Tonight’s tenth race is the 34th running of the $137,100 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity. This 350-yard race for 2-year-olds has been a fixture on the quarter horse stakes calendar since 1986. The inaugural Northlands, with a $60,554 purse, was won by Ms Gold Bug in a final time of 17.77 seconds. The stakes record belongs to Minnesota-bred First Class Smarty who was victorious in 2006 with a final time of 17.735 with Tad Leggett aboard.
That was Leggett’s third Northlands win, a total equaled by Stormy Smith when he rode three consecutive winners from 2011 to 2013. Ry Eikleberry, Harold Collins and Julian Serrano each have two Northlands wins. Smith tonight rides Hes Resilient for trainer Vic Hanson who won the race in 2012.
In addition to First Class Smarty, who was trained by Ed Ross Hardy, three other Minnesota-breds have won the Northlands: Holland North (2008) also trained by Hardy; Pyc Jess Bite Mydust (2016) and Jess Doin Time (2018), both trained by Jason Olmstead. Olmstead has a chance to lead another Minnesota-bred into the winner’s tonight with Bring Back My Vodka.
Olmstead has won this marque quarter horse race four times. Hardy has seven wins. Three of those came consecutively from 2008 to 2010, replicating a feat accomplished by trainer Olin Goff when he won the Northlands in 1991, 1992 and 1995. Canterbury was dark in ’93 and ’94 before reopening in 1995. Tonight Olmstead will saddle four of the ten and Hardy has a lone starter.
Capones Vault won what was then a Grade 3 race for the Hardy/Leggett combo in 2002 when the purse was only $38,300. The gelding went on later that fall to win the first ever $1 million race in Texas history, capturing the Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star.
The Northlands had a six-figure purse from 1988 through 1991. It was not until 2013 that it reached six figures again and has been so ever since. The high water mark came in 2017 when the purse was $167,600. The race was won by A Jordan Reed for Hardy.