by Katie Merritt
The 6th race on Sunday is the 350 yard, $167,600 Mystic Lakes Northlands Futurity, the last of six Quarter Horse races on the card and the richest Quarter Horse race to ever be run at Canterbury Park or Downs dating back to the inaugural edition in 1986.
The eight fillies and two geldings going into the gate for this historic purse are the fastest qualifiers from six trial races held on June 11. Though the chart for all six trials lists the track as “muddy”, there was little rain after the first race and the track was drying out as it was updated to “good” just after the last trial. With changing track conditions, times can be deceiving, so it will be interesting to see where all the qualifiers end up in the big dance.
Here are the final yards of each of the six trials followed by photos of the qualifiers from each trial:
Jason Olmstead, last year’s leading Quarter Horse trainer and winner of this race for the last two years, has three horses that qualified to compete. Ms Veronica, his fastest qualifier will be leaving from the 9 post and is ridden by one of Canterbury’s all-time leading Quarter Horse jockeys, Nik Goodwin. She has only started twice, running third in a maiden before winning her trial race. First Of 15, slightly more experienced with five starts under her belt and victories in two of them, will start from post seven under Brayan Velazquez. She has already run in two stakes, but is still looking to hit the board amongst the tougher company. Agent Carter will be ridden by Berkley Packer from gate 10. The 2-year-old brown filly has raced three times, and won once – her trial race, where her time was the only one fast enough to move forward.
Twelve-time champion trainer at Canterbury Ed Hardy also has three starters in the race, and plenty of experience winning it as well. Hardy has won the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity six times – more than any other trainer. A Jordon Reed was the second fastest qualifier and will start from the inside post with current leading Quarter Horse Rider Oscar Delgado aboard. The grey filly has run three times and has never finished off the board. Kaelies Dividend, who has one win from three starts, will break out of post 3 with Denny Velazquez in the saddle. Eos Wing Man, Hardy’s third qualifier, has also run three times and never finished off the board, steadily improving. Though his qualifying time is the second slowest, Eos Wingman was in the first and muddiest trial race on June 11th. Jorge Torres will guide Eos Wing Man from post 8.
Olivias Jett, trained by Tomey Swan, ridden by Marcus Swiontek, and the fastest qualifier of them all will start from post 2. The owner of the bay filly, Tomey’s husband Patrick Swan, won this race as a trainer in 2005 with My Girl Jesse. Olivias Jett has run three times and won her last two. In her first start, she finished a quickly gaining second at Remington Park after breaking poorly. Olivias Jett won the 6th trial race, a race in which the track was arguably faster and the three top finishers were the three fastest qualifiers for the futurity.
High Valley Girl, also coming out of the 6th trial race, will be ridden by Jose Vega from post 6. The Charlton Hunt-trained sorrel filly has run four times, was third in that trial race, and will be looking for her first victory in the Mystic Lake Northlands futurity on Sunday.
Miss Jess Carter, who ran second in her first start, qualified for the futurity in only her second race by winning her trial. She qualified for the futurity as a Shults-trainee, but will be running for trainer Shane Miller on Sunday. Justin Shepherd will ride her from post 5.
Victor Hanson-trained A Shade Of Midnight was second to Miss Jess Carter in the third trial race on June 10, and rounds out the field for the futurity. This filly has one win and two seconds from three starts and will start from post 4 under Stormy Smith. Hanson and Stormy Smith teamed up to win this race in 2012 with Midnight Sunlight.
This talented field of ten should make this 350 yard dash an exciting one!