Monday through Thursday Racing Schedule Underway
After Hot Shot Kid defeated Mr. Jagermeister by 1 1/2 lengths in the 10,000 Lakes Stakes on June 17, winning trainer Mac Robertson predicted a rematch was in the future for the two richest Minnesota-bred thoroughbred racehorses in history. That prophecy did not take long to be realized as both are entered in Wednesday’s Ralph Strangis Memorial Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. The Strangis is one of four $50,000 state-bred stakes on the 10-race card that begins at 4:40 CDT including the Frances Genter, Victor S. Myers and Minnesota Turf Distaff. In 2019, Robertson trainees won all four. He saddles the morning line favorite in three of the races this year.
Hot Shot Kid, the 8 to 5 morning line favorite, has one turf win from three tries. The victory came in this stake last summer when he beat four horses the 6-year-old will face again in a 10-horse field, including 11-time turf winner A P Is Loose also trained by Robertson. The speedy Mr. Jagermeister, trained by Valorie Lund, is winless in two turf attempts and is likely to dictate the pace while being pressured by Robertson’s third and fourth entries, Mister Banjoman and Cinco Star.
Robertson is also represented by four entries in the Minnesota Turf Distaff with Carriage and Honey’s Sox Appeal along with 8 to 5 morning line favorite Ready to Runaway and Clickbait both making their turf debut. First Hunter, winner of this race last year when trained by Robertson, enters off a third-place finish for trainer David Van Winkle in an allowance race won by another in the Minnesota Turf Distaff, Maywood Hope.
“I want to see Clickbait and Ready to Runaway run on the grass before [Minnesota Festival of Champions on Sept. 7] to see if they can,” Robertson said. “I’d like to win as many [Festival] races as I can obviously, so I need to know.” Robertson has won 35 Festival races, 15 more than any other trainer.
Ready to Runaway had great success in 2019 after being claimed by Robertson and owner John
Mentz for $25,000. She went on to win the Genter, the $100,000 Minnesota Oaks, and the $100,000 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. This year she hit the board in three Oaklawn Park starts before winning the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes at Canterbury.
“She’s run short, long, muddy, fast; I think she will handle the grass,” Robertson said. “She could run better. We’ll know after Wednesday.”
Minnesota-bred 3-year-olds are featured in the Myers and the Genter Stakes, a pair of six furlong sprints. Rush Hour Traffic, winner of the Northern Lights Debutante, is favored on the morning line at 8 to 5. She is trained by Gary Scherer. Robertson entered Defend the Rose, second to Rush Hour Traffic in the Debutante.
Robertson, 13 times the leading trainer at Canterbury, also conditions the favorite in the Myers, Happy Hour Cowboy, winner of the 2019 Northern Lights Futurity. Alex Canchari has the mount on Happy Hour Cowboy, Ready to Runaway and Defend the Rose, while Francisco Arrieta has the return engagement aboard Hot Shot Kid.
“I think I’ll run them all,” Robertson said. “I like what Canterbury is doing for the Minnesota breds. It’s good for the owners. Gives them opportunity. If it’s good for the owner and for the horse, it’s good for me.”
Racing at the Shakopee, Minn. facility begins a Monday through Thursday schedule after racing eight days over the past three weeks. Post time each afternoon is 4:40 p.m. CDT. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canterbury Park suspended all operations in mid-March but on June 10 live racing, which had been delayed from its original May 15 start, returned with limited spectators. Through eight racing days, total handle has increased 163.8% per race compared to 2019 with on track per race handle declining 61.9% per race due to the restriction on spectators and out of state per race handle increasing 266%.
Simulcast racing operations returned to a daily schedule June 10 and the Canterbury Casino reopened table games June 15.