SHAKOPEE, MN – Hold for More went into the $80,000 Minnesota Derby as the prohibitive favorite with the only question being: could he get a route of ground.
The resulting performance made the answer an emphatic “yes”.
After the gelding’s MTA Stallion Auction Stakes victory, trainer Francisco Bravo was confident about his ability to handle two turns. He got a little nervous, however, when he saw his 3-year old’s reaction to the 14,000 plus in attendance Saturday night.
“This is the first time he’s ever raced at night,” Bravo said. “He was looking around, paying attention to everything but the racetrack.”
Bravo’s fears were allayed soon enough.
“He broke real well,” said jockey Dean Butler. “I knew there was a lot of speed in the race so I just tried to settle him behind them. He really rates himself so I didn’t have to do much.”
Butler gradually moved Hold for More through the field as the mile and 70 yard race unfolded. As they hit the stretch, the odds on favorite got his head in front of the hard trying Steviefromstaley and never looked back. Steviefromstaley stubbornly held second, three lengths back but six and half ahead of Plenty of Sun.
In the Minnesota Oaks, the script called for a two horse battle between speedster Shaboom and Silver Magna. Sioux Appeal didn’t read the script but wrote one of her own.
The 6-1 third choice was content to let the speed play out and then made a sustain move through the last quarter mile, passing favored Silver Magna and drawing off to win by 4.
“She broke great but she was able to settle nicely behind the speed,” said winning rider Leandro Goncalves. “I was able to save ground and she was able to run on.”
A visibly emotional Dorene and Jeff Larson, breeders and owners of Sioux Appeal, were overcome as the horse came back to the winners’ circle.
“We really needed this,” said Dorene Larson. “This has been a tough year with Tubby and all. This is his niece, if you will. It’s the same family. This is just so wonderful.”
Tubby Time, former champion owned by Larson and a Canterbury fan favorite, was rescued from a sale pen earlier this year after the Larson’s thought he had found a forever home. When notified, the Larsons, trainer Mac Robertson and his wife Cindy, and Canterbury Park all sprung into action through Gail Hirt’s Beyond the Roses Equine Rescue and Retirement to save the horse and provide funding to ensure a soft landing this time. For the second time, the Larsons worked to do the right thing for their champion.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: As of this writing, Tubby was picked up and moved to Florida to his fully vetted, forever home]
If you are a believer in karma, Sioux Appeal, a member of Tubby Time’s family, repaid the Larson family for their dedication to hers.
In the $40,000 Careless Navigator, Stormation ran his record to three for three, holding off stablemate, Cake Baby, winning at odds on for Robertino Diodoro and taking $65,383 of $74,174 of the show pool wagering.
Nebraska bred Diamond Joe took the $40,000 John Bullit stakes under Dean Butler for trainer Chuck Turco at 4-1 by 5 ¼ lengths.
CARELESS NAVIGATOR (1:04.88)
Stormation 2.60 2.40 2.10
Cake Baby 2.80 2.10
Chestnut Johnny 2.10
JOHN BULLIT (1:44.46)
Diamond Joe 10.40 4.60 3.00
Evansville Storm 9.00 3.60
At My Discretion 3.40
MINNESOTA OAKS (1:44.95)
Sioux Appeal 13.20 5.00 3.60
Silva Magna 3.00 2.60
Captains Glory 6.60
MINNESOTA DERBY (1:43.80)
Hold for More 2.80 2.20 2.10
Steviefromstaley 2.80 2.20
Plenty of Sun 3.40