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Barn notes week 3
News - Misc
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Barn Notes

Leaderboard Watching

Jockey Don Proctor cooled off a bit (if two wins over the weekend is cooling off) but still holds on to the lead in the jockey’s standings with eight wins over the first two weekends.   Rusty Shaw and Zack Ziegler have each booted home five winners while Clyde Smith and Damon Leeds are in the hunt with four wins.  In all, 11 different jockeys have made trips to the winners circle over four days of racing.

In the trainer’s race, Lexon BackhausBrian SlaterRandy Bonn and Kenneth Olson all have three winners on the meet heading into the final weekend of racing.  Five additional trainers have two wins so it is safe to say both the quarter horse and thoroughbred training titles will be up for grabs late on Sunday afternoon.

In the owner’s standings, Leigh Backhaus and Peach Racing have three winners each.   Both outfits have horses lined up for multiple races over the weekend, including stakes.

Weekend Stakes Watch

Seven stakes races, divided between Saturday and Sunday, will be contested on the meet’s final weekend.  The draw for Saturday’s races will be held on Wednesday and Sunday’s card will be drawn on Thursday. Here is a snapshot preview of the eligible horses as known by HRND:

August 2nd:

North Dakota Futurity – Big Cats Echo, Brickalicious, Echo Road, Eddie K, Goddess Artemis, Harlow Can Do, Jesa Plain Jane, Pie Eyed Scott, Queen of Aries, Report to Ole, Rockin the Party, Spy Guy

AQHA Bonus Challenge – field known at time of entry

NDQHRA Derby--  Blurred Cash, Coronas Girl, Dontthrotlemystyle, Littlebitofchocolate, Jumpin Mermaid, Major Dasher, Mark Set Go, Perks Prize Wagon

Dan Diemert Memorial – Freedomofexpression, Sweet Easy Cash, Crown Royal Time, Recklessly Knud, Eyesa La Jolla, Jennas Easy Cash

August 3rd:

Northern Plains Futurity – Bye Butch Bye Bob, Dashin Silk Coat, Eyes on the Pryze, JJ’s Special Sis, Luv That Cool Corona, Misty River Dancer, Rockin Jill, Shake Em Jenn, Streak N Special, Take a Rain Check

NDQHRA Futurity--  Jess a Gamble, SS Dynasty, Jazzin Chick, No Such Tellin, One Kool Toast, Jumpn the Moon, Shesa Easy Victory North Dakota Derby – B. Aferd, Boozeinablender, Classi Coyote, King Krews, Miss Sunny Merree, Nicks Executive, Nicks Freaze, Pie’s Golden Girl, Ridin Royal, Shin Daddy, Trevors Gold, Tuff Grit, Two Eyed Kid, Wild Addiction

Racing Free Allowance Races
News - Misc
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Little Track on the Prairie Runs Free

NDHP hosts two successful Racing Free allowance races

By Annise Montplaisir, NDHP Director of Communications

The North Dakota Horse Park made a big splash in the world of horse racing on Sunday, July 27th, becoming the first track in the nation to host not one but two Racing Free exclusive allowance races.  

Racing Free is an incentive program that strives to improve the integrity of horse racing through elimination of performance enhancing drugs. The Racing Free team, comprised of founders Leslie and Micah McKinney and Director of Marketing Danielle Bryan made their Fargo debut on Saturday the 26th. The group spent their two days at the track networking with horsemen and promoting Racing Free among Horse Park fans. Their popularity was evident, as they sold out of merchandise within the first couple hours on Saturday.

Racing Free has been received by Fargo horsemen with eagerness and curiosity. “We’ve gotten some really good feedback,” said Leslie McKinney. “I don’t thinkDoug we’ve heard any negativity about it… I think we’re getting around enough and we’re building a big enough reputation that they see we’re just trying to do what’s best for the industry.”

Although Sunday dawned chilly and windy- far from Saturday’s cheerful sunshine- the anticipation for the Racing Free races was tangible. “We’ve just been thrilled to be here and it’s been a wonderful weekend,” said Danielle Bryan prior to the races. “We can’t wait to see who wins. The horses are all great… so it’s going to be a good race.”

Both Racing Free allowance races- one for Thoroughbreds and the other for Quarter Horses- required the entered horses in each field to be registered in the Racing Free incentive program. The Racing Free Thoroughbred Allowance sponsored by Maberry Equine Insurance was swept up by crowd favorite Doug. Piloted by jockey Zack Ziegler, Doug drew away from the field in the stretch, edging out Wildwood Aragorn by a length and a half.

“A lot of class that horse has,” said Ziegler. “I let him drag me all the way around the turn and I started asking him before the head of the stretch and he gave me some more and just kind of went on with it.”

The six furlong race sported a seven horse field with classy contenders such as Golden Cedar who took first in his last start at Chippewa Downs.

Doug’s solid win in the Thoroughbred race was followed up by Ja Gols Fancy Man tearing up the stretch to take the Andreini & Company Racing Free Quarter Horse Allowance. The 400 yard dash was won with a time of 20.62 seconds.

Owner and trainer Junior Dolphus received handshakes and congrats as he left the winners circle. Beaming from the thrilling win, he expressed his support of Racing Free. “I think we need more people to support it here in North Dakota and make it a bigger race next year.”

“We hope that more tracks take the same races that the North Dakota Horse Park has,” said Leslie McKinney. If we can encourage other tracks to take steps and make changes then we’ve done our job.”

“Ya’ll are doing great things here,” said Danielle Bryan. “We appreciate it.”


Dean Kutz 2014
News - Misc
Monday, July 28, 2014

Return from ‘Hell

Tuffernhell shows he still has something left with an upset win in the Dean Kutz

Ryan Roshau, NDHP Media Relations

It was hard for those 1,800 in attendance not to get swept up in the hype that was focused on Alexassilvercharm. 

The six year-old gray mare owned by Curt Rohweder’s successful stable was the 2-5 favorite to capture the $8,400 Dean Kutz Memorial with panache.  Even the blanket of pink-hued prairie roses seemed destined to fit over the withers of the leading lady. Even Leon Glasser, from the family that owned second choice Tuffernhell came to terms with the reality of the situation. ”Our horse was not really in shape and we actually thought Alexassilvercharm would win it.”

But as one veteran owner in the stand stated simply and accurately in the race’s aftermath, “that’s why they call it horse racing.”

Horse Park fans were witnessed to that truth on Sunday afternoon as Tuffernhell, dismissed at odds of 9-2 made the most of every situation given to him and romped home by nearly 7 lengths.  The aforementioned favorite did not break well and despite making steady progress throughout the race, could not overcome the leader and finished second.

“On the last curve that’s when I saw he wasn’t tiring so then I figured this cool day helped us out,” Glasser said after the race. “A lot of things have to go right, and coming around the last turn is where I thought he had it.”

Kutz 2 3Jockey Shaun Herman sure had the race in his hands as he guided the five year-old son of Category Five home in a time of 1:42.40.  The chestnut gelding was an unimpressive fifth in a $2,100 Claiming race against open company a week ago but his owner Karen Glasser never lost faith in his chances.

“I had a good feeling today about him and yet you’re nervous about it and you’re thinking oh God, just win and when you do win it’s so exciting,” Karen Glasser said.  “I can’t tell you how exciting it is.”

And the Glasser’s have felt that excitement in Fargo four times over.  Tuffernhell won both the NDTOBA Derby and North Dakota Derby in 2012 and last summer he captured a $3,000 Claiming race on the meet’s final day.  Four of his seven career wins have come over the Fargo track his earnings now exceed $21,000 for his career.  

Since his first start back in June or 2011 his trainer has been the colorful Jim Fleming.  He like the Glassers are more known for their prowess with quarter horses but success is success and a horseman is a horseman.

“One thing I’ll say about Jim is training in this part of the country is tough on these trainers.  He works hard, takes care of the horses well,” Leon Glasser said.

And if anyone has witnessed a winner’s circle circus after a Fleming horse crosses the line first you know the passion runs deep.  It’s a passion that the Glassers felt should come rewarded. “After next weekend, Jim’s done such a good job, he’s the official owner we are giving him to him,” Leon Glasser said. “I think he’s going to retire him and you’ll probably see him here as a pony horse.”

A three-time stakes winner in Fargo living the good life parading future stars to the post?  That’s a scenario that will be tougher than hell to beat.




Proctor then Gamble
News - Misc
Friday, July 25, 2014

For Horse Park fans, this year’s handicapping has come down to two easy steps...

 Proctor then Gamble

By Ryan Roshau, HRND Media Relations Director

A year ago the only dangerous lifestyle Don Proctor knew was working as a heavy equipment operator on the oil fields in Western North Dakota.  The risk of climbing on the back of  half ton animal was a distant memory following a spill at Canberbury Park in 2010 that broke his back and damaged his shoulders.  Racing seemed to be in the rear-view mirror for a man in his mid-40’s but in the midst of a North Dakota winter, where racing could not be further from the mind, Proctor started his long road back to the track and racing in the Dakotas hasn’t been the same since.

For years Proctor has had a close relationship with trainer Bob Johnson who has his horses at the home place in Lemmon, SD during the winter and that happens to be only 90 minutes from the jockey’s weekday home in Dickinson. “I called him up this year and said if he needed my help to come out and break those babies on a nice day he should let me know,” Proctor said.  “We’ve needed each other for 20 years and sure enough, he called and needed the help and here we are.”

What started on those rural prairie pastures near the North and South Dakota border soon turned into winning trips around the track at Fort Pierre, South Dakota as Proctor won 11 races over a three weekend period in late April.  Johnson and Proctor moved on to Aberdeen in May and the result was staggering.  Proctor won six races on the card on May 11th, a personal record he had not topped in a quarter century of racing.  The following Saturday he won five more races.  When the dust settled on Memorial Day, Proctor had won 22 races at Brown County in three weekends for a total of 33 victories in the Jackrabbit State in one season. “No, no, never in my dreams did I see it going like that,” Proctor reflected. “It all just came back to me and it really is the livestock. About anyone can get them there and I was the one who was getting them there.” 

A horrific spill at Canterbury Park in 2010 snapped his back and tore up his shoulders.  He spent four years on the mend and didn’t know what was next.  “I’ve been in a few wrecks but that was the one that hurt bad.”

For a jockey who got his start in his home state of Wyoming, injuries had been a part of a career that started in the early 1990’s.  “I was hurt bad in Nevada in 1991 and kept going and then went up to Washington and hurt it all over again destroying my legs from the knees down.”  After that he gave up the sport and started a family.   But soon there was a call to the track from, as Proctor says, “some trainer, someplace” and he was pulling up his jockey boots again.

Such is the game for a journeyman jockey who has raced horses from Australia to Idaho, to Canada and more.  Eventually he landed at a place called home in Streeter, ND where stays on Friday nights during racing season as his regular job calls him to the oil fields 300 miles away.  “My wife and kids come to all my races though, she never misses a one,” Proctor said.  Well, there was one race on one particular day where wasn’t in the stands.  “That was the day of that spill at Canterbury four years ago,” Proctor reflects, “Can you believe that?”

And can you believe that in all the years of riding, Proctor doesn’t have a horse he considered “the one” until this year?  “Through those years I only had about two horses that won Futurities.” Proctor said.  “When I won that South Dakota bred Futurity this May with BHR Guys Flash Me that was just something how that horse won so easily.”  The gray filly is currently in Johnson’s barn at Canterbury Park and has not only won a stake in Minnesota but she just qualified for the $20,000 NCQHRA Futurity on August 3rd.  “That horse,” Proctor says, “Is bad bad fast.  She is a great tribute to the type of program that Bob runs.”

And the wins are also a tribute to a pretty good jockey who has continued his beat in Fargo.  Last weekend, Proctor won six races, including three stakes victories.  Bubby Haar serves as Proctor’s jockey agent, securing rides for the veteran while he is away working during the week.  Proctor is one of three jockeys Haar holds the book for with Rusty Shaw and Zack Ziegler being the others. “He’s well experienced and respected by the horsemen and not just for his riding abilities but for how he’s known off the track.”  Haar also points out another key that lifts the Proctor factor above others. “On these smaller tracks, in my opinion, the rider is more important to the outcome of the race than they are at the bigger tracks across the country.”

And those smaller tracks can still have a degree of danger as Proctor knows all too well and found out first hand last Saturday when he was banged around in the gate in a race that was declared no contest because of a wild melee. “I had two black eyes and I ripped the skin off of my hand.  I am still putting parts and pieces back together.”  But despite the tough going, Proctor still prefers one breed if he had a reluctant say. “My heart is with the Quarter Horses and that’s what they label me as, the Quarter Horse jockey.” Proctor admitted. “But I like to ride any horse with a good honest shot to win.  Honestly, I was the leading mule rider in Montana one year so if it has hair on it, I’ll ride it!”

And what does Proctor consider the key to his success no matter what he is riding? “I ride one race at a time and I do it for fun and I do it to take care of my friends like Bob,” Proctor said. “I have a job so this is fun.  I do it because I love it.”



Barn Notes
News - Misc
Thursday, July 24, 2014

Barn Notes

*Horsemen and avid racing fans were buzzing on Sunday afternoon following the impressive performance by The Flying Whizzer who blazed through 5 ½ furlongs in a time of 1:05.40, setting a new track record in the process.  The Florida-bred gelding owned and trained by Rodger Botosh had previously raced at Canterbury Park and Oaklawn Park earlier in 2014.   Even more impressive is the fact that he set the record breaking from the far outside post.  The previous 5 ½ furlong mark was set by the North Dakota-bred Rapid Jack who held it with a time of 1:06.10.

*Don Proctor leads the jockey standings with five winners on the weekend, including a pair of stakes on Saturday.  Rusty Shaw rode three winners on Sunday and Clyde Smith, injured in the first race on Saturday, came back to boot home a pair of winners on Sunday.

*It’s long been rumored that post position #10 (rarely used at the Horse Park as a full field is needed in a race for it to go to the post) is a highly unsuccessful one at the track due to its outside proximity.  On Sunday, however, that was clearly not the case as #10 was the winner of three consecutive races – a Horse Park first for the purple silks in its history.  It may have been a fitting coincidence to note that the Rein in Cancer event sponsor for the violet threads over the weekend was Midwest Sports Tours, a company owned by HRND General Manager Mike Schmitz.

*A field of eight has been nominated to next weekend’s Dean Kutz Memorial, a one mile test for older North Dakota-bred thoroughbreds.  Alexassilvercharm, a campaigner from Assiniboia Downs leads the pack along with two-time Horse Park Derby winner Tuffernhell.  Other nominees include starters from the past weekend; Dakota Girl, runner-up in last’ year’s Derby, Royal Nick, who won Sunday’s finale, and Buckorama, who scored at the track last July.  Unite Tonite, Nurse Jackie, and Corneto round out the octet.

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