by Logan Gruber
Cindy Besser, Sauk Rapids, has been raising quarter horses for racing since 2001. And in September of this year, she had a big win.
Fishin’ in the Brook, a 3-year-old, won the Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby at Canterbury Park Sept. 6. This is a 400-yard race reserved only for 3-year-olds, and it is only run once per year so each horse only has one chance at winning it. The winnings? $44,400 and a 2-foot-tall crystal vase. This is the first time Cindy and Lorin Besser, or their trainer, Shane Miller, have won this particular race.
“It is so exciting when you pick a stud and then they’re born and you wait for all these years to get here . . . he’s been just a gift,” Besser said of Fishin’ in the Brook.
Jockey Dale Beaty rode the 3-year-old to victory, winning by half a length. Their final time was 20.366 seconds for the 400-yard race, just .404 seconds slower than the Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby record.
Fishin’ in the Brook came in last in a race just a week earlier.
Fishin’ in the Brook
The American quarter horse is well known both as a race horse and for its performance in rodeos, horse shows and as a working ranch horse.
Fishin’ in the Brook’s mother is Bailey. Bailey’s great-grandsire is Nasrullah, who is also the grandsire of Secretariat. Secretariat was a thoroughbred racehorse who, in 1973, became the first U.S. Triple Crown winner in 25 years.
Fishin’ in the Brook hasn’t been home to Sauk Rapids since October 2013. Racehorses typically stay with their trainer. Fishin’ in the Brook, for instance, stays with his trainer in Oklahoma during the winter, spends the spring and summer in Minnesota racing, and then goes to Iowa until the middle of October.
The Bessers own Bessers Bike Barn as well as Roasted to Perfection, also in Sauk Rapids. But Cindy says raising horses is her full-time job.
They have a number of race horses in their barn currently: four 2-year-olds, one 3-year-old, two pregnant mares and Bailey (the 25-year-old mother of Fishin’ in the Brook.).
“From the day these babies are born, they are trained to be race horses,” Besser said in a Newsleader interview. “When my 2-year-olds were babies, it was amazing to watch them race in the pasture.”
Race horses spend about 22 hours per day in a stall and two hours exercising or being cleaned. Besser said the horses have three meals a day, are brushed, showered and have their own fans.