07/04/2013 7:17AM

Canterbury Park: Canchari rides winners of both stakes

Coady Photography
It's Tamareno, No. 3, gets up to win the Princess Elaine Stakes despite having had trouble on the turn.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Young jockey Alex Canchari, 3-years removed from working in the Cantina at Canterbury Park, rode the winner in both $50,000 stakes races on July 3  at the Shakopee oval in front of 15,168 fans.

In the Princess Elaine Stakes for Minnesota bred fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles over the turf course, Canchari, aboard It’s Tamareno, handled traffic issues down the backstretch to get up right at the wire for a nose victory over the front-running Happy Hour Honey.

“Alex has such soft hands,” said winning trainer Percy Scherbenske.  “Horses just seem to run for him.”

It’s Tamareno appeared blocked with nowhere to go entering the turn.  Still in fifth place heading into the stretch with a wall of horses in front of him, Canchari angled outside for room.

“We got in a little trouble at the top of that turn,” Scherbenske said, “but Alex stayed relaxed. This filly is a real sweetheart, she’ll do whatever you ask.”

When she had room in the stretch and was asked for run, she found her stride late and was able to get up to win by a head.  Happy Hour Honey was second, while Talkin Bout closed sharply for third.  It’s Tamereno returned $6.80 and was timed in 1:42.46.

In the Blair’s Cove, Canchari, aboard 3-1 Ghost Dance, broke well and settled into a stalking position behind longshot Mack’s Tiger Paw and co-favorite Coconino Slim.  After a swift half-mile in 45.86 seconds and a sizzling six furlongs  in 1:09.68 the leaders began to falter and Canchari loosened the reins on Ghost Dance.  The nearly white 6-year old gelding burst to the lead and drew off to win by three lengths.

“I worked this horse in the morning and he felt really good," Canchari said. "In the race, he started out pretty aggressive, but I got him to relax and he did the rest.”

Ghost Dance switched from dirt to turf for the Blair's Cove.

“You could tell the way he got over the ground that he would handle the turf," said winning trainer Brian Porter. "I wasn’t sure if he’d stretch or not, though.”

Ghost Dance handled the distance just fine, posting a new turf course record of 1:40.86 for 1 1/16 miles. He returned $8.80. 

Mack’s Tiger Paw held on for second and Tubby Time finished third.