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STATE ASSOCIATION NEWS the two-time defending champion in the race. There was also Smooth Chiraz, four-for-six lifetime and winner of the Victor S. Myers Stakes his last time out locally. This one created all sorts of speculation. Heliskier alone had everyone guessing. He hadn’t run in two years, losing to Bourbon County in his last race. He had undergone at least two surgeries to repair knee damage since. Was he ready? Could he run again at this level? “We wished we could have gotten a race in him,” said owner Marlene Colvin. In a three-horse photo finish, Hold For More, under Dean Butler, got the win in front of Bourbon County and Smooth Chiraz, a neck and a head separating the top three with Heliskier two lengths back in fourth. The race was named for a four-time winner of this sprint, Crocrock, owned by Dale Schenian, who owns Hold For More. Francisco Bravo has been the trainer for all five of those victories. “This was a phenomenal group of horses,” Bravo said. “It was just a beautiful race.” Schenian did his trainer one better. “This is the best Minnesota-bred race in history,” he said. “God bless America.” Hey, where’s the fire? That was the perfect question at Canterbury as Fireman Oscar unveiled his stretch run, increasing his margin of victory by a nose, a head, a neck, a half, a length…until he hit the wire 6 ¾ lengths in front of Devil’s Teeth in the $85,000 Northern Lights Futurity. What a way to break your maiden, with a check for $51,000. There’s not much to go on sometimes with these 2-year-olds, although there was something about the Fireman, who was making his second start. He made his debut just two weeks prior, finishing second to another competitor in this race, Chaska. With Larren Delorme in the irons, trainer Dave Van Winkle sent out the Fireman as the 5-1 second choice to even-money favorite Devil’s Teeth, who was a nose in front of Fridaynitestar at the wire. Fireman Oscar become the first winner for stallion Law Enforcement. He was bred by owner Peter Mattson. For photos of all the Minnesota Festival of Champions winners, go to the Minnesota news section of americanracehorse.com.

MTA Yearling Sale Breaks Records at Canterbury The MTA Yearling Sale was held August 22 at Canterbury Park, and the new Expo Center was a fantastic sales arena. A huge crowd watched as 49 of the 62 yearlings presented sold to new owners. A filly by Midshipman out of Lion Cub brought $50,000 as the sale topper. This outstanding filly was consigned by Dove Hill Farm, agent for Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick. Congratulations to Barry and Joni Butzow on their purchase. Gross proceeds of the sale were a record-breaking $517,350. This tops the previous record of $454,100 set in 2014. The 2016 average price per yearling fell just $2 shy of the 2014 record of $10,560. The 2016 median sale price of $6,500 was the highest since 2002 when there was a special bonus offered for a sales graduate winning the Northern Lights Futurity or Debutante and the Minnesota Derby or Oaks. The 2002 median was $7,000, but that year is considered an anomaly. 54 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016

Congratulations to all of the new owners. We wish you the best of luck with your new Minnesota-breds and look forward to seeing all of you in the winner’s circle often. To the breeders and consignors, a huge thank you! The investment in time, money and prayers (that these babies don’t hurt themselves) is incredible. The MTA appreciates these Minnesota-bred breeders who are the basis of our industry. For complete results, go to minnesotabred.com.

NORTH CAROLINA THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION North Carolina Thoroughbred Association news for this issue is available on the American Racehorse website at americanracehorse.com.

THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION OF OKLAHOMA NEWS Will Rogers Downs to Undergo $3.5 Million Upgrade Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is undergoing an extensive renovation that will provide guests an even better entertainment experience once it is completed in the spring. Overall, more than 43,000 square feet of renovations are occurring inside the casino. Construction is underway and slated for completion by April 2017 at a cost of $3.5 million. “We have very loyal guests who enjoy visiting us for live racing, live entertainment and gaming,” said Rusty Stamps, general manager of Will Rogers Downs. “We strive to provide a high-quality experience at all our casinos and felt it was the right time to enhance the experience at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.” The gaming floor will continue to offer 250 electronic games in a new location on the south side of the casino. The new layout will offer a more cohesive gaming experience for guests and create the opportunity to introduce some game variety. The popular simulcast viewing area will be relocated to the northwest corner of the casino. It will feature numerous large screen TVs and seating for more than 100 racing fans. The Horseshoe banquet space will allow for 150 additional race fans during major events like the Kentucky Derby. There will also be an indoor paddock observation area that highlights the new simulcast room. When it comes to live entertainment in Claremore, the Dog Iron Saloon is the area’s most popular spot. It will receive VIP treatment with a new bar, new dance floor and new stage area, decorated with country and western accessories. The newest addition to the casino will be the Dog Iron Grill. It will feature two seating areas with room for nearly 90 patrons near the main entrance of the casino. Construction began in June on a new sanitary sewer line that eliminates the outdated lagoon system near the track. The project is a joint effort with the city of Claremore that will connect to the city’s sanitary sewer line near the entrance to the Will Rogers Turnpike. It will provide opportunities for rural customers and Justus-Tiawah School to connect to the line. It is slated for completion in January 2017.

American Racehorse - September/October 2016  
American Racehorse - September/October 2016  

This issue of American Racehorse magazine features a long-form article about the magic of Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska, plus a lo...