SHAKOPEE, MN – The curtain came down on the 2016 Canterbury Park season Saturday afternoon with an 11 race program that featured a pair of six furling stakes: the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile and the $40,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint.
In the Shakopee Juvenile, Minnesota bred filly Shipmate went off as the favorite and set a hot early pace before slowing late.
Undeterred by a troubled break was Even Thunder (12.60) under Erick Cruz. He stuck a head in front of second choice Jack Snipe’s (4.60) at the top of the lane and lengthened his lead to the wire, winning by 4 for trainer Dan McFarlane. Warrior’s Kid (3.80) was third.
“He broke good,” said Cruz. “The pace was fast so I didn’t want to be too close but I wanted to be in range.”
“We put blinkers on him two back and that worked well,” said McFarlane “but the last race [Careless Navigator] he got wiped out at the gate and we lost all chance even though he still finished second. He still had some trouble today but he overcame that and we won the race.”
Even Thunder covered the six furlongs in 1:09.92.
A huge crowd of Tom Metzen’s family and friends were on hand to celebrate his life and legacy in the race named in his honor, The Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint.
Trainer Robertino Diodoro’s Storm Power took a lot of late money, going from 7-1 10 minutes to post to 2-1 when the gates opened and that money proved to be smart money as Storm Power (6.80) outlasted Pricelesscommodity (5.60) down the lane to take the six furlong Metzen in 1:09.92. Dixie Surge (5.00) was third.
An emotional Diodoro, a close friend of Metzen’s, explained what it was like to win the race named for his friend.
“We won this race before it was named for Tom,” he said. “And it means so much more now. Tom gave a lot to racing in Arizona and here and he was a good friend. It was a great win and it really means a lot.”