Wednesday’s feature, the fifth in a nine-race production, has been run at Canterbury each summer since 1987, minus 1993 and 2001. The MTA Stallion Auction Stakes originated as a 2-year-old race but in 2002 the conditions changed to 3-year-olds only and the distance was extended to 6 1/2 furlongs.
The first winner, Flux Capacitor, was bred and owned by Phil Marudas, an early supporter of state breds. That’s the same Marudas who for years gave out winners as a public handicapper for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The second year a young jockey named Mike Smith booted home the winner, Shanna Mensch, for trainer Casey Hannum. The list of Stallion Auction Stakes winning owners reads like a Who’s Who of Canterbury: Goebel, Burdick, Kissoon (four times), Hilger, Sampson, Colvin, Ulwelling and Mattson.
Trainer Francisco Bravo and owner Dale Schenian will attempt to win the Auction Stakes for the fourth time when Ry Eikleberry rides Valentine Guy. Bravo has trained successfully for Mr. Dale for many years. The first win came with Crocrock, who was making his career debut, in 1999. Crocrock would win 15 more races and land in the Canterbury Hall of Fame. In 2002, Frosty Prince was victorious for the duo and the third came in 2015 with Hold for More, who earned $412,819 in his career.
The 32nd running of the MTA Stallion Auction Stakes kicks off the 50 cent Pick Five with an industry low 10% takeout.