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Minnesota-Bred Bens Malice Among 41 Nominated To $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby

Six stakes on June 22 will offer $610,000 in purses

Nominations to the June 22 Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival closed Wednesday with a total of 223 horses nominated to six stakes races that will offer $610,000 in purse money. The marquee race, the $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby at one mile on the turf course, attracted 41 nominations including Grade 3 winner Grand Sonata trained by Todd Pletcher. Also nominated is Grade 3 Lexington winner Tawny Port who most recently finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby. The 3-year-old, who has never raced on the turf, is trained by Brad Cox who nominated five others to Canterbury’s richest race.

A locally stabled horse has yet to win the Mystic Lake Derby in the first nine renditions but many are nominated to the 2022 running. Among them is Minnesota-bred Bens Malice, trained by David Van Winkle and owned and bred by Pete Mattson. The son of Palace Malice has won three of nine career starts, two on the turf including an August 2021 win over the Canterbury course and a one-mile allowance win at Tampa Bay Downs. Bens Malice, a late running closer, also finished second in the $75,000 Columbia Stakes at Tampa.

“It’s an all-time challenge to breed a horse in Minnesota and get into an open stake and be a legitimate competitor,” Mattson, a long-time supporter of Minnesota breeding, said. Mattson expects Alonso Quinonez, who has been aboard Bens Malice in all nine starts, to ride.

Entries for the June 22 program that begins at 5 p.m. CDT will be drawn Wednesday, June 15.

Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival
$150,000 Mystic Lake Derby — One Mile on the Turf – 3-year-olds – 41 nominations
$100,000 Dark Star Turf Festival – Five Furlongs on the Turf – 3-year-olds and up – 42 nominations
$100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes — One Mile on the Turf — fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up – 34 nominations
$100,000 Mystic Lake Mile — One Mile on the Turf – 3-year-olds and up – 42 nominations
$100,000 Curtis Sampson Oaks — One Mile on the Turf — 3-year-old fillies – 34 nominations
$60,000 MTA Stallion Auction Stakes – 6 1/2 Furlongs – Eligible 3-year-olds – 30 nominations

Nominations and past performances available here.