The $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby is the features race on Minnesota Derby Day. Let’s get right into this impressive card:
Race 1: A four and half furlong sprint kicks off Derby Day at Canterbury Park. No Bling comes off a second place finish on a sloppy track. Alex Canchari stays aboard for leading trainer Mac Robertson. Freakin Stormy flattened out at the five and half furlongs and should enjoy the cut in distance. American Miz and Top Hat Wildcat are playable numbers. Go deep in the beginning of the Pick 4 and enjoy the lowest payout in the country. 5-6-2
Race 2: The Minnesota HBPA Distaff: Turf milers and Prado’s Sweet Ride ships in from Arlington Park with Graded stakes races on his resume. More than most of the other milers in this race, Prado brings with him Francisco Torres who is no stranger to the turf at Canterbury Park. Calypso Run and Fine Assay are the two local runners to beat in this race. Calypso Run is three of five over the turf and today might be the day he gets passed Fine Assay and may even steal the race from the graded stakes runner Prado. The cutback in distance for American Mon Amie should put this horse in a good position but she doesn’t run well at Canterbury. 1-5-6
Race 3: The Brooks Fields is the second stakes race at a mile on the turf. Bill Mott ships in a good one in Go Around and Valdivia is a seasoned rider to boot. Go Around failed to hit the board in the Grade 1 Man O War at Belmont in May but the cut in distance to a mile at Canterbury is just a walk in the park for this class of the class. Majestic Pride comes off a two race winning streak and Red Zeus was right behind him. Look for these two, along with Broken Key to fight for the minor rewards. 7-1-2
Race 4: $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, another mile on the turf, and it brings out some big name horses and trainers. Mark Casse ships in Whatawondeflworld who is coming off a second place finish in the John Battaglia. Again, the cut to one mile and the lack of better runners should put this horse in the Winner’s Circle. The only other graded stakes challenger is One Mean Man who is the morning line favorite. Jockey Santo Sanjur makes the short flight from Chicago to ride for Bernard Flint in the Mystic Lake Derby. This will be Sanjur’s first ride on One Mean Man, who has bested both Oscar Nominated and Madtap in previous races. Albarado had the mount on previous races but decides to ride for Casse in the Mystic Lake. The best local boy in the bunch is Hay Dakota coming off two wins at longer distances and in all three turf races has hit the board. 6-4-1
Race 5: All the money in this one will go to Bar Fight with the veteran rider Scott Stevens, but at 6/5 no thanks. Hattie’s Jewel is my best bet of the day at morning line 6-1. Orlando Mojica is by far one of our best bet jockeys. Six furlongs is Hattie’s favorite distance. Bold Advantage and Sweet Pitch both enjoy smaller distances and Mojica jumps off Sweet Pitch for Hattie’s jewel and take notice. This is the best betting race of the day with prices coming in the super and trifecta. 8-1-4
Race 6: Too many runners in here stretching out to a longer distance in this one and it’s a head-scratcher. No horse really wants to run at the mile distance. You have to look deep in the past performances to find one that has even tried more than 7 furlongs. Mojica bowed to Scott Stevens on Summerset Bing whom he put in the winner’s circle last out, and opted for 5-1 lukewarm favorite Rant N Rave. Pure Magic sets the pace and fades off in most of her races. Not much to do here except stick with the experience and talent 3-9-4. My pick in this race is in the AE list; More Mona More. If space opens up and she gets in, that’s my top pick.
Race 7: The Careless Navigator is sprint for two year olds. Anything could happen and any of these youngsters have a chance to win. Line Judge for Joe Sharp pretty much told every other horse in the race how the race would be run in his last win. The one to beat. Warrior’s Kid had a rough start last out and if Chris Rossier can get this horse out of the gate proper and clean, he’s got a chance as well. Note: Rossier also rides Quarters, so has an edge on gate exits. Irish Beauty, Even Thunder are coming off wins and Even Thunder has actually bested the favorite Line Judge. For that reason I go 1-4-3. Money to be made in this one, go deep in the exotics.
Race 8: Nothing much to be said other than Bellamy Run. Alex Canchari is going to have Bellamy Run gunning out of the gate. His last race at 1 1/16 on the turf didn’t fit him but the one mile will suit him fine. He’ll find Ranger School and Big Shots Rumor coming up quick. Both Prairie Meadows’ shippers will be enjoying the Canterbury dirt and the PM shippers do well when they arrive late in the season. I’d like to put Ranger School on top in this one, but will play the 384 Tri box.
Race 9: Ella’s Kitten should cruise at the mile distance in the nightcap, but I’ve been burned by this horse before as he never seems to find the winner’s circle… camera shy I guess. For that reason, On Cycle looks to be in good form and ready to fire for the Litfin Barn, and with Mojica their go-to jock it’s worth the bet. Don’t be surprised if long-shots Bandini Moon or Houdini Hill jump up for show.
Best Bet: Go Around in Race 3
Best Play: .50 cent Pick 5 starting in Race 5 – could be profitable with playable mid-level long shots with upset potential. 1478/53/143/63/25 $48