08/31/2004 11:00PM

Canterbury track report


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings and Canterbury Park have enjoyed a long-standing association that has been bolstered in recent years by several ties between the track and the local NFL franchise.

Track announcer Paul Allen is also the play-by-play announcer for the radio network that broadcasts the Vikings' games on its statewide network of stations. Vikings head coach Mike Tice is a Canterbury regular, and members of the football team and the local jockey colony have competed in a number of charity contests in the last few seasons.

Veteran running back Moe Williams joined the ranks of Vikings-connected owners at the track when he campaigned Quaker's Surprise at Canterbury Park this season. Williams, who has played in the league for nine years and for the Vikings in eight of those seasons, attended school in Kentucky and began his horse-ownership venture through an introduction to members of Canterbury Chairman Curtis Sampson's family.

Quaker's Surprise has been in contention in seven starts this season, but is still attempting to crack his one-other-than allowance condition. Trainer Mike Biehler has entered Quaker's Surprise in a statebred allowance contest Friday night, the day after the Vikings meet Seattle in the team's final preseason game.

* In his unassuming fashion, leading rider Derek Bell is in the process of nailing down his fourth riding title at Canterbury Park. The leading apprentice at Canterbury in 1997, Bell has continued to dominate the local standings in every season in the last six years, except 2002, when he finished second to his friend and rival Seth Martinez. Bell has won 85 races at the meet through Tuesday and is on course to break Scott Stevens's all-time earnings record at Canterbury Park in the last week of the meeting, which concludes on Labor Day.