2013 Derby Day Nears

HAMMERS TERROR_The Mystic Lake Derby_07-28-12_CBY_Inside FinishOccasionally she’ll think about the race and the biggest win of her career, the stuff of warm feelings and pleasant thoughts, except for that interminable wait.

“It was intense, wasn’t it though,” says Lori Keith.

The subject at hand, of course, is the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby first held in 2012 and Keith’s controversial win aboard Hammers Terror. About half the grandstand thought the horse should have been taken down. The other half sided with Keith’s horse.

So did the Stewards, who ruled that Hammer Terror did in fact veer in front of Delegation in the final yards but the action did not change the outcome of the race in their view. Nonetheless they gave Keith days, even after she sweated out the decision on the race for what seemed like an eternity.

Keith talked about the race as she headed to the paddock on Sunday for the third race, which she won aboard Francisco Bravo’s Free Sailing.

She is hopeful of riding in the second Mystic Lake Derby next Saturday, for the same owner whose horse she rode last year.

“Things can change,” she said, “but there’s a good chance .” She referred to a three-year old colt named Dorsett, owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Michael Stidham, who have the same connections as Hammers Terror, the 2012 champ.

Hamilton has talked about how great it would be to win the first two Mystic Lake Derbys. He has to run a horse for that to happen, of course.

The $200,000 Derby will be run on the same card with the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks and the $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes. All three to be run over the Canterbury turf course.

Questions about the second rendition of the Mystic Lake Derby abound at this point:

Will Dorsett indeed run and will the field include a Java’s War, a longshot who finished 13th in this year’s Kentucky Derby and, although nominated to the Derby, is a longshot to appear in next Saturday’s race?

Undrafted, owned by New England Patriots defector and current Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, has been nominated also.

Other nominees include Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s You Blue and Leaden In Ken, along with Bill and Al Ulwelling’s Finding Candy. In total, nearly 100 horses were nominated for the trifecta of grass races next Saturday.

The draw is scheduled on Wednesday for all three races.

My Corinthian, trained by Dan Kobiskie and scheduled to arrive Monday, will run in the Juvenile and will be the first horse on the grounds for Saturday’s stakes events.

The Shakopee Juvenile, at 7 and 1/2 furlongs on the turf, will be run for the first time. The Oaks, at a mile on the turf, was won last year by Soonerette, owned by Robert Zoellner, ridden by riding champ Tanner Riggs and trained by Donnie Von Hemel. The purse this year is $100,000, for the first time since 1995, when the Carl Nafzger-trained Fluffkins won. Von Hemel nominated no horses to the Oaks but has nominated Smack Smack, owned by Dream Walkin’ Farms, Inc. (the stable name of renowned country music singer Toby Keith) to the Juvenile.

CANCHARI SURGES IN JOCKEY STANDINGS

Alex Canchari, the Minnesota Kid as he refers to himself, surged this week into second place in the rider standings, riding seven winners to wind up Sunday night with 31 winners for the meet.

That’s eight behind the leader, Dean Butler, a three-time champion. Ry Eikleberry had only one winner for the week and slipped into third place with 30 wins, followed by Lori Keith with 29 and Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell and Eddie Martin, Jr. at 25 wins each. Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens is next with 23 wins.

There was no change in positions among the track’s top trainers. Mike Biehler continues in front with 24 wins, followed by Bernell Rhone with 22 and Mac Robertson with 21.

Stormy Smith, who rode the winner of the Bob Morehouse Stakes, Western Fun, on Saturday, continues to lead the quarter horse riders. He has 16 wins. Jorge Torres is next with 14.

SUNDAY HAPPENINGS

You Be Gator Bait, trained by Mac Robertson, is nominated but won’t run in the Shakopee Juvenile, not with a mere week’s rest. He won the opening race on Sunday’s card for Minnesota-bred maidens with Chris Fackler up. “He’s a hard worker,” Robertson said of the winning rider. The most likely spot to see the Minnesota-bred next will be on the 2013 Festival of Champions card in the Northern Lights Futurity.

Martin Escobar was the only double winner among the riders Sunday, with Hard Cider in the sixth and Scorsese in the seventh, his 10th and 11th winners of the meet.

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.

Mystic Lake Derby Draws Field of Eight

The inaugural running of the $150,000 added Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday has drawn a field of eight including two participants that last raced at Woodbine Race Course, in Ontario, Canada and two others that made their most recent start at historic Churchill Downs. In total, the field is comprised of four shippers and four local hopefuls, all vying for the lion’s share of the largest purse since Canterbury Park reopened under new ownership in 1995.

The morning line favorite at 5/2 is Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Gung Ho, the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes (video replay below). The Ramseys are two-time winners of the Eclipse Award as the Nation’s Outstanding Owners. Gung Ho drew post four and is trained by Michael Maker, who ranks 10th in North America for races won in 2012.

North of Never, trained by Anthony Granitz and owned by Standlee and Shultz, exits an allowance victory at Churchill Downs following a fourth-place finish in the Arlington Classic. Willie Martinez will be aboard.

Hammers Terror and Delegation both ran most recently at Woodbine. Hammers Terror won the $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes on June 23 before finishing fourth in the $150,000 Toronto Cup on July 14. Hammers Terror is owned by Terry Hamilton, trained by Michael Stidham and will be ridden by local rider Lori Keith.

Delegation, the other Canadian invader, is undefeated in two lifetime starts for trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber. He’ll make his stakes debut on Saturday under jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan.

Tequila Factor leads the local contingent for trainer C. L. Wilson coming off a fourth place finish in the Brooks Fields Stakes and a third place finish in an open allowance. Leading rider Tanner Riggs has the call. Take Heart, with Derek Bell aboard, will bring a two-race winning streak into the race for Canterbury’s seven-time defending champion trainer Mac Robertson. Corporate Chapel for trainer Stanley Mankin and Why Frank for Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer Doug Oliver complete the field.

The purse, $162,000 if all entrants start, will make this race the richest since Canterbury Park re-opened under new management in 1995 and the largest purse in Minnesota since the 1991 Minnesota Derby (previously named the St. Paul Derby) was contested for $250,000.

The Mystic Lake Derby is the first significant co-promotional event since the historic $83.5 million cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement was reached on June 6 between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community which owns and operates Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund will contribute $100,000 to the purse of this race.

“The Mystic Lake Derby is an excellent example of what this cooperative agreement will do for racing,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “This is the most significant race in Minnesota in over two decades and we anticipate it will become the most important race in the state’s history. We look forward to bringing this kind of high quality horse racing to our world class facility.”

Purses this season have increased by 35% since the agreement was approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission and will more than double when the purse enhancements are fully implemented over the next decade.

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Canterbury Park are located less than four miles from one another along Canterbury Road/Mystic Lake Drive in Scott County in the southwest corner of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The Mystic Lake Derby will be run as the seventh race on a ten race card. Post time for the Mystic Lake Derby is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CDT. Racing begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $5, children 17 and younger are admitted free and parking is free. The first 8,000 fans will received a free t-shirt.

Here’s the field for the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby with post positions and morning line odds:

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML
1 Why Frank Doug Oliver Dean Butler 30-1
2 Hammers Terror Michael Stidham Lori Keith 3-1
3 Delegation Mark Casse Jermaine Bridgmohan 5-1
4 Gung Ho Michael Maker Malcolm Franklin 5/2
5 Tequila Factor C. L. Wilson Tanner Riggs 6-1
6 Corporate Chapel Stanley Mankin Scott Stevens 12-1
7 North of Never Anthony Granitz Willie Martinez 7/2
8 Take Heart Mac Robertson Derek Bell 8-1