Chris McCarron Headlines Local Fundraiser

The next few weeks will be pretty quiet on the Kipper Key front. Clay is in the process of moving the barn from Oaklawn to here and will start shipping in the next few days.

Until then, however, there is a major event here at the track that we all can play a part. Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will be here on Tuesday evening, April 26 and will host a casino night in the Triple Crown Club (3rd floor) benefitting the Leg Up Fund.

The Leg Up Fund was founded right here at Canterbury to provide a bit of a safety net for our local riders. Jockeys are independent contractors and if they are injured on the job and are out of work, they are not earning a dime. Expenses can mount and the hardship can get extraordinary. The Leg Up Fund was founded to help members of our local colony who gets hurt riding and needs a some help.

There are two ways to participate. You can be a part of the MVP Event for $100 which includes an open bar, 6,000 in chips, appetizers and a meet and greet with Chris McCarron. And from 7 – 9:30 the main event runs with dinner, soda, cash bar and 3,000 in chips. These tickets go for $35 in advance and $45 at the door.

Some of the prizes available include: golf the next day with McCarron at Hazeltine; a Twins game the evening of the 27th with McCarron; a day at the races in the Owner’s Box; Ryder Cup tickets and much more.

You can call 952-445-7224 to purchase tickets.

It is a superb cause that stays local. We hope to see you there!


K2 Fifth in Debut

Our guy is certainly a closer, but even he left himself too much to do after getting off a step slowly and falling way behind early in yesterday’s race at Oaklawn.

He did close nice and, though I don’t think we could have won the race, I think with a cleaner break we would have got up for 3rd. We spotted the field 11 lengths through the first quarter and he still managed to get with 1/2 length of finishing 3rd.

The 5th place finish banks us $780 which may just pay for the van ride to Canterbury after taking out the $85 for the jockey’s fee.  He will head to Canterbury in about 10 days where we will hopefully prep for a race opening weekend.  There are no races that would fit him that weekend in the condition book so we will have to wait and see what extras get written for Saturday and Sunday.  Ideally another starter allowance going 6 1/2 furlongs would be nice, but a $10,000 claiming race would work just fine as well.

You can look at the chart of the race here: K2 Chart 4-14-16

Club Cap Update

A quick note from Ernie on the state of the caps:.  Please note his email at the bottom.

Thanks for the prompt response by quite a few members. Sorry I didn’t respond to every individual.
Anybody else who wants some, please get back to me by Monday. It looks like $16 each is a lock. Can’t beat that for a custom hat.
I just viewed the approval run of the club cap stitch & they’re looking quite good.
There are multiple color options possible at this writing, black front panels or khaki. Actually both look like keepers!
I want to get these ready for people by opening day & thus it would be nice if I can get a better count of how many people would be interested for an initial run & color, if anyone has not responded but would like to buy one.
It may be possible to run more later if there is a large enough follow up need. I’m trying to do this at cost & as economically as possible so you can apply the savings to making Big Money playing Kipper Key, instead! I’m sure everybody’s all anxious now that there is a runner.
Please realize that if I wing it for quantity of hat colors: 
Whatever is left after the members who have declared, may have to settle for remainders & not have a color option.
It would also help to include a little more contact information, as several came to me as masked emails & didn’t always provide enough contact detail, so that I can track who is accounted for.
If interested:


Kipper Key Race Preview

Tomorrow we head into our first race for the 2016 Canterbury Racing Club.  The pertinents and such are: a starter allowance for horses that have started for a claiming price of $7500 or less in either of their last 2 starts.  The purse is $26,000.  The distance is six furlongs with jockey Glen Corbett riding.  We’re starting from post 6 in race 6 with an estimated post time of 3:46 PM Central Time.

Here is a look at the field:

Anteros (Martin/Mello) – A consistent performer in Pennsylvania, he has won over this strip before, albeit in early 2014.  He likes to sit off the pace and is coming in off a nearly 6 month layoff for a trainer who’s only 3% in that spot.

Austin’s Argument (Asmussen/Rocco) – winner last out at $15,000 NW2 lifetime with a solid 70 Beyer first off the claim for Steve Asmussen.  Will want to be on the lead early.

My Name is Hebe (Shorter/Marquez) – Finished ahead of K2 last out with a really solid trip.  It will be interesting to see if he can get the same type of stalking trip he got last time with what looks to be more speed in the race.

Magnum Force (Calhoun/Vazquez) – Just claimed by Bret Calhoun for $5,000, he steps up a bit in this one.  Will be coming from far back.

Senor Rain (Matthews/Ocampo) – Another last out winner (at $5000) off a big drop from $12,500.  Figures show this one to be a bit behind the rest.  He’ll also want to come late.


Jifquick (Litfin/Suarez) – Another last out claim, this one by stalwart Canterbury conditioner Nevada Litfin.  Should want to be on or close to the lead.

E.M. Maximus (Moquett/Franco) -Yes, ANOTHER recent claim (lots of claiming activity at Oaklawn!).  He may not need the lead but he’ll like to be close.  Won his local debut at $12,500 but has slid down the class ladder to no effect since.

Mahalo Arturo (Compton/Canchari) – He has reeled off 3 straight going back to the end of last year.  After closing out 2015 with win at $30,000 and a first level allowance it was interesting to see him in for only $5,000 following his break.  Could have been a roll of the dice to try and make him eligible for these lower level starters.  Another who wants to be up front and may be the classiest in here.

Apocalypse (Wittek/Birzer) – Another streaker with a 2 race winning streak under way, finishing off his conditions with wins at $7500 non-winners of two, then three.  A nice off the pace type who is stepping up a bit here.

Special Jo (Puhl/De La Cruz) – A bit of a speedster who has had his best races from near the front.  His outside post and speed to his inside may hinder that.

Half Dome Dude (Diodoro/Santana) – Claimed by Canterbury’s leading trainer two starts back at $5,000 and stepped him up to win at $6250 sitting just off the pace and posting a huge, for that level, 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

For those of you that are new, what I like to do here is try and figure out how we can win.

K2 hasn’t won since August but he’s certainly been competitive.  He opened his 2016 campaign off a 2 month break at this level and finished a respectable 3rd.  Claimed twice since (last by us at $7500) our boy is sharp and in shape.  He’s been training well and is ready to go.  While I think that 6.5 furlongs is probably his best distance, he can win at six furlongs with the right trip.

The right trip will be that the number of relatively quick horses in here will need to go at it up front.  We’ll need to lay not further back than about 6th or 7th and hopefully Corbett can get a clear line when it’s time to head for home so we don’t have to navigate too much traffic.

The goal is obviously to win every race we enter.  That said, there is some back class in here, relatively speaking (Mahalo Arturo), some real solid winners last out (Austin’s Argument and Half Dome Dude) and a mix of speed and closers.  This will be a tough one to win but I’m hoping to get a good trip, a chance to win and at the least, pick up a decent check hitting the board!

Good luck!


The Condition Book

The Condition Book is the game plan for the racing operations of the racetrack.  Written by the racing secretary the bulk of the condition book outlines the races that are planned to be run through the course of the next few weeks at the meet.

Broadly speaking the book can be divided into three major sections: the informational pages, the stakes schedule and the day by day planned racing menu.  We’ll break these down one at a time in a moment.

The goal of the book is to give horsemen an idea of what races to plan towards.  He needs to take into consideration the types of horses that will be on the grounds as well as races that will provide full, competitive fields.  These races should provide the best wagering opportunities for the public and purse opportunities for the horsemen.

Information Pages

These pages are thick with information for horsemen.  Rules governing the backside are here as well as entry rules and schedules, preference dates, naming jockeys, medication rules and much more. If you click on the title above it will take you to the Canterbury informational pages.

Stakes Schedule

This is a breakdown of the stakes scheduled at the racetrack.  Having this laid out in advance lets horsemen know what they can expect to be offered for the best horses in their barns.  Clicking in the link will take you to the Thoroughbred Stakes schedule.


This is the “meat” of each condition book.  It’s a day by day schedule of the races that the racing secretary thinks will fit his population best.  There is an index which is a brief summary of each condition (allowance, various claiming levels, etc.) and the date of when that condition will be run either long or short (under a mile) or dirt and turf.

The first section of races (marked 1-9) are the races that are intended to be used and, by contract between the track and the HBPA need to be run if they are filled.  This enables trainers to point to races with some confidence that they will be run.  However not all races fill (anywhere from 5 to 7 starters depending upon the racetrack) so there needs to be substitute races to make sure that enough of a variety of races are offered to trainers. These are marked as S1, S2, etc.

Once racing begins there is what is called an “overnight sheet” that lists the entries for the racing day recently drawn (races are typically drawn 3-5 days in advance) and lists even more potential races (“extras”) based upon what the racing secretary is seeing as the type of horses in the population on track as well as suggestions from trainers.  Assuming races fill, the order are preference are condition book races, substitutes and extras.

As an aside, you’ll notice that the condition book lists races in numerical order.  This has no bearing on the order that the races will be run on race day.  Once the races are drawn, the racing secretary determines the best order of races to maximize bettor interest and, therefore, maximizing handle.

An important item of note in the Races section are the conditions of the race.  For example, that the race is for fillies and mares, 3 year old and up who have never won 3 races with a claiming price of $25,000.  It also lists the weight the horse has to carry in the race as well as the purse and the distance.  If the race is restricted to Minnesota bred horses only the race is indicated by a state of Minnesota logo under the race number.  All other races are open to horses bred anywhere as long as they meet the conditions of the race.

Races are drawn 3 – 4 days before the race is to be run with past performances available a few hours after entries are drawn.

Take some time and read through the book.  It can be very informative and gives you an idea of what types of races to expect when the season begins.

First Race of 2016 Thursday!

Today was going to be a post in breaking down the condition book.  However – fun intervenes and we get to talk about our first race of the new season for Kipper Key.

First off, K2 had a routing maintenance work this morning.  Clay sent him out for four furlongs which he accomplished in :50.2, the 36th fastest time of the 44 works at the distance.

The workout was more to get him out and let him unwind a bit as opposed to trying to get him fit, etc. so there was no need to ask him for any real speed.  Races aren’t win in the morning anyway and trainers are much more concerned about how a horse comes back from a work and the manner in which he accomplished it as opposed to the work time.

As an example, Horse A works five furlongs in :59.4 and earns a black dot next to the work (a “bullet”) as the fastest of the group going that distance that day.  He comes off the track huffing and puffing and takes quite a bit of time to recover.  Horse B goes the same five furlongs in 1:00.2.  He comes off the track breathing so lightly he couldn’t blow out a candle but finishes 16th of 35.  In the past performances Horse A may appear more impressive but Horse B is unquestionably more fit.  The time of the workout is less important than whether or not the horse got out of it what the trainer wanted.

We entered today in a starter allowance which is race 6 on Thursday’s card at Oaklawn.  The conditions of the race are for horses that have started for a claiming price of $7,500 in either of their last two starts.  As a starter allowance none of the horses are eligible to be claimed.  K2 drew the five post and will have jockey Glenn Corbett aboard in a field of 12.  A cursory look at the past performances indicates that there is a decent amount of speed in the race which will hopefully set up nicely for our late run.  A more detailed breakdown of the race will appear here on Wednesday.

Good luck!

Choosing A Race

Now we have a horse and we know he’s doing well so it’s time to choose a race for him to run in next.  The question is: how do we decide?

The main vehicle for determining the races which will be run is the Condition Book.  The condition book is produced by the racing secretary at a race track outlining the conditions of races that will be offered at the race meet.  Each book tends to cover anywhere from 10-days to 3 weeks of races.  Here is the link to Canterbury’s first condition book:

There will be another post in a few days explaining the Condition Book further.

We bought our guy for $7500 and, generally speaking (there are certainly exceptions), what you claim is what you get, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have options.

Claiming races were developed to stratify racing so that horses of similar ability would run against each other.  An owner is not going to run a classy animal in a $5000 claiming race.  Sure, she’ll win the purse but end up losing the horse!

The strata of races is roughly the following:

Conditioned claiming – claiming price plus the added condition of non-winners of2 races, 3 races, etc.;

Starter allowances – an allowance race restricted to horses that have run for a certain claiming price or under;

Optional claimers – claiming price OR non-winners of a certain number of races;

Allowance – horses meet certain conditions but NOT eligible to be claimed

Handicap – higher level horses where weight is used to try and equalize the field.

Stakes – races for the best horses on the grounds.  Can be restricted to age, sex and location of birth.

Listed Stakes – Stakes determined by the American Graded Stakes Committee to be better than most stakes but not quite Graded Stakes Quality (Mystic Lake Derby is a Listed Stake this year);

Graded States – the best races in the United States which are further stratified as Grade I, II and III.

For Kipper Key we are looking at a Starter Allowance on Thursday, April 14.  It is for horses that have started for a claiming price of $7500 or less in one of their last 2 starts.  We could have looked at a $10,000 or $12,500 claiming race but since he’s eligible for this race and not eligible to be claimed we figured we’d target this race so we come north with a horse.  The distance is 6 furlongs with a $26,000 purse.  He came back to the races in a starter and did hit the board so he’s not out of his league.

One thing you will see is that we run to win races at the highest levels we feel our horses are competitive.  There is no sense racing to “protect” a horse from a claim.  It’s part of the business.  You run them where they belong and try to win.

The race will be drawn this Saturday so we should know Saturday afternoon if we’re in!



Club Swag

Some Club swag is the brainchild of one of our members.  It is “unofficial” swag, if you will, but a really neat idea for those of you that would like to wear your Club affiliation.

This is a not for profit private endeavor of Ernie’s and I’ll just go ahead and post in his own words and then we can take it from there:

I am gauging interest for an embroidered club hat. 
These would cost $15-$16 each at cost & be elective purchases separate from the racing club investment.

Currently this is a golf-style cap with vented back & sides available in 2 colors.
One with tan front panels & the 2nd has black front panels, each with partial decorative piping & the venting is white. 

They have preformed curved brims & “velcro” closures for sizing.

Attached are the couple of design options. Contact me for more detail if you are interested:
Here are the two designs for the front of the cap.  Both are pretty cool and I’d like to thank Ernie for all the work he put into this!

Again, if you’re interested, please drop him a line and then he will reach out to those of you that are interested and move to the next steps.