SHAKOPEE, MN – The Fourth of July at Canterbury is traditionally a time for free hot dogs, big crowds and 3-year old stakes.
The sophomore girls and boys took to the track in the Vic Myers and Frances Genter Stakes, respectively.
In the Myers, Smooth Chiraz stamped himself as the favorite for the Minnesota Derby with a dominating performance. Stalking Bar Fight through the first half mile in :44.23, jockey Dean Butler let him loose through the turn and Smooth Chiraz ($5.60) took command and sailed through the lane to win by seven in 1:09.67.
“I knew that Bar Fight tended to shift out through the turn,” said winning jockey Butler, “so I waited for the opening and I just let him go.”
With three contenders in the race, winning trainer Francisco Bravo kept his instructions to his jockeys simple.
“I left it up to each rider to determine what was best when the racing started,” he said.
Winning the Myers was especially satisfying to Bravo given his connection to Doctor Myers.
“I rode and worked with Vic Myers when I was in college,” said Bravo. He was a great man and to be able to win this one is very special to me.”
Bravo trainee Cupid’s Delight ($2.40) was second while Bar Fight ($3.20) held on for 3rd.
The Genter wasn’t as lopsided in the end, but still featured a dominating performance by winner Dazzlingsweetheart.
Starting from the rail, second choice Dazzling Sweetheart ($7.40), trained by Joe Sharp, got off a step slow but quickly found her footing and was able to lead at each call of the race and win by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:09.95.
“She usually finds her stride in the second or third jump,” said jockey Chris Rosier, aboard Dazzlingsweetheart for each of her three wins, “but she found it a little faster than I would have liked.”
Owner Barry Butzow was quick to credit Rosier for the filly’s success.
“I really need to thank Chris,” he said. “He’s done a great job with her.”
“There are all kinds of ups and downs in this business,” Butzow continued, “and this is definitely one of the ups.”
Favorite Honey’s Sox Appeal ($2.80) was second while Stella’s Princess ($5.00) was third.
The $85,000 Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby will be contested on July 30.