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Winning connections impress at Canterbury Park

August 21, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Kevin Gorg
Shakopee, MN -- Minnesota’s premiere day of horse racing saw first time victors and great champions continue their domination at the Minnesota Festival of Champions Sunday at Canterbury Park.

Festival Day began with winning connections taking the early double. In the first race, CS Night Light beat out 1-to-2 favorite First Smart Muggins in the $23,000 Red Mills Feeds Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby. One of three entries trained by Edward Ross Hardy, CS Night Light was ridden to the winners’ circle by Helen Vanek, covering the 400-yard dash in 19.982 seconds. The three-year-old filly took home a winner’s purse of $11,500, raising her career earnings to $40,930 for owners and breeders Sylvia Casby and daughter Camelia. Strawflyin Elvis grabbed second and First Smart Muggins took third. CS Night Light paid $7.40 to win.

The Casbys teamed up with Hardy and Vanek again in the $25,000 Red Mills Feeds Minnesota Quarter Horse Futurity to sweep the eight-horse field. CS Strobelight took the winner’s purse of $11,500 and covered 350-yards in 18.146 seconds followed closely by Trevors Easy Tripper and Shakia. The two-year-old filly paid $8.60 to win and raised her lifetime earnings to $17,503.

Wally’s Choice defended his title in the $45,000 CSI/Hector Communications Minnesota Classic Championship, taking the 1 1/16 mile route in 1:42 2/5 under jockey Martin Escobar. Trained by Michael Biehler, the four-year-old gelding returned $2.80 for the win. Wally’s Choice raised his lifetime earnings to $309,840 for owners Curtis Sampson and Joyce and Wally McNeil. Early leader Bisquik held second and Blue Dancer took third.

Top two-year-old Sentimental Charm took the $55,000 Dodge Northern Lights Debutante in classy fashion, pleasing the crowd as jockey Derek Bell piloted her into the winners’ circle. The Troy Bethke trainee was succeeded by long shots Gazette and Speed Wagon and returned $2.80 for her efforts. The two-year-old covered six-furlongs in 1:11 3/5 earning a winner’s purse of $33,000. Owned and bred by James Peltier, Sentimental Charm now boasts $63,390 in earnings this year.

Bleu’s Apparition won her third consecutive race, narrowly holding off a late charge by Maywood’s Jill to take the $40,000 Boyer Truck Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship. The four-year-old mare traveled over six furlongs in 1:11, earning a winner’s purse of $24,000. Bleu’s Apparition raised her lifetime earnings to $95,051 for breeder and owner Jeff Hilger. Trained by Hall of Famer Doug Oliver, Bleu’s Apparition returned $2.80 for her win under jockey Derek Bell. Maywood’s Jill held second while Swasti finished third.

Parked two wide until the final stretch, Derby hopeful The K B Kid garnered up enough speed to take the lead and win the $55,000 Pepsi Northern Lights Futurity in 1:10 4/5, three lengths ahead two 30-to-1 shots, Eddie Rascal and Audiahvo. Trained by Todd Hoffrogge, The K B Kid returned $5.80 for his six-furlong trip under jockey Glenn Corbett. The two-year-old gelding took home a winner’s purse of $27,000, raising his lifetime earnings to $90,270 for owner Astar Thoroughbred’s LLC.

Given the perfect rail trip under meet-leading jockey Seth Martinez, Glitter Star took her second successive stakes race in the $45,000 Miller Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. The three-year-old filly covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44 4/5, followed by a four horse photo for second won by Play N Fare inching out Ma Home Cat. Glitter Star added $27,000 to her record, raising her lifetime earnings to $87,845 for breeder an owner Bonnie Baskin. Trained by Gary Scherer, Glitter Star paid $3.60 to win.

Lead by Sajjan under meet-leading jockey Seth Martinez, a fashionable field of seven went off in the one-mile $40,000 Bremer Bank Minnesota Turf Championship. Three-to-five favorite Lt. Sampson settled in fourth along the rail until the final turn when jockey Derek Bell cut him loose on the outside to overcome Sajjan and win handily in 1:38 4/5. The four-year-old gray paid $3.20 to win, followed by Sajjan in second and 40-to-1 shot Bassant rallying for third. Trained by Michael Biehler, Lt. Sampson raised his lifetime earnings to $159,954 with a winning purse of $24,000. Lt. Sampson is named after owner and breeder Curtis Sampson’s uncle who was wounded in battle in WWII.

The Minnesota Festival of Champions closed with an upset in the six-furlong $40,000 Minnesota Sprint Championship. Morning line favorite Vazandar rated off the speed with obvious plans of a monster stretch run that never fully materialized, allowing 11-to-1 shot Toga Switch to steal the win under jockey Martin Escobar. The Carlis Pixley trainee took home a winner’s purse of $24,000 and covered the trip in 1:09, returning $24.20 for the win. Toga Switch broke the six-figure mark, raising his lifetime earnings to $109,440 for owner Shirlene Nitzel.