SHAKOPEE, MN – Canterbury Park launches the 2016 season this evening with a first race post time of 6:30 PM.
The stakes season also kicks off with the annual renewal of the 10,000 Lakes Stakes which pits two Canterbury champions against each other but to assume that this is only a two horse race may be a mistake.
The 10,000 Lakes is a six furlong dash for Minnesota breds that carries a purse of $60,000 over the main track.
The ‘old man’, 6-year old Bourbon County, is the 10,000 Lakes defending champion and a three time Canterbury champion. In addition to the 10,000 Lakes, Bourbon County outfinished Let Da Cowboy Rock to capture the Minnesota Sprint Championship on Festival Day last season and finished just behind A P is Loose in the Blair’s Cove. Though not necessarily the front running type, he does like to be near the front end so look for him to be prominent throughout the race. He has trained smartly for his debut, firing a pair of bullets in his last two works.
The ‘youngster’ is the 4-year old defending horse of the meet and multiple stakes winner, Hold for More. Though he faltered in his career debut, finishing second, Hold for More then reeled off six straight wins over two seasons including five stakes wins before losing against his elders and A P is Loose in the Minnesota Classic Championship.
The common denominator above, if you’re looking for a price, is A P is Loose. The five year old gelding, named 2015 Champion Older Male last night by the MTA, has defeated both champions, albeit at routes instead of sprints. While A P is Loose may be stronger in routes – and possibly over the turf – he does have early speed which could be advantageous in here. With the two champions pegged on the morning line under 2-1, A P is Loose may be the value in the field (6-1) with the best chance of upsetting the champs. Not that it will be easy, but with such an odds disparity, he’s more than worth a look.
The biggest concern among the top choices is fitness. None of the ‘big three’ above has had a start thusfar in 2016 to prep for the season and there is the possibility that they could all come up short in their debuts. Conditioned by Bernell Rhone, Francisco Bravo and Mac Robertson, respectively, however, you can be sure that all will be as fit as they can be after seven months off without a race.
With better showings in his Fonner Park stakes, Let Da Cowboy Rock could be a threat late but he looks to be a notch below the top in here.
Ted and Heather usually present a winner (Ted) and a superfecta box (Heather) but with only a seven horse field, today we go with a single and a trifecta box.
Ted: A P is Loose
Heather: A P is Loose; Bourbon County; Vanderbilt Beach
THREE “Hs” IN 2016 TO WATCH…PLUS ONE