We’re in Minnesota on Thursday in search of winners at Canterbury Park. There are nine races on the card with up to $126,000 available. It’s a small sum for today with the feature race worth $24,000. Canterbury Park isn’t wasting any time getting to that race. Race 1 is the main event of the day which will run as a Maiden Special Weight race. Some big money will trickle out elsewhere at Keeneland on Friday.
There are stakes races worth $300,000 and $100,000 available tomorrow, and then things really ratchet up on Saturday with the Blue Grass. There are 13 stakes races in North America on Saturday. Along with some big events on the calendar at Keeneland, Del Mar opens for their summer meet with the Runhappy Oceanside Stakes on Friday.
Del Mar is offering $100,000 for that race on opening day. Santa Anita Park has been off the grid for a few weeks, so it will be nice to see a big track in California offering events again. Del Mar is the homebase for Baffert in the summer. You will find some of his heavyweights in the stable at Del Mar throughout the summer. Baffert will also point some members of his barn to Saratoga. You won’t find him at Canterbury Park, but hopefully there will be two or three winners for us. Head below for our free Canterbury Park picks for July 9, 2020.
Post Time: 4:30 p.m. CST
Distance: 6 Furlongs
We’ll handicap the feature race of the day at Canterbury Park, which happens to be the first race of the day in Minnesota. A total of $24,000 will be available for Race 1. It will cover 6 furlongs on the dirt. Sweet Medicine and Slews Hymn are on my shortlist in this small six-horse field.
Slews Hymn is slightly undervalued on the morning-line here. The only thing working against him is the fact that he’s a first-time starter on Thursday. I think that should give him a bit of value going into today. Slews Hymn will likely be largely ignored by handicappers, but expect him to run a strong race on Thursday.
His work in the morning leading up to today has been in good form. Slews Hymn most recently completed 4 furlongs with a time of 48.01 seconds on July 2. He also looked good on the morning of June 18, as Slews Hymn was clocked at 1:00.91 and 1:00.72 on June 8 over 5 furlongs. This looks like an opportunity for Slews Hymn to make some noise in his debut race on Thursday at Canterbury Park.
If Sweet Medicine breaks well early in this one, he may be too much to handle, though. Sweet Medicine is coming off a strong debut on May 11. He finished 3rd in a rather solid effort. Sweet Medicine was 2nd at the top of the stretch, but was unable to get enough kick. He lost the race by 1 ¾ lengths, so it was a tight one between the top-3 horses. Sweet Medicine has been in good form in morning workouts. He completed 5 furlongs with an impressive time of 59.88 seconds recently on July 2. The No. 1 horse looks like a strong play in Race 1.
Post Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Distance: 1 Mile
The gate will open on Race 4 with a mile of racing or thereabout expected at Canterbury Park. This event will take us to the turf where seven horses will compete for the top prize out of a $14,000 purse. The two horses on the inside, Blazin’ Asian and Yeah Yeah are expected to be in the thick of things in the stretch. There’s a good chance of a duel unfolding between Blazin’ Asian and Yeah Yeah in the stretch in Race 4.
Both are qualified to be running in this event and should put forth a bold bid. Yeah Yeah is 3 for 9 in his career and coming off a win on June 16 in a Waiver Claiming event. He’s won 2 of his previous 3 races and could get another today. He went on an extended layoff and just returned on June 16 to a win. Yeah Yeah defeated Where’s Jordan by a half length over 7 ½ furlongs. His other win, three races ago on August 10, 2019 was at 7 ½ furlongs as well. In one other win in Yeah Yeah’s career, he won at 6 ½ furlongs.
The last time Yeah Yeah ran a mile, he finished 5th on June 25. He was 2nd at the ¾ pole, 3rd at the top of the stretch by a head, and then faded. Since then, Yeah Yeah has been chasing shorter races and it’s worked out for the better. Now, Yeah Yeah is back at a mile, so we’ll see if he’s learned anything from his morning workouts. If Yeah Yeah has the stamina to go strong over a mile, then yes, a win is going to be right there for him. However, we haven’t seen him prove that he can yet.
Blazin’ Asian is coming off a layoff with his most recent outing on February 29, which resulted in 3rd for a $70,000 purse. I believe he was scratched from a recent start and pushed back to today. He was a winner on January 17 to take down a $21,000 purse. Blazin’ Asian is 2 for 6 in his career, with the other win in his debut on July 27, 2019 for a $28,000 purse. He followed that up to finish 4th in a Black Type $75,000 event. By far the most battle tested horse in Race 4 is Blazin’ Asian. He’s chased the most money in his career with fairly decent results thus far. Blazin is the play here for Race 4.
Post Time: 8:00 p.m. CST
Distance: 5 Furlongs
One more race for us at Canterbury Park on Thursday. There are six horses participating in this $13,500 Starter Optional Claiming event. We’ll see 5 furlongs of racing on the turf on Thursday evening in Race 8. I’m looking at Just Blaze and Hotfoot to provide big efforts in this race. Just Blaze is a solid 8 for 30 in his career, with his most recent win on February 21 at Sam Houston.
Since then, Just Blaze has gone 3rd, 4th, and gets a class drop after finishing 8th on April 22 at Will Rogers Downs. Just Blaze was nowhere to be found, as he looked tired by the stretch and couldn’t compete at 6 furlongs. Not only is he down in class, but Just Blaze is looking at a shorter race as well. Both variables should work in his favor on Thursday. In a couple of 4-furlong morning workouts, Just Blaze was in good form with times of 49.38 and 49.96 seconds. He has strong potential as a +400 horse in Race 8.
Hotfoot is 10 for 43 in his career and rates in excellent form for Thursday. Hotfoot has been hot in June with back-to-back wins on June 11 and June 23. He notched the first of those two wins over Uncle Goyle by a length, and then cleared the favorite, Bushrod, by 3 ½ lengths for another impressive performance. Prior to those two races, Hotfoot had a sharp morning workout with a time of 48.49 seconds. It translated into two wins for Hotfoot. He likely didn’t lose that form in just two weeks and should be a willing participant in Race 8. I like Hotfoot over Just Blaze.