Tomorrow is a new twist for the traditional Minnesota Festival of Champions quarter horse races, the Minnesota QH Derby and Minnesota QH Futurity. Trial races. In the past the Derby and Futurity entrants gained access to the races based on earnings. But now payments and sustaining payments made by hopeful owners begat trial races to determine which equines fill the 10 gates in each race. There will be two trials on Tuesday for each of the Sept. 9 races that will offer $55,000+ purses. The trial purses are a meager $6,500 but success Tuesday leads to a much larger opportunity for the 10 fastest from the trials.
Jason Olmstead has won the Minnesota Derby the past three years and Ed Ross Hardy has won the race a record nine times but has been in a drought since the 2014 win. Olmstead has but one Derby trial runner. It is a good one named Beep Beep Zoom Zoom who won the Futurity last year. She’s winless in 2020 but faces breeds for the first time this summer. Hardy’s pair of Wicked 6 and Vo Fantastic Aria should both make qualifying runs tomorrow as well.
The Minnesota Futurity is another race that Hardy has won several times. Eleven to be exact. No one other than Hardy or Olmstead have won the 350 yard dash since 2015. Hardy looks like he has a runner in Western Reserve. The filly debuted with a victory in a Gopher State Futurity trial, had trouble in the final but returned to wax a fair allowance field in Iowa. She is owned by Hall of Famers Bob and Julie Petersen. Her dam Western Fun provides Festival cred. She was owned by the Petersens and trained to a Minnesota Derby victory by Hardy in 2012.
All that action plus the Cash Caravan Stakes and a rematch of the full brothers Dickey Bob and Pyc Jess Bite Mydust takes place Tuesday beginning at 4:35 p.m.