MINNESOTA OAKS AND DERBY
Saturday was a very full day at Canterbury Park. The highlight of the raceday was Minnesota bred superstar Heliskier dominating his 3-year old peers in the Minnesota Derby. I know I’ve only been in Minnesota for seven years now, but he is clearly the best Minn-bred I’ve ever seen. Keewatin Ice, winner of the Oaks, was no slouch either, winning in professional fashion and giving Cam Casby an Oaks exacta with her other homebred, Talkin’ Bout, finishing second.
In the Derby, Sue’s Stormy tried to take command early and wire the field while Heliskier tucked in behind and let him set the early pace. When Derek Bell asked him to go he angled to the outside and was simply gone. Hand-ridden to the finish, Heliskier pulled away from Sue’s Stormy to win by 13 ¼ lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87. It was an absolutely astounding performance. While it may be premature to call him the best Minnesota bred in history, he is certainly on his way.
Keewatin Ice was also an odds on favorite in the Oaks and was ridden perfectly by Juan Rivera to the victory. She got out quickly and found herself briefly in an unaccustomed position on the front end before she was settled back heading down the backstretch. Once she took command in the lane it was all over but the shouting and Keewatin Ice was back in the winner’s circle for the second stake in a row.
The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association held its annual yearling sale last night after the races and the results, while not unexpected, were astounding.
The year over year comparison is particularly apt with 31 horses sold both years. In 2011 the average selling price was $6,403 versus last night’s average of $10,332. Total proceeds of the 2011 sale were $198,500 (which was 135% of the 2010 total, by the way) while last night’s total was $320,300. The sale topper was hip #6, a dark bay colt by Holy Bull out of the Ghazi mare, Run With Joy. Consigned by Oak Tree Farm as agent for Raymond and Karen Wheeler, the colt was sold to Barry and Joni Butzow for $56,000.
The economics of the game are improved, certainly, and a healthy sale is indicative of that. I don’t think that there was going to be any question that the sale was going to be a good one. If you take the reduced numbers of foals in this crop along with the increase in purses thanks to the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund, it all pointed to some expensive yearling purchases. Those of you reading from New York, Kentucky, Florida and other locations that view our average as a bit small, it represents a staggering increase of 108% over the 2010 number.
With a smaller crop of foals that have hit the ground here this year and the purse enhancement money continuing onward for another 9 years, these yearlings may be a bargain compared to the 2013 sale horses. The MTA will be bringing back the 2 year old in training sale so there may be some of these horses coming back into the ring next year as well.
I know I have several horses marked in the catalog to follow over the next few years. It should be an interesting ride.