CARD HAS A MINNESOTA FLAVOR

A M Milky Way - Paul Bunyan Overnight Stakes - 06-13-15 - R08 - CBY - 005

BY JIM WELLS

 

It was truly Minnesota day at the racetrack on Saturday, with a stakes race whose name conjures up early memories of the state, another named for a mythical hero of the Northern woods and a third for one of our early quarter horse pioneers.

Yeah, you betcha!!!

The first stakes event on the card was the $22,600 Skip Zimmerman Stakes, held in honor of a man who left an early imprint on quarter horse racing. Race four was the L’Etoile du Nord $40,000 overnight stakes, whose name was originally applied to Minnesota by the state’s first governor, Henry Sibley, later appropriated by Minnesota’s first NHL team and often used for dances and such but heretofore never applied to a race at Canterbury. It is a French term meaning “The Star of the North.’’

There was a second overnight stakes worth $40,000 as well, honoring none other than Paul Bunyan, a figure regarded by Minnesota children as second only to Santa Claus.

The names for the two stakes races were selected from submissions by Canterbury employees. Kirby Burnett, a poker dealer, submitted L’Etoile du Nord. Jon Mikkelson, a TV producer who came to work at Canterbury during the reign of Tutankahamun, offered Paul Bunyan. To demonstrate his commitment, he showed up for work on Saturday in a lumberjack shirt.

The first stakes race on the card was a two-horse race, the second and third were one-horse affairs.

SKIP ZIMMERMAN STAKES

The Skip Zimmerman ended in a photo finish, and kept the  connections to the two horses waiting anxiously for the result.

“I was worried,’’ said trainer Stacy Charette-Hill, whose Eye A Spit Curl Girl, sent off at 3/5, was declared the winner over Red Velvet Hero, the 9/5 second choice.

Part of her concern was the distance, 350 yards, a bit short for the 5-year-old mare. “She needs that extra 50 yards,’’ said Charette-Hill.

Nonetheless, she got the tip of her nose in front of Red Velvet Hero, trained by Vic Hanson and ridden by Ismael Suarez.

The winner, with Jorge Torres up, finished in 17.88.

Pre-race, there was also the memory of the winner’s now corrected problems of the past. “She missed most of her two and three-year-old racing because she would stand in the gate and then come get them,’’ said Charette-Hill.

The win was the sixth of her career, which includes a grade III stakes win, but her future on the racetrack is near an end.

“This is her last year,’’ said Randy Hill, Stacy’s husband. “She has a couple of    babies on the grounds now and she’ll be at it full time after this racing season.’’ She is 6-3-3 from 18 career starts with earnings in excess of $130,000.

L’ETOILE DU NORTH STAKES

A 3-year-old filly by Indian Charlie named Native American was sent off at 1/9 odds and lived up to that backing, demolishing the competition with a stretch run that put Dharm girl foal at the wire first, 7 ¾ lengths in front of the next best, Freakin Amazing.

Jorge Carreno was on the winner so trainer Robertino Diodoro didn’t need to give specific instructions. “He’s been on him all but once,’’ said Diodoro, ‘’and he worked him in Phoenix all the time. I really didn’t have to say anything.’’

PAUL BUNYAN STAKES

Hugo Sanchez was on three horses Saturday and brought in three winners, including A Milky Way, the 3/2 favorite in this race. Sanchez and the winner made a huge move on the turn, gobbling up ground with each stride to come from 4 ½ lengths back to win by 5 1/4.

“He broke sharp,’’ said Sanchez. “We just wanted to stay behind the speed and then go. He was pulling me by the 3/8th pole and so I let him go at the quarter pole.’’

The winner finished in 1:11.15, in front of second place Space Mine and a full six lengths in front of Control Stake at 7/2. Trained by Karl Broberg, A Milky Way is owned by David Davis and record his fourth win in nine career starts.

 

 

 

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