Every year you can count on both owner confidence and delusion reigning supreme at Canterbury Park before the season starts. After many years of racing here, and 100's of owner and breeder wins, I've learned two absolute truths.
First there are the owners who know how to run economically efficient stables. They will have the top 2017 horses. They say very little. They keep things pretty close to vest. They have had success in the past, have a wall of stakes trophies to prove it, and actually know what a stakes winning Minnesota horse looks like. They understand variation and probability. They see no reason to let the masses know that they may have a steamer or two in the stable, and don't really want too many others to know it. If you ask them directly about their horses they may tell you a little something, but likely not.
Then there's the other group of owners. They know nothing about variation or probabilty. Every year they tell everybody that will listen how great their horse or horses are, and how great a racing season they will have. Often they'll tell you about some silly workout, or blow a minor comment their trainer shared with them out of proportion. I've even heard them think their horse is on the verge of greatness because they hit the board in some ridiculous no field $5,000 purse race at Fonner Park.
You know the type. They also likely thought Hillary Clinton would easily win the election, the Wild would win the Stanley Cup, the Vikings would be in the Super Bowl, and the Wolves and Twins were going to make the playoffs.
I love racing, and sickly find humor in pretenders, but I also feel bad because racing is a very expensive game for the delusional.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.