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Minnesota’s best thoroughbreds featured on Hall of Fame Race Night Saturday

Nine-race program with four state-bred stakes begins at 5 p.m. CT

Saturday’s Hall of Fame Night racing program at Canterbury Park will bring together many of the best Minnesota-bred thoroughbreds in four $50,000 stakes races. Three-year-old fillies run in the Frances Genter and 3-year-old colts and geldings in the Victor S. Myers, both at six furlongs on the main track. Older fillies and mares race on the turf in the Minnesota Turf Distaff while males run in the Ralph Strangis Stakes. Both grass races are contested around two turns at a distance of 7 1/2 furlongs.

Cupids Crush

Potentially the most heavily bet favorite in the four stakes will be Cupids Crush in the Frances Genter. She has four wins, a second and a third from six career starts. Cupids Crush is undefeated in 2023 with one win at Oaklawn and two at Canterbury including an allowance victory by 8 1/4 lengths over Lover Girl who had defeated her last season in the $100,000 Northern Lights Debutante, and a win in the $79,500 Curtis Sampson Oaks. Lover Girl also is entered in the Frances Genter.

Owned by Vicki and Mike McGowan’s Xtreme Racing Stables LLC, Cupids Crush is now trained by Nate Quinonez after trainer Mac Robertson was provisionally suspended by the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) following a positive test in a June 4 race for a substance banned for use in male horses but allowed in fillies and mares. While Robertson awaits adjudication the entirety of his 70-horse stable has been transferred to the care of Quinonez. Eduardo Gallardo has the mount on Cupids Crush.

The Victor S. Myers attracted an evenly matched field of seven. Sir Sterling, off a front-running win in the $54,000 MTA Stallion Auction Stakes, is the 2 to 1 morning line favorite. He is trained by Tony Rengstorf and will be ridden by Lindey Wade for owner and breeder Chad Kuehn. Rengstorf also trains West Island for Suzanne Stables. West Island led gate to wire to break his maiden in his first start of the year on June 17.

Crocodilehunter, bred and owned by trainer Tim Padilla and Pete Mattson, is 9 to 2 in the Myers. He is one of three horses that will be racing in stakes Saturday night out of the mare Garden Gloves. Half-sister, 4-year-old She’s My Warrior, is entered in the Minnesota Turf Distaff and 5-year-old half-brother Thealligatorhunter is entered in the Ralph Strangis. All three are owned by Mattson and Padilla.

Midnight Current

Canterbury’s 2022 horse of the meet Midnight Current defends her Turf Distaff title as the 8 to 5 morning line favorite for trainer Joel Berndt and owner Bob Lothenbach. The 5-year-old mare was an undefeated in five starts last season and began 2023 with consecutive second-place finishes, most recently in the $76,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes. Leading rider Harry Hernandez will be aboard. Berndt also trains Let’s Skedaddle in the same race.

Thealligatorhunter finished first in the 2022 Strangis but was disqualified and placed third for interference in the stretch. Saturday he faces the improving Stagecoach Boys, trained by Berndt and owned by Lothenbach, who most recently lost by a nose in the $76,000 Brooks Fields Mile. Thealligatorhunter will likely be forwardly placed in the early stages with Stagecoach Boys and the Qunionez-trained Xavey Dave chasing.

First post for the nine-race card is 5:07 p.m. CT. The wagering menu includes four 10 percent takeout pools: the Post Time Pick 4 beginning in race 1, two traditional Pick 5s beginning in races 2 and 5, and an All-Turf Pick five encompassing races 2,3,5,6 and 7.