SHAKOPEE, MN – A record crowd of 21,453 were at Canterbury Park yesterday to see trainer Mac Robertson provide the fireworks on the turf while the track provided the traditional fireworks above it.
In the $60,000 Princess Elaine Stakes, Robertson sent out Dear Fay for her 2016 debut much in the same way he debuted the 2014 winner of the race in the same spot last year. In 2015 she came up a neck short, this year there was no doubt as she sprinted clear with Eric McNeil aboard in the lane to take the mile and a sixteenth contest by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:42.84.
“She’s maybe just a little better than the others right now,” the Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer said. “She likes a hard turf course. She had it her way today.”
Roberton’s trio finished first, third and fourth in the Princess Elaine.
“The Minnesota owners are great,” Robertson said, “but sometimes they have to run against each other which is tough, but I just try to do right by each horse.”
Owner/breeder Bo Vujovich, one day removed from being released from the hospital after surgery, was thrilled with her second foal’s success.
“I’m thrilled,” beamed Vujovich. “She really is amazing.”
The 7-year old mare was a large foal and had some issues early on, but she fought through them to get to the races and has been a paragon of consistency over the years. With the Princess Elaine win, Dear Fay ran her record over the Canterbury Park turf course to six wins in 13 starts and has only missed the board once, cementing her place as a fan favorite.
“Mac has really been great with her,” Vujovich said. “He really deserves all the credit for keeping her healthy all this time.”
Dear Fay paid $10 for the win while Fiona Cat ($5.40) finished second and Thunder and Honey ($3.00) was third.
A P is Loose, owned and bred by Joel Zamzow, took command of the Blair’s Cove under Geovanni Franco three wide at the quarter pole and never relinquished the from that point forward, to a 2 1/4 length win, covering the mile and a sixteenth in 1:43.01 giving trainer Robertson a sweep of the day’s stakes.
“He was great,” said Zamzow as he entered the winners circle with a dozen or more folks, many sporting the Zamzow silks inspired tee shirts. “My wife designed the silks and these shirts for the group. Everyone is having just such a good time with this.”
The people’s choice and back to back Blair’s Cove winner, A P is Loose paid $4.00 to win as the favorite. Longshot Two Chance was second ($14.00) while Vanderbilt Beach ($6.40) was third.
The record crowd wagered $464,763 while a total of $1,237,795 was wagered on the 11-race program.
Racing continues today, July 4th, with first post at 12:45 and featuring the Vic Myers and Frances Genter Stakes, prep races for the Minnesota Derby and Oaks, respectively.