Wednesday is an important evening of racing at Canterbury Park with four $100,000 turf stakes, the $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby at a mile on the grass, and a $60,000 sprint stakes as part of a 10-race program that begins at 5:10pm.
The Lady Canterbury is one of the hundred-granders and a race with an extensive history.
The inaugural Lady Canterbury was run in 1986, the second season of pari-mutuel racing in Minnesota. It was the first turf race contested on the new course and was won by Sauna, owned by Summa Stable and Allen Paulson, trained by Richard Cross and ridden by Chris McCarron. Cross and Summa Stable returned to win the race again three years later with Down Again, this time Craig Perret was aboard.
The year before, the Lady Canterbury was won by Balbonella who defeated Bayakoa, the eventual two-time Eclipse Award and Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner. The one mile turf race was given Grade 3 status in 1990 and 1991 but was not run in ’92, the final year of racing before the track closed.
When the Sampsons and Dale Schenian reopened Canterbury Park and resurrected live racing in 1995, the Lady Canterbury also returned as the centerpiece of the stakes schedule. Fans were treated to quite a race when 15 to 1 Go Go Jack flew from mid-pack to take command at the head of the stretch, pulling away to win by a length while establishing a stakes record of 1:33.40 that still stands today. In the irons was Canterbury Hall of Famer Scott Stevens.
The favorite has not fared well in the Lady Canterbury, winning just three of the 28 renditions. The longest price, $67.80, created a lasting memory as K Z Bay, in 1997, led the field gate to wire under jockey Paul Nolan for local trainer of a three-horse stable Bob Ryno, while horses trained by the likes of Bill Mott, Noel Hickey and Elliott Walden could only chase in vain.
Be My Friend won in 2004 and paid $60, a price topped by Quiet Queen in 2008 when she paid $63.60.
Trainer Michael Maker has won the Lady Canterbury three times, twice with Awesome Flower
in 2013 and 2014 and again in 2018 with I’m Betty G. Maker has entered Evil Lyn, the 2 to 1 morning line favorite, in this year’s running. Michael Stidham won the race twice as well going back to back in 2011 and 2012 with A She’s Adorable and Ruthville. Tonight he saddles Lady Lawyer, with Jareth Loveberry up.
Thirteen-time leading trainer at Canterbury, Mac Robertson, won the race in 2007 and then again with Beach Flower in 2019. He has her entered again tonight. Jockey Dean Butler looks for his third Lady Canterbury win.