09/11/2011 5:44PM

Canterbury Park: Atta Boy Roy connects as favorite in Shot of Gold


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Graded stakes winner Atta Boy Roy seized the lead from front -runner Humble Smarty at the half-mile pole and went on to capture the $35,000 Shot of Gold Stakes on closing day Sunday at Canterbury Park.

Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the six-furlong sprint, Atta Boy Roy broke alertly and tracked just off of Humble Smarty down the backstretch.  Atta Boy Roy ($3.80) cruised past the pacesetter and opened up a lead of three lengths before jockey Rusty Shaw eased off the accelerator and hand rode under the wire.  The winning margin was a half-length over the hard-charging Just Jebicah. Atta Boy Roy completed the distance in 1:11.06.

“He’s a smart horse,” trainer Valerie Lund said. “He did what he had to do to win the race.  My instructions to Rusty were to win the race, but not kill the horse, though it ended up a bit closer than I would have liked.

“We had to back him up for this race since we plan on routing him next,” Lund continued.“I breezed him seven furlongs last week with a four-furlong finish that ended up being pretty fast.  I was hoping that I didn’t take the speed out of him.”

Don’tmakememad outfinished five-furlong track record holder Humble Smarty on the rail to finish third.

Loss of income will affect 2012 purses

Average attendance increased for the third consecutive year to a Canterbury Park record 6,143. The meet had originally been scheduled for 62 days but was shortened to 56 due to the state government shutdown. Ontrack wagering remained flat, a positive considering that two of the largest wagering days over the Fourth of July weekend were lost. Import handle, the money bet on Canterbury races online and from tracks in other states, increased by 6.3 percent.

The loss of 20 days of revenue from July 1 through July 20 will impact the horsemen’s purses next season.

“It is likely we will have to run fewer race days or offer lower purses,” track president Randy Sampson said. “Neither option is good for the racing industry and the state of Minnesota.”

Tubby Time, a 5-year-old Minnesota-bred owned by Jeff Larson and trained by Mac Robertson, was named horse of the meet. He won four races from five starts, including the $50,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes and the $35,000 Minnesota Turf Championship.

Robertson, who won three races Sunday, was the leading thoroughbred trainer for the seventh consecutive season with 43 victories. Jockey Dean Butler rode 83 winners and captured the riding title for the third time. Al and Bill Ulwelling with 15 wins, were the leading Thoroughbred owners for the second consecutive year.

Bob Johnson, winning his first title at Canterbury, was the leading Quarter Horse trainer with 11 wins. Tom Wellington was leading Quarter Horse rider with 12 wins and J K Running Horses were leading owners.