Canterbury Park Turf Festival Offers $350,000 In Stakes Purses Wednesday

$100,000 Mystic Lake Derby richest race of the night

Canterbury Park will run the $100,000 Mystic Lake Derby for the ninth time on Wednesday as the richest race of the Canterbury Park Turf Festival which includes four additional turf stakes and four undercard dirt races. Trainer Michael Maker will attempt to win the one mile turf Derby for the third consecutive time. A top-five trainer nationally in both wins and purse earnings, Maker ships in Angelus Warrior from Kentucky.  The 3-year-old colt has won two of six career starts, all on the turf.  Angelus Warrior is the 9 to 5 morning line favorite in the seven-horse field.

Maker also saddles Ask Bailey in the $50,000 Northbound Pride Oaks and 5 to 2 morning line favorite Temple in the $75,000 Mystic Lake Mile. Florent Geroux, sixth nationally amongst jockeys in purse earnings, is named to ride all of Maker’s entries.

The Mystic Lake Derby, the fifth race on the program, begins the 50 cent Pick 5 wager with an industry low 10 percent takeout. With no stakes racing at other racetracks across the country Wednesday evening, Canterbury officials expect wagering to be robust. Through 16 days of racing, the Pick 5 pool has averaged $85,232 in handle with an average payout of $21,005. On July 1 a track record $85,340 was paid to the winning ticket holder only to be surpassed the following evening when the Pick 5 returned $98,908. The wager requires the participant to select in order the winners of five consecutive races, placing the bet before the first race in the series begins.

Beach Flower

The 28th running of the Lady Canterbury Stakes, at one mile on the turf with a purse of $75,000, could include as many as 11 starters, the largest field of the night. Geroux has also secured the mount aboard the 5 to 2 morning line favorite Winning Envelope who is owned by Robert Lothenbach of Wayzata, Minn. and trained by Chris Block. The 4-year-old filly, whose running style usually positons her at the back of the field before advancing late, has won four of 16 career races. She has been stabled at Churchill Downs this spring and summer.

Beach Flower will defend her Lady Canterbury title from the second post position. Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer Mac Robertson has named Roimes Chirinos to ride. The 7-year-old mare won this race and the Minnesota HBPA Distaff, also a one mile turf race, last summer.

Wednesday’s other stakes races are the $50,000 Northbound Pride Oaks, the $50,000 Honor the Hero Stakes and the $75,000 Mystic Lake Mile.

Racing continues Monday through Thursday at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack with a 4:40 p.m. CDT first post each day.

Canterbury Park Announces Purse Structure and Stakes Schedule For Revised 52-Day Race Meet

Daily purses to average $200,000; 27th Minnesota Festival of Champions Sept. 7

After last week submitting for approval to the Minnesota Racing Commission a revised 52-day race meet schedule beginning June 10, Canterbury Park officials today announced an estimated $10 million purse structure and stakes schedule. Daily purse distribution will average nearly $200,000 per race day and the stakes schedule has been reduced to a total distribution of approximately $2.3 million, with several stakes eliminated and others taking purse cuts. The adjustments are a result of a shortened meet and anticipated loss in purse revenues generated by Canterbury Park’s operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The revised overnight purse and stakes schedules are contingent on finalizing an amendment to the SMSC (Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community) Cooperative Marketing Agreement in place since 2012 and an agreement with the horsemen.

The $100,000 Mystic Lake Derby, $75,000 Mystic Lake Mile and $75,000 Lady Canterbury will all be contested on Wednesday, July 15 as a part of a five stake race program. The Mystic Lake Derby, formerly the Shakopee, Minn. track’s richest race, had been run with a purse of $200,000 the past seven seasons while the Mystic Lake Mile and Lady Canterbury traditionally offer $100,000 purses.  Made in Minnesota Day will be Wednesday, August 19 and includes the Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks, each offering unreduced $100,000 purses.  The 27th Minnesota Festival of Champions worth more than $800,000 in total purse money will be held on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. Purses for Festival Day remain unchanged. None of the 16 previously scheduled thoroughbred stakes races restricted to horses bred in the state were dropped from the schedule. The quarter horse stakes program remains largely unaltered with the July 7 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity expected to offer the largest purse of the season as a result of nominating and sustaining fee payments.

The originally approved race meet was to run for 65 days from May 15 through Sept. 12 with average purses of $225,000. The revised 2020 season, expected to be approved at a June 8 MRC meeting, will conclude Sept. 9. Racing will be conducted Monday through Thursday. The revised first condition book is now available at https://www.canterburypark.com/horsemen/  . The revised stakes schedule is at https://www.canterburypark.com/thoroughbred-stakes-schedule/ .

On March 16, Canterbury Park officials, based on the advice of state and regulatory bodies, temporarily suspended all card casino, simulcast, and special events operations in response to concerns about COVID-19. Company officials deemed this suspension of activities was in the best interest of the health and safety of its guests and team members. On May 8, the horse stabling area was opened. Simulcast and casino operations remain suspended but company officials are planning for a mid-June re-opening.

Canterbury Park Moves Northern Stars Racing Festival To June 20

Canterbury Park racing officials have announced a change in the date of the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival to Saturday, June 20. The marque night of thoroughbred racing had previously been set for June 27 but track officials decided moving the festival, which features six stakes races including the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s richest event, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, a week earlier would position it on a less competitive day nationally in order to attract top trainers with the best possible horses and largest fields.

“The national racing landscape is ever changing and we want to have one of Canterbury Park’s biggest nights in the right place on the calendar,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “This is an important evening of racing for us both on track and in the simulcast market. We want to give our product a chance to shine.”

The June 20 stakes line-up includes three one mile turf races, the ninth rendition of the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile, and the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes for fillies and mares. Two sprints, the six and one-half furlong $50,000 Dark Star Cup and six furlong $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes for fillies and mares, will be contested on the main track. A new turf sprint is added to the festival, the L’Etoile du Nord, at five furlongs for fillies and mares.

First post on June 20, and each Saturday of the 2020 race meet, is 5:00 p.m. All stakes nomination forms are available at https://www.canterburypark.com/horsemen/ along with stall applications due March 27.

Canterbury Park’s 65-day race meet begins May 15 and runs through Sept. 12

Canterbury Park Shakes Up Stakes Schedule For 2020

$3 million in total stakes purses; change in Minnesota Festival of Champions lineup

Canterbury Park racing officials today announced a $3 million thoroughbred and quarter horse racing stakes schedule for the 2020 season that runs 65 days, May 15 through Sept. 12. Several changes and date adjustments have been made with an emphasis placed on the recently announced 5 p.m. Saturday evening post time. A highlight on the schedule remains the Saturday, June 27 Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival which includes the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, at one mile on the turf course. Also on that program are two $100,000 races, the Lady Canterbury and the Mystic Lake Mile; two $50,000 dirt sprints, the Dark Star Cup and the Hoist Her Flag; as well as a newly added $50,000 turf sprint, the L’Etoile du Nord for fillies and mares.

“We are excited to run all of our featured thoroughbred stakes on Saturday nights in 2020 and believe that will bring more attention to our racing product across North America,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said.

Major changes in both post time and race composition for the 27th edition of the Minnesota Festival of Champions, a day of racing restricted to horses bred in the state offering more than $700,000 in purse money, are in store. For the first time in its history, Festival of Champions will be run on a Saturday evening and is set for Sept. 5. Two fixture races that have been part of the event since 1992 have been moved to earlier in the meet and replaced with two turf races. The Wally’s Choice and Glitter Star Stakes, both dirt routes, have been extracted from Festival and will be run Aug. 15 with $50,000 purses. They will now serve as co-features on Made in Minnesota Day featuring the $100,000 Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby. The Wally’s Choice and Glitter Star will be replaced on Sept. 5 with turf routes, the $100,000 Blair’s Cove Classic Turf Championship and $100,000 Princess Elaine Distaff Classic Turf Championship.

“Turf racing has continued to grow in popularity among both racing participants and handicappers in recent years,” Offerman said. “Moving two turf championship races to Festival Day should provide a more compelling card for the wagering public while also better serving the needs of Minnesota’s owners and breeders who have shown significantly more interest in the turf races over recent seasons.”

Both the Blair’s Cove and Princess Elaine Stakes, traditionally run earlier in the meet, have been conducted since 1995 and in recent years have drawn substantially larger fields than the Wally’s Choice and Glitter Star.

Canterbury Park’s signature quarter horse race, the $150,000 estimated Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, being run for the 33rd time, will be Sunday, Aug. 9, a month later than usual. Also that day is the Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby. In 2019, Canterbury experimented successfully with a day comprised solely of quarter horse races and will do the same on July 5 of the upcoming season. The race day will offer six stakes including the Canterbury Park Championship Challenge which was named a Grade 3 race by the AQHA Graded Stakes Committee.

The Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby and Quarter Horse Futurity, each $55,000 added races, are again part of the Minnesota Festival of Champions.

THOROUGHBRED STAKES SCHEDULE

QUARTER HORSE STAKES SCHEDULE

Faraway Kitten Wins Mystic Lake Derby

BY JIM WELLS

Droplets of rain opened the race card Saturday night, but disappeared quickly, allowing the richest day of summer racing to proceed without interference and, most importantly, kept the turf races on the grass.

That produced at least an internal smile in Canterbury’s braintrust, but none quite as large as the one that crossed Orlando Mojica’s face after he piloted the winning horse to the wire first in the richest race of the summer.

Mojica has had a solid, profitable meet this season, but it got even better when he found room along the rail aboard Faraway Kitten and sailed smoothly past the finish line with room to spare in the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby.

“So, Orlando, that must make a good summer great, huh?” he was asked.

“No, no, no,” he responded. “Money goes so fast. I must keep winning.”

With good reason.

There to greet him in the winner’s circle were his wife, Vanesa, and children Niya, Alex and Leilany.

Yes, the money does go fast with that number of mouths to feed, but, just the same, winning the Derby is rich in so many ways. The winner’s connections are no strangers to Canterbury Park.

Trained by Mike Maker and owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Faraway Kitten is just one of several horses who have drifted into town and left with rich purses for those connections in the last decade.

In fact, this particular colt saved the day for Maker, who was in danger of getting skunked on this trip after missing the winner’s circle in three earlier stakes races.

Save the day, eh, Mike.

“Yes it did,” he said.

Faraway Kitten, sent off the even money favorite, accomplished the feat with a lightning move to the rail when a spot opened, drawing a comment of amazement from former rider Mark Irving, who watched the race from the winner’s circle.

“What a move,” he said. “I’ve never seen a horse move so quickly to the rail.”

Mojica tried to push his mount through near the quarter pole and was blocked, then veered in at the three-sixteenths marker before driving through on the rail with a swift move and finished a length in front of Bizzee Channel and two ahead of Dunph, in 1:35.45.

“Oh, yeah, it’s great to win,” Mojica said, “but, like I said, I need to keep winning.”

Mojica is third in the rider standings behind Francisco Arrieta and  Ry Eikleberry and picked up his 17th win of the meet in the Derby.

 

$100,000 MYSTIC LAKE MILE

The ownership designation for a four-year-old colt named Nobrag Justfact is Super XLIV (Mike Heitzmann et al). Eric Heitzmann, who trains the colt, also owns him in partnership with his brothers, Mike and Roger. The Super XLIV name is a reference to the New Orleans Saints win over the Colts in the Super Bowl.

“Yeah, they beat the Vikings to get there,” Heitzmann added.

He was actually more interested in another kind of win on Saturday night,  the one that Nobrag Justfact claimed moments earlier under Leandro Goncalves.

Goncalves  waited patiently to ask his horse after running at midpack, in this mile turf event, and made his move approaching the head of the stretch.  He had a 1 ¾ lengths on Ibaka, who had a head on Giant Payday, at the wire, in a time of 1:34.38.

“I had a bad trip on him last time,” said Goncalves, “but I had so much horse sitting off the pace. We just needed to get through.”

They got through in the upper stretch with clear sailing from there.

     $100,000 LADY CANTERBURY

This race has a rich history dating to 1986 when a horse named Sauna, owned by Allan Paulson, trained by Richard Cross and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron took the winner’s share of $109,000.

That race was the first turf race in Minnesota thoroughbred history and has been run each racing season since.

Neil Drysdale brought a horse to Shakopee, Balbonella, in 1988 and won the race. Michael Stidham saddled three winners as did Mike Maker, who sent out I’m Betty G last year.

This time the money stayed in Shakopee for the most part following Dean Butler’s ride aboard 10-1 longshot Beach Flower, owned by Hugh Robertson and trained by Mac Robertson.

Beach Flower broke smartly and then tracked front-runniner Lovely Loyree to the top of the stretch, taking the lead under Butler to finish 3 ½ lengths in front of Remember Daisy, with another 1 ½ lengths back to Lovely Loyree in 1:34.96.

$50,000 HOIST HER FLAG STAKES

“Who do you want in this race,” a bystander asked of the person next to him. “I don’t care, just so a jockey, owner or trainer from here is involved,” was the reply.

Success came threefold in this case.

Spring Steen, trained by Francisco Bravo and owned by Michael Grossman was a clear winner under Ry Eikleberry, finishing a solid 1 ¼ lengths in front of Lake Ponchatrain, who had three lengths on Aiken to Be.

Spring Steen made it look easy.

“Yes, she did,” said Eikleberry.

“She can do that,” said Grossman.

“She’s a running son of a gun,” said Bravo.

This was Spring Steen’s race from quarter pole on. She had 3 ½ lengths at the head of the stretch and was in charge to the wire, with a winning time of 1:10.34.

So Long Seoul, trained by Noel Hickey, better known in Shakopee as the trainer of Hall of Fame horse Blair’s Cove, won the first running of the Hoist Her Flag in 1990, and the race has been run every racing season since.

$50,000 DARK STAR CUP

Shawn Davis saddled the winner of this race for the second consecutive year.  Creative Art won the race in 2018 and was named the champion older horse of the year.

Saturday, sent out Creative Art once again, but also saddled Chief Cicatriz, who bested his stablemate and five other rivals as well.

Under leading rider Francisco Arrieta, Chief Cicatriz took charge early in this one was 2 ¾ lengths in front of Cowboy Creed and had another 2 ¾  on Malibu Max, with a winning time of 1:15.98.

Mystic Lake Derby Winners. Where Are They Now?

by Noah Joseph

This Saturday at Canterbury is the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival, one of the biggest days of the season. This day features five of Canterbury’s biggest stakes races with purse totals of $500,000. It will feature some of the best horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys in the country. The featured race is the Mystic Lake Derby for three-year-olds going a mile on the grass. With a purse of $200,000, it is not only the richest race of the day, but of the entire season. In its history, there have been some very impressive winners of this race. Let’s take a look at the previous Mystic Lake Derby winners and see what they are up to now.

The first Mystic Lake Derby was won by Hammers Terror in 2012. The son of Artie Schiller came into the race off of several stakes runs in the U.S. and Canada. Hammers Terror would face rivals from Kentucky, Minnesota, and from his home country of Canada in the shape of Delegator. Hammers Terror took the lead from the moment the gates opened and led wire to wire to victory. However, he had to deal with an inquiry for veering out in the stretch. He prevailed, providing a victory to owner Terry Hamilton and trainer Michael Stidham. Lori Keith was the winning jockey. Hammers Terror went on to run in several other stakes, but he’d only win one more. It was the Brooks Fields Stakes right back at Canterbury the following year. Hammers Terror retired in 2017 with 10 wins from 43 starts, and earnings of over $500,000. He now competes as a show horse and is part of the Retired Racehorse Project, which is a national organization that gives thoroughbreds new careers when their racing days are over.

It would be deja vu for owner, trainer and jockey the following year. This time, Dorsett was the Mystic Lake Derby champion. While there would be no inquiry, Dorsett did come from last with a sweeping move to run down the field and win as the favorite. This would be the first stakes win for Dorsett, and his only one in the states. But that didn’t mean he was done running. Dorsett went on to win the Grade 1 Barbados Gold Cup two years in a row. He failed to win the race for a third straight year in 2018 and hasn’t raced since.

The Mystic Lake Derby in 2014 was considered to be one of the most competitive races of the season, and it lived up to its advanced billing. Horses from Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, and Canada all took part in the final stakes race of the meet. The favorite was General Jack, who won the Shakopee Juvenile the previous year at Canterbury and had just run in Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. However, the winner of the Mystic Lake Derby was Long On Value. Long On Value (pictured above) had previously been competing against the best turf three-year-olds in the country and came into the race with heavy credentials. General Jack and Chairman Crooks, a local runner, set the pace for much of the Mystic Lake Derby while Long On Value stalked the field. He then passed the leaders in the stretch and went on to win for owners George Kerr and Watchel Stables. Chris Decarlo came in from the east coast to ride Long On Value for trainer Bill Mott. Long On Value went on to become a very successful runner, running in graded stakes both in America and abroad. He finished second in Al Quoz Sprint on the undercard of the Dubai World Cup in 2017 and even competed at Royal Ascot. He won his final race in 2018 in the Grade 1 Highlander Stakes at Woodbine. Long On Value retired with nine wins from 32 starts, eight of them in stakes or graded stakes, and earned over $1.1 million. He’s currently at stud in Florida.

2015 was the year American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. Canterbury wanted to attract American Pharoah to the Mystic Lake Derby by increasing the purse from $200,000 to $2,000,000 and move the race to the dirt. And while his connections turned down the offer, the Mystic Lake Derby that year was still a success. Seven horses competed in the race, three of whom were previous graded stakes winners: Barbados, Gallery, and Syntax. The winner of the race was Nun The Less, who shipped in from Chicago. He was owned by the Lothenbach Stables of Minnesota’s own Bob Lothenbach, who has horses all over the country. The winning trainer was Chris Block, and the winning jockey was Florent Geroux, who a few weeks earlier had won the Grade 1 Arlington Million. Geroux guided Nun The Less to a swift come-from-behind victory. Nun The Less started to regress after his Derby victory and eventually was claimed away from Lothenbach in June 2018. However, Nun The Less has seemed to find new life; he’s won four races, including two stakes. He has also placed in two graded stakes this year. Nun The Less is an example of why you should never give up on a horse.

The 2016 Mystic Lake Derby is considered one of the most exciting editions of the race. What made it so exciting? The answer lies in the finish. The favorite in the contest was One Mean Man, who was coming off of a win in the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington that July and a decent finish in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. Jockey Santo Sanjur was scheduled to ride the son of Mizzen Mast for trainer Bernie Flint, who co-owned the horse with Ron Hellerich, but for some reason, the mount became open the day of the race. Orlando Mojica, riding in his first year at Canterbury, picked up the mount. One Mean Man’s regular jockey Robby Albarado was in town for the race, but instead he would ride Whatawonderflworld for trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber, who had finished second in the first Mystic Lake Derby in 2012 with Delegation. Both One Mean Man and Whatawonderflworld laid off the pace and in the stretch, Whatawonderflworld took the lead. But One Mean Man came up the rail to get next to Whatawonderflworld and caused a photo finish. The photo showed One Mean Man got up in time to win by a nose in a race that gave the fans a thrill. One Mean Man won two more stakes that year, but failed to win another race afterwards. His last start was in October 2018.

Bob Lothenbach is one of two owners to have two Mystic Lake Derby wins. The first was with the previously mentioned Nun The Less, the second was with Giant Payday in 2017. The son of Giant’s Causeway came into the Mystic Lake Derby with no stakes wins, yet the fans still made him the favorite in the field of 10. Giant Payday was last for most of the race, and was still far back when the field turned for home. But Giant Payday came closing fast to pass the leaders in the stretch and win by a length for trainer Ian Wilkes, and jockey Chris Landeros. Giant Payday has not won since that Mystic Lake Derby score, but he has run in some competitive races on both coasts. He’s now with trainer Joel Berndt, who trains Lothenbach’s local horses, and is nominated for the Mystic Lake Mile on Saturday. Maybe he’ll run and win again just like in 2017.

Another horse nominated to the Mystic Lake Mile this year, but was not entered, is last year’s Derby winner Sniper Kitten. The son of Kitten’s Joy came into the Mystic Lake Derby off two straight wins, but had never run in a stakes race. Nevertheless, Sniper Kitten went off as the second choice in the thirteen horse field. Sniper Kitten settled in midpack and was allowed to track the frontrunners who soon faded in the stretch. All Sniper Kitten had to do was run down the longshot Nobrag Justfact. Sniper Kitten came up to the outside of Nobrag Justfact and went right past him under a well-timed ride by Tyler Gaffalione to win by a length. Sniper Kitten hasn’t won since that Mystic Lake Derby of a year ago, but he’s been running some decent races.

Come to the track this Saturday to see what happens during Canterbury’s biggest day.

$200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, Canterbury’s Richest Race, Saturday

Northern Stars Racing Festival features five stakes with $500,000 in purses

The $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, the richest horse race of Canterbury Park’s 66-day season, attracted eight three-year-olds for the one mile turf race led by 3 to 1 morning line favorite Dunph. The Mystic Lake Derby will be the seventh race on an 11-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, and is one of five stakes races to be run that evening as part of the Northern Stars Racing Festival. Dunph will be ridden by Santiago Gonzalez and is trained by Mike Maker, who won this race in 2018 with Sniper Kitten. He owned by Three Diamonds Farm and Joseph Besecker.

Four of the eight entered in the Mystic Lake Derby are based at Canterbury Park, including the Irish-bred filly Spectralight who will make her North American debut having raced six times in Italy as a 2-year-old. Spectralight, with Eddie Martin, Jr. named to ride, is trained by Brian House and owned by James Spry. They also have entered Winning Number in the Derby.

This will be the eighth edition of the race that began in 2012 following the signing of a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement earlier that summer between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The agreement calls for SMSC to contribute more than $70 million to horsemen purses over 10 years and has more than doubled the annual purse payments.

Stakes purses Saturday total $500,000. The $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile, also on the grass, drew a field of 14 and will be run as the sixth race. The 27th running of the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes, the evening’s fifth race, has eight entered.  The $50,000 Dark Star Cup has seven including defending champion Creative Art, and the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes has nine.

Post time Thursday and Friday is 6:00 p.m. and Saturday has a special 5:15 p.m. first post.

21 Nominated to Canterbury Park’s Richest Race

$200k Mystic Lake Derby headlines June 22 program that includes five stakes

Nominations closed Friday for five stakes races that will be run at Canterbury Park Saturday, June 22. The five stakes making up the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival will pay a total of $500,000 in purse money, with the eighth running of the Mystic Lake Derby offering $200,000 alone.

Twenty-one 3-year olds were nominated to the Mystic Lake Derby, a one-mile turf race. Nominations include Spectralight, trained by Brian House, who is cross-nominated for the Lady Canterbury Stakes. She is the only filly to be nominated to the derby following a strong workout on the Canterbury turf June 13. Spectralight, bred in Ireland, has raced exclusively in Italy winning two stakes on the turf in 2018. Winning Number, also trained by House, has been nominated. He is undefeated in two dirt sprint races.

The $100,000 Lady Canterbury, at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares, is being run for the 27th time. The $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile, also on turf, attracted 49 nominations.

“There are many quality horses nominated again this year,” said Stakes Coordinator Amber Fontenot. “We have had strong interest both locally and nationally. Full fields will make for an exciting night of racing under the stars.”

The $50,000 Dark Star Cup has 21 nominations and the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes has 26. Nominations include mare Puntsville, who has won the Hoist Her Flag the past two years.

The Mystic Lake Derby was first run in 2012 following the signing of a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement earlier that summer between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The agreement calls for SMSC to contribute more than $70 million to horsemen purses over 10 years and has more than doubled the annual purse payments.

Entries for June 22 will be taken this Wednesday for the 11-race card that will have a special 5:00 p.m. first post.

Canterbury Park 2019 Stakes Schedule Features Record MN Festival of Champions Purses

Canterbury Park’s 2019 thoroughbred stakes schedule includes 31 races worth $2.235 million and will again cluster many of the most popular and lucrative races on single days.

The Shakopee, Minn., horse track’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday, June 22, will be the highlight of the Northern Stars Racing Festival along with four other stakes totaling $500,000 in purses. Last year, the inaugural event produced a Canterbury Park wagering record of $2.068 million.

Each of the six thoroughbred stakes races that make up the 26th Minnesota Festival of Champions on Sept. 1 will be worth $100,000. The Northern Lights Futurity and Debutante were increased to six-figure purses in 2018 while the Sprint, Distaff Sprint, Classic, and Distaff Classic receive $25,000 increases in 2019.

“Minnesota Festival of Champions will offer a record single-day purse payout for Canterbury Park with the total purse distribution approaching $850,000,” senior director of racing Andrew Offerman said. Minnesota Festival Day is dedicated to horses bred in Minnesota. “When purses increased in 2012, owners and breeders really stepped up the quality of Minnesota-breds, and they continue to be rewarded with rich stakes as the industry continues to improve.”

A 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, provides $83 million toward purse supplements and joint marketing of the two properties over its 10-year term.

Saturday, Aug. 10, Minnesota-Made Day, will serve as a Minnesota Festival preview with five state-bred thoroughbred stakes totaling $350,000, including the $100,000 Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks. Grouped on Aug. 24 are the Mystic Lake Turf Express, Brooks Fields Stakes, and HBPA Distaff.

The first condition book is available online along with stall applications, due March 18. Both are available here.

The 66-day live racing season begins May 3 and runs through Sept. 14.

2019 Stakes Schedule

2019 TB Simple Stakes Schedule (2)

 

Difficult But Doable Double

By Noah Joseph

In the history of Canterbury, only two horses have won the biggest race for three-year-olds (originally the Saint Paul Derby, and now the Mystic Lake Derby) in one year, and then have gone on to win biggest race for older horses (originally the Canterbury Cup, and now the Mystic Lake Mile) the following year. It’s rare, because things can change during a course of a year, but Secret Hello and Hammers Terror did just that.

Secret Hello came into the 1990 Saint Paul Derby as one of the top choices in the field. The son of Private Account won the Arlington-Washington Futurity (at that time a Grade 1 race) the previous year as a two-year-old, and began 1990 with a fourth-place finish in the Withers Stakes in New York. Under jockey Pat Day, Secret Hello had to deal with 1989 Canterbury Juvenile winner Appealing Breeze, the speedy Sound Of Cannons, and the Arkansas Derby winner Silver Ending. Secret Hello tracked Sound Of Cannons for much of the race, before taking the lead in the shadow of the wire to win by a head. While not quite a deja vu, Secret Hello came into the 1991 Canterbury Cup Handicap off a fourth-place finish in a graded stakes race. He finished fourth in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, behind future Breeders’ Cup Classic, and 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair. Secret Hello, this time under local rider Chris Valovich, took the lead from the onset and skipped away from the field to win by 3 ¼ lengths on the muddy track.

About a month ago, Sniper Kitten won the Mystic Lake Derby. While there is no answer on whether he’ll run in next year’s Mystic Lake Mile, if he does run in and win, he won’t be the first to do it. That honor belongs to Hammers Terror. A son of Artie Schiller, Hammers Terror entered the inaugural Mystic Lake Derby in 2012 as one of the favorites. He came into the race with a third in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, and a win in the Charlie Barley Stakes at Woodbine for trainer Michael Stidham.To win, he had to defeat the likes of the then undefeated Delegation, and Gung Ho, who finished third in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Hammers Terror broke sharply from the two post under jockey Lori Keith and went wire to wire, and had to survive an inquiry for veering out and interfering with Delegation…..but the result stood.

Hammers Terror

The following year, Hammers Terror came in as the favorite for the inaugural Mystic Lake Mile, this time ridden by Dean Butler. Breaking from the outside post nine, Hammers Terror led for most of the race, and won by a length, making him the first horse to win back-to-back inaugural stakes at Canterbury.