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Butler Sweeps Stakes….Again


She had never been two turns before. He needed two turns all along.

The distance suited both of them on Saturday, and rider Dean Butler was the beneficiary.
Butler swept both $60,000 stakes on the card, the Minnesota Oaks with Chick Fight and the Minnesota Derby with Perfect Bull.

Afterward he was reminded of a question he was asked a couple of weeks ago. When was the last time he won consecutive stakes. “A couple of weeks ago,” he said with a grin on Saturday.

Indeed he did, the Frances Genter and Victor Myers the second week of July.

Heading into the Oaks, the primary concern for the breeders and owners of Chick Fight, Jeff and Deb Hilger, was her ability to go a mile and 70 yards. “She’s never run this far before,” said Jeff, who bred Chic Fight in partnership with Doug Oliver.

A second concern for them was the possibility of getting trapped in a speed dual with Katie Is Smart. Those two set the pace as expected, but it was leisurely and relaxed, assuring Chick Fight of plenty of gas in the tank when Butler asked her to run. She left Katie is Smart and six other rivals inhaling her dust inside the eighth pole, finishing three lengths in front of Katie Is Smart and Jose Betancourt, 12 ¼ in front of Five Nations and Juan Rivera and an additional 1 ¾ in front of All Hallow’s Eve.

The winning time was 1:43 and 2/5ths after pedestrian fractions of 1:12 and 1/5th, 47 and 2/5ths and 23.

“She rated well and relaxed,” said Butler, who let a passing concern skirt his thoughts. “I don’t know, if another horse had come to her, she would have dug in.”

Butler, trainer Mac Robertson, the Hilgers and the crowd had to wait out an objection filed by Betancourt. After seeing a replay of what amounted to a non incident, Chick Fight’s connections relaxed just as a voice from the crowd outside the winner’s circle bellowed “take her down.”
Robertson responded instantly waving a one-hundred dollar bill in the air. “I”ve got a hundred here says they don’t,” he said.

The voice from the crowd, it turned out, belonged to Curt Johnson, the owner of SEJ Stable. “I didn’t know it was Curt,” Robertson said later. “I felt bad when I found out.”

There was nothing to feel bad about after the stewards reviewed the objection, and as Betancourt headed off the track he slapped Robertson’s hand and said “I had to give it a try.”
Chick Fight paid $3, $2.20 and $2.40.

Less and 30 minutes later, Butler was right back in the winner’s circle after giving Perfect Bull a perfect ride, drawing off from the field inside the eighth pole for a four-length victory over Scott Stevens and 12-1 outsider Jack and Max, who finished 2 ¾ lengths in front of A Steel Trap and Jose Ferrer. The winning time was 1:42 and 4/5ths after earlier fractions of 1:11 and 4/5ths, 46 4/5ths and 23.

Shortly before the race, trainer Bernell Rhone talked about his efforts with the winner as a two-year-old. “We couldn’t get him to break his maiden at home (Canterbury),” Rhone said. “All there is for two-year-olds are 5 ½ furlong races and he needed something longer.”
Sure enough, when given a chance over a route of ground, Perfect Bull, a son of Holy Bull, broke his maiden, but in Oklahoma at Remington Park.

A big (16 hands or more) strapping, handsome colt, Perfect Bull was bred by Chad Holtz and Red Dog Stables of Blaine and went over $100,000 in earnings.