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Undefeated in 2023, Cupids Crush seeks Minnesota Oaks Victory Saturday

Sir Sterling stretches out in $100,000 Minnesota Derby

Canterbury Park’s Saturday night Made in Minnesota program features four stakes races restricted to horses bred in the state. The $100,000 Minnesota Oaks for 3-year-old fillies will be the first race on an eight-race card that begins at 5:05 p.m. CT and the $100,000 Minnesota Derby will be the final race. Both are conducted at a distance of 1 mile and 70 yards. The Glitter Star Stakes for fillies and mares will be race four and the Wally’s Choice Stakes race six.  Both of the $65,000 stakes will be run on the main track at one and one-sixteenth miles.

Cupids Crush, pictured above, is the 4 to 5 favorite in the Oaks where she faces four fillies. Trained by Mac Robertson and owned by Xtreme Racing Stables LLC, Cupids Crush is undefeated in four starts this season and has won five of seven lifetime. She won the Frances Genter Stakes, a six-furlong Oaks prep, by 11 3/4 lengths on July 15. Her previous start June 21 was a front-running one-mile turf victory facing open company in the $100,000 Curtis Sampson Oaks. Eduardo Gallardo has the mount.

Sir Sterling

Sir Sterling, 2 to 1 morning line favorite in the Minnesota Derby, has been impressive sprinting this season, winning both the MTA Stallion Auction Stakes and Victor S. Myers by open lengths. The 3-year-old gelding will attempt a two-turn race for the first time in his eight-race career. Lindey Wade will ride for trainer Tony Rengstorf and owner and breeder Chad Kuehn. Rengstorf also trains West Island in the Minnesota Derby for Suzanne Stables. He too will be racing a route for the first time.

“From what I’ve heard from the exercise rider and from Lindey (Wade) and from what I have seen in his training, [Sir Sterling] will be able to get the distance,” Rengstorf said. Both of the trainer’s entrants worked seven furlongs on Aug. 4 in preparation for Saturday.

“Of course, that’s training not racing,” Rengstorf said.  “It looks like when [Sir Sterling] gets out there he has a cruising gear. It’s almost effortless. I think that cruising gear will help him get the Derby distance.”

Roses by Liam is the most logical contender to Rengstorf’s duo in the Derby having had success in a route race June 10 facing open company allowance horses. Alonso Quinonez has the mount for trainer Tim Padilla and owner Pete Mattson.

Mattson is well represented in the Glitter Star with Molly’s Angel, a 5-year-old mare he owns and bred, and She’s My Warrior, a 4-year-old filly co-owned with Padilla. Molly’s Angel enters the

Padilla, Mattson and Quinonez

Glitter Star off an impressive 3 1/2 length allowance win July 29. She ran third in last year’s Glitter Star following a similar prior win. Constantino Roman will ride Molly’s Angel while Quinonez has the mount on She’s My Warrior.

Charlie’s Penny is the morning line favorite in the Glitter Star for trainer Joel Berndt and owner Bob Lothenbach. Wade has the mount on the 5-year-old mare.

Thealligatorhunter won the Wally’s Choice Stakes in 2022 and is the 2 to 1 morning line favorite in this rendition. He too is co-owned by Mattson and Padilla. Roman will be aboard the 5-year-old gelding who has won 10 of 23 career starts.