So, why is there any doubt whatsoever that Badge of Glory (pictured above left) will join an elite club by winning today’s $75,000 Minnesota Oaks?
She has never run this far.
Everything she has won has been at sprint distances, six furlongs or less. Now she’s being asked to stretch her talent to a mile and 70 yards, breaking from the No. 1 hole in a field of 10.
With the Northern Lights and Frances Genter titles already in the bag, Badge of Glory can become just the third horse to have won those two and the Oaks if she wins today, joining Samdanya (1998) and Chick Fight (2009).
There are a couple of well-informed individuals who think she can do it, namely the horse’s trainer Bernell Rhone and rider Scott Stevens.
“I think she’ll make it,” said Rhone. “She’s a pure sprinter but against Minnesota-breds she’s a pretty nice horse.”
Indeed she is, although her toughening has come not by running solely at Canterbury Park. She has competed at Arlington Park, Oaklawn Park and Prairie Meadows.
And take a look at this line: She is 3-0-1 from 10 career starts with earnings of $93,219. This three-year-old daughter of Badge of Silver from Dracken was bred and is owned by Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick.
All three of her wins have come under Stevens, who has the call again for the Oaks.
“She’s a nice filly. Versatile,” he said.
Especially the last time, in the $50,000 Frances Genter on July 4. “She really showed some versatility in that one,” said Stevens. “We were on the inside, she got dirt in the face and took herself way, way back and then came flying in the end.”
Trailing by as many as 14 lengths, Badge of Glory had Stevens wondering if she had too much ground to make up. “When she started moving I thought she might have a chance to light the board,” Stevens recalled.
His confidence grew as she began picking off horses. “When we straightened out, every time she hit the ground we gained another stride,” he said.
She won with a length to spare.
There is more to be confident about for the Oaks.
“She’s been working up to the race really well. I don’t think there are too many problems,” Stevens added.
No other horse in the field has more than one win. B J’s Angle has the MTA Stallion Lassie win to her credit and beat other winners in that one. Lucky Loop was an easy maiden winner in a large, 10-horse field.
$75,000 MINNESOTA DERBY
This race is wide open. Also at a mile and 70 yards, the boys have no one in this stakes show with the credentials of Badge of Glory in the girls race.
Sugar Business is the most accomplished. He is 2-1-1 from nine starts with earnings of $67,000, and has the very accomplished Ry Eikleberry in the saddle. Although a distant eighth, he does have one start at the distance.
Command the Land, with Nik Goodwin up, has the speed in addition to trainer Clay Brinson.
Otherwise, flip a coin or put on the blinders and throw a dart.
This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.