Belle Back on Track

Brilliant Belle, scrape aside, came out of her race really well. Her cut is already healing and she galloped over the main track today with no problem. She may be sweet as can be in the barn, but she’s a tough filly too!

Nevada, star of paddock and screen, did another video for us letting us know a bit about how she came out of the race and what could be next.

Brilliant Belle: Race Preview

Belle is in tonight in race 7. She’ll break from the middle of the field in post position 4. It’s a salty little $20,000 claiming race and we could finish anywhere in this field. Justin Shepherd will again take the controls for the quick 5 furlong sprint over the main track. There is not a seating location this evening as the track has sold out it’s group areas. We’ll meet Group 2 at the paddock after the replays of Race 6.

Approximate post time is 9:22 PM. Here is a look at the field:

Earsahead (Applegate/Loveberry): Had a solid 2016 hitting the board in all three races run here at Canterbury. She came back after her winter break at Will Rogers to hit the board twice in a $17,500 claimer and $12,500 starter allowance, albeit in 5 horse fields. Worth noting that her wins have come wire to wire.

It’s the Swede (Broberg/Sanchez): Another with a good 2016 with a pair of stakes wins for Iowa breds. First two starts of 2017 were also at Prairie Meadows and while not stellar, they were also in a $45,000 allowance and the Mamie Eisenhower stakes. Her three wins last year came…wire to wire…

Annoy (Heitzmann/Velazquez): You’ll recall we handled this one in the last race, though you may also recall that we got a perfect trip while she had to swing wide which may have been the difference. She’ll break inside of us and have the speed to her inside which should clear her a path to rail in a nice stalking position.


Stella’s Princess (Bravo/Mojica): Minnesotan finished 2016 with a flourish winning at pair of nice state bred sprints. The Minnesotan started the year in a Will Rogers stake and a pair of open allowances here at Canterbury. This spot may only be slightly lighter than those…maybe.

Gratzie (Robertson/Canchari): Soundly defeated us in her last start at Oaklawn before taking a break. She’s put in a pair of nice of solid works and should want the lead as well.

Seams Discreet (Arnett/Butler): One of the leading trainers in Iowa sends this one up after having been training consistently since arriving in Altoona. My guess is that they couldn’t get the race they wanted and found these conditions to their liking. That alone makes him dangerous. Reeled off 3 consecutive allowance and optional claiming wins before faltering in a pair of stakes in New Mexico. Another to sit off the pace.

As mentioned, this is a salty group of seven and there are surely some unknowns: Just how good is Seams Discreet? Can Stella’s Princess handle open? How will the shippers take to Canterbury? Are we really as good as our last race or what that a fluke?

The race will be quick, no question about that. There are enough in here that are going to want to go that if we try and wire the field this time, we could be in for trouble. While two of her three wins have been on the engine, she broke her maiden rating of the pace. That may be the tact we’ll have to take in this one to avoid burning and fading – especially with the speed on the inside that could keep us wide throughout. With Annoy on our inside, the likelihood of us being able to get to the rail early this time is going to be tough.

I’m also concerned about the “bounce” factor. The “bounce” theory is that thoroughbreds that run a career race – a superior race than they have ever run before – tend to run a poor race next or “bounce”. She’s had a nice maintenance work in between races and last week she got really keen to go to the track when one of her stablemates was heading out for a race. Hopefully these are indications that she is ready to go without issue.

We will see tonight just how good she is. She’ll have to track some quick horses early and outkick a pair of really good ones late. She repeats her last performance, she can win. She falters a little and we could be 7th. It should be a good one to watch for the crowd – and a bit of a nerveracker to be involved in!

Good luck and we’ll see you tonight!

Belle Back on Track; Targeting 2nd Friday

Brilliant Belle went back to the track for training today and is showing no ill effects from her race…eh, victory…on Friday. She will continue to work over the track for the next week and we’ll look for her next start.  Then it will be up to paddock group 2 to keep the momentum going!


We’re researching several horses that are in tomorrow night for a possible second Club horse.  Several factors go into this process.  You try to check the background of the horse if you can – if there has been a history of injury, for example.  Or if the horse has any interesting quirks.  You try and find our if the layoffs the horse has experienced (there SHOULD be some layoffs, they just can’t keep training and training.  Eventually they will sour) have reasonable explanations. Make sure their workouts are regular and consistent.

As long as all there factors check out, they have to pass the “eye” test: watch them walk over before their race and see if there is anything that there is to be alarmed about: legs, knees, ankles and the way the horse moves.

If all checks out then we’ll drop the claiming slip and see if we can get ourselves another horse.

Paddock Groups & Silks

The Club will have some tables set aside Friday night inside of Silks.  There will be signs on the tables that are ours so please feel free to utilize that space for the evening.  I’ll be by before our race (race 8 – about 10PM) so we can head to the paddock!

And speaking of the paddock.  The paddock groups are set:

Group 1 – Hegseth – Nelson

Group 2 – Nierman – Zessman

Group 3 – Anderson – Heddle

Group 1 will lead us off Friday night.  Here are some paddock thoughts:

The paddock is an exciting place to be before a race but it can also be a very dangerous place. You need to be on the lookout and alert for anything. Some of you may recall a couple of years ago that a horse got loose after dumping his rider and broke through the fencing, only captured several yards into where the crowd would have been moments earlier. Bottom line – be aware and have the ability to get out of the way should something unexpected happen. If you bring your children in, you are responsible for them. They cannot run around or play unattended.

We are the 1, so our spot will be right across from where you enter the paddock near the stairs that go down to the jocks room. With everyone and one guest (you’re on your honor here) we could have up to 80 people in there. We can be from our number backward, please do not spread out toward #2 and crowd the other owners. We are lucky in this race that to our left there are no spots so we can have a little extra room.

At no time should anyone be on the walking ring once the horses come out of their stalls. Please stay on the grass. If you do not make it to the paddock before the horses are on the walking ring, please do not enter.

In the fortunate event that we are able to get to the winners’ circle this summer we would like to keep the winners’ circle photo to Club Members. Now that we are over 150 members it is too crowded and too dangerous to bring guests in and I do not want members who paid their money, like everyone in the Club, to get shut out. It would not be fair.

That said, as Clubbers we want you all in the picture if we get one! It will be imperative to be quick and be friendly.

By quick I mean should the time come and we win, make your way to the winners’ circle as quickly as possible It is important for the horse to wind down, get to the test barn and get back to the barn so we do not want the horse out on the track circling around waiting for us to all get in.

By friendly I mean that if we are all going to get into the picture we are going to have to get very close together on the risers, maybe even turn a bit sideways to get everyone in. Out of necessity there will be some people on the ground area. I will be there, arms spread wide, begging you all to stay to the one side of me. Behind me is where the horse is going so please don’t try and slip by me, gather together, friendly like, on the other side.

After a race the horse is very high strung and excited and can be hard to handle. They can fire off kicks and strikes without warning and we do NOT want anyone getting hurt. Again, stay alert.

Photos again will be $10 and available a few days after the race directly from the photographer’s office downstairs (take the stair down to the basement next to the nut stand, take a right and follow the signs). We will have some printed up but if there is enough demand there may be a wait. Please be patient, they are very busy on race day.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing you all on Friday!

Belle in Friday Night

Brilliant Belle makes her first start in front of the home crowd on Friday night.  We’ll be waiting because the race is carded as the 8th on the evening – an anticipated post time of just after 10PM.

We drew the rail and Justin Shepherd will get the call in the six furlong, $7500 starter allowance over the main track.

As a reminder, a starter allowance is for horses that have run the previous year for a claiming price of “X”, with “X” being the amount shown in the conditions: in this case, $7500.

There are some pretty good ones in this field so a win will be a tall order, but we’re also by no means an also ran in here.  A breakdown of the race will come later in the week.

We’ll be splitting up the group into thirds for rotating paddock access.  These groups will be posted in a day or two.  We split them alphabetically and then assign each group a number then we’ll pull a number out of a hat to see which group leads things off, that way the beginning of the alphabet doesn’t always go first every year.

I will also be posting some paddock etiquette and safety guidelines as well.  The paddock can be a dangerous place and we don’t want there to be any issues.

Lots of information coming this week so keep an eye out.

Good Luck!

Belle Works on Sunday

Brilliant Belle had her first work since arriving at Canterbury Park on Sunday morning.  Trainer Nevada Litfin sent her out for a three furlong breeze which she completed in a reported 41 seconds flat.

Generally speaking you would like to see a horse work in about :12 seconds per furlong, more of less or, in this case, 36 seconds or so.  That said, Belle finished up her work well and reportedly galloped out strong.  There is a chance that the work time was misreported.  She didn’t appear to be moving that slowly and there is a lot going on in the mornings with horses coming on and off the track, breaking off at different points to work at different distances and sometimes there is confusion that results in a misreported time.

She came off the track well and cooled down fine.  In the immortal words of our favorite track announcer Paul Allen, “time only matters in prison”.

We’ll talk more about workouts during the tours – or at breakfast if you’d like.

In other news, Belle came up a bit snotty this morning which is unsurprising given the extremes in weather that she’s been subjected to over the past week or so.  In a nutshell, she has a cold.  She’ll be treated and it certainly does not appear serious enough to interrupt her training.  She would walk a day or two after her work anyway and then head back to the track to gallop.  We’ll plan on working her again next weekend and, as long as all is well, look for that first race!

We looked to privately purchase a horse at Hawthorne but were unable to complete the deal.  There was some concern over the ability to get races for the horse here for a low level route dirt horse, a risk we could mitigate by purchasing at a favorable price point.  However, not given that price point we will come start the meet with one horse while looking to claim a second early in the meet with Clay Brinson.