Oaks & Derby on Tap

Badge Of Glory - Frances Genter Stakes - 07-04-13 - R08 - CBY - Under Rail FinishNo other horse has raced this many times, won this many races or earned this much money.

So, why is there any doubt whatsoever that Badge of Glory (pictured above left) will join an elite club by winning today’s $75,000 Minnesota Oaks?

Simple.

She has never run this far.

Everything she has won has been at sprint distances, six furlongs or less. Now she’s being asked to stretch her talent to a mile and 70 yards, breaking from the No. 1 hole in a field of 10.

With the Northern Lights and Frances Genter titles already in the bag, Badge of Glory can become just the third horse to have won those two and the Oaks if she wins today, joining Samdanya (1998) and Chick Fight (2009).

There are a couple of well-informed individuals who think she can do it, namely the horse’s trainer Bernell Rhone and rider Scott Stevens.

“I think she’ll make it,” said Rhone. “She’s a pure sprinter but against Minnesota-breds she’s a pretty nice horse.”

Indeed she is, although her toughening has come not by running solely at Canterbury Park. She has competed at Arlington Park, Oaklawn Park and Prairie Meadows.

And take a look at this line: She is 3-0-1 from 10 career starts with earnings of $93,219. This three-year-old daughter of Badge of Silver from Dracken was bred and is owned by Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick.

All three of her wins have come under Stevens, who has the call again for the Oaks.

“She’s a nice filly. Versatile,” he said.

Especially the last time, in the $50,000 Frances Genter on July 4. “She really showed some versatility in that one,” said Stevens. “We were on the inside, she got dirt in the face and took herself way, way back and then came flying in the end.”

Trailing by as many as 14 lengths, Badge of Glory had Stevens wondering if she had too much ground to make up. “When she started moving I thought she might have a chance to light the board,” Stevens recalled.

His confidence grew as she began picking off horses. “When we straightened out, every time she hit the ground we gained another stride,” he said.

She won with a length to spare.

There is more to be confident about for the Oaks.

“She’s been working up to the race really well. I don’t think there are too many problems,” Stevens added.

No other horse in the field has more than one win. B J’s Angle has the MTA Stallion Lassie win to her credit and beat other winners in that one. Lucky Loop was an easy maiden winner in a large, 10-horse field.

$75,000 MINNESOTA DERBY

This race is wide open. Also at a mile and 70 yards, the boys have no one in this stakes show with the credentials of Badge of Glory in the girls race.

Sugar Business is the most accomplished. He is 2-1-1 from nine starts with earnings of $67,000, and has the very accomplished Ry Eikleberry in the saddle. Although a distant eighth, he does have one start at the distance.

Command the Land, with Nik Goodwin up, has the speed in addition to trainer Clay Brinson.

Otherwise, flip a coin or put on the blinders and throw a dart.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

‘Ice’ and ‘Eddie’ Headline Festival of Champions Day

The Festival of Champions, which began in 1992, is a day of racing restricted to horses bred in Minnesota. Keewatin Ice, owned by Camelia Casby of Shakopee, MN, is entered in the $50,000 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. The 1 1/16 mile race drew a field of seven. Keewatin Ice (pictured above) has won four of nine career starts, including decisive wins in the $35,000 MTA Stallion Auction Lassie Stakes and the $65,000 Minnesota Oaks this season. She will be ridden by Juan Rivera. The 11-race Festival of Champions program offers more than $400,000 in purse money.

If Keewatin Ice is successful in winning this running of the Minnesota Distaff Classic, it would mark the fifth time in Minnesota’s racing history that a three-year-old has captured the Minnesota Oaks and the Minnesota Distaff Classic in the same calendar year. Others to have completed that feat include: Chick Fight (2009); Glitter Star (2005); She’s Scrumpy (2003) and D’s Dancing Sophie (1999).

Additionally, if she should win, she would be only the third filly to complete the sweep of the Northern Lights Debutante, Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Distaff Classic. A win on Sunday would place her in the company of She’s Scrumpy (2002-2003) and Chick Fight (2008-2009) as the only runners to take the three biggest races for Minnesota-bred fillies during their 2-year-old and 3-year-old seasons.

Also on Festival of Champions Day, Nomorewineforeddie will aim for his third consecutive Minnesota Sprint Championship. A third straight victory in the Sprint would put Eddie into the company of Bella Notte (2009-2011 Minnesota Distaff Sprint Champion) , Crocrock (2000-2002; 2004 Minnesota Sprint Champion) and Glitter Star (2005-2007 Minnesota Distaff Classic Champion) as one of only four runners to capture the same Festival Day race three years in a row.

Finally, Jaival will return to defend his Minnesota Classic Championhip for trainer Valorie Lund and owners Eight Ender Stable.

Mac Robertson has a comfortable lead in the thoroughbred trainer standings and will win his eighth consecutive training title. The leading jockey will be determined over the weekend. Tanner Riggs holds a five-win lead over defending riding leader Dean Butler.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography