What a great card….it’s Minnesota Festival of Champions Night!! Six Thoroughbred Stakes (and 2 Quarter Horse races not covered on this blog), each worth 100k. And, two Pick 5’s (starting in R1 and R6) with an industry low 10% takeout. Good luck today….first post 5pm EST.
Current Handicapping Stats:
Top Choice – 376: 132 – 90 – 73 (35%) In The Money: 78%
Race 1: 5-6-7 Early P5 starts here
EP5 ticket: 56 / 156 / 25 / 145679 / 25 ($72)
Going to start out the night picking a son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (which shows the strength of the current MN-bred program). #5 Sota King was caught up in a fast pace in the MN Derby last time vs. two nice ones. Pharoah’s sons have done well on turf, hope this one takes to it. Might be better a bit off the pace. The fave #6 Feeding Frenzy has had plenty of chances, and burned a lot of money.
Race 2: 6-1-5
#6 Oh So Bleu had a trip worth watching in last. Rushed up into a tough spot in between horses, couldn’t keep up, jock just wrapped up from mid-stretch to wire. Was bet first time out, trainer Robertson good 2nd time out, and drops down. Expecting much better effort….needs to be.
Race 3: 5-2-8
#5 Edgie Reggie (6-1) one of a few Price Plays I like tonight. 3yo colt by Magician has upside, ran well in both turf starts, and had some trouble/wide in each one. Leading jockey Wade has to hope #2 Bayou Benny regresses off of a very taxing (but good) effort in the MN Derby in last. If he’s ready, he could win by a pole. But I’m always a bit dubious of these situations…and he has no works (and 1st-time turf) since last effort. Benny might win by 4+ or could be upset at very low odds…I’m hoping the latter.
Race 4: 1-4-7
The name of the #1 Minnesota Nice (8-1) describes the people at Canterbury Park (and throughout the state itself), and I can vouch for that having been there for the first time this year. Another Price Play for me tonight, this 3yo filly has a big shot. Both starts on turf were solid, will save ground for the leading jockey Wade, and has been competitive vs. probable fave #4 Rozey Cheeks, who I believe might have distance issues at 1 mile. Solid works for the rail horse as well.
Race 5: 2-5-6 Northern Lights Debutante S.
First stake race of the night. And, when playing these “baby” races, watching replays is crucial. #2 Amaretto Di Amore (8-1) is another Price Play I like, perhaps the horse in which I’ll be betting the largest amount of my wagering dollar if I get the right price. 2yo filly is a half to All-Time leading money winner in MN, Mr. Jagermeister, who runs in Race 9 tonight. Had that “Z”-pattern line I like in last run…broke great, rushed up inside, steadied back after being put in a tough spot, came on again through stretch. Has to beat likely fave #5 Honey Bella, who ran well first out.
Race 6: 7-8-5 Princess Elaine MN Distaff Turf Champ. S. Late P5 starts here, ABC grid below:
Caveman Late P5 ticket: 78 / 5 / 12356 / 134678 / 14 ($60)
Not getting cute to start this P5. #7 Ready to Runaway is in raging form and has won over 450k and 12 of 22 starts, a real MN-bred star. If this was on dirt, I’d say she would be a virtual cinch. But #8 Firstmate could be a real threat to her if #7 gets pushed too early, which it looks like she might due to inside speed of the #2 and #3. Pace might not matter….Ready to Runaway could be just too good for these.
Race 7: 5-7-3 Blair’s Cove Minnesota Turf Championship S.
My Most Likely Winner of the Night comes here, with 8-5 ML fave #5 Cinco Star. Simply towers over these by the figs in turf starts, in great form, and just needs to break ok and get a decent trip to beat these. Something strange would have to happen for this one to lose, but it’s a horse race. Should sit off of the rail horse and go by in the stretch….I see 3-5 odds coming at post time. #7 Devil Vision would be my sneaky longshot in here if pace is crazy….getting better and better, has a very good closing kick.
Race 8: 1-5-3 Northern Lights Futurity
I thought this race was tricky, despite the presence of a likely big fave. And, this race emphasizes the strength of the MN-bred program. Sires in this field include: Shanghai Bobby, Temple City, Shackleford, Blame, and Palace Malice. #1 Overseas Letter ran deceptively well 1st out in one of the earlier 2 yo races of the season in late June. Broke well, and closed up the inside in a tight spot, seemed to do it comfortably. Trainer Berndt gave this one time to develop, has been working well, and just needs to work out a trip from the rail and improve, both of which are possible. #5 Love the Nest was awesome last time, but will likely face much more pace pressure/resistance from the inside. One to beat, but not a cinch at all.
Race 9: 8-3-6 Crocrock Minnesota Sprint Championship S.
Another great race with again, a favorite I don’t trust. There appears to be plenty of early speed in here, especially on the inside. So, #8 Drop of Golden Sun might just sit a nice stalking trip and get first run on the deep closers. Cuts back to 6f, which should suit this 6yo gelding just fine. Needs his best though and has to likely run down aforementioned All-Time MN-bred leading money earner, #3 Mr. Jagermeister. Form is dirtied up in last three starts, two of them going much further (1 mile) than he wants, the other in an open-company stake that had a blazing pace. Whole race depends on how aggressive the rail horse is. Just don’t see Jager getting loose here, might not be as good as earlier in the year too.
Race 10: 1-3-4 Bella Notte Minnesota Distaff Sprint Champ. S.
Last leg of the P5 is a small but talented field. #1 Clickbait is a nice mare for trainer Robertson, who is 9 for 11 in the money. Very consistent, faster than others, and good rider upgrade (w/all due respect) to Chirinos. Will most likely stalk in the pocket just off the leaders and go by in the stretch….or could be aggressive and wire the field. 3yo filly #4 Star of the North has been great all year, but faces older in this race and is just not as fast as Clickbait. Could still win due to being outside Clickbait and like turnback to 6f.