The Festival of Champions, which began in 1992, is a day of racing restricted to horses bred in Minnesota. Keewatin Ice, owned by Camelia Casby of Shakopee, MN, is entered in the $50,000 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. The 1 1/16 mile race drew a field of seven. Keewatin Ice (pictured above) has won four of nine career starts, including decisive wins in the $35,000 MTA Stallion Auction Lassie Stakes and the $65,000 Minnesota Oaks this season. She will be ridden by Juan Rivera. The 11-race Festival of Champions program offers more than $400,000 in purse money.
If Keewatin Ice is successful in winning this running of the Minnesota Distaff Classic, it would mark the fifth time in Minnesota’s racing history that a three-year-old has captured the Minnesota Oaks and the Minnesota Distaff Classic in the same calendar year. Others to have completed that feat include: Chick Fight (2009); Glitter Star (2005); She’s Scrumpy (2003) and D’s Dancing Sophie (1999).
Additionally, if she should win, she would be only the third filly to complete the sweep of the Northern Lights Debutante, Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Distaff Classic. A win on Sunday would place her in the company of She’s Scrumpy (2002-2003) and Chick Fight (2008-2009) as the only runners to take the three biggest races for Minnesota-bred fillies during their 2-year-old and 3-year-old seasons.
Also on Festival of Champions Day, Nomorewineforeddie will aim for his third consecutive Minnesota Sprint Championship. A third straight victory in the Sprint would put Eddie into the company of Bella Notte (2009-2011 Minnesota Distaff Sprint Champion) , Crocrock (2000-2002; 2004 Minnesota Sprint Champion) and Glitter Star (2005-2007 Minnesota Distaff Classic Champion) as one of only four runners to capture the same Festival Day race three years in a row.
Finally, Jaival will return to defend his Minnesota Classic Championhip for trainer Valorie Lund and owners Eight Ender Stable.
Mac Robertson has a comfortable lead in the thoroughbred trainer standings and will win his eighth consecutive training title. The leading jockey will be determined over the weekend. Tanner Riggs holds a five-win lead over defending riding leader Dean Butler.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography