Save the Date – May 13

Our kickoff coffee and donuts morning gathering for the Club will take place on May 13.  The venue has not yet been completely finalized but we will either be in one of the Cabanas or over in Silks.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will be able to watch some morning works, maybe see our gal going though her paces (unless she’s running that afternoon) and get to know each other a bit.

We’ll start to gather around 8:30 and look to break up around 11:00 AM so we can let the crew clear us out and get ready for racing at 12:45.

Obviously with the size of the group it’s tough to get an estimate of who is coming so if you have a chance, please leave a comment that you’ll be attending so we can get a rough number for the food and beverage folks.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Getting Brilliant Belle Ready To Race

Nevada discusses Brilliant Belle’s race at Oaklawn, the plans for training, and what might come next.

With racing beginning Friday, May 5 here is a reminder:  club members will receive free admission to live racing by using the MVP Rewards card. Each member has an MVP account that is set for admission. Should you not have the actual card yet or lost yours over the winter, just go to the MVP Rewards booth near the casino entrance and ask for the card to be printed.  You do not need a new account, only a replacement card!

Belle on Her Way “Home”

Nevada has begun the process of transferring his stable from Arkansas to Canterbury Park.  This entails not only bringing up the string he had in training there, but also adding to it some 2-year olds and Minnesota breds.  It will take a couple of round trips for him to have himself fully settled in but we’re hopeful that he’ll be settled into his barn through the weekend.  You can read more about the Litfin clan here:

Needless to say it takes an awful lot to get everyone: family, horses, help and tack all moved north.

Once Belle is here she will start galloping over the track as we look for her first race in from of the “home” crowd.  We will be looking for those first couple of weekends to really get rolling.  The level that we’ll run her at is yet to be determined, but she came back from her last effort well and hopefully will travel well.

We’re still looking in Chicago with Clay for the next purchase.  We have a lead on a private purchase but need to determine if there would be races on tap here that would fit the horse.  He could be a nice fit if the price is right.  We’ll continue to evaluate possible claims as well with, again, the intent being to be able to get started right out of the gate here at Canterbury.

We are still looking for a good date to have an informal morning get together to kick off the season.  We’re waiting for some construction to clear up and then we will be able to announce the date and details.

We’re getting close to the opener and be able to watch our horse race in person!


Belle 6th; Back Well

Brilliant Belle finished 6th in her Club debut and while there is some disappointment, there is reason for some optimism as well.

As you may have noticed (and it would have been hard not to), Belle was carried VERY wide through the turn and really had no chance to catch anyone to hit the board from there.  She drove hard until the end and she did end up passing a few and being beat only 5 1/2 lengths total.  I’m not saying that we would have beaten the winner if we were able to skim the rail,  but she was able to make up some ground in a field where she was probably overmatched a bit.

Both trainer and jockey were pleased with her effort and Franco was disappointed that he got carried so wide as the horse on his inside carried him way out (not sure there was much he could have done there).  Nevada appreciated her try and effort and thinks that we’ll have a useful one up here.

She’ll rest up and ship up here in about 10 days and we’ll get ready in earnest to fight the good fight on the home front.

Below is the race chart for your perusal.


Brilliant Belle: Race Preview

For those of you new here, before each race I will post a preview that gives a little something about each entrant in the race and then my opinion on how we can win the race.  Let’s get right to it!

Atlantic Slew (Cox/Court) – Morning line favorite after a clear win for Canterbury stalwart the last few years, Robertino Diodoro.  Claimed by Brad Cox and laid off for 7 weeks, she’s back at the claim level without any works but a trainer that’s 40% first off the claim and wins a third of the time off a break.  Will be prominent early.

Gratzie (Robertson/Canchari) – Canterbury connections coming back since being seen last just missing in a Penn National starter allowance.  Work pattern a bit sporadic.  Another speedster.

Dancing Dove (Contreras/Clawson) – Off the pace type with a pair of tough outs at Oaklawn this season.  Another freshened since mid-February.  Has had a couple of solid works for the return.  Barn does well with returners (21%).

Run Away’s Sis (Richard/Contreras) – Recent speed figures are remarkably low for this race but does figure to prompt the pace as well, which I think we’ll enjoy.

Blake Beauties (Caldwell/Santana) – Tough trip when claimed last out.  Yet another who looks to want to be close early.


Ol Sanish (Villafranco/Vazquez) – Solid class drop from a good barn, albeit one that has been a little cold.  Mare has never started this low and does her best work going longer.  That said she could be a factor late on class alone.

Ice Goddess (Broberg/Eramia) – Claimed from owner/breeder/country superstar Toby Keith  by a top claiming trainer who is 30% first off the claim.  Comes off a front-running win and pushes up a bit in class.

One Minute (Chleborad/Birzer) – Rough two starts at the meet at $25,000.  A winner at Saratoga and ran in some very nice races earlier in her career (Grade 3 Schylerville at the Spa), she’s had a rough go of it recently, missing at $10K at Remington to end last year when claimed.

That’s Exciting (Puhl/Parker) – Another one dropping in here, hitting the lowest level of her career.  If she comes, she’ll be coming late which is probably a good thing given her far outside post.

Our girl has her work cut out for her for sure.  She’s moving up in class and that is never an easy assignment.  However she improved dramatically from her first start of the year to the last and the third start off the layoff tends to be when a horse gets into stride.  She’s shown speed in the past but rated well in her last which may be her best option in this race with so much speed in the race.  She may be able to settle in behind the early pace and be able to make a solid run at the early leaders on the turn for home.  Franco has been riding the best of his career and is only a win off the leading rider title heading into the last couple of weeks into the season. Quite a few positives in a relatively open race with several question marks w/ several speedsters, class droppers and first-off-the-claimers all in the mix.

Admittedly I anticipated that we would be outclassed in this race and was pleasantly surprised to see that we really aren’t but will need equal parts luck and skill to prevail.  The best thing we have going for us is that Heather and I will be in the middle of the desert between Las Vegas and Reno come race time which can only mean good things – especially if we can’t get any signal to watch the race!

Good luck everyone!!

Belle In Saturday

We’re going to give a go once at the big money at Oaklawn before we come home. If we were to wait it would have been six/seven weeks since her last race – assuming we could get in opening weekend. She’s training well and feeling good and with potentially a month off after this race, bringing her back this weekend made sense if we could find the right spot.

She will go in the 5th race on Saturday, post position 6 with Geovanni Franco up. The race is a $15,000 claiming race who have never won 3 races or a race since October 8, 2016 – otherwise known as a “conditioned claimer” going six furlongs.

It is quite the step up from the race we claimed her from, a $7500 conditioned claimer but her figures could make her competitive in here. I will post a full look at the race on Friday.

For those of you that follow the alumni group (CAC Racing), they are also running with on Saturday with Vacanza in the 7th race, coincidentally also out of post position 6.

Good luck!!

Belle Doing Well

Belle has settled into the Litfin barn and is doing well.  She was wormed, had a pedicure (her feet trimmed and reshod) and had her teeth floated.

Two VERY important things on a race horse: feet and teeth.  Without good teeth the horse doesn’t eat correctly and deprives the horse of being able to eat all its grain with any added vitamins and supplements that are provided.  And, naturally, the feet are the building blocks of speed.  Bad feet, bad horse.

The next step for her will be to see if there is a race that fits her the next couple of weekends there at Oaklawn.  It’s a bit of a dance with the Club horse because we really want to come to Canterbury ready to run from the beginning of the meet.  The other side of that coin is that running for $25,000 for a claiming horse is pretty nice and she could probably make a solid run at top money there.  If we can find a spot where she can be both competitive and perhaps not attractive for a claim, we’ll give her a go.

We are still looking for horse #2 out of Chicago with Clay Brinson.  Thus far the prospects have not been too terrific, but we will continue to look to see if we can start the local season off with a pair ready to go.

Speaking off starting the local season, keep your eyes on this space as well since we are looking to find a good time once the backside opens at Canterbury to do a coffee and donuts trackside where we can get together, meet each other and watch horses work.  It should be a nice way to get ready for opening day and the 2017 season.