05/31/2005 11:00PM

Canterbury track report


The first sign of summer at Canterbury Park is the track's 3 1/2-furlong races, which offer the career debuts of the most precocious 2-year-olds on the grounds.

Trainer Wilson Brown dominates the local "chute" races nearly every year, and it was no surprise to see his homebred I'macowboybaby be favored in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden race in Saturday's second race. Starting from post 8, jockey Seth Martinez sent I'macowboybaby away sharply and quickly guided his mount to the inside through the turn. The move appeared to intimidate Bjellebo, who had broken from post 1 and shied a bit from his rival.

But rider Martin Escobar asked Bjellebo to cut through a narrow gap left by I'macowboybaby as the two left the turn, and Bjellebo responded with a visually impressive surge - wresting command, then edging clear in the stretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 40.11 seconds. Mike Biehler trains Bjellebo for owner-breeder Curtis Sampson, chairman of Canterbury Park.

Russ Sampson, manager of the racing stable operated by his family, explained how Bjellebo came by his name. Rasmuss Samson Bjellebo was the name of Russ Sampson's great-grandfather.

"My dad asked us to save the name for a good one, and we thought this colt would be the right kind," Russ Sampson said. "This colt makes you think of the 12-year-old kid who looks 19."