Two names synonymous with Minnesota quarter horse racing account for seven of the 10 starters in the $83,000 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby on Wednesday evening. Hall of Fame trainer Ed Ross Hardy qualified four 3-year-olds in the three trials held July 28 while Jason Olmstead, a lock to win his seventh consecutive training title, qualified three for the 400 yard race. Hardy and Olmstead are the all-time leaders in both quarter horse wins and purse earnings at the Shakopee racetrack. The remainder of the field consists of two from the Jose Aguirre stable and the fastest qualifier, Streakinlilwagon, trained by Jason Pascoe. The Derby is the ninth race on an eleven-race program that also includes the $137,100 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity. This will be the 34th rendition of the Derby which originated in 1986. The $83,000 purse is the largest since 1989 when it was run as a grade 2 offering $100,000.
Hardy has won the Canterbury Park Derby eight times but not since dead heating in 2015. His second came in 2002 with One Rare Bug when the race was a Grade 3. One Rare Bug won five graded stakes that year and was named American Quarter Horse Racing Champion 3-Year-Old Colt. In Wednesday’s Derby Hardy trains second fastest qualifier B Boujee.
The Derby has been an elusive target for Olmstead making it one of a very few Canterbury
stakes to which he cannot lay claim. He has saddled the wagering favorite the past three years, settling for second-place in 2019 and 2020, and has had at least one runner in each Derby since 2015.
Jess Rocket Man qualified with the third fastest time and will be ridden by Olmstead’s go-to rider Edwin Escobedo. The current leading jockey was aboard three qualifiers for Olmstead in the trials. The Minnesota-bred Jess Rocket Man, owned and bred by Lunderborg LLC, was an easy 1 1/4 length winner of his trial, the same margin by which he captured the July 28 North Star Derby. He has won five of 11 starts.
Olmstead also has One Kool Dreamer, the fourth fastest qualifier. She too won her trial heat. Luis Valenzuela is named to ride. Hes a Terror is the third 3-year-old for Olmstead.