SHAKOPEE, MN – Speed is the name of the game in turf sprints and there is plenty of speed in the Honor the Hero stakes this afternoon at Canterbury Park.
Five year old mare, Richie’s Sweetheart, has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Winner of the Lightening City at Tampa Bay Downs, the Larry Rivelli trainee took on the last out in the Turf Dash at Tampa and found the going a little tough and faded late. In the Honor the Hero, she will again have plenty of company early.
American Sailor has been a bit outclassed in his last two, both graded stakes. The drop down in class should spark his speed and an effort similar to that which won him the Bucharest Turf Sprint at Sam Houston in February, first off the $30,000 claim by Joe Sharp.
Another wire to wire winner last out is Dog Soldier, making his first stakes appearance, and additional front end pressure should come from Shrewd Move and Majestic Pride.
Sitting right behind the early speed should be last year’s Honor the Hero champion, Novogratz Racing Stables’ El Seventyseven. Last year’s Honor the Hero culminated a three race turf sprint winning streak for the eight year old gelding. He managed a second in the Brooks Fields next out but had a tougher time in the Mystic Lake Mile where he faded to eighth. A strong third in his seasonal debut in a Parx stake was followed up with s more lackluster performance in the off the turf Colonel Power stakes at the Fairgrounds.
After a month off, El Seventyseven has been drilling well for his local return. With racing off the turf on Sunday and clear weather overnight, a return to the turf and stalking trip under the white hot Alex Canchari and the Mac Robertson trainee should see a return to the winners’ circle for the first time since last year’s edition.
Memorial Day racing kicks off at 1:53 PM. Canterbury will host their traditional Memorial Day remembrance as well the 2nd Annual Running of the Bulldogs between races.