07/30/2016 6:45PM

Blazing Angel, Pensador post upsets in Minnesota Oaks, Derby

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Blazing Angel pays $55.80 for upsetting the Minnesota Oaks under jockey Geovanni Franco.

The even-money favorite in the $85,000 Minnesota Oaks, Dazzlingsweetheart, finished a flat seventh, while the odds-on favorite for the $85,000 Minnesota Derby, Smooth Chiraz, didn’t even get to race after dumping his jockey and running off just before the start. That left open the door for longshots, as 26-1 Blazing Angel surprised in the Oaks and 6-1 Pensador took down the Derby, both for Minnesota-breds at Canterbury Park.

Pensador was making his first start around two turns following seven sprint races, but as a son of Einstein and the Ghostzapper mare Levia Vita he is bred for a route of ground and stayed on well enough to wear down pacesetting Smooth Stroke by 1 1/4 lengths. Smooth Stroke ought to have faded after laying down demanding, contested splits of 22.76 and 46.59 seconds, but the Canterbury main track played fast and carried front-runners Saturday, and he stayed on gamely after Pensador, who sat just behind the pace under Orlando Mojica, attacked at the top of the stretch.

Pensador ran one mile and 70 yards in 1:42.95 and paid $14.40. Francisco Bravo trains him and co-bred the gelding with owner Dale Schenian. Pensador, a close third in the Northern Lights Futurity last September at Canterbury, won his first stakes and ran his career record to 8-3-1-2.

Blazing Angel, meanwhile, was a 26-1 shot because it had taken her nine tries to win -- finally doing so in a Minnesota-bred $30,000 maiden-claimer -- and she had done all her best racing on turf. Until Saturday, that is.

Racing mid-pack under Geovanni Franco, Blazing Angel came with a long sustained run on the outside and out-finished 5-2 second choice Honey’s Sox Appeal to win by 2 1/2 lengths, running one mile and 70 yards in 1:43.25. Unbridled Mayhem was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third, as Dazzlingsweetheart made little impression while losing for the first time in four starts. Away decently, Dazzlingsweeetheart was hard-held early in her first two-turn try, wound up wide on the first turn, and after a brief bid around the far turn, had no late punch.

Gary Scherer trains Blazing Angel ($55.80) for owner Astar Lindquist Stable I. By Angliana out of Firecard, she was bred by Todd and Stacy Nelson, and won for just the second time in 11 starts.

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