SHAKOPEE, MN – Three year old Minnesota breds take center stage tonight at Canterbury Park for the $80,000 Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby. In addition to purse money, the winner’s silks will displayed on the lawn jockeys in the paddock for the next year.
There does appear to be several real standouts in the races, both carded for a mile and 70 yards on the main track.
In the Oaks, the two favorites, Silver Magna and Shaboom drew right next to each other in the ten horse field.
Silver Magna has won two of three as a 3-year old and got the measure of Shaboom in the Frances Genter stakes, the traditional prep for the Oaks. One of the first home breds from top owners Al & Bill Ulwelling, Silver Magna is trained by Mike Biehler and Denny Velazquez has taken the reins for her sophomore season.
Shaboom, another standout from the Mac Robertson barn, opened up her career as a 3-year old and crushed a field of state bred maidens going six furlongs. She followed that up with an even more dominating performance in a first level allowance. Her streak was snapped by Silver Magna in the Genter. Dean Butler has been aboard for all of her starts and gets the nod in the Oaks.
A filly to watch in the Oaks could be PJ’s Angel. The Astar Thoroughbreds homebred is the only filly in the race to have run in a route and she won that race decisively. While her numbers may not match up with the top two and that race was run over the turf, she is the only runner proven to have the stamina to win at a mile and 70 yards, though there is nothing in Silver Magna’s pedigree that indicates she won’t last.
The Minnesota Derby appears to be all about Hold for More. The Wood-Mere bred, Dale Schenian owned gelding has been spectacular this season and owns a five race winning streak going to back to his two year old season. The only race he’s lost was his debut and even then he finished 2nd.
This will be Hold for More’s first attempt at a route of ground but trainer Francisco Bravo is confident that the son of Hold Me Back can handle the stretch out.
“He handled the move from six to six and a half furlongs and that is a good indication that he can handle more distance,” Bravo said. “He does everything right. We haven’t seen his best race yet.”
The Stevie Wonderboy gelding, Steviefromstanley, is hoping to have some say in the outcome. Already a routing veteran, the Ron Thompson bred/owned/trained gelding will be making his fourth start at a mile or more – all against older horses.
Steviefromstaley broke his maiden impressively when trying a mile on the dirt for the first time, winning by nine lengths. He also owns a pair of seconds in state bred allowance, both going the Derby distance of a mile and 70 yards.
The Derby and Oaks are carded as the 7th and 8th races tonight. They are supported by a pair of earlier overnight stakes, the $40,000 Careless Navigator for 2-year olds at 5 ½ furlongs and the mile and sixteenth John Bullit for 3-year olds and up.
First post is at 6:30 and Canterbury is welcoming area food trucks tonight as well.