Stats from the 2017 Meet

Tack was packed, stalls were stripped, and plans were finalized in the stable area at Canterbury Park as trainers, their employees, and their charges shipped to other destinations such as Churchill, Turf Paradise, and Hawthorne. The exodus began in full last week Sunday.  Many horses are simply turned out for the winter months, to return to training after the first of the year.

While the backside is nearly a ghost town now, there are yet a handful of outfits still on the grounds awaiting the opportunity to ship into Keeneland, but give it another week and the once bustling mini-town will be deserted for the winter months.

The Midwest Paddock Report did a fine job of covering the Canterbury race meet and its personalities again this season and the wrap-up piece on 2017 is worth a look. Plenty of facts and figures for you.

For those that want a deeper dive into some numbers, here are more:

Trainer and Jockey Stats broken down into different categories.  For example, Bernell Rhone won at just an 8 percent clip on the turf, but overall when a Rhone horse was favored it won 46 percent of the time.

Biggest and smallest mutuel payouts and fastest and slowest final times for all distances. Two-year-old Amy’s Challenge, the Canterbury Horse of the Meet, ran the fastest six furlong time. The slowest final time for one mile on the turf was recorded in the track’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.  However, the turf that evening was yielding, and more akin to a bog than a lawn.

Claims for the 2017 meet.   The most expensive claim was on June 2 when Hurricane Force was tagged for $25,000 by owner John Mentz and trainer Mac Robertson.

The Oracle, an occasional contributor to the blog, found these additional stats interesting. Robertson had a positive ROI of $1.01 for each $1 wagered. Mac had 45 horses go off at odds of 8 to 1 or higher and seven won returning a positive $1.98. According to The Oracle’s database, Robertson had a single horse go at odds of more than 20 to 1 and it won. That was Teddy Time who won the July 3 Blair’s Cove and returned $48.40.

Planning for the 2018 race meet is already underway. It is likely a request for race dates will be submitted to the Minnesota Racing Commission in November and approved in December.




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)

Disqualification Makes Malibu Pro $50,000 John Bullit Winner

Malibu Pro won the $50,000 John Bullit Stakes via disqualification Friday night at Canterbury Park. Immediately after the 1 1/16 mile race the stewards posted an inquiry. Following a five-minute deliberation, they ruled that Way Striking and jockey Orlando Mojica, who led the six-horse field from start to finish and won by a nose, had floated out in deep stretch, intimidating and herding Malibu Pro and jockey Jareth Loveberry, costing them an opportunity to win. As a result Malibu Pro was declared the winner and Way Striking was placed second.

Malibu Pro is trained Mac Robertson and owned by Novogratz Racing Stables. Robertino Diodoro trains Way Striking. High Security finished third for trainer David Van Winkle. Malibu Pro returned $17.80 to win.

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.

2017: A Look Back

By Noah Joseph

Well, it’s that time of the year. Closing weekend is upon us. The 2017 season is almost in the rear-view mirror, and it was a wonderful season. Here’s a look at some of the great moments.

For the fans, there was much to see, and parts of the summer had gone to the dogs. Literally, thousands of fans showed up to watch dogs race, whether it was wiener dogs, bulldogs, or corgis. Extreme Day was an extreme success with camel, ostrich, and zebra races. Also, the Indian Horse Relays were a success in their own right.

This year brought some records along with it, too. Jockey Nik Goodwin got his 1,000th career win. Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer David Van Winkle also got his 1,000th win, and Hold for More became the richest horse in Canterbury Park or Downs history.

There were several new names to make their presence felt in the Canterbury jockey colony. Jareth Loveberry was one of them. In just his first season at Canterbury, Jareth has won 69 races, including one week where he had 13 victories. He is named to ride in 25 of the 26 remaining races. Another jockey, Chad Lindsey, also in his first season at Canterbury, won more than 20 races. The familiar names like Alex Canchari, Dean Butler, and others had successful seasons as well. Leslie Mawing, who rode at Canterbury at the beginning of the century, returned to Shakopee and won more than 40 races.

The racing was top notch as always, especially in stakes competition. Hotshot Kid took his connections on a wild ride, winning the Vic Meyers and Minnesota Derby; Sweet Tapper used her late closing kick to run down Insta Erma in the Lady Canterbury, Puntsville had a dominating score in the Hoist Her Flag running the fastest six furlong time of the meet. The Fiscal Cliff dominated his foes in multiple stakes en route to being one of the best quarter horses to run at Canterbury. Hay Dakota, a Grade 3 winner and local horse just holding on in the Mystic Lake Mile; and Giant Payday’s flying finish in the Mystic Lake Derby.

2017 was a great season for Canterbury fans and horsemen alike. Here’s to 2018 being just the same. To all the Canterbury employees, horsemen, and fans, thank you!

Odds and Ends With Four Days To Go

Entries close Friday for the final three stakes of the 67-day meet that ends Sept. 16.  The $50,000 John Bullit will be run Sept. 15 while the $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint and the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes will be held on closing day.

The purse of the six-furlong Shakopee Stakes, restricted to 2-year-olds, was boosted by $25,000 last week. Racing officials also added an additional $25,000 for Minnesota breds making it worth $100,000 for those foaled in state.  The hope is to attract all of the fast juveniles that are stabled at Canterbury this summer. Amy’s Challenge earned the largest Beyer Speed Figure, 91, of 2-year-olds to have raced in North America when she cruised to a 16 1/2 length victory here Aug. 6. Robertson has indicated the fill would run in the Shakopee. Soul of Discretion was another powerful maiden winner that earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure when he won by many in his debut. He however is entered on Saturday in the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity where he has been made the morning line favorite.  The certainty that he races in Chicago however is low.

The Shakopee would be a logical spot for Mr. Jagermeister to land. The Minnesota bred is unbeaten in two starts at Canterbury and finished second when shipped to Prairie Meadows for a stake race. His 81 Beyer Speed Figure from the maiden win and effortless gallop in the Northern Lights Futurity make him a legitimate contender. Entries for the final two days of the meet will be taken this Sunday.

Handicapping Contests this Weekend

The Dog Days of Summer Handicapping Tournament, now in its 21st year making it America’s longest-running and first live-bankroll contest, takes place this Saturday and Sunday. The winner receives a $10,000 entry to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and a National Horseplayer Championship entry plus cash. Second place is an NHC entry and cash.  Complete rules can be found HERE.

On Friday night is the Ultimate NHC Qualifier, another live-bankroll event, that calls for players to wager half of their existing bankroll on each of six Canterbury races. The two players with the largest bankrolls at contest end receive NHC seats.  Rules and information can be found online.

Meet Stats With Four Days To Go

Racing resumes Friday at 6:30pm. Jockey Jareth Loveberry went on a win-binge last week scoring 13 victories and distancing himself by eight wins from Orlando Mojica in the standings. Loveberry actually had 14 wins but was disqualified from one last Friday when his mount Why Frank crossed over and dropped rider Katlin Bedford.  Loveberry received a seven-day suspension that begins Sept. 8. Bedford suffered a broken ankle that will require surgery. She is returning to Oklahoma for the procedure and will recuperate there.  Mac Robertson has 61 wins this meet and has been in control since June. He will win his 11th training title at Canterbury. The thoroughbred owner leaderboard is currently headed by Curtis Sampson who has a two win lead over Joe Novogratz. Sampson has four more wins than Lothenbach Stables who leads in what may be the most important category, purse money earned. From 50 starts, Lothenbach runners have earned $379,670.

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.

Eleven Entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby

Canterbury Park’s richest race of the season, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, will be run Saturday evening as the fourth race on a nine- race program that begins at 6:00 p.m. Eleven 3-year-olds were entered for the one-mile turf race. Giant Payday, the 7 to 2 morning line favorite, will start from post position nine and will be ridden by Chris Landeros for trainer Ian Wilkes. Giant Payday is owned by Robert Lothenbach of Wayzata, Minn.

It has been three years since a horse bred in Minnesota has run in the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s premiere race but the 2017 rendition of the Mystic Lake Derby will include one as Hot Shot Kid, owned and bred by Warren Bush, has been entered. Bush, who lives in Wall Lake, Iowa, decided to breed in Minnesota following the 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, that calls for SMSC to contribute more than $70 million to horsemen purses over 10 years. Purses are now more than double what they were in 2011. Out of that agreement also came the Mystic Lake Derby, which will be run for the sixth time.

Hot Shot Kid has won five consecutive races including victories in the Victor Myers Stakes and the Minnesota Derby but has never raced on the turf. Trainer Mac Robertson and Bush opted to skip last weekend’s Minnesota Festival of Champions, where Hot Shot Kid would have been a betting favorite, for a shot at Canterbury’s biggest purse.

“We knew we have a really nice horse going forward,” Bush said. “If he can run on the grass it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.”

Hot Shot Kid, who had won three sprint races prior to his 3/4 length win in the 1 mile 70 yard Minnesota Derby, was challenged in that race in deep stretch but persevered.

“This is a horse that doesn’t want to get beat,” Bush said. The Minnesota Derby win was a factor in the decision by Bush and Robertson to try the Mystic Lake Derby. “I have tremendous faith in Mac,” Bush said. Hot Shot Kid is 9 to 2 on the morning line and drew post eleven.

Also part of the race week, which celebrates the partnership between Canterbury Park and SMSC, is Indian Horse Relay, a daring display of bareback racing showcasing teams representing 15 American Indian nations competing for more than $50,000 in prize money. Relay will be featured on Thursday and Friday with two trial heats each night conducted between the pari-mutuel races. The top eight teams from those trials advance to the championship relay Saturday evening.

An Indian Market, with more than 30 vendors offering unique Native American arts and crafts, will be open daily in the Expo Center during the races.

The Saturday race card also includes two additional stakes: the $50,000 Minnesota HBPA Distaff and the $50,000 Brooks Fields Stakes.

Post time Thursday and Friday is 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Mystic Lake Derby Day, has a special 6:00 p.m. first post.


Mr. Jagermeister


Steamy, muggy, humid. Or as mother used to say, “close.”

Under those conditions, Canterbury Park conducted the 24th running of the Festival of Champions Sunday, an afternoon of racing restricted to Minnesota-bred horses and highlighted by a sensational two-year-old, a pair of full brothers who won the two quarter horse races, the retirements of two prominent and celebrated horses, the crowning of the quarter horse riding and training champions, the return of a Hall of Fame rider and various other tidbits of racing interest.



First-time starter, a two-year-old, didn’t get much work, don’t know what to expect with these babies, then a big bump out of the gate knocks her sideways, might as well go home, prepare for next time.

Whoa! Not so fast. Not if you happen to be a filly named Firstmate, a daughter of Midshipman from Lion Club, and a $50,000 MTA yearling sales-topper.

That changes the entire paradigm; it certainly did in the Northern Lights Debutante.

This filly underwent all of the aforementioned setbacks but was not deterred by a single one, putting herself back in the race once she regained her equilibrium.  Firstmate regained the confidence of rider Quincy Hamilton with a strong move into the turn. “I knew she was just fine then,’’ he said.

The stretch drive remained but, once there, this Midshipman baby began saluting the finish line with a finishing kick that left the competition in dramatic arrears.

Owner Barry Butzow regained his entire purchase price in this lady’s maiden outing, an infrequent if not rare occurrence. Firstmate was running third, three lengths off the lead at the head of the stretch. She had nine lengths on Raging Gold Digger and another neck on Cabloosie Bay at the finish.

The time for  the race was 1:13.24.

So what was it caught Butzow’s eye at the MTA sale?

“I looked at her size and the way she was put together,’’ he said. “You can look in her eye and see that she’s a classy animal.’’

Classy indeed and a $51,000 bank account to prove it…after one race.



When does, oh , say, 100 yards or so translate into an inch or two?

When those distances are measured on the racetrack and applied to the dynamics of a given race.

Say, the mile and 1/16th Festival event for fillies and mares three years of age and older.

If, for example, Jareth Loveberry had waited another 100 yards to move his horse, instead of asking her early on the turn, his horse’s head likely would have hit the wire with room to spare. “I made a mistake,’’ he said. “I moved wrong.’’

Additional proof that even one of the two best riders in Shakopee this summer can goof up on occasion. That early move proved vital, allowing Pinup Girl under Leslie Mawing to catch the tiring leader from the ¾ pole, Double Bee Sting, and bob his head at the right time.

The loss denied owner Curtis Sampson, the current leader, another win in his pursuit of the champion owner’s crown for the meet.

At the same time, it helped balance the books for trainer Sandra Sweere, whose recent drought was on her mind at the finish of this particular race.

First, however, there was the matter of that nail-biting finish.

“We wanted to make it exciting,’’ she said, then turning to the serious ramifications of winning a $60,000 race, like making up for a dry spell in the barn this summer. “This will make a difference,’’ she said. “We needed this.’’

-Pinup Girl, with a winning time of 1:45.06, had a head on Double Bee Sting at the wire and eight additional lengths on Sioux Appeal.


There were subtexts and stories within a story in this four-horse race that brought together former allies in pursuit of one last victory for a retiring mare, who won the race two years ago and finished second last year to the morning line favorite this time around.

Jeff and Deb Hilger, owners and breeders of Rockin the Bleu’s, teamed up with rider Scott Stevens, their very first jockey in the business, to ride this last race for them and the horse, now retirees from the sport that has been their passion the last three decades. Could this daughter of Rockport Harbor dig deep enough to beat the younger rival who defeated her in this race last year, Honey’s Sox Appeal? Could she deliver one last time?

Horse racing has plenty of stories that deliver such scripts. This was not one of them.  Under Alex Canchari, Honey’s Sox Appeal took command at the top of the lane and drew off to hit the wire 1 ½ lengths in front of Rockin the Bleu’s and Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens.

“We tried. She ran hard and gave it her all,’’ said Stevens.

One person’s unfilled story is another’s tale of triumph.

With Alex Canchari up, Honey’s Sox Appeal waited patiently until finding room on the inside to make her move at the three-sixteenth’s marker.

Owner Bob Lindgren extolled the consistency of his horse, a prerace record of 5-4-2 from 12 career starts, and all of the signs that pointed to a victory in this race, including the best Beyer in the field.

All of that was in evidence as Honey’s Sox Appeal repeated as the Distaff Sprint champion.



There was only one question in any pre-race analysis before this race:

Would something unforeseen prevent the odds-on favorite and projected easy winner from dominating 10 rivals for the winner’s share of the pot?

Possibly only something that trainer Valorie Lund had experienced before. She once saddled an odds-on choice whose presence had created what handicappers were calling a one-horse race. Low and behold a goose flew out of the infield and struck the horse, causing it to stop momentarily and ultimately loose the race.

All of that was in the back of her mind when she sent out Mr. Jagermeister a heralded two-year-old colt with two races under his belt and a record of 1-1-0. She knew that everything indicated there wasn’t a horse in this race the equal of Mr. Jag,  yet the story of the goose infiltrated her confidence.

This talented two-year-old had won by 11 ½ lengths in his maiden start at Canterbury July 4, but finished second at Prairie Meadows at the end of the month when he tired after running a 44 and 3 half mile. He had set all of the fractions but the last in that race. “He went too fast  at the front so I took the blinkers off  hoping to settle him for this year,’’ she explained.

The plan worked.

With Andrew Ramgeet up, Mr. Jagermeister smoked eight rivals, gliding to a 15 ½ length victory over Speeding Kid and 18 ¾ in front of Magic Cowboy.

The future for this speedball is still in the making, but there is a footnote to the story: The horse is owned by Lund and two of her sisters. Her sister Kristin Boice bought the dam, Frangelica, to breed to Atta Boy Roy. She, Valorie and Leslie Cummings are the owners of record and celebrated the fact that no geese were present to interfere with their horse’s dominating performance.


Smooth Chiraz has a name that conjures up thoughts of a fine liqueur, an after-dinner drink or an introductory libation to begin a late evening conversation.

A drink with a bit of fire in it, followed by a smooth and palatable aftertaste.

Which is precisely what Smooth Chiraz typically needs to win a race. He has to fire quickly and then glide effortlessly on the lead, guiding the field to the finish line, as he did on Sunday is this sprint for 3-year-old and older colts and geldings.

With Jareth Loveberry in the irons, Smooth Chiraz led this race gate to wire, dueling on the lead and then taking charge inside the quarter pole. It was his kind of race, and the 4-year-old son of Chitoz drew off in the stretch drive to a 4 ¾ length win over Fridaynitestar, who had ¾ length on odds-on favorite and 2015 horse of the year Hold for More.

“Today he fired,’’ said trainer Francisco Bravo. “And when he runs on the front, his heart gets big and he’s built to be a sprinter.’’

Smooth Chiraz was sent off at 9-1 in a seven-horse field that included the seven-year-old Bourbon County, who beat only one horse.

“It’s official,’’ said owner Scott Rake of Bourbon County. “He’s retired.’’


New trainer, new owner and a new lease on life.

That sums up in part at least the interesting saga of the winning horse in this race, who had fewer earnings than all but one horse in the seven-horse lineup and last won in claiming company on June 22.

True West, previously trained by Karl Broberg, was claimed from Cheryl Sprick and Richard Bremer for $10,000 in May. John Mentz became the new owner and Mac Robertson took over the training.

Sunday afternoon, True West, whose previous earnings totaled $73,105, was sent off at 11-1 and picked up a check for $36,000, defeating a field that included two previous winners of the race, A P is Loose (2015) and Speed Is Life (2016).

“We were very happy with this win and where we were (throughout),’’ said Mentz. “We knew we had horse.’’

With Israel Hernandez up, True West was part of the pace into the first turn and stayed part of the chase to the head of the stretch where he took command and held off all threats to finish one length in front of Vanderbilt Beach at 6-1 and two and ¾ lengths ahead of A P Is Loose at odds-on money.



There was a television sitcom some time ago that sizes up these two races perfectly:


How better to describe a tandem of races won by full brothers owned by the same family, who got into the business 11 years ago after being approached by a horse owner after church.

Owner Bruce Lunderborg and  his wife, Judy, live in Weber, about 10 miles north of New Ulm. He was video taping a service at St. John’s Church in Farifax. Afterward he was approached by a fellow who wanted to sell him half interest in a horse.

Lunderborg turned him down.

But not the second time.

Sunday, the Lunderborgs were in the winner’s circle after PYC Jess Bite Mydust won the Derby under Brayan Velazquez and again a short time later when Dickey Bob won the Futurity , again under Velazquez. Joining them both times was the track’s leading quarter horse trainer Jason Olmstead. The winning horses are full brothers, by Apolitical Jess from Paint or More.

Pyc Jess Bite Mydust


Olmstead received his champion belt buckle after winning the trainer’s title a third straight year.

The difference this time?

He was pressed until the last two or three weeks by Hall of Fame trainer Ed Ross Hardy, who won 12 training titles at Canterbury.

“He made a heck of a race of it,’’ said Olmstead. “We just outnumbered him (with number of starting horses). That was the only difference.’’

Oscar Delgado thought of only one thing after winning the riding title:

His family.  “You have to mention them,’’ he said. He was referring to his wife, Toni, daughters Celeste and Madisyn and son, Christian. “And we have one on the way,’’ he added.