SHAKOPEE, MN – State bred older horses will take to the turf tonight at Canterbury Park to contest a pair of $60,000 mile and 1/16 stakes, the Princess Elaine for fillies and mares and the Blair’s Cove for males.
First up in the 9th race on the card will be the Princess Elaine.
Last year’s 43-1 upset winner, Aaron’s Belt, is back for trainer Gregory Weir. Aaron’s Belt debuted in 2016 in an state bred $35,000 optional race over the dirt where she met several of today’s foes. While she finished up the track, it was her first dirt start in some time, her first race since the end of last season and she most definitely had a troubled trip. She is 10-1 in the morning line and could present some real value for those that are not faint of heart.
Dear Fay, the 7-year old stalwart out of the Mac Robertson barn, is making her seasonal debut here, much as she did last year when was caught late by Aaron’s Belt. She has been training very well leading up to the race but it remains to be seen if she can get the distance right off the bench, her only win of 2015 coming at 7 1/2 furlongs.
Dear Fay’s stablemate, Shaboom, should provide some early pace while Blues Edge and Some Say So should also be part of the early picture. For Aaron’s Belt to repeat she’s going to need the race to fall apart in front of her and that could happen with the addition of Rockin the Bleu’s to the mix. She has only 1 turf start to her credit, a five furlong dash at Remington last year, and was only stretched out past six furlongs once, a mile also at Remington. In the mile race she flashed a nice early lick before fading a touch but determinedly holding on for 2nd. If she’s out quick again, there will be a lot of company on the front end and set up well for Aaron’s Belt or even confirmed stalker Thunder and Honey.
The Blair’s Cove pits three of the best older Minnesota bred horses in training against each other.
Last year’s winner, AP is Loose, was beaten by both rivals in his seasonal debut, but that loss can be excused because his best running has come over a route of ground and six furling 10,000 Lakes on the dirt was far from his liking. His next out, and his prep for today, came in open company over the turf at a more manageable 7 1/2 furlongs. The five year old gelding ran considerably better, just getting necked for 2nd in the $25,000 optional event.
While he likes the front, he doesn’t have to be right on the lead to win which could work well should Pennant Fever want to seize the lead early from the inside. That could give AP is Loose the garden spot stalking the early pace.
Bourbon County, running up last year, is trying a route again for only the second time in his career, the first being in this race last season where he was able to come from slightly off the pace to finish second. The 2015 Minnesota Sprint Championship took the 10,000 Lakes Stakes field wire to wire in his 2016 debut but Orlando Mojica will need to throttle the champ down a bit to be in contention late.
Hold for More, the brilliant youngster, has a pair of seconds starting off his 2016 campaign. Bourbon County was able to keep him at bay in the 10,000 Lakes and Saturdaynitelites held him off in an open $25,000 optional. In his only pair of routes last season, Hold for More captured the mile and 70 yard Minnesota Derby and finished second to AP is Loose in the mile and a sixteenth Minnesota Classic. This is his first try over the turf for the 2015 Canterbury Park Three Year Old Champion Male.
While there are several other accomplished runners in the field, including a pair of former Minnesota Derby winners (Speed is Life and Lil’ Apollo) and several recent turf allowance winners (Two Chance, You Be Gator Bait and Vanderbilt Beach), the race does look like it will come down to one of the Big Three.
After the fireworks on the grass there will be fireworks at the track with Canterbury Park’s traditional fireworks display about an hour after the last race. The special July 3 post time is 4 PM.
TED: Princess Elaine: Aarons Belt; Blair’s Cove: AP is Loose
HEATHER: Princess Elaine: 5-10-8-3 Superfecta Box; Blair’s Cove 5-10-6-8 Superfecta Box