Monthly Archives: May 2016

Down the Stretch with Mike Mills

We are happy to have Mike Mills contributing to the One Lucky Mudder webpage!  Mike will be providing picks and analysis every Saturday on One Lucky Mudder.  Canterbury Park will be our regular Saturday feature track.

Mike is from Savage, Minnesota and was introduced to racing at a young age by his grandfather who owned and trained standard bred horses.  Mike started playing the races before he was a teenager and has been an avid player ever since. He has won multiple Twinspires.com handicapping tournaments and last spring won a seat through Canterbury Park to the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas.

Please give him a follow on Twitter @M_Mills21.

Today’s picks and analysis!  Good luck!

Race 1:  Quarter horses take to the track first.  Hals Flying Eagle has a bumpy trip last out.  With a clean front near the outside post, he should be rolling late.  Giant James is trained by Ed Ross Hardy who brings in good quarter horses every year.  Nik Goodwin up.  Catch This Train is bred by Freighttrain B out of Pyc Paint Your Wagon with new jockey Scottie Bethke in the irons.  This will be Scott’s debut as a jockey at Canterbury. His Dad is thoroughbred trainer Troy Bethke.

Race 2: Red N Black and Attack ships in from So. Cal and Diodoro takes over the training, in a race void of much early pace he should get a nice stalking trip and a repeat of his Feb 27th performance will make him tough. Kipper Key was popular at the claim box this winter at Oaklawn and faced much tougher starter allowance foes in his last, Brinson barn due to heat up, should be rolling late. De Facto may get the lead and the cut back from recent route races and that scenario is always dangerous, know him early.

Race 3: Sassy Moe showed last summer he likes the main track here at Canterbury, without a win he did hit the board in all three local races, overmatched this winter at Oaklawn he finds a much more comfortable spot here.  Speaking of liking the main track National has won 8 of 12 local tries, he carries a three race winning streak into this race and will take some real beating today. Politicallycorrect has earned nearly 600k and is the clear class of the race but having run here opening weekend, the 6 day turnaround is cause for pause, tread lightly here.

Race 4: G Road has been off since getting crushed by restricted claimers last September, but he owns a win on this turf course and seems to enjoy the lawn better than the main. Longshot. Sassy Prance is 6 for 7 in the money on the Canterbury turf course but at 1 for 18 lifetime we can’t trust him on the win end. Manlee Spirit owns a 1 for 53 record so we can’t back him on the win either but he tends to jump up with good performances at huge prices every once in a while and with a 47 and 4 work a few days ago, we know he’s feeling good.

Race 5: Justeveryday has been facing slightly tougher down in Florida and should get a good trip outside the other speed. Top jockey trainer combo seals the deal. No Rain has great speed but doesn’t stick around late, however, the way the main track played here opening weekend he should be able to take his speed farther than normal. Dixie Lover was facing much tougher at Oaklawn over the winter and with his tactical speed and top jock Canchari aboard should have every chance to run them down in the lane.

Race 6: Keep Me Posted has been going strong all winter in Arizona, no wins in 2016 but has been running races that put him right in the mix with this field, two fine local works add to the intrigue.  Alvear has been very inconsistent over the past couple of season but with rain in the forecast he would greatly benefit if this race was moved to the main track having put up a huge wet track number on the main track here. The veteran grey gelding Vibrato Jazz has been an ultra consistent performer over his career and is a recent claim for Diodoro. The one to beat.

Race 7: Winningcherokee takes a class drop for the Brinson barn and with a 2 for 4 record over the Canterbury main track he should be in prime position to make it 3 for 5 today. Sonicvelocity ships in from Arizona for his local main track debut and the 47 and 2 work May 22nd signals he’s ready to fire. Raton Pass is a horse for the course, after a tough winter in Florida he should appreciate the change in venue. Jockey Martin was aboard for last year’s 11-length romp.

Race 8: Today’s finale is a turf route with many chances, She Spends My Lute owns a fine career record and seems to have found a new home on the grass, local turf debut today but with expert connections at the helm make her the one to beat. Octavia Hill is the speed of speed and that can be a big advantage on this turf course, first time on the turf is the question mark. Racinrosemary also tries turf for the first time today but she is taking a big class drop for this and connections are hoping that wakes this filly up.

The Future’s so Bright …

In case you haven’t heard, Canterbury Park is offering the lowest takeout in America.  The opening weekend boasted increased wagers 31% from last year’s opener.  Wagers at the track were up 25% and bets from players not on site were up 34%.  It’s good to go low to bring all things up for Canterbury Park and players betting Canterbury around the country.

With the exit of long-time paddock analyst Angela Hermann to California, the paddock analyst position became a two-horse race between writer/handicapper Candice Hare and local boy and Canterbury regular Brian Arrigoni. Both received assistance in the paddock auditions from Keeneland analyst Katie Gensler.  Candice is a talented handicapper and received an offer to be a national correspondent for Canterbury.  The local boy Brian prevailed in the paddock standoff and will be going solo this weekend as the new Paddock Analyst for Canterbury Park.  Brian brings an impeccable handicapping ability and knowledge about the track. Brian has a bright future ahead of him.  We welcome both Candice and Brian to the Canterbury team.

The future looks bright for Rake Farms and its new connections with another local boy jockey Alex Canchari.  Rake Farms entries Bourbon County and Horse of the Year Sky and Sea returned to sweep both stakes races on opening weekend.  Both Bourbon County and Sky and Sea were guided by Canchari, who is leading the jockey standings after the first weekend.  Alex is coming off a great meet at Oaklawn and was hitting on all cylinders last weekend.  Canchari is without question one of the best riders we have at Canterbury.  He used to be known as the “Minnesota Kid” but I’m certain he’s dropped that moniker as the Kid is one heck of a talented rider.  You can’t go wrong with the best rider on the best horses.  As the summer progresses, if you can get Canchari on a 5-1, bet it!  There will be very few times this season that he’s sitting on anything higher than that.

Alex Canchari Photo by Miz Post Parade
Alex Canchari
Photo by Miz Post Parade

Other connections to watch are jockey Dean Butler and trainer Francisco Bravo, and, jockey Hugo Sanchez and trainer Tim Padilla.  Sanchez rode for Padilla in Tampa Bay over the winter and Padilla is shipping up some very good horses from Florida.  Sanchez put the Padilla-trained Congratulate Me in the Winner’s Circle on Saturday and it paid $25 on a $2 win bet.

It’s a bright start to the meet for trainer Nevada Litfin as well.   Litfin had two winners in three entries on Saturday.  The very speedy filly Some Say So took to the Canterbury course like a kid takes to cake.  She loved it!  Getting the number 1 gate on Saturday was a bit tricky as the inside dirt on the track was soft and most of the horses used up a lot of real estate avoiding the rail.  But Some Say So showed huge potential responding to jockey Giovanni Franco’s commands.  She has a very bright future ahead of her at Canterbury.

The other Litfin winner was the professional Jifquick who fought hard in the stretch with the urging of Alex Canchari in the irons. That’s a win-win.  Jifquick bested Yes By Gold and Pendulum (Sanchez/Padilla) in the 5 furlongs on the grass.

What’s Up next?

The upcoming Memorial Weekend will have another stakes race on the Memorial Day card, the $75,000 Honor the Hero turf sprint.  There are some impressive nominees for this race including Undrafted and Uno Pecodor.  The draw will be on Wednesday for the final entries.

The infamous Running of the Bulldogs will take place between races on Monday, Memorial Day.  If you haven’t been there to watch the bulldogs, you need to put it on your “to do” list.  Paul Allen always brings good entertainment to the call of the bulldog races.

The Muddy Freakness

The second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, went off on a very muddy Pimlico track in Maryland on Saturday, and Exaggerator showed how much of a mud-loving freak he is.  Wow, talk about one lucky mudder!  Exaggerator is a very talented and strong horse to maneuver the mud the way he does.  Keith Desormeaux, the trainer of Exaggerator, said that he hoped people would not contribute this victory in the Preakness to the muddy track.  Um… sorry Keith, but Exaggerator had four chances to get passed Nyquist on dry tracks and didn’t.  I think every person that follows horseracing changed their win bet from Nyquist to Exaggerator when the rain started falling in Maryland.  I certainly did.  I predicted that Exaggerator would eventually catch the Derby winner, but I thought it would happen in the Belmont, until I saw the mud.  Exaggerator excels in the mud when the other horses are doing all they can to lift their heavy hooves over the muddy track.  In the Preakness, his jockey Kent Desormeaux brought him to the rail shortly out of the gate, sat back and avoided the mud sprays, and eventually came up the rail to about fifth behind the leaders Nyquist and Uncle Lino, who were setting a blazing pace up front.   It set up perfectly for Exaggerator’s closing speed.  At that pace, he was going to catch the front-runners, it was just a matter of when.  Kent moved him out and it was over.  When Exaggerator saw daylight and had an open mud pit to work with, he was like a pig in Heaven.

I had an Exacta play in the Preakness: Exaggerator over all.  Not so ironic that the only other mudder in the field, Cherry Wine, came in for second. The Belmont is up next on June 11 and as of now Exaggerator will give it a shot, but Nyquist is out due to fever.

The future is looking bright for One Lucky Mudder too.  Please continue to follow as we will be introducing weekly picks for Canterbury Park, featuring local handicappers and analysis, photos from Heather Grevelis and possibly a webcast from yours truly Miz Post Parade!

So grab your Ray Bans and head to the track!  The future is bright at Canterbury Park!