s $300,000 “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship (GI) will award a starting berth into the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the six-furlong test will likely have a short but competitive field, led by Agave Racing Stable and Jeff Wilke’s RANSOM THE MOON. The 5-year-old son of Malibu Moon already qualified for the Sprint with his win in Del Mar’s “Win and You’re In” Bing Crosby (GI) July 29 and also won the local Kona Gold (GII) in May and is 5-for-19 lifetime.

WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners and China Horse Club’s AMERICAN ANTHEM will test older horses for the first time for trainer Bob Baffert. The 3-year-old son of Bodemeister was on the Triple Crown Trail this winter but was well-beaten in both the Rebel (GII) at Oaklawn Park in March and Santa Anita Derby (GI) in May and has found a new home at one-turn since. American Anthem, who is 3-for-7 lifetime, won the local Laz Barrera (GIII) in May and Belmont Park’s Woody Stephens (GII) in June and was third in Saratoga’s Allen Jerkens (GI) August 26.

Gatto Racing’s GIANT EXPECTATIONS, who earned a berth into the Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile when he won Del Mar’s “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien (GII) August 26 for trainer Peter Eurton, is also expected for the “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship, as are stakes winner MR. HINX and OCHO OCHO OCHO.


Keeneland Fall Meet begins Friday

Keeneland begins its 17-day fall race meet this Friday, Oct. 6. The three-day opening weekend features nine stakes races with $3.75 million in purses and Breeders’ Cup implications galore. The Canterbury Racebook will carry all the action. Here are the first nine stakes of the meet:


$400,000 G1 Alcibiades – BC Juvenile Fillies prep

$250,000 G2 Phoenix –   BC Sprint prep


$1 million G1 Shadwell Turf Mile –  prep for BC Mile

$500,000 G1 Breeders’ Futurity-  likely spot for The Tabulator to run. He beat Canterbury’s Mr. Jagermeister in Iowa and then won the G3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs. Key BC Juvenile prep.

$400,000 G1 First Lady

$250,000 G2 Thoroughbred Club of America – BC Filly and Mare Sprint prep race.

$200,000 G2 Woodford


$500,000 G1 Spinster

$250,000 G3 Bourbon – turf race that readies 2-year-olds for the BC Juvenile Turf

The Keeneland website offers a lot of information.

To get a sense of the history of this track browse the extensive Media Guide.

Canterbury Quarter Horses Running Well at Prairie Meadows.

The Altoona racetrack conducted several trials Friday and Saturday and many horses that raced in Shakopee over the summer showed up.

A Jordon Reed, winner of the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, was the fastest qualifier for the Valley Junction Futurity. The 2-year-old is trained by Ed Ross Hardy. Cr Game Changer, trained by Jason Olmstead, ran the fastest 400 yard time in the Polk County Derby trials. La Mos PYC, a three-time winner at Canterbury trained by Bill Harris, qualified for the Altoona Derby by winning ta trial and recording the second fastest time. Cr Lota Girl ran twice here and was the fastest qualifier in Friday’s trials for the Jim Bader Futurity. The finals, along with the BOA Challenge Championships, will be run the evening of Saturday, Oct. 14.


Amy’s Challenge Earns 92 Beyer Speed Figure and other news

Yesterday’s Shakopee Juvenile on the final day of the meet should be enough to satisfy the desires of local racing fans as they wait for spring and the start of the 2018 meet. What was hyped both here and nationally as the race of the Canterbury season, the $80,000 six furlong sprint featuring some of the fastest 2-year-olds in North America, lived up to that hype and then some.

When Mr. Jagermeister locked up with Amy’s Challenge at the top of the stretch, onlookers knew that the next 220 yards was going to be something special. No one was disappointed when Amy’s Challenge, the odds-on favorite, prevailed by less than a length, not even Mr. Jagermeister’s trainer Valorie Lund. Not only was it a fast race, the fastest six furlongs of the 67-day meet with these two ultra-talented youngsters finishing 18 lengths clear of the others, but Lund knew that what she had believed all along was true. This Minnesota bred is the real thing. See the replay below.

As for Amy’s Challenge… she validated the 91 Beyer Speed Figure she was assigned in August by earning a 92 yesterday. Now it is on to Keeneland with Breeders’ Cup aspirations.

On the business side, things were good this meet with a slight gain in total handle compared to last season even though six fewer races were run in 2017. Total handle was $43.67 million, a .9 percent increase, while average daily handle was up 3.9 percent at $651,839. The number of starters per race increased 4.1 percent to 8.07, another positive indicator.

“Overall the race meet was a success,” company president Randy Sampson said. “We are very fortunate to have the support of both race fans as well as horsemen that each contribute to making Canterbury Park thrive.”


2017 By the Numbers for MN breds:

·         $5,062,227 Earned by Minnesota-breds (2nd Consecutive Year Exceeding $5 Million and a new Track Record)

·         150 Restricted Races run for Minnesota-breds (Highest since 2008)

·         1,759 Starts made by Minnesota-breds (Most since 2008)

·         Earnings by Minnesota-breds in Open Races increased by about $140,000 or 19%

Canterbury Park’s 2017 divisional champions:

Horse of the Year – Amy’s Challenge  (owner: Novogratz Racing Stable : trainer: Mac Robertson)
Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding –  Hot Shot Kid (owner: Warren Bush  ; trainer: Mac Robertson )
Sprinter – Honey’s Sox Appeal (owner: Bob Lindgren : trainer: Mac Robertson )
Older Horse – Hay Dakota (owner: Alice Mettler : trainer: Joel Berndt)
Grass Horse –  Some Say So (owner: Tom Rosin, Patti Miller and Mark Kane : trainer: Judd Becker)
Three-Year-Old Filly – Double Bee Sting (owner: Curtis Sampson : trainer: Tony Rengstorf )
Older Filly or Mare – Honey’s Sox Appeal (owner: Bob Lindgren : trainer: Mac Robertson )
Two-Year-Old –Amy’s Challenge  (owner: Novogratz Racing Stable : trainer: Mac Robertson)
Claimer – Monday Confession (owner: Pick 5 Stable : trainer: Karl Broberg)
Quarter Horse – The Fiscal Cliff  (owner: Thomas Lepic : trainer: Kasey Willis)



Amy’s Challenge


You can put a stamp on it. Mail it home. The verdict is in. The hype was real. Canterbury Park saved the best for last.

The race of the year was just that.

As anticipated when the race was written, the best horses showed up. The lineup was one for 2017 and for time to come.

The best babies stabled here in track annals, one of them a Minnesota-bred, went head-to-head and gate to wire in a show of talent and maturity beyond their ages on the final day of racing.

The season ended with a couple notable changes. Paddock analyst Brian Arrigoni filled in for track announcer Paul Allen, on assignment as the Minnesota Vikings radio voice. Arrigoni filled in admirably, calling the races with the voice and insight of a seasoned pro. His spot was taken over by former paddock analyst Angela Hermann, who brushed off the cobwebs and was in typical fine form.

The race of the year featured speed and then some, with three two-year-olds that had dominated their previous opposition with lopsided wins lining up in an eight-horse field to face one another a first time.

Would they continue the shows they had previous staged _  winning by 16 ½, 15 ½ and 13 lengths _  when facing one another, the filly Amy’s Challenge against two standout colts, Mr. Jagermeister and Soul of Discretion.

Yes, they did. In the case of Amy’s Challenge and Mr. Jagermeister, gate to wire.

Although the skies were overcast and the air a bit autumnal _ chilly by some standards _ the feature races, the $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint and the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile, offered something considerably more appealing.

Sir Navigator brushed off a challenge from Smooth Chiraz to win the Sprint, and then Amy’s Challenge, whose 91 Beyer speed figure is tops among the nation’s two-year-olds, fought off a game, hard challenge from Mr. Jagermeister.

Soul of Discretion was left well back, in fourth, along with the rest of the lineup, struggling in the wake of the two leaders.

Amy’s Challenge, the 4/5 favorite, broke first and maintained her lead to the top of the stretch where Mr. Jagermeister, at 6/5,  got his head in front and appeared primed to take over in what quickly became a two-horse race in the stretch.

Amy’s Challenge fought back and had ¾ length on him at the wire, with the next closest another 18 lengths back.

“I heard the other horse coming and he got a head on us,’’ said winning rider Jareth Loveberry, the champion rider of the meet. “Then she dug in and kept digging and digging.’’

The winning time and the fractions for the race were better than even older males who ran on Saturday’s season-ending card: 21.95, 44.48, 56.67 and 1:09.58.

Valorie Lund, the trainer of Mr. Jagermeister, was hopeful that what she had just read on her smart phone might portend good luck for her horse, who had lost only once. The winner of that race had just won at Churchill Downs. “The colt that beat us just won the Grade III Iroquois,’’ she said hopefully.

Afterward she approached Mac Robertson, Amy’s trainer, and gave him a hug, relieved that the race was over and that regardless of the outcome the colt she owns with two of her sisters is still maturing and is a speed demon.

Amy’s Challenge, on the other hand, is owned by Joe Novogratz of Chanhassen and has attracted offers of $1 million or more.

Robertson also saddled the winner of the other stake on the closing day card, the Tom Metzen Sprint.

Sir Navigator, ridden by Israel Hernandez took an inside route to the winner’s circle, finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of Smooth Chiraz and Loveberry and another ½ length ahead of Adens Dream

Owned by Jerry and Marlene Myers, Sir Navigator won for the fourth time in 2017, exceeding $120,00 career earnings with Saturday’s win.

Then, at 6:55 p.m. Betyar crossed the finish line _ leading rider Jareth Loveberry in the irons, leading trainer Mac Robertson collecting one more win and Joe Novogratz, in the final race of the meet, winning the title as leading owner for 2017.

With that the season came to a close.

Jareth Loveberry


The smart money was on a little gal called Mustang Sally in the 2017 wiener dog championship, and she backed up her backers in grand fashion, putting on a late rush to hit the finish line a clear winner.

Then again, Sally is not a stranger to these things. She recently won a mixed dog race at Remington Park

That’s right, Oklahoma City. Sally, her owner Pamela Coffey, friend and starter Luann Annerud and Texas friend Carmen Villalobos made the 10 hour drive from Nola, Oklahoma for the second time this summer and came away with the gold.

They were prepared and so was Sally, who trained regularly at the Harmony Training Center for horses, running up and down shed row in addition to longer jaunts on the track.

Her owner also had Sally run alongside the rail next to the track while her friends, several grooms and trainers, hooted and hollered to prepare Sally for noise she would experience during the Canterbury championship run.



The fears that accompanied Irma for some Canterbury riders and personnel as she bore down on Florida recently were replaced by relief and gratitude in the days that followed the hurricane’s landfall.

Rider Nik Goodwin, for one, had concerns about the family home in Ocala, and was relieved afterward upon finding that it was spared by the killer storm. “Everything is fine,’’ he said.

Jockey lounge custodian and clerk of scales Mark Anderson and his wife had lesser concerns. They were planning a trip to Nassau for the second year and wondered if that trip, too, would not take place.

A year earlier their planned Caribbean jaunt was cancelled when employees at the resort went on strike.


Horse of the year: Amy’s Challenge

Quarter horse of the year: The Fiscal Cliff

3-year-old colt/gelding: Hot Shot Kid

3-year-old filly: Double Bee Sting

2-year-old: Amy’s Challenge

Older horse: Hay Dakota

Older filly/mare: Honey’s Sox Appeal

Sprinter: Honey’s Sox Appeal

Grass horse: Some Say So

Claimer: Monday Confession

Thoroughbred trainer: Mac Robertson

Thoroughbred jockey: Jareth Loveberry

Thoroughbred owner: Novogratz Racing Stables

Quarter horse trainer: Jason Olmstead

Quarter horse jockey: Oscar Delgado

Quarter horse owner: Thomas Scheckel and Dean Frey (tie)


Amy’s Challenge with Jareth Loveberry aboard


Considering Minnesota’s place in the horse racing universe, it truly doesn’t get any better than this, a race with this much talent on closing day, featuring not only three locally stabled speedsters but one of them a Minnesota-bred to boot.

And two-year-olds at that.

For sheer star power, the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile is unmatched in track history in those respects.

“It is unprecedented,’’ said Dave Miller, the Equibase chart caller at Canterbury who has watched racing in Shakopee since its inception in 1985. Miller recalled other episodes of unforgettable races, yet none with the specifics this one offers.

Yes there is the saga of the nationally talented Lost Kitty from the D. Wayne Lucas barn, shipping in from California to take on the locally stabled Turbo Launch in the 1987 Canterbury Debutante, only to get her clock cleaned.

There is always the default race of local history, the 1989 Canterbury Juvenile featuring an up and coming star named Unbridled, who finished second under Mike Smith that day to Appealing Breeze, but the next spring won the Kentucky Derby and then the Breeders’ Cup Classic that autumn and was named the three-year-old male of the year.

Yet, those horses were shippers from other points in the country, and Saturday’s lineup includes locally stabled speedballs engaging one another in a full field.

There is Amy’s Challenge, conditioned by the 2017 champion trainer, Mac Robertson. Amy is a daughter of Artie Schiller from Jump Up and won her only time out, at Canterbury by 16 ½ lengths, posting a 91 Beyer Speed Figure that is tops among two-year-olds in North America. She is owned by Joseph Novogratz of Eden Prairie.

Her challengers are impressive in their own rights.

Soul of Discretion, out of the Dan McFarlane barn, won by 13 lengths in his maiden start, putting up an 85 Beyer, among the 12 best in the nation. He is by Discreetly Mine from Brief Mark and is owned by Yeamons Racing Stables.

And then there is the exceptionally swift Mr. Jagermeister, trained by Valorie Lund. He has four bullet works over the Canterbury surface and has won two of his three starts by many. A son of Atta Boy Roy from Frangelica, he was bred in Minnesota by Kristin Boice, a sister to Lund. He is owned by Boice, Lund and a third sister, Leslie Cummings.


“This race is going to be very challenging and exciting,’’ said Lund. “It should attract people in droves just to watch.’’

“I thought this race turned out tough last year,’’ said McFarlane, who toyed with the idea of running his horse at Arlington Park because this race appears so tough.

Canterbury untied the purse strings to produce this race, to keep these stars in the local firmament.

Track president Randy Sampson made clear those intentions when the purse enhancements were announced. “We have an exceptionally strong group of two-year-old horses this season,’’ he said. “We want to entice them to race in the Juvenile.’’

First, another $25,000 was added to what originally was a $50,000 purse. On top of that a $25,000 bonus was added for horses foaled in Minnesota, making it the largest purse available to state bred horses.


The race of the year.

That’s precisely what it is, race of the year featuring babies that exhibit exceptional talent, enough to attract nation-wide attention, including, by several reports, an offer for the filly of a million dollars or more.

“Amy’s Challenge is a singular horse and Soul of Discretion is another very nice horse,’’ added Lund, who has watched those two with discerning eyes whenever she has breezed her colt during morning workouts.

“They look in fine form,’’ she said. “Again, this is going to be a very competitive race.’’

What more could a race fan ask for closing day, but there is more: The $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint, matching old rivals Smooth Chiraz, a winner of the Minnesota Sprint Championship over Hold for More, who had beaten Smooth at the same distance, six furlongs, one month earlier.

There are new horses in this one, including Blue Anchor, shipped in by trainer Robertino Diodoro from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California, where the sprinter’s one win this year was at Santa Anita.

Yet, that’s not all on the final day of the 2017 race meet. For those whose interests lie someplace other than the horses, there is a championship of another matter on closing day: The wiener dog championship.

The race will draw a large number of fans, yet for those who love the horses, nothing can top the showdown between three of the best babies stabled at Canterbury, one a Minnesota-bred, since the doors opened in 1985.


video by Mouse

Trainer Valorie Lund Has Mr. Jagermeister Ready For Shakopee Juvenile

Mr. Jagermeister

Mr. Jagermeister is a very talented Minnesota bred 2-year-old trainer by Valorie Lund. On Saturday he faces perhaps the fastest filly in the country in Amy’s Challenge. In this video Valorie discusses her colt and the upcoming race.

Mac Robertson wins his 11th training title

Track President Randy Sampson with trainer Mac Robertson

When racing concludes Saturday, Mac Robertson will have won his eleventh leading trainer title at Canterbury Park. The trophy could have been presented June 3 when Mac took command in the standings and never relinquished the lead.

His purse earnings this season, nearly $1.6 million, are more than the combined total of the trainers in second and third, Bernell Rhone and Robertino Didodoro. He has already eclipsed the all-time purse earnings record in the history of the track. He has 62 wins, 27 more than Rhone, entering the final two days of the season and his starters have hit the board 60 percent of the time.

Mac has been involved in the racing industry his entire life. At the age of 12 he began working for his father Hugh as an assistant trainer.  He also worked for other trainers for a couple of years until he decided to go on his own in 1994. Robertson, now 43, scored his first career victory that year at Ak-Sar-Ben Race Track in Omaha, Neb. He saddled only 72 starters under his name through 2004, often overseeing a division of his father Hugh’s stable instead. In 2005, Robertson made a name for himself at Canterbury, winning the first of nine consecutive training titles. He was inducted into the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame in 2011 and is the all-time leader in purse earnings.

This year Mac has again handled several talented horses including 2-year-old Amy’s Challenge who will race in Saturday’s $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes. Amy’s Challenge won her only start, drawing off by 16 1/2 lengths and earning a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest in the nation for any 2-year-old. Other familiar names from the Robertson stable are Honey’s Sox Appeal, A P Is Loose, and Teddy Time.

Mac spends the winter training at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas before making his annual trek to Shakopee each spring.

Shakopee Juvenile Stakes Purse Increased To $75,000

Amy’s Challenge wins by 16 1/2 lengths.

Race expected to include fastest 2-year-old in North America, Amy’s Challenge

Canterbury Park racing officials today announced that the purse for the Sept. 16 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes will be increased to $75,000 from the originally announced $50,000. To encourage owners to enter state bred horses, a $25,000 bonus exclusively for horses foaled in Minnesota will also be added, making the sprint purse total $100,000 for Minnesota breds, the largest single-race purse offered to state bred horses at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack. The Shakopee Juvenile, restricted to 2-year-olds, will be run at six furlongs on the main track.

“We have an exceptionally strong group of 2-year-old horses at Canterbury Park this season,” track president Randy Sampson said. “We want to entice them to race in the Shakopee Juvenile. Increasing the purse should also attract other trainers around the country with horses that have shown stakes potential.”

Amy’s Challenge, who won her lone start Aug. 6 by 16 1/2 lengths, earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, the largest awarded to a 2-year-old in North America. The Beyer Speed Figure, found in Daily Racing Form, is a numerical representation of a horse’s performance and is widely accepted by the racing public as a gauge of ability. Mac Robertson, who trains the filly for Joseph Novogratz of Eden Prairie, Minn., has indicated that Amy’s Challenge will next start in the Shakopee Juvenile in preparation for the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes on Oct. 6 at Keeneland.

Last Friday, Soul of Discretion won by 13 lengths in his first start and earned an 85 Beyer, making him one of the 12 fastest 2-year-olds racing. Earlier in the Canterbury meet, Mr. Jagermeister, a Minnesota bred, was an impressive winner in his debut and was assigned an 81 Beyer. He since has won the $85,000 Northern Lights Futurity at Canterbury.

“The $75,000 base purse will put us roughly in line with other 2-year-old races in the region and at similar venues during September,” Sampson said.

The Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington Park, and the Kip Deville Stakes at Remington Park each offer $75,000 purses for 2-year-old sprint stakes.

Sept. 16 will be the fifth running of the Shakopee Juvenile. In 2013 the race was run at one mile on the turf with a $100,000 purse. The next four renditions were at six furlongs on the dirt offering a $75,000 purse.

There is no fee to nominate to the Shakopee Juvenile. Nominations close Friday, Sept. 8.


Amy’s Challenge with Jareth Loveberry aboard


Update: Only 17 racing days left on the 2017 calendar. A mere two weeks of race days and change. Plenty of time for trainers to begin cleaning out their barns, sending out the horses that need a paycheck to cover their travel costs.

Still time for others to achieve some unreached goals, trainers, owners and riders alike.

The race for leading thoroughbred rider might come down to the final day, so too the quarter horse riding title.

The only certain matter at this point is the thoroughbred conditioners title. Mac Robertson has that award locked down tighter than the treasury vault. The bottom would have to fall out of the earth we stand on for anyone to catch him.

Robertson is 18 wins in front of the second place trainer, Bernell Rhone, and in typical robust fashion responded to a comment thrown his way in the paddock on Saturday.

“Hey, Mac, you’ve taken all the fun of the race this year, all but wrapping it up so early.’’

“Hey,’’ he responded, “I heard nothing but good things when Diodoro was 30 in front (in previous years),’’ he said.

He  was referring to the 2014 and 2015 seasons when Robertino Diodoro ended a nine year string of titles won by Robertson.

“Well, that took the fun out of it, too,’’ he was told.

“Story after story about Diodoro when he was in front.  I have the best time by a two-year-old filly in the country last Sunday and not a word locally but the New York Times calls me.’’

Robertson’s diatribe, of course, was based on fake news, his method of letting off steam, of making a point, of sticking the needle in.

Mac Robertson

The two-year-old filly of note is Amy’s Challenge, by Artie Schiller from Jump Up. She is owned by Novogratz Racing Stables. All sorts of rumors swirled in shed row after she broke her maiden in grand fashion, finishing many lengths in front of seven rivals last Sunday.

“Best horse I’ve had,’’ said Robertson.

Indeed, the stable area was abuzz with rumors about a filly with one race under her belt, offers approaching or exceeding the million dollar range.

There is additional drama surrounding this two-year-old. Jareth Loveberry, who closed to within two wins of Orlando Mojica in the thoroughbred riders race on Saturday, had planned to leave Canterbury a few days early for other racing obligations. Not if he gets another call aboard this filly, however.

“I couldn’t leave a filly like her,’’ he said.

Loveberry is riding for the first time at Canterbury this meet, and has exceeded his expectations upon arriving in Shakopee.

“It’s unreal,’’ he said. “I thought I could come here and win some races. I never expected to be where I am.’’

For his part, Mojica says he is not thinking about a title. “I don’t worry about it,’’ he said. “I don’t want to put pressure on myself. If I win it, I win it. I’m still making money.’’

Orlando Mojica

The quarter horse riders’ race might have already been decided. Oscar Delgado has a five-win lead over Brayan Velazquez.  And Jason Olmstead, in pursuit of a third-straight training title, is eight in front of Hall of Fame trainer Ed Ross Hardy.

Thomas Scheckel and Dean Frey are tied for the quarter horse owners’ lead with seven wins apiece, two more than Corey Wilmes.

And the always interesting chase for leading thoroughbred owner?

The Curtis Sampson stable is three wins in front of the Lothenbach and Novogratz stables.

It all resumes anew Sunday with a card that features the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes.

Brilliant Broodmares

Savannah Slew deplanes in 1985 prior to Canterbury Oaks.

By Noah Joseph

Last week, CanterburyLive highlighted some of the best fillies and mares bred in Minnesota that have had success on the track and in the breeding shed. But what about horses that ran here that were not bred in Minnesota? Well there are several good ones, and some have even gone on to produce famous offspring.

Balbonella was one of the most influential mares to race at Canterbury. Her win in the 1988 Lady Canterbury was one of four stakes wins. In the breeding shed, she produced six foals, three of them winners including Key of Luck (by Chief’s Crown) and Always Loyal (by Zilzal). However, her son Anabaa stands out the most. By Danzig, Anabaa won several graded stakes in Europe. He retired to stud and became a successful stallion. His best offspring was three time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and recent inductee into the National Horse Racing Hall of Fame; Goldikova.

Savannah Slew was the winner of the Canterbury Oaks in 1985, one of four stakes wins in her short career. But as a broodmare, she had even more success. She produced two graded stakes winners. The first was Admiralty (by Strawberry Road) and Astra (by Theatrical). Astra won eight stakes wins, three of them at Grade 1 level.

Skatingonthinice was a gray mare, who could put a chill on her foes, finishing in the money 26 times in 46 starts, including two stakes wins, one of them the Minneapolis Handicap at Canterbury Downs. In the breeding shed, she produced 1999 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner up Chief Seattle (by Seattle Slew), and Greyciousness (by Miswaki). Greyciousness went on to produce the Grade 1 stakes winning sprinter The Factor.

Skatingonthinice winning 1990 Minneapolis Handicap.

As Dark Star once said, “And last but not least, the Launch.” Turbo Launch is well known for her undefeated two year old campaign in 1987, including her win over Lost Kitty in the 1987 Canterbury Debutante. In the breeding shed, she failed to produce a runner as good as her, but her daughter Turko’s Turn (by Turkoman), was a winner on the track and in the breeding shed. Turko’s Turn produced Canterbury winner Dehere’s Turn (by Dehere) and the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner and Champion Three Year-Old-Colt; Point Given.

This year, fine fillies and mares such as Thoughtless, Sweet Tapper, Hotshot Anna, and most recently 2-year-old Amy’s Challenge have won here this meeting. (this filly won by 16 ½ lengths on Sunday, earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, and reportedly attracted a $1 million offer). In a few years, hopefully these mares will have foals, and just maybe, one of them will become a successful runner as well.