With little over a month to go until the start of the Canterbury Park season, horses are making their final preparations all over the country to be ready when the gates spring opening weekend, May 15 and 16.
Among the more anticipated returnees are 2014 divisional champions Bourbon County (top older male) and Sky and Sea (3-year old filly champion and horse of the meet). Both are Rake Farms homebreds and have been prepping diligently under the watchful eye of Bernell Rhone at Tampa Bay Downs.
The stablemates will be making their return to the races this Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs. Interestingly both will be making their debut in the penultimate race on the card, an $32,000 optional claiming race going six furlongs over the main track. The race will mark the first time that Sky and Sea will compete against the boys.
“We couldn’t get a race for Sky,” said owner/breeder Scott Rake, “and Bernell was concerned that Bourbon’s race wouldn’t go so we basically used Sky to make Bourbon’s race go.”
Although the race drew nine entrants, don’t look for Sky and Sea to bow out.
“We plan on running both so don’t expect us to scratch one. Both need ann out,” Rake said.
The morning line maker at Tampa obviously respects the filly’s chances, tabbing her at 5-1, a notch ahead of her stablemate.
In a race with no clear favorite, the Minnesota breds fit the race nicely and look for both to be prominent early with Sky and Sea cutting the fractions and Bourbon County taking up a stalking position.
As Rake tweeted (@rakefarms) after the entries were drawn, “A great opportunity to decide who is faster. Let the side bets begin.”