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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, June 22, 2021 — It’s encouraging to see that smaller tracks are adapting to the simulcast market in ways that promise to benefit them financially and aesthetically. Take Canterbury Park.

Indeed, most horseplayers took notice that on Wednesday night the track in Shakopee is offering its annual Turf Racing Festival, which include six stakes races beginning with Race 3 and through Race 8.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the races will be conducted on a Wednesday night exactly simulcast prime time. And, by the way, no racing on Saturday vs. the heavy-head circuits.

The Minnesota track is also proud of its 50-Cent Pick 5 with a 10 percent takeout that tonight commences with Race 6 through the Race 10 finale. Two dirt races complete that sequence.

It has been out experience, limited as it may be, that Horses for Courses is a good jumping off point for handicappers. And since it’s grass, with class completing that handicapping mantra, it’s not surprising when other big Midwest outfit ship in to feast on the local competition.

Enter Mike Maker and Brad Cox who, among their unique talents, are very adept at playing the grass game. And wouldn’t you know? Cox has the early line favorite in the third and eighth races: Maker saddles the early public choice in the sixth and seventh.

But they are only two of five in tonight for a turf master: Amalfi Princess (7-2) takes on Cox favorite Saranya (9-5) [Florent Geroux] in the third and saddles an uncoupled pair in the eighth:

Chess’s Dream (4-1) with Ricardo Santana and Shady McGee (12-1) with Dean Butler and a puncher’s chance to upset Cox favorite T.D. Vance (5-2).

It comes as no surprise that Maker is very effective shipping into the Minneapolis suburb. According to Dave Valento of Track Phantom, Maker has shipped 17 horses to Canterbury in the last five years, all turf stakes, winning with five, with another five in-the-money finishers.

We’ll take a few chances, if only to see whether or not we’re walking around lucky. Both are from the prolific MacLean Robertson shedrow. Taking turf-to-dirt turnback Berry Good (5-2) in the ninth and Cinco Star (9-2) in the seventh vs. both Cox and Maker. At least fair odds seem assured in this spot.

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10 Responses

  1. June 23,2021
    Canterbury Park
    Note: Full disclosure. First time I ever handicapped Canterbury.

    3rd race- Box the 4,5,8,9

    4th race- #5 Chess Master to win and box with the #8 Wellabled

    5th race- PASS

    6th race- #7 Best kept secret could wire the field (8-1). If not the 5 Lady’s Lawyer should pick up the pieces. Use the 4 to complete your exotics.

    7th race- #3 (5/2) It’s parlors race to win or lose. The most likely winner. Use with the 1,8 for your exotics. Keep an eye on the 8 Tut’s Revenge. He’s interesting.

    8th race- Box the 2,6,11 to get the exotic cash.

    Once again, Let’s get them bad guy’s, Vinny O’

    1. Thanks Vin. You know, far as I can tell, everyone wins their first day at the track. Let’s see if it applies to first-time circuit…

  2. I like this – stakes don’t start till the 3rd race, at 7:10pm EST, so will be home by then – I can study the PPs on the subway on the way home and have a stakes card to look forward to after work – this is something I can definitely get used to.

    Remember the old Hollywood Park Friday night cards? This gives me that sort of vibe.

    1. Good goin’ back to Hollywood. As far as Canterbury tonight, it helps the brand. It doesn’t have to do great numbers to be successful, but it probably will beat your average Wednesday…

      1. Yes for sure – just like WRD being the only game in town during the early part of the shutdown last year was a real boost. Everyone was inside and generally had nothing to do after remote work was done. A PM stakes card during the week is going to get a lot of eyes on that track. I never handicap that place myself, but I’m ready to put a couple hundred in handle through tonight. I believe their Pick 5 is only 10% takeout. That’s something else I can get used to.

  3. Free Live Streaming Video is an asset for any track that offers it. Evangeline just ended and now I’m watching Assiniboia. 10:35 PM Wed Jun 23.

      1. I got smoked all card till race 8. Bailed out by a win bet on the 1. Only worthy of mention because i had just suffered an excruciating photo loss in the previous race that destroyed all my multis. I was so tempted to close the computer after the 7th and move on with my stinging loss, but won the mental battle this time.

        This game is so much like golf in one aspect; it’s a mindf**k mental war against yourself. It’s why I feel more drained and tired after a race card than I do after the gym.

        1. Totally get it, Doc. It’s exhausting. Been telling friends, colleagues for a few years now, what beats me most often when it comes time to wager is lack of focus. Oh, I’m awake, just not evaluating fast and clearly enough.

          I bet the two horses we walked about yesterday win and place. Both ran second. Of course…

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