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Paul Bunyan's Axe will be presented to the winner of Saturday's co-featured stake.

Nominations for Saturday Stakes Look Strong

The second day of the meet, Saturday, May 6, will feature a pair of $50,000 sprint stakes: The Paul Bunyan for 3-year-olds and older and the L’Etoile du Nord for fillies and mares 3-years-old and older. Both will be run at 5 ½ furlongs on the main track. Nominations closed yesterday.

Canterbury’s recognizable trainer names are well represented. Of the 21 nominated to the L’Etoile du Nord, last year’s leading trainer Mac Robertson has a third. Eric Heitzmann, one of the first to arrive in the stable area for the meet that begins Friday at 4pm, has three. Rockin the Bleu’s, a Minnesota bred mare trained by Mike Biehler, was an impressive winner in a Will Rogers Downs stake race April 3. She is on the list but with Minnesota bred sprint stakes just two weeks away, connections of state breds, including the three Francisco Bravo nominated to the Paul Bunyan, may sit out the opening weekend headliners.

Hold for More, on the Bunyan roster of 27 possibles, romped in a gate to wire allowance route at Will Rogers on April 18 in his first start since September. Chances of seeing the 2015 Canterbury horse of the meet May 6 are slim if not non-existent.

Mac Robertson nominated the 2016 horse of the meet Majestic Pride. He was last seen in September winning the John Bullit Stakes, a dirt route. He also won three other turf routes last year in Shakopee. He has been working regularly and quickly at Oaklawn Park.

The speedy and locally successful World Famous Sam T, owned and trained by Troy Bethke, would be a logical entrant. The distance fits his speed and he arrives following a productive winter/spring at Fonner where he won the Grasmick Stakes and Budweiser-Tondi Stakes.

Entries for Friday’s opening card will be drawn Tuesday and the Saturday card, which is expected to include nine races, will be drawn on Wednesday.

Preparing for Kentucky Derby Day at Canterbury

It has been eight seasons since live racing has coincided with Kentucky Derby day. With or without horses on the track, it is always the biggest day of wagering at Canterbury each year.  Kevin Gorg and Canterbury’s Betsy Tozier joined the KARE 11 Saturday morning show with Dave Schwartz yesterday to talk about the Run for the Roses and Mint Julep Cupcakes. Have a look here.