Races of the Week: Oaks & Derby

B%20J%27s%20Angel%20-%20MTA%20Stallion%20Auction%20Lassie%20Stakes%20-%2007-21-13%20-%20R03%20-%20CBY%20-%20FinishThe final rite of summer for our three-year-old Minnesotans has come. The Minnesota Oaks and Derby are both this Saturday, with a shiny new $75,000 purse to go with each event. A couple more lined up for the Oaks this year, but the more familiar names from both this and last year come in the Derby. Let’s let the males go first for once since they do on the card. Keep in mind these two races will end the late pick four, and the first two legs involve a FULL turf race and two-year-olds. Let’s trim this down if we can…

The Minnesota Derby

1. Lil’ Apollo – He’s from a family that can go a distance (well, at least his brother Mischief Mo does) but not against the cream of their crop. He has some speed and the rail, but Butler’s never ridden this gelding before and needs to coax him into finishing a whole lot faster than he has in any of his first seven starts. Again, the family can go long but the horse himself needs to prove a lot of things before he’s crowned a champion.

2. Stormy Bull – When he entered the winners’ circle last fall, he became only the second foal of his dam to do so. Both of the horses that filled the trifecta of the race he won last September 3rd can be seen Thursday night at Canterbury… in a Maiden Special Weight. The route winner in this family really wasn’t all that good and doesn’t bode well for this one’s first try at two turns.

3. Evert – His last race would certainly point to an improvement with more ground, but was it a product of pace or of this horse’s desire for distance? Mutakddim can pretty much do it all as a sire, and his pedigree has some upside on both ends. Maywood’s Jill didn’t route too many times and neither has this one’s brother Eurasian. Hard to draw conclusions based on his pedigree on the bottom but Maywood’s Jill was just a nice mare and she could run at this class if not this distance. Alex has ridden well in stakes recently, and Porter doesn’t step them up all that often without reason. This one started off his year against older foes in a very tough spot – this will be a more accurate showing of what he can do around two turns.

4. R U Joshin Me – Riders get changed here, with last-race victress Chamisa Goodwin handing things over to Lori Keith for the stretchout. This horse has very little in the pedigree department to endorse a distance of ground, as only one sibling tried it and he was 0-4 going long. Stormy Business can get a route too but this one needed sellers to win and will need a lot of help with all the changes in store.

5. Shangrila Bar – Most maidens don’t take a ton of money in the Minnesota Derby but this one could be an exception. He’s a half to Minnesotan stakes winner Sasha’s Fierce, and sons of Touch Gold deserve at least one try at a long distance. This is not a great move for the barn in recent times, with stretchout success coming outside of Canterbury. He’s shown more speed in his last couple and improvement the entire year for Riecken, and draws Derek Bell for this assignment. He was entered earlier in the weekend in a rather cushy Maiden Special Weight spot – the confidence in this corner is high and there are a few reasons for it.

6. Sugar Business – Isn’t he sort of your favorite by default? If a maiden is going to take money, the stakes tested runner most certainly should be the heavy favorite. With a distinct lack of route experience among these, the sprint form is what will take money and it all points to this Sampson runner. The winner of the Northern Lights Futurity last year routed on the turf earlier this summer and did not pass test number one. This sibling to Sue’s Stormy could be able to follow suit if not do his brother one better in the Derby. Though he became a stakes winner last year with his raw speed, his last two races have been good learning experiences in different ways. They’ve been on the turf and in the slop, at a distance than an extended sprint. The turf obviously did not agree with him but he did close a bit of ground at the end on some nice horses. The sprint kept him closer by necessity, but still left him second best in a rebound performance. Regardless, he passed horses in both of them and that will be a valuable weapon in a field with plenty of stretchers.

7. Command the Land – Is he the speed of the speed? He came off the shelf FLYING a bit too hard, but held much better with slightly softer splits in round two of 2013. The added distance stretched his speed a bit further – With a pedigree like his won’t the additional mellowing of tempo help? Not to guarantee that he’ll get two turns in his first try, but if his family has anything to say about it this is just what the doctor ordered. Top and bottom say it’s not a problem, but Nik Goodwin will need to figure out a way to win another route this year, for as of Wednesday he’d only one three all meet long. Clay hasn’t stretched many out this year at the meet either, but one did finish second and won her next start. Rationing his speed from this post may be a bit easier too, as he could be forced to stalk. Love the draw for him and like his chances a lot.

8. Jantzesfancyfriend – This one’s pedigree is the one that probably jumps off the page highest with distance potential, as it did when he was the sale topper a couple of years ago. Run with Joy and Friends Lake both relished routing and this colt could like it a lot in his first crack at it. Can’t be crazy about the outside but at least he has the speed to get in position. Those blinkers sure helped didn’t they? He was within striking range the entire time in his maiden breaking win, and should be again today. Must be taken seriously with the way he seems to be headed.

Bourbon County, the early choice to dominate in the Derby after a couple of massive victories early in the meet, has been sidelined by a minor injury that will cause him to miss the rest of the meet according to his connections.

And the Oaks…

1. Badge of Glory – The filly to beat is going for a rare three-peat trying to take down the Northern Lights, Frances Genter and Oaks. She’s hard to beat with her versatile attack. She has the raw speed to wire the field and the kick to pick up tiring duelers. How do you leave her out? Badge of Silver made quite a bit of money doing just that, while the dam’s side here doesn’t provide much in the way of route ability. None of them really stepped in that direction. Your favorite for many reasons.

2. Silver Somerset – She put an exclamation point on her maiden win but failed to follow up against restricted stakes company, beating one horse home in the MTA Lassie. A daughter of an Aptitude mare ought to like all this ground and more, and with her slow fuse a speed duel would make her day. Derek Bell fits this sort well. You’ll hear from her late if at all.

3. Sweet Tango – She has the route experience that some of these can’t claim, and one she beat did come back to win last weekend impressively (albeit against claimers.) Her numbers aren’t anything special but they fit with this field; at least she earned them under similar conditions to today. Her mother’s only win came at two turns and some family handled it. Class is the question, but Mac stepping a filly up can only be viewed as a good thing. Not willing to part with her especially given the fair odds she may be at.

4. City Kid – Another of Bernell Rhone’s owned by Bremer & Sprick enters off her maiden win at today’s distance. Toss out her turf race and it’s not such a bad looking set of races, though the numbers with each are a cut below and hopefully are a thing of her past. Stevens passes for Badge of Glory, but Escobar and Rhone have teamed up at prices in the past – Including Black Tie Benny a couple of years ago in the Minnesota Derby at 8-1.

5. Adorkable – She’s one I’ll tread lightly with but only because I’m still a bit tender from a recent burn in the Francis Genter. Kidding. Maybe this has been the goal all along but the giddy-up she showed last year hasn’t really made an appearance at three. The allowance prior to the Genter hasn’t come back all that strong either. She is one that should definitely appreciate the stretch from both sides, but demand value if betting her strictly to win. Her style needs a lot of help in a crowded field like this but the ability’s there.

6. Brooke Academy – Shane Miller’s filly will most likely tug her way to the front of things or just off them, but there are many possibilities for pressure up front. She’s run in the same races as the filly just to her inside this year, and she beat her both times. There are more questions than answers in this slot of the gate, as Shane Miller rarely runs horses long at Canterbury and the dam was unraced. She’s worked well as of late but will need to dig pretty deep.

7. Sultry Queen – Badge of Glory has been a problem in their meetings thus far, but this filly always shows up with her best and that comes up with a check more often than not. Got a good test in when she tried older foes a couple back and took defeat to Talkin Bout. She might not be quick enough from this post to grab the lead but she shouldn’t be miles off it either. The mother’s side enjoyed a good part of its success going long, but no one even approached mom in the dollar column. More of an underneath sort.

8. Lucky Loop – It took him a while to get to the races, but he’s come along quickly in only two starts. Van Winkle is apt at stretching horses out for the first time, and the step this horse took forward last time could certainly be duplicated with more ground to work with. At Canterbury in particular, the move from short to long is better than the statistics look. Eikleberry stays here and the most room to progress is here.

9. B J’s Angel – Pictured above, she’s a rarity – A stakes-winning non-two. Suddenly she had speed and took the MTA Lassie wire to wire in slop. What tactic will be used today? Will she run the same with a dry surface? This move to mile plus distances is a good one for the Scherer barn too at Canterbury, on both surfaces. B J’s Angel gets stuck outside to try and turn the tables on Badge of Glory, Sultry Queen and Brooke Academy but may like the stretch more than all three. She may be undervalued but will be a use on a lot of pick fours.

10. Baby Pickles – The speedy maiden would seemingly have one game plan, but she drew an unfortunate post to try and wire a field in her first foray at a mile seventy. She loses ground consistently at sprints but could get luck with some scratches of speed. The family really falters when it comes to this kind of trip and her style to date really doesn’t make betting easier.

Good luck this weekend! Food trucks and fast horses await at Canterbury Park!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann serves as the Track Analyst for Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois and the summer of 2013 marks her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.

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