Five turf stakes including $100,000 Canterbury Derby attract local and national entries
Entries were taken yesterday for the Northern Stars Turf Festival, Canterbury Park’s most prominent night of racing which will be conducted Wednesday, June 21. A nine-race program that begins at 5:07 p.m. central is headlined by the $100,000 Canterbury Derby at one mile on the turf and includes four additional $75,000 turf stakes: the Curtis Sampson Oaks, Dark Star Turf Sprint, Brooks Fields Mile and Lady Canterbury Stakes. The races attracted horses stabled at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack as well as several that most recently raced at the top tracks in the country including Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.
Jonathan Thomas trains six of the horses shipping in to race Wednesday including two in the Lady Canterbury, Regal Realm and Mouffy. Thomas, a multiple graded stakes winner, is sending horses to Canterbury for the first time.
“I like what they’ve done [at Canterbury] putting all those turf stakes on one night,” he said. “Every horse that we entered is training well and in a decent spot. They all have upside but will have to bring their best effort.”
Thomas is using rider Florent Geroux on four mounts and Adam Beschizza on two. Both know their way around the Canterbury turf course. “Certainly better than I do,” Thomas said. “We’re fortunate to get them.” Geroux won the 2015 and 2022 Canterbury Derby and the 2021 Curtis Sampson Oaks and Brooks Fields Mile. Beschizza won last year’s Dark Star Turf Sprint and the 2018 Oaks.
Jockey Jareth Loveberry will ride all five turf stakes, three for trainer Mike Maker and two for Chris Block. He is no stranger to Canterbury as Loveberry was leading rider in 2017 and has regularly shipped in for and won stakes races since leaving the local colony in 2020. He is currently riding in Kentucky. Loveberry finished second in the 2023 Kentucky Derby aboard Two Phil’s, a colt that he rode to victory in the 2022 Shakopee Juvenile. He has the mount Wednesday on 9 to 5 morning line favorite She Can’t Sing for Block in the Lady Canterbury. That trio won the same stake last year for Canterbury’s leading owner Bob Lothenbach’s Lothenbach Stables Inc. Lothenbach also has Midnight Current, Canterbury’s 2022 horse of the meet, and Let’s Skedaddle in the Lady Canterbury. Both are trained by Joel Berndt.
Mac Robertson, Canterbury’s all-time leading trainer by wins and purses earned, has entered six horses, four in the turf stakes and two in the undercard $50,000 MTA Stallion Auction Stakes. He will saddle Tonka Warrior, owned by Xtreme Racing Stables LLC, in the Brooks Fields Mile. The 4-year-old won two races this spring racing on the main track at Oaklawn but won on the Canterbury turf last year and finished second in the $100,000 Hawthorne Derby also on the grass. Eduardo Gallardo has the mount.