Mystic Lake Derby Attracts 41 Nominations

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Nominations for Canterbury Park’s richest race, the $200,000  Mystic Lake Derby, closed Thursday night with 41 three-year-olds being named as possible contenders for the one-mile turf race on Aug. 29. Several nationally prominent trainers and owners are on the nomination list. National Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott has nominated four horses. Mott, a native of South Dakota most notable for training the champion Cigar in the mid-90s, won this race in 2014 with Long On Value.  Among the four Mott trainees nominated is Syntax, winner of the Grade 3 Kent Stakes in July at Delaware Park. Trainer Michael Maker has five nominations and Mark Casse has three.

Three horses owned by Robert Lothenbach of Eden Prairie, Minn. are being considered. Flashy Jewel, trained by Clay Brinson, most recently won the Manitoba Derby following two consecutive wins at Canterbury. Nun the Less finished third in the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington Park in July behind Casse’s World Approval, who is also nominated. Nun the Less is trained by Chris Block. The third Lothenbach nominee is Sassy Moe, a recent maiden turf winner at Canterbury.

Barbados, trained by Michael Tomlinson and owned by Suzanne Stable LLC, is expected to be among the entries when post positions are drawn Aug. 26. The colt has won three of seven career starts including two Gulfstream Park dirt sprints: the Spectacular Bid and the Grade 3 Hutcheson. His most recent start was in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga where he finished third as the wagering favorite.

“He has the ability to lay close, so going a mile on the turf with softer fractions might fit his style,” Tomlinson said.

Barbados career began on the turf at Kentucky Downs last September, but he is winless in two turf races. The son of Speightstown has never raced further than seven furlongs either.

“We want to find out if this horse wants to go two turns,” Tomlinson said.  “He ran one good race at Kentucky Downs but turf is still a foreign surface. There are a lot of questions here but the plan is to find out and then move forward.”

In 2012, Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, entered into a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement that calls for the tribe to contribute $75 million to horsemen purses over 10 years. With the bolstered purses, now more than double what they were in 2011, came enhanced stakes purses including the Mystic Lake Derby, now in its fourth year.

While the culminating event of the weekend is the Mystic Lake Derby, other festivities, beginning Thursday, Aug. 27, are planned to celebrate the partnership between Canterbury Park and SMSC. Indian Horse Relay, a daring display of bareback racing showcasing 12 teams representing various American Indian nations competing for $50,000 in prize money, will be featured on Thursday and Friday with two trial heats each night. The top eight teams from those trials advance to the Canterbury Park Indian Relay Championship Saturday. On each of the three days, there will be a youth Indian Horse Relay demonstration using Shetland ponies.

SMSC Youth Royalty will perform traditional dance styles Saturday. Also that day will be a traditional arrow throwing competition.

The Indian Market, with more than 30 vendors offering unique Native American arts and crafts, will be open daily during the races.

Post time Thursday and Friday is 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Mystic Lake Derby Day, has a special 4:00 p.m. first post.

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