SHAKOPEE, MN – Three year old Minnesota breds take center stage today at Canterbury Park with the annual renewals of the $85,000 Minnesota Derby and Oaks. Both races will be run at a mile and 70 yards over the dirt and feature a heavy favorite. Also on the card will be the first running of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association’s Sale Graduate Futurity.
In the Oaks, Barry and Joni Butzow’s Dazzlingsweetheart will put her undefeated record on the line. While Dazzlingsweetheart is three for three in her career, she almost didn’t make it past her yearling year, never mind to the races.
In the early evening of June 16, 2014 a devastating tornado tore through the Von Seggern farm destroying everything in it’s path: home, barn, everything was gone. Dazzlingsweetheart probably should have died in the barn that day, but she didn’t and, eventually, made it to the sales ring of the MTA 2014 yearling sale just two months later where she was purchased by the Butzow’s.
“They really didn’t need another horse,” said co-breeder Marlene Colvin. “But they bought her to help out Mary and Eric. That purchase helped put up their new barn and keep them in business. It was a wonderful thing to do and she’s really paid them back.”
The $31,000 yearling purchase has earned $75,000 on the track and was installed as the 9/5 favorite. This will be her first trip around two turns for the tough filly and while her breeding says it shouldn’t be a problem, there are eight other fillies that will try to stop her.
Her chief rival will be Honey’s Sox Appeal, owned by Bob Lindgren and bred by Lindgren and Paul Knapper, she is three for five on her career with her only two losses were game seconds in stakes races, the last at the hands of Dazzlingsweetheart in the Frances Genter.
Northern Lights Debutante winner La Petite Cheri should be coming late along with Jeana Baby, a $100,000 OBS yearling purchase and subsequent $50,000 claim by James Thares and trainer David Van Winkle, who may enjoy moving into two-turn territory.
The Derby’s 6-5 favorite is Smooth Chiraz, bred and owned by Lori Bravo and Ann Sachdev. The Northern Lights Futurity winner has reeled off a pair of impressive victories heading into the Derby including a 7 length romp in the Vic Myers. His last two race Beyer Speed Figures stand head and shoulders above the field but he’ll also be stretching out for the first time this afternoon as well as donning blinkers.
While no stranger to the distance, Rick Bremer and Cheryl Sprick’s XL Tee will be testing himself over the dirt for the first time with all five of his lifetime starts coming over the turf. He recently broke his maiden over the Derby distance and came back with a string second versus older horses in a state bred allowance. The duo also has True West in the field.
Patrick O’Prado and perhaps Smooth Stroke and True West look to be the early leaders and should ensure an honest pace up front.
Prior to the Derby and Oaks will be the five furling MTA Sales Futurity. The side open affair features first out winner filly Ari Gia and gelding AJ’s Angel as well as three first time starters in ten horse field.