Friday, May 14, 2010

Opening Day at Canterbury - Come to the Races, Buy a Horse

Tonight racing returns to Canterbury Park. This will kick off the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of racing at the Shakopee, MN oval. As always, track management is ready to make the most of the short live racing season we have up here in Minnesota once again making Canterbury a summertime destination entertainment experience.

The biggest change this year is free admission all season long. Right out of the gate you're walking in $5 to the good! Like last season, every day regular racing day will be themed:

Thursday Nights (starting in June) - Buck Night! $1 hot dogs, programs and other specials;

Friday Nights - Minnesota's Biggest Happy Hour! Drink specials and live music!

Saturdays - Silver Celebration. Saturdays will feature a look back at classic moments in Canterbury's history.

Sundays - Pepsi Family Day! Free pony rides, face paintings and other activities.

Just a few of the special events planned for the season include:

Memorial Day's year's supply of gas giveaway;
June 25's Canterbury Uncorked - an evening of unlimited food and fine wine for only $40;
An 80's celebration on June 25 on Hot Tub Time Machine night followed the next day by;
Silver Anniversary Celebration - $0.25 programs, $0.25 Pepsi and free commemorative posters, and;
The always popular July 3rd Fireworks spectacular.

Opening weekend also provides some great racing with two stakes slated for Saturday, the $35,000 Lady Slipper Stakes for Minnesota bred fillies and mares and the $35,000 10,000 Lakes Stakes for Minnesota bred Colts and Geldings. Each race provides each own challenges and both fields are very competitive.

Lady Slipper Stakes

This race makes me almost regret missing Opening Weekend (family conflict). The most compelling storyline of this year's race is the showdown between the Mac Robertson trained duo of 4-year old filly Chick Fight and 6-year old mare Bella Notte. Both a two of the most successful ladies that Minnesota has ever produced.

Last season, Bella Notte dominated the older ranks winning two of the three stakes she entered included last year's renewal of this event. She capped off her season with an absolutely dominating win in the Minnesota Distaff Sprint winning by 15 lengths and earning a lifetime best 100 Beyer. With earnings north of $146,000 and finishing in the money in eleven of thirteen lifetime starts (ten for ten at Canterbury), she's an absolute force.

No slouch herself, Chick fight started her 2009 Canterbury campaign getting beat by almost 12 lengths in a non-descript $25,000 Optional Claiming race. After two months off and a switch to jockey Dean Butler, Chick Fight ripped it up winning the Frances Genter, Minnesota Oaks and the Minnesota Distaff Classic in a row. Though her Beyers were not as impressive as her older stablemate and rival, her wins were dominating.

Throw in three other stakes winning or placed fillies and mares and you have yourself a very competitive Lady Slipper.

10,000 Lakes Stakes

The 10,000 Lakes marks the return to Canterbury of my horse crush Perfect Bull. Unlike his final races at Canterbury last season though, Bull won't be favored and will have his work cut out for him as he breaks from the disadvantageous 11 post in the six furlong sprint. Additionally, the field features several top notch sprinters including the 2009 Kenny Shoepf winner Nomorewineforeddie, the 2009 Minnesota Sprint Champion Bizet, 2009 Northern Lights Futurity champion Bet Your Boots, Canterbury legends and multiple stakes winners the 9-year olds Sir Tricky and Wally's Choice and last year's 10,000 Lakes runner up Trickyville Dew.

Upper Midwest Two-Year Old in Training Sale

I've mentioned on multiple occasions that ours is the only sport that you can attend one night, enjoy yourself and then buy your own franchise. Saturday night that all can come true! After the great stakes races, stick around for the Upper Midwest Two-Year Old in Training Sale sponsored by the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association. Some featured stallions this year include Silk Song, Ballado Chieftan, Macho Uno and Smarty Jones. These two year olds will be ready race this season at Canterbury and beyond so come on out and get into the game!

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