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Northern Plains Derby 2014
News - Misc
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

House of Cards

Its a Royal Flush the latest example of the Bob Johnson influence on the Northern Plains Derby

By Ryan Roshau, HRND Media Relations

The record book will show that Kenny Olson trained the winner of Sunday’s $5,000 Northern Plains Derby and with all due respect to that veteran horseman, those in the know will long consider this race another example of conditioner Bob Johnson’s stronghold on racing in Fargo.  For the fifth time in six runnings at the Fargo track, a Johnson trainee won the Derby.  This time it was with a chestnut gelding who, like Johnson himself, came with South Dakota roots.

HouseofCardsThat gelding, a battle-tested son of Its a Royal Time had won $12,647 in his career based exclusively in South Dakota and Minnesota.  It was a career that started early in the barn of Johnson who had him since he was a long yearling.  He was always highly thought of by the Lemmon, SD native who saw him finished second in the SD-Bred QH Futurity in May of 2013.   He was fourth in the $20,000 Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ Futurity last summer and Johnson believed in him enough to give him a shot in the lucrative NCQHRA Futurity at Canterbury in August, a race valued at $45,000 that saw him finish sixth.  “He’s always been real sound,” Johnson said. “He’s been a good horse from the get-go.  He’s just a hard trying, good horse.”

But after back to back runner-up efforts as the heavy favorite at Fort Pierre this spring there was a thought that he was getting passed over by some of the deeper horses in the Johnson barn.  One of which was Hasta Be Brief who won the SD-Bred Derby at Brown County Fair this year besting Sammi Santana, the winner of the Northern Plains Futurity at Canterbury last summer.

With the stir fry of results, the Northern Plains Derby in Fargo turned out to be a collection of talented horses with countless potential outcomes to one of the most anticipated races of the meet.

Perhaps it was the deep resume of It’s a Royal Flush or Johnson’s reputation for winners, or maybe it was the hot start that jockey Don Proctor was off to at the Horse Park meet, but all those factors conspired to make the chestnut a 9-5 favorite at post time.   The eight horse field was closely bunched on the odds board as 15-1 were the highest odds of the longest shot, a horse named Jumpn Mermaid who was a consistent                                                                                    second in three of her last four starts.

Breaking from the five hole, ‘Royal Flush was tested all the way and Proctor knew they were in for a horse race, “I got challenged the whole way and I wasn’t sure as it was nip and tuck but we had just enough at the end.”

Just enough indeed, withholding a furious charge by Sammi Santana, the 5-2 second choice, to win by a neck.  Third choice Hasta Be Brief, another Johnson graduate was 2 ¼ lengths in front of North Dakota-bred Dontthrotlemystyle, who was subsequently disqualified to fifth, replaced by Blurred Cash.

Back at Canterbury after his BHR Guys Flash Me qualified for the Finals for the August 3rd NCQHRA Futurity, Johnson took time to reflect on adding more hardware to his Fargo mantle. “I don’t know about that,” he laughed, “good horses usually do it.”

But Proctor, a long-time associate of Johnson’s, gives a great deal of credit to the moustache man. “He gets the right inventory of horses and puts them where they belong,” Proctor said. “You enter them where they belong you’ll be ok.”

And with the Northern Plains Futurity in a couple of weeks there could be a pair of “ok” juveniles lining up for Johnson as it is safe to say he has designs on that race as well.



La Jolla Makes 'Em Hollar
News - Misc
Monday, July 21, 2014


La Jolla Makes ‘Em Hollar

By: Ryan Roshau 

Ruby La Jolla, the 8-5 favorite streaked past them all to take the $4,800 Running Colors Maturity on Opening Day of 2014 Horse Park season.

The Sorrel Mare by Dashing La Jolla did not get off to the best of starts under jockey Zack Ziegler but she rallied in mid-stretch of the 350 yard dash to score a ¾ length victory over Chippewa Downs-veteran Ja Gols Fancy Man and a horse coming off of a two-year hiatus Ima Dashin Stoli.

Peach Racing Stable’s charge stopped the clock in 19.330 and paid $5.20 for the victory.  Brian Slater was the winning trainer.

Ruby La Jolla tipped off her potential by winning her last two races at Turf Paradise in Arizona this past winter, posting eye-popping speed figures for those efforts.  Her last win, in a $6,000 Quarter Horse Final on April 14th hung up a 97 Speed Index rating.  When she breezed 220yards at Chippewa Downs late last month, it proved to be a bullet work as she stopped the clock in 13.08.

The Maturity was the five year-old mare’s third consecutive win and her fifth triumph in 14 career starts.  She has now banked over $20,000 in her career.

Open Quarter Horse Futurity
News - Misc
Monday, July 21, 2014

Open Futurity Adjourned

Tricky questions in the case of the Open Futurity answered by Ms Jess N Alibi

By: Annise Montplaisir 

No alibis were needed to defend Ms Jess N Alibi’s hair-raising finish in the $15,000 Open Quarter Horse Futurity. Despite the uncertainty of going into the race as a first time starter and overcoming a difficult break from the gates, the two year old sorrel filly blew her way to the front of the field.

Open futurityAnd what a field it was. Dashin Silk Coat and Flyin Dekalb both broke their maiden in their first start, and Luv That Cool Corona finished a game third behind BHR Guys Flash Me in the SD-Bred QH Futurity Trials at Aberdeen. It was something of a mystery as to who would take the race. “There were some tough horses in there,” said owner and trainer Craig Stein.  “We had hopes for her and she showed a little today, so we’re super happy.”

“Alibi,” who was the only first time starter in the race bided her time at Canterbury Park until the futurity.  “We were going to run her at [Chippewa Downs] and just didn’t have her ready in time," said Stein. But ready she was for the Open Futurity. Finishing the 350 yard race in a time of 19.31 seconds, the filly just edged out Thrilling Finish and Flying Dekalb for second and third, respectively.

Jockey Don Proctor sensed he had the race won from the moment she left the starting gates. “She was there from the word go.” Stein added that the talented filly’s next stop will likely be at Prairie Meadows. 

“We’re champions!” exclaimed Stein’s son Tyler. Innocent until proven guilty, or a champion until proven otherwise, only time will tell in the case of this gifted filly. 

A Perfect Blend
News - Misc
Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Perfect Blend

Boozeinablender renders a rousing victory in the HRND Derby

By: Ryan Roshau

Derby recap

The weekend of July 19th and 20th was supposed to turn out this way.  The flashy chestnut filly was destined it seemed to run away from the competition in the bright North Dakota sunshine to claim victory in a race at the Horse Park. 

That was the script Devron Leingang hoped would be written exactly one year ago in the North Dakota Futurity but his favored filly Boozeinablender lost all chance out of the starting gate when a stirrup strap gave way and the filly unseated her rider.  But 364 days later the result could not have been more reversed as Boozinablender cantered home an eight-length winner in the $6,500 HNRD Derby on Opening Day. 

“It’s a lot of satisfaction.  After last year, a thing like that makes you almost want to give up,” Leingang said following the race.  “But you have to think of the horse and she deserved another shot so you come back again.”

Boozeinablender was made the 3-5 race favorite in the field of six that included Joe Kid, a winner of back to back races in impressive fashion at Chippewa Downs.  Boozeinablender, under jockey Don Proctor, went to the lead as the horses progressed down the backstretch after breaking out of the far chute.  Proctor eased her into the lead while Joe Kid sat just off of her flank.  On the far turn, Proctor asked the daughter of Pie’s Prospect for just a little more and she answered the question resoundingly, opening up around the far turn.  The stretch run was a mere procession as the Horse Park faithful roared their approval.  Joe Kid was second and longshot Ridin Royal was third.  The winner paid $3.20 for the victory.

The performance was part of a long-range plan of progression that Leingang has been mapping since the winter, starting with some acid test races north of the border at Assiniboia Downs.  Three straight in-the-money finishes resulted in Leingang lowering her into a $6,000 Maiden Claiming race on July 4th weekend, a race she won by a length and a half as the 3-5 favorite.

“She had some good races at the beginning of the year we could have stayed at the same level ($12,000 Maiden Special Weights) but obviously you want to get the win, you want to get her confidence up and peaking right now and that’s what it looks like we got done.”

And by getting it done on Saturday, Boozeinablender made plenty of party-goers in attendance very happy, including a set of patrons fully enthralled in a Bachelor Party on the track apron. 

So how was the frozen name concocted?

“I think everybody probably struggles with naming a horse, Leingang laughed. “You’re just trying to think of names and you can’t think of a good one and I was driving one day and heard Margaritaville and it goes through the chorus and I said, ‘I’m going to try that name.’”

And now it’s a name that the Horse Park crowd and North Dakota racing knows all too well.   But there’s another recipe to be written as she will attempt a Derby-Double in two weeks at the North Dakota Derby on August 3rd.   

Time will only tell what Boozeinablender will whip up for that one.

Renewals and Returns
News - Misc
Saturday, July 12, 2014

Renewals and Returns

2014 NDHP Meet Preview

Ryan Roshau, NDHP Media Relations

North Dakota Horse Park’s 2014 season, the three weekend centerpiece of racing in the Dakotas that starts on July 19th, has the potential of presenting racing at its finest.

NDHP features six days of live racing, buoyed by a stakes calendar that anticipates over $130,000 in purses.  The story of this year’s schedule is “Renewals and Returns” as many races continue to add another page to their story at NDHP while a handful of races are renewing their place on the calendar.

For significance, the highlight of the meet could be the first ever contests made up of exclusive “Racing Free” registered horses as a pair of Allowance tests (one for quarter horses and one for thoroughbreds) will be held the weekend of July 26th and 27th.  Both races will carry a purse of $5,500 and enrolled horses will be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 upon victory following a clean test. It is the first series of races of its kind ever run at any racetrack.

The highest grossing race figures to be the return for the first time in five years of the $16,000 Northern Plains Futurity to be run on the meet’s final weekend.  JJ’s Special Sis and Misty River Dancer who ran second and third, respectively in the Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ Futurity late last month in Shakopee are intriguing candidates. Other quarter horse races of high quality include the chance of seeing some of the best horses to appear all meet in the $15,000 HRND Open Futurityand the $10,000 estimated AQHA Bonus Challenge.  Last year’s winner, the powerful Streakin Zoomer is under consideration for a return for Reliance Ranches LLC so history could repeat itself in early August.

Expect Sweet Easy Cash and last year’s Derby champ Eyesa LaJolla to be the top two garnering attention in the return of the Dan Diemert Memorial. Meanwhile, Dontthrotlemystyle and Major Dasher could renew their rivalry in the NDQHRA Derby as the duo has run 1-2 and 2-1 respectively in their last two races at Chippewa Downs. The NDQHRA Futurity, meanwhile, features eight nominees and could end up coming down to Flyin Dekalb and Jumpn the Moon, who have both showed steady promise in recent starts. 

The thoroughbreds will be showcased in several key races for horses born or based in North Dakota. The HRND ND Bred Derby on opening day could feature a clash between the NoDak stalwart of 2014 Joe Kid, he of the back to back wins in Belcourt.  He could meet his match however in the fast filly Boozeinablender whose consistent runs at Winnipeg this spring were rewarded with her first trip to the winner’s circle earlier this month at Assiniboia Downs.

That July 19th Derby will set the table for the $10,000 North Dakota Derby at the one mile distance on August 3rd.  The Futurity, as it does every year, will sharpen the picture of prominence with this year’s freshman crop.  The Futurity could highlight multiple Chippewa Downs winner Big Cat’s Echo, who scored by nearly 9 lengths in his last outing on July 6th but the Futurity also features at least one rapidly improving, lightly raced candidate. The Dean Kutz Memorial for elder horses will be the featured race on the meet’s middle weekend, running for the first time since 2008.  Tuffernhell, a multiple stakes winner at the track could be a key factor in that late July race along with Alexassilvercharm, a six year-old gray bullet based in Winnipeg.

A jockey’s incentive, featuring a $3,500 bonus to the top rider, is just one of the many prizes that awaits horsemen and horseflesh at the 2014 meet.







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