SHAKOPEE, MN – A pair of $60,000 state bred turf routes highlight the July 3rd card at Canterbury Park. July 3rd features a fireworks show after the last race and the day carries a special 4 PM first post time.
In the mile and sixteenth Princess Elaine, Dear Fay looks to be the mare to beat in a competitive field full of questions.
Dear Fay is coming in off her winter layoff for trainer Mac Robertson. Robertson is a solid 14% off a layoff and the defending champion has the tactical speed to be a difference maker in here. Last season, though, she prepped in an open optional claiming race before taking on her state bred rivals. This year she comes straight in without a prep but off a string of well spaced works.
Gary Scherer trainee Talkin Bout is taking the road Dear Fay did last season, prepping first in 7 1/2 furlong turf allowance finishing 3rd behind HBPA Distaff winner Stoupinator. While Talkin Bout is moderately more successful on dirt, the 6-year old mare is no slouch on turf either, hitting the board in seven of ten turf starts. While she loves to come from deep off the pace, if Denny Velazquez can keep her a bit closer to the pace mid-race like he did in the 2014 Minnesota Classic, her rally may just get her there.
Blues Edge and Stellabrini look to be the early speed in the race as could, possibly, be the 2014 horse of the meet Sky and Sea. Narrowly missing in the six furlong Lady Slipper to start the meet, Sky and Sea faltered badly in her optional claiming follow up. In her only route race of her career, she captured the mile and 70 yard Minnesota Oaks but staggered home the last quarter mile and 70 yards in :31. While she may handle her first time on the turf well, it’s going to be hard for her to get the distance against this group. However Bernell Rhone is 20% when stretching out and the filly is obviously very talented. The front end looks like it may be a busy place, though, and if she needs the lead, she will be in trouble.
In the Blair’s Cove, the colts and geldings will also go a mile and a sixteenth over the turf course. There are almost as many questions in the Blair’s Cove as there are in the Princess Elaine.
The tepid 7/2 morning line favorite is the immensely talented Bourbon County, making his turf debut. This is the first time Bourbon County will stretch out, though trainer Bernell Rhone said after his victory to open the Minnesota season in the 10,000 Lakes that he thinks that the 5-year old gelding may be better going long.
In his last, Bourbon County laid off the early pace and rated nicely under Dean Butler. When Butler asked him, he went and cruised to victory in an open $35,000 optional claiming race. Having handled most of his competition recently, if he can get the distance and takes to the turf, it is going to be tough to beat him.
A P Is Loose makes no secret of how he is going to try and beat Bourbon County. Speed. The 4-year old Monarchos gelding is usually at or near the lead in nearly every race. In a very positive sign for his connections, A P is Loose was able to stay off the early pace in an open allowance and the sweep around the pacesetter for a solid 2-length victory. He ran under Dean Butler that day and in the Blair’s Cove the reins will be handled by Alex Canchari, making his first visit to Canterbury Park since deciding to hang his tack in Des Moines this season. If Canchari can rate him, he and Bourbon County should have quite a battle to the finish line.
A possible sleeper in the Blair’s Cove is Two Chance. Two Chance hasn’t finished worse than 2nd in five of his six turf starts, winning three. He’s beaten state bred and open company alike, closing sharply in a 7 1/2 furling open allowance to win by 2 3/4 lengths prepping for the Blair’s Cove. If A P is Loose chooses to stalk and Affirmed Cure can’t hold the early lead he’s come to enjoy, then there will be a lot of runners coming late and Two Chance may have to navigate too much from near the back of the pack. But if you’re looking for a sleeper at a price, Two Chance at 10-1 may be your guy.