07/01/2004 11:00PM

Canterbury: Best of division meet


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - The $40,000 Princess Elaine Stakes at Canterbury Park will go a long way toward determining the best Minnesota-bred filly or mare on grass. A field of 11 will meet in the 1 1/16-mile stakes.

Art and Gretchen Eaton, leading local breeders and Canterbury Hall of Fame members, will be represented by two of their homebreds, One Smart Chick and More Hot Gossip.

David Van Winkle trains More Hot Gossip, who was unbeaten in two starts over the grass last season, including a pivotal allowance race in which she defeated a number of this year's Princess Elaine entrants. A 5-year-old mare, More Hot Gossip prepped for the Princess Elaine with a front-running allowance win over the main track three weeks ago. Leading rider Derek Bell has the call.

The Eatons are also represented by One Smart Chick, who races as an uncoupled entry with her stablemate. A 5-year old daughter of Marlin, One Smart Chick finished a close second in her first turf outing of the year last month. Bernell Rhone trains One Smart Chick and has named Scott Stevens to ride.

The Hugh Robertson barn and Kissoon Thoroughbreds are enjoying a record meet and are represented by the entry of Swasti and Nilini in the Princess Elaine. Swasti finished second to More Hot Gossip in her lone try on turf last season. Now 4, Swasti is likely to improve on that form.

Nilini, a winner of two starts this season, figures to improve in her second try over the turf. Seth Martinez is named on both parts of the entry.

Classic Nix pulled a stunning upset to capture the Princess Elaine in 2002 but hasn't demonstrated she is ready to return to that form and has raced just once this year. Kim Espy has the call.