SHAKOPEE, MN – There was a stiff breeze into the homestretch at Canterbury Park Saturday afternoon but that did not stop a quartet of talented runners from capturing stakes victories at the Shakopee oval.
Leading off the day was the $32,750 Gopher State Derby for Quarter Horses. Top qualifier One Famous Sign was scratched due to injury, leaving a field of nine to contest the 400 yards race.
Favorite La Mos Pyc broke sharply, seized the early advantage and never relinquished it, prevailing by a head in :20.57 under Stormy Smith for trainer Lori Harris.
“She left good, raced her butt off and ran a good race,” said Smith.
“She’s a really good filly,” said owner Thomas Scheckel. “She came back this year stronger and more mature and did a great job.”
Off as the favorite, La Mos Pyc returned $7 for the win. Lil Baby Eagle was second ($5) and Corona Springs third ($3.40).
The first Thoroughbred stake on the card was the inaugural Minnesota Turf Distaff. Seven and a half furlongs, the race featured an interesting mix of Minnesota bred fillies and mares with some trying the turf for the first time and others with some established form but no stakes pedigree.
Some Say So took control of the race early and simply didn’t stop, winning the race by 1 3/4 lengths.
“She broke really well,” said winning rider Orlando Mojica. “The trainer told me to go with what develops and when I saw Canchari, who was on speed, hold back his a bit, I just let her relax and go.
“Through the first turn I could feel how easy she was going,” he continued, “and I knew I was going to have plenty of horse left the way the pace was. When we hit the stretch I didn’t really have to get after her, she had plenty left.”
Some Say so returned $10.80 to her backers and covered the distance in 1:29.85. First Hunter was second ($4.20) and Honey’s Sox Appeal ($3.20).
In the six and a half furlong Dark Star, named for legendary radio personality and Canterbury booster George “Dark Star” Chapple, Mojica again sent his mount, Wings Locked Up, to the lead and didn’t look back. He knew that having a lead heading into the teeth of a 20+ mph headwind in the lane would be important.
“You could really feel it,” Mojica said. “You had to have a lot of horse.”
Wings Locked Up ($6.40) was plenty of horse, fending off a late challenge from Saturadynitelites ($4.60) to stop the clock at 1:15.70 over a fast main track while Wabel ($3.00) finished third. The margin of victory was a dwindling half length.
It was to Minnesota bred horses and back to the turf for the final local stake of the day which featured local turf standout A.P. is Loose. A.P. is Loose owned and bred by Joel Zamzow and has not been defeated by state bred horses over the turf since 2014. In the most exciting finish of the day, it looked like A.P.’s streak was in jeopardy until deep stretch when a late push sent him to the front under jockey Dean Butler.
Track Analyst Brian Arrigoni told the winning owner that while A.P. is Loose may have only led for two jumps, it was the most important two jumps of the race, edging out Plenty of Sun by a neck for the victory.
“That was really close,” laughed Zamzow. “You know, that Plenty of Sun is a really improving horse and has really turned out to be an excellent horse.”
A.P. is Loose ($3.20) covered the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:30.54.
“A.P. has really been hickory for us,” said Zamzow. “Six years old and he’s been a great horse.”
Plenty of Sun ($6.80) finished a neck in front of longshot Pennant Fever ($8.80) who led into the lane was only a 1/4 length away from pulling a major upset at 35-1.