The inaugural running of the $150,000 added Mystic Lake Derby on Saturday has drawn a field of eight including two participants that last raced at Woodbine Race Course, in Ontario, Canada and two others that made their most recent start at historic Churchill Downs in Lexington, KY.
In total, the field is comprised of four shippers and four local hopefuls, all vying for the lion’s share of the largest purse since reopened under new ownership in 1995. The morning line favorite at 5/2 is Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Gung Ho, the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes. The Ramseys are two-time winners of the Eclipse Award as the Nation’s Outstanding Owners. Gung Ho drew post four and is trained by Michael Maker, who ranks 10th in North America for races won in 2012.
North of Never, trained by Anthony Granitz and owned by Standlee and Shultz, exits an allowance victory at Churchill Downs following a fourth-place finish in the Arlington Classic. Willie Martinez will be aboard.
Hammers Terror and Delegation both ran most recently at Woodbine. Hammers Terror won the $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes on June 23 before finishing fourth in the $150,000 Toronto Cup on July 14. Hammers Terror is owned by Terry Hamilton, trained by Michael Stidham and will be ridden by local rider Lori Keith.
Delegation, the other Canadian invader, is undefeated in two lifetime starts for trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber. He’ll make his stakes debut on Saturday under jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan.
Tequila Factor leads the local contingent for trainer C. L. Wilson coming off a fourth place finish in the Brooks Fields Stakes and a third place finish in an open allowance. Leading rider Tanner Riggs has the call.
Take Heart, with Derek Bell aboard, will bring a two-race winning streak into the race for Canterbury’s seven-time defending champion trainer Mac Robertson. Corporate Chapel for trainer Stanley Mankin and Why Frank for Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer Doug Oliver complete the field.
The purse, $162,000 if all entrants start, will make this race the richest since Canterbury Park re-opened under new management in 1995 and the largest purse in Minnesota since the 1991 Minnesota Derby (previously named the St. Paul Derby) was contested for $250,000.
The Mystic Lake Derby is the first significant co-promotional event since the was reached on June 6 between Canterbury Park and the which owns and operates Hotel.
The Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund will contribute $100,000 to the purse of this race.
“The Mystic Lake Derby is an excellent example of what this cooperative agreement will do for racing,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “This is the most significant race in Minnesota in over two decades and we anticipate it will become the most important race in the state’s history. We look forward to bringing this kind of high quality horse racing to our world class facility.”
Purses this season have increased by 35 percent since the agreement was approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission and will more than double when the purse enhancements are fully implemented over the next decade. Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Canterbury Park are located less than four miles from one another.
The Mystic Lake Derby will be run as the seventh race on a ten race card. Post time for the Mystic Lake Derby is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CDT. Racing begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Admission is $5, children 17 and younger are admitted free and parking is free. The first 8,000 fans will received a free t-shirt.