Welcome to 2017!

Welcome to sign ups for the 2017 edition of the Canterbury Racing Club.  Clubs have started popping up all over the country and  you have the opportunity to join the original!

The guidelines haven’t changed much this season:

Members will pay $250 to join the Club. There are no additional fees and the only additional expense will be if we are fortunate enough to get into the Winners’ Circle, there will be small charge for a photo.

The Club ends at the end of 2017 or when we have sold off our horses. As an example, in 2013 we closed in November because our last horse was claimed then and it made no sense to claim a horse for only a few weeks. Last year, however, we raced straight until December 30th and we sold Vanderboom Ridge the next day.

Members get admission to Canterbury Park for the season as well as, if available, a special location to watch the races, rotating paddock access and – again, if we’re lucky – access to the Winners’ Circle. We will conduct a few backstretch tours during the season as well so we can visit the barns and get a glimpse at life on the backside.

You get to follow YOUR horse(s) during the year!

Members can only get back as much money as they put in. This is a not for profit venture and is used as an educational experience to get people familiar with all the ins and outs of race horse ownership and “pull back the curtain”, if you will, and de-mystify the game.

We’re launching our “open enrollment” period, if you will. We’ll be looking to close out by February 28, 2017.  Clay Brinson will once again be our trainer but we are also looking to add a second trainer to the Club, Minnesota native Nevada Litfin.  We have averaged about 150 members over the past couple of years and if we have this many again we will look to have one horse with each trainer and, ideally, have them in place to start the 2017 Canterbury Park season.

The hope is that we will broaden our chances to come into the season with 2 horses ready to go as well as to give folks another perspective on training and racing.

I will be posting again once we close out 2016 and will have the rollover form available at that time as well. We are aiming for the end of January for the rollover forms.  Clay is very prompt with his billing, the same cannot always be said of the vet bill, but hopefully…

Sign up forms are at the bottom of this post. At the bottom of the form is the information to mail in your agreements. Please let us know if you have any questions either by leaving a comment here or contacting us directly at ted@grevelisracing.com or jmaday@canterburypark.

2017 Canterbury Racing Club Membership Agreement

Closing Out 2016

In the win/loss column we’ve had better years.  I would even venture to say that in comparison to the past two seasons it was downright abysmal.  However, was the year abysmal or simply more typical of how difficult horse racing is?

In a fantastic blog post (http://businessofracing.blogspot.com/2008/07/economics-of-owning-race-horse-in-new.html) by my friend and proprietor of Castle Village Farm, Steve Zorn, he outlines the economics of racing in New York state. Though it’s from 2008, the basic tenants are sound. His conclusion:

The moral I take from it is that we’d all better be in this game for the thrills, the excitement, and the beauty of thoroughbreds, and be willing to pay a bit for the privilege of being associated with them. If we’re looking at race horse ownership to pay the rent, we’re in the wrong business. If we’re even hoping our horses will pay for themselves, we’re probably dreaming. Yes, that highly unusual, very good horse — the one we all hope to have every time we look at those two-year-olds in the Fasig-Tipton sales barns — will more than pay its own way. But most won’t — and we’ll all be in a better, more pleasant frame of mind if we can remember that.

2016 was a year like that for us; where we were reminded that: not all claims work out; that if a horse is too damaged to race anymore (see Ms Owell) that she deserves a safe landing; that winning is hard; and, hopefully, we were able to learn a little something and have some fun along the way.

It does seem like the fumbles and pitfalls we avoided over the past few years (bad claim, screwing up the entry at the end of the summer, injuries, rain outs, etc.) all piled up on us this season.  The truth is, though, they DO happen – and more often than we’ve had to experience over the past few seasons.

In my opinion, aside from the win, the highlights of the summer were the backstretch tours.  It is so much fun to show everyone what life is like back there, watch horses work, answer questions and see everyone that wants to be able to take some pictures with and feed their horses mints and carrots.  If you’ve never been able to get on board for one, I hope you’ll be able to this summer.

We also tried out a “closing breakfast” near the end of the meet which was well attended and, I think, was enjoyed by everyone.  I can certainly see us repeating that this summer and maybe even adding on a “kickoff” breakfast as well.

I feel like there were fewer questions this year than in past years but that is also bound to fluctuate with membership make-up.  I hope that we were able to answer your questions and you were able to learn a bit more about racing and that we were able to de-mystify it a bit for you.

Right now I am closing out the year.  We are waiting on December’s bills.  We should be closed up by the end of this month and, while it certainly won’t be as much as in past years, there will be some money eligible to roll-over into the 2017 Club.  We will post the roll-over form when the financials are completed.

There will also be a post later in the week for folks that wish to join us that were NOT members this past year.  Most of the parameters will be the same (ie cost) but there will be some tweaks to try and ensure that we come into the season with a pair of horses (based upon the membership) ready to roll.

On behalf of everyone involved with the Club, thank you so much for your participation!  We’re looking forward to 2017 and hope that you will join us again (or for the first time!).


Boomer Nets Win

In control from start to finish, Vanderboom Ridge gets the Club a winner on the 2nd to last day of 2015.

First off congratulations!  Though we’ve been spoiled the last couple of seasons, we learned this year that winning is hard.  However, we get one and it STILL feels terrific!

If folks are interested in buying winners’ circle photos, you can contact Four Footed Fotos.  Here is their information:


You can find the photos on the date of the race and call (425) 391-9193 to order.

Secondly, Vanderboom has been sold.  He will race again in 2017 and will continue to reside in the Brinson barn but for new ownership.  He was sold for $2000.  I really thought we were better than 50% to get claimed today but unfortunately that did not occur.  As we need to be horseless by the end of the year (tomorrow!) our backs were rather against the wall, but it’s done and I can start closing out 2016.

This is the process from here:

  • Clay will transfer the purchase money to us tomorrow;
  • I will close out the account at Hawthorne and have all the money sent back to Canterbury;
  • We will await Clay’s final bill as well as the final vet bill which, hopefully, will be all settled by the middle of January;
  • The final financials will be posted and folks will have the opportunity to receive a check for their share or roll it over toward the 2017 Club (pricing will be the same – $250 a share).

There will be more details shortly on the 2017 Club, but most details will remain the same.  We are hoping to hold an informational meeting over the next couple of months to answer any questions folks may have in person.

Thank you all so much for being a part of the 2016 Club and congratulations on the win!!

Race Preview: 2016 Finale

We head into the final days of 2016 still trying to get that first win on the season.  Boomer comes into the $4000 claiming race (with non-winner conditions) as the 9/5 morning line favorite but the race is far from a lock.  Here is a look at the field:

Jesuit Warrior (Cornwell/Molina) – Has some speed and the rail.  Battled our boy early in the last race only to fall off the pace late.  Moving inside and a 1/2 furlong less should help him out here.

Roarin Missile (Perez/Sanchez) – Scratched as the favorite out of our last race but the same analysis applies: Will be coming late and should be dangerous as there may be enough speed to open things up.

Dexterous (Booker/Montalvo) – Showed speed at Fairmount but was run off his hooves last out here at Hawthorne after a very long layoff and a bad break.  Been off six weeks after that one but with a clean break could have some say in the pace scenario.

Spectacular Act (Slager/Santiago) – Third race in three weeks after a ling break.  Even with the freshening, that’s an awful lot to ask.

Lights on Brite (Perez/Ulloa) – A relatively steady sort, may be able to hit the board late.  Has shown speed in some races but, when prominent, hasn’t been able to finish.


Strategic Game (Walker/Sanjur) – Will be starting wide again but certainly has the speed to mix things up in front.

Papasote (Mosier/Bielby) – Broke well in the last versus Boomer but hit a wall when they hit the lane.  Second after a layoff should help the stamina as should the shortening to six furlongs.

Boomer does tend to beak well but does not need the lead to finish.  In fact, if we can relax early and either A) have a lone lead (unlikely) and control the race or B) sit a length or two off the early pace and make a move heading into the lane (more likely) we could very well be in line for the first win of the season.

Good luck to all and safe travels for Boomer and Julio!

Hawthorne’s Analysis

Here is the analysis from the folks at Hawthorne on Boomer’s race tomorrow.  Look for a post later today for our overview:


2-ROARIN MISSILE won only one of his last 20 races but he should end that streak right here. He’s in what appears to be his easiest field ever. There is plenty of speed to set up for the late move that he’s been showing lately.

6-VANDERBOOM RIDGE just finished second as the odds-on favorite. He is one of many with speed but, at this distance he could put the rest away and finish with something left.

1-JESUIT WARRIOR has been running well against similar. Has speed and the rail. Might slip to the early lead and hold the rest of them safe.


1st – #6 – Vanderboom Ridge (Presser) – Looks to be a good amount of pace in this spot. If he can settle he should be able to rally in time.

2nd – #1 – Jesuit Warrior (Presser) – Another that merits a look. Helped if rail is better than it was last week.

3rd – #2 – Roarin Missile (Stalker) – Often finds the board here at Hawthorne. Only 2 wins in 40 starts over the track.

One. Last. Try.

Vanderboom Ridge came out of the last race in really nice shape so we are going to go ahead and give him one more try before the end of the year.

The race is the 4th on Friday, another $4000 claiming race going 6 furlongs over the main track.  Julio Felix is back in the irons and he is breaking from post position 6.  Whether he is claimed or not, Boomer will move on after the race and we will go ahead and start working on closing out 2016 and opening up 2017!

Good luck everyone and let’s get one before the season closes!!

Boomer Doing Great

Vanderboom Ridge came out of his second place finish last week in very good shape.  There is an individual looking to buy him and we are in the process of making a deal with him.  He may purchase Boomer in the next day or so or wait and we may run him again just before the new year in the exact same spot as last week and he will buy him after that.  He has to decide shortly, however, because we are not going to pay for two weeks of training for him to run Boomer.  He wants to run him, he can pay for him now or wait.  The good news is, however, that he came out of the race in great shape and we have a solid outlet for him.

Unless he, of course gets claimed.

Maybe we can get that elusive win after all?