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May 17 News and Notes

Bright, breezy spring weather provided Saturday afternoon with the perfect conditions for watching horse racing at Canterbury Park, cheering on Big Brown during the simulcast of the Preakness Stakes and hoping for his continued success three weeks hence.Although there was plenty of live racing to watch, with nine races, including two $50,000 stakes, many patrons in Saturday’s crowd were eager for the Preakness to unfold. Thoroughbred racing has another opportunity for a Triple Crown winner, the first in 30 years, in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.”Big Brown. Big Brown. Big Brown. That’s what I told everybody before the Derby,” said Russ Sampson. “They didn’t want a 2-1 horse, but they wanted a winner. I really hope he wins the Triple Crown.” He’s right on track after winning the Preakness easily and with plenty left in the tank. “They can’t beat him, can they,” trainer Jerry Livingston said rhetorically before the race.It hasn’t happened yet.”The stars have to be aligned just right,” said Tom Metzen, Jr.They appear to be right in line.The undercard Saturday in Shakopee provided some hefty rewards for long-price players, starting with the first race of the afternoon. Ry Eikleberry arrived in Shakopee this week and announced his arrival by winning with his first mount of the meet in Friday night’s last race. He followed up with a victory aboard 11-1 choice Doctor Click, trained by Troy Bethke, in the card opener on Saturday.The Doctor returned $23.80, $16.20 and $8.60, but he didn’t provide the biggest payback on the card.That distinction went to Banker’s D Light, owned and trained by Phil Hartman of Glendale, Az., in partnership with Adam Seuer of New Market, Minn.Sent off at 24-1 under Anne Von Rosen, Banker’s D Light was a convincing winner in the $50,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes, well in front of the defending champ Sir Tricky, a fourth-place finisher on Saturday. “Not bad, huh,” Von Rosen said to a bystander in the winner’s circle. “You know I don’t like this,” she said to paddock analyst Kevin Gorg, as he prepared to interview her. Von Rosen said that Hartman instructed her to keep the gelding close to the leaders but he drew off with her at the 3/8ths pole. “He (Hartman) did an awesome job getting him ready,” Von Rosen added. The winning rider couldn’t help but recall her last victory in the race, aboard the late Careless Navigator, owned by Almar Farm, in 2006. On Saturday, Banker’s D Light finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Trickyville Dew and Scott Stevens, who wasn’t willing to settle for second in the companion race, the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes. Stevens’ mount in that race was A.J. Bakes, the star 2-year-old filly last year in the Todd Hoffrogge barn. The question on Saturday was A.J. Bakes’ ability to run against older company. No problem was the answer. Stevens was confident nearing the wire, although his horse was tiring. “I heard them company, but she dug in,” he said. “The horse I was worried about was (the Mac Robertson trained) Thanks for the Tip.” Stevens knew that horse was done at the 3-8ths pole. And here’s something to consider:A.J. Bakes and Big Brown are both by Boundary. The win completed a hat trick for Stevens on the card. “The only thing better would have been winning the race before this one, too,” he said.Stevens won the 2003 Lady Slipper with Fancy Injun. “That was (trainer) Jaime Ness’s first stakes win,” he said