The start-stop-start-stop 2020 racing year did not deter Shaun Rau from winning the prestigious Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year title. The 39-year-old horse player from Lakeville, runner up in the 2019 HOY standings, pushed past 2010 winner Ron Hafner to capture the honors by a score of 12 to 10. [final standings here]. Rau receives the $2,000 first prize and Hafner $500 for his second-place effort.
Rau dominated in the weekly $10 super satellites held throughout 2020, accruing the majority of his points there. He also had a second-place finish in a weekly Road to Kentucky event.
The 2021 journey to Handicapper of the Year begins Saturday with the NHC Last Chance Qualifier and the In The Money Contest. The $10 Spring Tune Up Super Satellites begin Jan. 21 and the free-to-enter 14-week Road to Kentucky will begin Jan. 30.
Handicapping contests will continue to be hosted every month in the Canterbury Racebook; some will be free to enter, others require an entry fee, but all will award winners Handicapper of the Year points that will accumulate toward the 2021 Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year award.
The tradition of posting an advance wagering line continues. Bruce Meyer has won the title six times since his first in 2011 and has never gone two years without winning. Meyer is installed as the 3 to 1 favorite. Rau gives no indication he will not again pursue the glory. He is 6 to 1 second choice. Hafner is persistent and always a danger to have a big year, 10 to 1.
Mike Ferrozzo is well-known on the national scene, won Canterbury HOY in 2017, and should he take an interest in 2021 the 12 to 1 line would be an overlay. Terry Severson finished third in 2020. A full year in 2021 increases his chances. Dean Carleton is a longtime player that took interest in the weekly contest scene after performing well in Road to Kentucky, finishing second overall to Joshua Taarud. He is 15 to 1 along with Ron White, the best contest player never to win HOY. Pam Kight and Ray Hassan will be on the board at some point. The Vanguard includes the computer data players like Rick Dahl who rely on sources such as OptixEQ and HTR. (Dahl is the offshore choice to win the title IF all contests started after 3pm.)
The Young Guns, once highly touted, have fallen to 50 to 1. This group includes Super Stats Dave and 2020 R2K winner Josh Taarud who have been labeled by one aforementioned handicapper as ‘cheap speed’.
Bruce Meyer 3-1
Shaun Rau 6-1
Ron Hafner 10-1
Terry Severson 12-1
Mike Ferrozzo 12-1
Ron White 15-1
Dean Carleton 15-1
Pam Kight 20-1
Ray Hassan 20-1
The Vanguard 25-1
The Young Guns 50-1
Handicapping contests continue to offer added value to horseplayers wishing to capitalize on their opinions.