SHAKOPEE, MN – The $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile was billed as coming out party for either filly Amy’s Challenge or Minnesota bred colt Mr. Jägermeister. Though Amy’s Challenge won the race, both 2-year olds impressed and thrilled the closing day crowd at Canterbury Park – and are poised to make noise throughout the country.
Amy’s Challenge the odds on favorite, seized the lead from the start under the meet’s leading rider Jareth Loveberry. She never got too far in front, however, leading by a length over long-shot Simran before Mr. Jägermeister took up the chase from post ten under Andrew Ramgeet. The colt took over second heading into the turn of the six furlong dash.
Mr. Jägermeister moved up on the outside of the filly and got a head in front in the lane before Amy’s Challenge rallied along the rail to take final command of the race in the last sixteenth of a mile to win by 3/4 of a length in 1:09.58. The rest of the field trailed 18 lengths behind the talented twosome.
“I heard the other horse coming – I figured it was Jägermeister – and he got a head on us,” said Loveberry. “But she just dug in. She could be the real deal.”
“She has a great mind,” he continued. “She’s very settled all the time. She just glides. You feel like you’re going in 12 but you really are going 10.”
Amy’s Challenge paid $3.60 to win. Mr. Jägermeister returned $2.20 while the show horse, My Sweet Emma paid $3.00.
The likely next stop for Amy’s Challenge, a $20,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase by Novogratz Racing and trained by Mac Robertson, looks to be the mile and a sixteenth $400,000 Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland on October 6. The Alcibiades is a “win and you’re in” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Trainer and owner (with her two sisters) Valorie Lund, is undecided as to Mr. Jagermeister’s next destination but his future is also very bright. In the Prairie Gold Stakes, his only other defeat, he was beaten by The Tabulator who went on to take the Grade III Iroquois at Churchill Downs Saturday, about the same time as the Juvenile.
It is worth noting that both 2-year olds covered the six furlongs faster than the older males in the Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint in the previous race and logged the faster six furling time of the meet overall.
Robertson sent out Sir Navigator in the Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint under Israel Hernandez and won in similar fashion to his younger stablemate. Breaking alertly, the Jer-Mar Stable owned Sir Navigator battled on the lead with Minnesota Smooth Chiraz, was headed in the lane, but was able to rally to win by a length and a half. Unlike his stablemate, however, he was not odds on and paid $11.20 for the win. Smooth Chiraz ($13.00) was second and Aden’s Dream ($3.80) was third. The race was run in 1:10.02
Friday night Robertson captured the John Bullit stakes with Malibu Pro ($17.80) after battling in close quarters with favored Way Striking down the lane. After a steward’s inquiry and objection by Malibu Pro’s jockey Jareth Loveberry, it was determined that Way Striking herded and intimidated Malibu Pro late and Malibu Pro was declared the winner. Way Striking ($2.80) was placed second and, ten and a half lengths back, High Security ($5.20) was third. The mile and a sixteenth was covered in 1:43.28. The winner was owned and bred by Novogratz Stables.