A pair of $100,000 one mile turf stakes at Canterbury Park on Sunday drew 11 entries each as the Lady Canterbury Stakes and the Mystic Lake Mile highlight the 10 race Father’s Day card.
Trainer Joe Sharp has three entered in the Lady Canterbury Stakes including the morning line favorite, Mexican Miss.
She comes in off a short break having been off since a third place finish behind a pair of graded stakes winners in the New Orleans Ladies at Fairgrounds on March 26. She’s been working well for her return including a bullet work of :49.3 on June 7.
“She’ll be tough to beat,” said Sharp.
Last year’s Northbound Pride Oaks winner, America Mon Amie returns to Canterbury for the first time since that triumph having picked up another stakes win in the interim and comes in off a sharp allowance score at Arlington.
Stoupinator, who finished behind Mexican Miss in the New Orleans Ladies, will be looking to turn the tables as she returns to a turf course where she is four for five in her career including last year’s HBPA Distaff. With not a lot of pace in this year’s edition, Stoupinator should be closest of all the contenders and may get the first jump on the early leaders.
Sharp also saddles the morning line favorite in the Mystic Lake Mile with graded stakes placed Aztec Brave. Aztec Brave has only missed the board twice in his last 12 starts – one a turf sprint after a five month vacation and the other over a sloppy Fairgrounds main track. With conditions looking ideal in Shakopee for the Mile, expectations are high for Aztec Brave.
“He’s just an honest horse,” Sharp said. “He got a bit aggressive in that last race and opened up a big lead on the backside and came up a little short. This is his third start off a layoff and I expect a big effort.”
Graded Stakes placed Granny’s Kitten bypassed the Wise Dan at Churchill yesterday for a shot here. Off since an allowance score at Keeneland in late April, the Ramsey homebred has been training consistently and appears ready for a solid return.
Last year’s Mystic Lake Derby winner, Nun the Less, will makes his seasonal debut in the Mile. He closed out last season with three straight graded stakes appearances, managing a third in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby. However he has been off since November and this is not a soft field of 11.
Robertino Diodoro sends out Blue Bomber, winner of three of six on this Canterbury turf course, who is a quarter of a length away from having won four straight at turf paradise. He comes in off of wins in the Wildcat and Hasta La Vista Stakes.
West Point Thoroughbreds sends their first runner to Canterbury in Toasting Master. The 4-year old son of Congrats will try the turf for the first time after being rained off in an Indiana $40,000 optional, which he won. He’s worked consistently over the Churchill Downs turf and trainer Dale Romans was satisfied enough to enter him here.
While the Lady Canterbury may have been void of early pace, the Mile is not lacking at all. Several of the contenders have a very quick turn of foot and, if they are ready, the race could set up for either of the returnees, Nun the Less or Granny’s Kitten.
First post on Father’s Day is 12:54 PM with the $20,000 Skip Zimmerman Quarter Horse Stakes on tap as the 2nd race on the card.
Heather – Superfecta Box: Mexican Miss, Calypso Run, My Blue Sky and America Mon Amie
Ted – Win/Place: Stoupinator Exacta Box: Stoupinator and Mexican Miss
Mystic Lake Mile
Heather – Superfecta Box: Aztec Brave, Blue Bomber, Nun the Less and Granny’s Kitten
Ted – Exacta Box: Granny’s Kitten/Nun the Less
Heather – Superfecta Box: Sudden Separation, Hasatbealeader, Ricky Separate, Tempting Valor
Ted – Win: Sudden Seperation