SHAKOPEE, MN – A pair of long time Canterbury Park quarter horsemen were leaving the paddock prior to the $54,400 North Central Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity. One turned to the other and said, “We’ve come a long way from drawing this up at a table in the track kitchen fifteen odd years ago, haven’t?”
“Sure have,” was the reply.
That first race, won the by Glory Be Movin for trainer Jerry Livingston and co-owner Jim Olson, was run for $26,000 in 1997. Nineteen years later Olson presented the trophy to trainer Jason Olmstead for the third consecutive time as Heza Prospect ($29.60), owned by the Magnificent 7 LLC, captured the 20th running of the Futurity covering the 350 yards in 18.07 in a very close finish over favorite Faster Then Hasta ($5.80) and Bold Ruller ($5.00).
Heza Prospect looked like the clear winner with about 50 yards to go, but Faster Than Hasta was gaining with every stride to the wire
“I rode for 15-years and I have a pretty good feel when they get to the wire,” said Olmstead. “But when I saw it live I didn’t really know but when I saw the slow-motion, I knew.
“This was a tough field,” he continued. “I thought a couple of my others, Mascoutah and Chick in Eagle, came out of the last race great. Ed’s [Ross Hardy] horse is very impressive and Bob’s [Johnson] is no slouch either – he was the only one in that had already won a futurity.”
Olmstead had six that qualified for the final, but One Famous Sign scratched, leaving him five in the nine horse field – all from different owners.
“Everybody is happy at he start,” he said. “So you’re a hero at the beginning anyway.”
And the meet’s leading quarter horse trainer was a hero at the end as well – at least for the connections of Heza Prospect.