SHAKOPEE, MN – Though there is no Triple Crown on the line this year, Belmont Day at Canterbury Park will have a block party theme, food trucks on the apron, the lowest takeout in America and a pair of stakes to anchor a very contentious 10 race card.
The $75,000 Dark Star Cup, named for the late Minnesota TV and radio personality and Canterbury advocate Dark Star, is a 6 1/2 furlong sprint for three years olds and up over the main track. The race is the 9th.
Mercedes Stable’s homebred Space Mine, trained by Robertino Diodoro and ridden by Jorge Carreno was installed as the tepid 3-1 favorite in the eight horse field.
The lightly raced Space Mine was off 8 months after a disappointing 7th place finish in the Mystic Lake Derby. He came back to the races in a big way, taking a $35,000 optional claiming race at Prairie Meadows Memorial Day weekend, earning a career best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.
In Iowa, Space Mine beat stablemate Candy Ruby, another coming off an eight month layoff. Candy Ruby finished off his 2015 campaign at Canterbury as well, but with a victory in the HBPA Sprint. He set very quick fractions at Prairie Meadows before getting nipped late.
Diamond Jo, breaking from the rail, is nearly half million dollar Nebraska bred is already a two time stakes winner this year taking the Ogataul at Fonner and Who Dr Who at Horseman’s Park.
He’s So Zazzy reeled off a pair of wins in Texas and then made a real splash in his local debut taking the overnight Paul Bunyan Stakes on May 22.
With the abundance of speed from these four, Michael Maker’s Serious Talk, shipping in from Churchill Downs, could get a solid stalking trip from Hugo Sanchez and be in the perfect position late to make a big run at the early leaders.
Three year old turf fillies will take the track in 9th in the $75,000 Northbound Pride Oaks at a mile.
Another wide open affair, Mac Robertson’s Princess Erindelle, broke her maiden in the Allen Lacombe Memorial at Fairgrounds on May 5th after a string of second place finishes. She will be coming hard and coming from off the pace and was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite.
Trick City, newly claimed by Emerald Bay Stables and Mike Biehler, and Frozen Hannah both should provide some early pace from the inside. Frozen Hannah is two for three for trainer Joe Sharp, breaking her maiden at Fairgrounds and, most recently, taking a first level allowance at Indiana Live. Jockey Chris Rosier will need to harness her speed and keep her relaxed and off of Trick City and maiden Beach Flower early to try and get the perfect trip.
Richie Scherer trainee Inconclusive has not won a race since January but in the interim was graded stakes placed, finishing second in the Bourbonette Oaks on the artificial at Turfway. If she is going to be in the mix, though, it was also be late in the race.
Last year’s leader rider, Leandro Goncalves, returns to Canterbury aboard Wesley Ward’s Celestial Insight who will try to split the difference between the speed and at closers and get first run on the leaders.
In a pair of competitive races here is who we are going with:
Ted: Space Mine Heather: Diamond Joe
Northbound Pride Oaks
Ted: Inconclusive Heather: Celestial Insight