End of the Hawthorne Meet

Well, today marked the conclusion of the Hawthorne race meet and we were not able to find another horse via the claim box. Clay is looking for horses that might be for sale by the trainers that remain at Hawthorne. He has also put a call in to a few people he knows around the country to see if they have something that would meet the needs of the Club.

He intends to ship his horses to Canterbury early this week. Once he settles in, we’ll go back to the barn to get some pictures and more information on Great Bam.

Stay tuned, more to come later in the week.


Giving a New Definition to “Twins Territory”

Well, we struck out yet again after losing another shake on another claim today at Hawthorne. Clay targeted Rare Action in the first race, she went off as the third wagering choice and won by six lengths, but we lost the shake to trainer Frank Randazzo (same trainer we lost the shake to the other day).

Rare Action is a five-year-old mare who has now hit the board in 26 of 38 starts. She has some speed and would have been a good fit at Canterbury.

This loss makes us 1 for 4 in shakes. The percentage of claims we have been successful at is now roughly equal to the Minnesota Twins winning percentage (.263) and team batting average (.258). Hence, the shot taken in the headline of the post (sorry Twins fans).

Clay is planning to take a look at a couple of horses again tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted of any updates. Hurry up and wait… it’s the name of the racing game.

Odds and Ends

I wanted to make sure everyone was clear on the free admission process. You simply scan your MVP card at the gate. Many of you already have cards so those will work for you. I think I have contacted everyone that did not have a card. If you have questions or if I missed someone, let me know.

Clay is looking at a couple of horses today and we will update the blog as news becomes available. He plans to ship to Shakopee on May 1.

The stable area is slowing coming to life. There are about 120 horses residing here now with many more en route. Numerous locals are getting a start in at Prairie Meadows before our meet begins.


Well… We’re Now 1 for 3

Trainer Clay Brinson made another attempt today to get the group a second horse but, once again, we fell victim to bad luck losing a two-way shake.

Clay contacted Jeff and myself this morning about the possibility of claiming Abuela Emma for $10,000 out of the day’s first race at Hawthorne. On paper, Abuela Emma looked like she could be competitive on both dirt and turf and at both short and long distances. Obviously, versatility is a huge plus in horse racing and the more races a horse is eligible for and compete in, the better chance you have of finding a level where she can compete.

Unfortunately, trainer Frank Randazzo and new owner Bob Dallas saw the same qualities in Abuela Emma and won the shake leaving us 1 for 3 in shakes. Abuela Emma went on to sat the fractions in a six furlong sprint before fading to fourth beaten by about five lengths.

Losing a shake isn’t surprising, but what is interesting is the fact that we have been involved in one each time we have tried to claim a horse. Usually, shakes aren’t quiet this frequent. At least it lets you know that you’re seeing qualities that other trainers are seeing.

We’re not done yet, we still have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to find a second horse before the meet begins. We’ll do our best to secure one more runner. Hang in there!

The Other Side of the Coin

Well, Clay contacted Jeff and I this morning and said he was interested in claiming Smokin Silver out of today’s fourth race at Hawthorne. After taking a look at the horse, Clay decided to place a claim on him. Unfortunately, two claims were made for Smokin Silver and this time, we lost the shake.

Smokin Silver went off as the prohibitive favorite at 2-5 and held on for a narrow victory. He looked like a horse that would be very competitive here going five and one-half or six furlongs. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Therefore, we’re 1 for 2 in the claiming game. We’ll continue to work with Clay to try to find another horse. Horse racing is a game of ups and downs. It didn’t work out today but we’ll keep trying to find another horse before the start of the season.

In Search of Another Horse

Here’s a quick update of what’s going on with Great Bam and our search for another horse.

Great Bam had blood drawn a few days ago to get a read on his overall well-being. Clay reported that Great Bam’s thyroid level was a little bit lower than normal. Other than that, he appears to have a clean bill of health. That’s definitely good news! Clay also said that he hopes to send Great Bam to the track over the weekend to start to jog him.

Our search for another horse has been relatively uneventful to this point. Jeff talked to former Racing Club Trainer Tammy Domenosky about any horses she may be willing to sell the group but she said that she didn’t have anything for sale that would make sense. Additionally, our trainer Clay Brinson has been keeping his eye out for another horse. Thus far, he’s taken a  look at a couple in the paddock that he was interested in claiming but wasn’t impressed with their overall physique.

Jeff and I talked to him earlier this afternoon. Currently, he is looking at a horse he might want to buy privately. He told us that he was planning on having another discussion with the trainer of that horse tomorrow morning and he’d give us an update on the horse and what the asking price might be. We’ll continue to work with the trainer in an attempt to secure another runner prior to the beginning of the meet!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! When something happens, we’ll be sure to post it here immediately.

Quick Introduction

Good afternoon racing club members, I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to introduce myself on the blog. Some of you have been e-mailing back and forth with me and some have made contact with me throughout the sign-up period. Others have asked for a little bit of information about who I am and what I do, so I thought I’d write a quick post.

I have worked at Canterbury Park on and off since 2006 and have followed Minnesota racing for more than 20 years. Horse racing is a game that I thoroughly enjoy and, if you can believe it, is actually the area of focus of my higher education.

I graduated from the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program with a Master’s Degree in Racetrack Management in 2010. Shortly thereafter, I returned to Canterbury Park as the Social Media and Live Racing Coordinator. During my education, I was fortunate enough to work with the New York Racing Association and was able to watch Summer Bird win both the Belmont Stakes and the Travers.

I’ve worked with Jeff throughout my time at Canterbury and helped him out with the Racing Club last year. I’m very excited to again be working with Jeff on this racing club as I believe it’s a pretty unique experience that isn’t replicated by many other racetracks. Owning a racehorse can be a lot of fun and Jeff and I aim to make this experience as fun as possible.

Jeff and I will both post on the blog and respond to comments. As mentioned on an earlier post, I’m also available to reach by e-mail if you have any questions at: aofferman@canterburypark.com.

Thanks again for your interest in the racing club. I look forward to meeting all of you!

Expanding On Teeth & Weight

Here’s some great information on teeth and weight and how the two can be interrelated. This comes from someone with a lot of experience in the industry and who has worked very closely with many racehorses. It is a little bit of an equine anatomy lesson but it does a good job of explaining how the two issues trainer Clay Brinson has identified with Great Bam can be interrelated.

Why Is Floating A Horse’s Teeth Necessary?

Unlike some other species which can properly digest food even if it is swallowed with little or no chewing, horses must chew their food efficiently in order to effectively digest it. If a horse’s chewing teeth do not have a flat surface they cannot properly chew food, and their process of digestion is greatly hindered. This can result in weight loss from the mild to the dramatic and poor absorption of nutrients.

Oddly enough in a species like the horse where a flat chewing surface is so important, horses are very prone to developing uneven chewing surfaces. This is due, in part, to a horse’s upper jaw being wider than its lower jaw. This unequal width results in a natural wear pattern that causes the edges of the teeth on the upper jaw to be longer on the outside of the mouth where they overhang the lower jaw. The opposite is true on the lower jaw, where the edges of the teeth wear longer on the inside of the mouth where they extend inside the upper jaw.

Since a horse’s teeth continually emerge from the gum line for most if its adult life, and because of the unequal widths of the upper and lower jaws, a horse’s teeth rarely, if ever, grind off during normal chewing to create a flat surface. In addition to greatly hampering a horse’s ability to digest food, a horse’s teeth might become so uneven that sharp, razor-like edges will form. These sharp edges can cut the horse inside its mouth. Floating a horse’s teeth, or at least examining the teeth to see if floating or some other care is needed, should be considered as basic a part of routine care for the horse as providing food and water.

Here’s a quick video on the subject:

More About Great Bam & Other Topics

Well, it’s been a busy couple of days around here trying to get paperwork wrapped up and ramping up our communications with all of you! This post will deal with a wide variety of issues, so set aside a little time.

First of all, please, please, please, if you have a question, ask it! Jeff and I are doing this so that you can learn more about this process. Comments are best so that everyone can see the questions and the answers. Believe us, there are no dumb questions. If you don’t feel comfortable posting a comment, you can always reach one or both of us by e-mail: aofferman@canterburypark.com and jmaday@canterburypark.com.

How Great Bam Was Purchased

Now, more about the horse and how he was purchased. Great Bam was claimed from the seventh race at Hawthorne yesterday. Claiming races make up the majority of races in the United States. In claiming races, every horse is assigned a price for which it can be purchased usually up until 10-15 minutes before the race. This information is not made public until after the race is complete.

This system exists so that horses can be grouped into competitive categories. Typically, if a horse is entered in a race with a claiming price that is too high, it won’t be claimed; however, it also won’t be competitive. Conversely, if a horse is put in a race where the claiming price is too low, it will probably be able to win, but it will be claimed away from the existing owner. Therefore, the goal is always to enter the horse at the proper level of competition. For more on claiming races, check out this link from the Thoroughbreds Owners and Breeders’ Association (TOBA).

As we mentioned yesterday, three different parties put a claim in for Great Bam. Following the race, the claim slips were opened and three numbered “pills” were placed in a bottle. A number was assigned to each claim slip and the number that was pulled out of the bottle gave the claim to the corresponding slip. In this case, the number that was pulled matched Clay Brinson’s (our trainer) slip.

Every horse that was racing in Great Bam’s race fit the following conditions: Horses that had not won two races during their racing career and they had to be available for a claiming price of $5,000. Therefore, Great Bam was purchased for $5,000.

More about Great Bam After Yesterday’s Race

There have been a few comments on the previous post inquiring about Great Bam. After closer inspection, Clay believes that Great Bam is underweight and needs some dental work. Therefore, he’s coming up with a plan to put some weight on him and fix up his teeth.

Both of these aspects can be critical to a horse’s success. If a horse is underweight, they may not have the optimal muscle tone required to perform at their best. Second, a horse with bad teeth can be a horse that loses interest in racing. Bad teeth can lead to a sore mouth. A horse with a sore mouth is less apt to run up to its top-level because of the fact that the main control gained by the jockey is through the reins and bit that attached to a horse’s mouth.

Both of these issues can be fixed in a relatively short amount of time. That being said, we’re planning to let Clay work on these issues up until the start of the meet. Therefore, Great Bam will have 45 days or so off until his next potential race. That’s probably not a bad thing considering he has raced 22 times since January 1, 2011.

More About His Background and Appeal

Great Bam has run thirty times, recording a record of: 1 win, 6 seconds and 5 thirds. He won his only career race on February 14, 2011 (as commenter Ken noted) at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recently, he had run a strong string of seconds and thirds at shorter distances until his fifth place finish yesterday. In all likelihood, he’ll be running shorter distances at Canterbury this summer as that appears to be where he has had the most success.

He has now been claimed twice during his racing career, once back in November and again yesterday. Clay liked this horse for two reasons. First, it has a tendency to run toward the front of the pack – something that is very useful at any racetrack and even more so at Canterbury (we’ll explain more about this in a future post). Secondly, the horse has been trained throughout the duration of his career by trainers that have won at 5% and 8% clips, respectively. Therefore, he believes this horse has upside if cared for by a quality trainer.

Great Bam is a four-year-old gelding that has run in Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana and Illinois. Therefore, he’s fairly well-traveled. In looking through his lifetime past performances, it is obvious that he spent the majority of 2011 having significant issues getting out of the starting gate. This issue has apparently been fixed as of late as he has been doing much better recently.

His mother is an Argentinian mare by the name of Colegiada and his father is Mutakddim who did his racing in England and France. His breeding suggests that he’s capable of running between 5 furlongs and a mile and that he’d excel over a wet racetrack. Turf is a little bit of a question mark.

Click here to view Great Bam’s lifetime past performances

Other Updates

A couple of other items of detail. If you have not provided your e-mail to Jeff Maday, please do so by emailing him at jmaday@canterburypark.com. Although the vast majority of communicating is done via the blog, he will still send an occasional e-mail out to the group.

Also, a Canterbury MVP card should have already arrived (or is on its way). This card will be your free admission pass for the season. Make sure to bring it with you to get in for free.

A fellow club member is keeping his own account of the experience on his blog. Check it out by clicking here.

Clay will continue to look for another horse for the group before heading up to Minnesota toward the end of the month. We’ll provide more updates about his search and about Great Bam as they become available. Again, if you have questions or comments, please post them to the blog and we’ll do our best to answer.

… And We Have a Horse!

Just like that! Clay called us just a little awhile ago to let us know that he had claimed (purchased) a horse out of today’s 7th race for $5,000 at Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago. The horse’s name is Great Bam, he’s a four-year-old gelding that has won one race lifetime. Brinson told us that he has been watching this horse for a month or so and thinks that he can improve it.

Three different groups tried to claim (purchase) this horse today. When this happens, lots are drawn amongst the competing groups and the lot that is drawn owns the horse. Our group won the shake – as it is known – and therefore got the horse.

He should certainly fit in our races here this summer. Clay reported that the horse will receive a full inspection later this evening, but that he looks to have come out of the race in good shape. He said that after he takes a closer look, he’ll start to formulate a plan to get him ready for the upcoming Canterbury meet.

We’ll provide another update tomorrow that will explain claiming races, provide past performances for the horse and discuss what Brinson finds after taking a closer look at Great Bam.

Lastly, if you have not followed the blog yet. We’ve added a new button in the upper right-hand column that allows you to sign up as a “follower” as well. Make sure you do so to get the latest updates!