SHAKOPEE, MN – As befitting Memorial Day, nine horses will head to the starting gate in the $75,000 Honor the Hero Stakes at Canterbury Park.
You’d expect a five furling sprint to be loaded with speed and that’s exactly what we have here. None of the obvious candidates look to close and those that do are simply outclassed here.
Morning line favorite El Seventyseven (2-1), had four months off and burst back to the races with a gate to wire win in a $62,500 optional claimer at Fairgrounds in February but then promptly went back to the bench until now. He had one work back in late March but then needed nearly a month to come back. Since mid-April, though, his work pattern has been solid and he’s already proven that he can fire off the bench.
Castletown, last year’s second choice in this race, is also coming in with a last race in February. Castletown just didn’t fire in the Phoenix Gold Cup and faded badly in the stretch. . In contrast to El Seventyseven, his work tab is not as proficient as his primary opponent with a pair of lackluster works in early May.
Local hero, Chairman Crooks, owned by Canterbury Park Chairman Curt Sampson, is making his first start of the season in the Honor the Hero and his best figures if the top two aren’t in top form are good enough to steal this one.
Silver Lining John is making his first appearance of 2015 after reeling off two straight wins to close out his 2014 season. He has a steady line of works and may be outsprinted early giving him a stalking trip that could win this should the three headed pace battle emerge.
There looks to be an 80% chance of rain on Monday after a predicted day long rain on Sunday so take into account off the turf form in your handicapping. Some off-track tidbits: Silver Lining John finished 2nd in the slop in his 2nd career race, a maiden special weight at Gulfstream; El Seventyseven took a Laurel $32,000 optional claimer over a yielding turf course.
Here are the wet track Tomlinson numbers:
Silver Lining John – 400
El Seventyseven – 338
Deal Master – 357
Scorcher – 378
Chairman Crooks – 351
Castletown – 374
Rockin Home – 384
World Famous Sam T – 342
Wildcat Moon – 353