By Noah Joseph
The feature races on Saturday’s card are the Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby. These are the biggest races for Minnesota-bred three-year-olds, each offering an $85,000 purse. With the best state bred three-year-olds running, it seemed appropriate to look at some of the best Minnesota-bred dams in recent memory. Some of them have contenders in the races, while some have produced previous winners.
One of the runners in the Minnesota Derby is Grand Marais. The son of 2010 Belmont Stakes and 2011 Breeders Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer comes in after running in a Grade 3 in Chicago. Earlier this year, Grand Marais broke his maiden in impressive fashion. He gets some of his talent from his mom, Pretty as a Smile. She was the winner of 2008 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship Stakes. Pretty as a Smile was multiple stakes placed as well. She already has produced another winner this year at Canterbury in Saganaga.
While not a stake winner, Devil Not Me has achieved her fame not on the track, but in the breeding shed. The daughter of Devil His Due only won five times, but her broodmare value is much more than her race record shows. Her first foal, Sioux Appeal, by Successful Appeal, is a multiple stakes winner. She won the 2015 Minnesota Oaks, one of her four stakes wins. Her second foal, Teddy Time, by Northern Afleet, won the Blair’s Cove Stakes on the 3rd of July.
Plana Dance was racing when Canterbury Park reopened in 1995 and is one of the most accomplished broodmares in Minnesota. Not only did she win 11 races in her career, five of them stakes, she produced one the richest Minnesota bred horses of all-time. That horse was Heliskier. The son of Appealing Skier quickly captured local and even national attention after winning seven consecutive races, five of them stakes races, including the 2012 Minnesota Derby. He had his streak snapped, but won two races afterward, including one more stake. With nine wins, including six stakes from 19 starts, 13 in the money finishes and almost $300,000 in earnings, Heliskier will go down as one as one of the greatest Minnesota breds of all-time.