08/18/2011 1:53PM

Canterbury: Blistering pace expected in HBPA Mile


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – The rescheduled HBPA Mile will finally be run Saturday at Canterbury Park. The $35,000 race for older fillies and mares, twice a victim to the government shutdown, is a mile turf race.

The top contenders all have speed, as do several others, and the wide-open contest stands to go to the jockey who can best ration his mount’s energy.

Avenue Sister, the third-place finisher in the $75,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes, will be making her third race off a layoff for trainer Mac Robertson and will regain the services of hot jock Derek Bell. She was beaten to the lead in the Lady Canterbury by two others who are in the mile field, Mesa Mirage and morning-line favorite Rare Sunset. After settling into a stalking position, Avenue Sister flattened out in the lane to be beaten 6 1/4 lengths.

Rare Sunset set the fractions for a half-mile in the Lady Canterbury, but slowly retreated from contention in the second half of the race and finished fourth. With Mesa Mirage and the speedsters Diamond City and Monstrip in the Mile, her task will not be any easier Saturday.

The talented Minnesota-bred Tickleyourfancy missed by a neck in the statebred Princess Elaine Stakes in her last race and leading rider Dean Butler will try to take advantage of the Mile’s expected hot pace and bring Tickleyourfancy from several lengths back.

Iowa Breeder’s Oaks runner-up Jeffell will be making her first career turf start in the Mile. The field is completed by Canterbury turf allowance winner Samantha’s Rule, Glendale Handicap winner Cell Line Forever, and longshot SS Shelby.

Impressive gains at yearling sale

The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association’s yearling sale last weekend showed considerable gains over 2010.

The $30,000 sales topper, a chestnut colt by Friends Lake out of the Ghazi mare Run With Joy, sold for nearly twice the price of last year’s topper and was the highest since First Captain – Sky Classic out of the Skywalker mare Lady Sky Racer – sold for $33,000 in 2007. The colt was consigned by Oak Tree Farm, agent for Avalon Racing, and was purchased by James Almond III.

An amazing 86 percent of the 36 horses who went through the ring were sold, up from only 37 percent in 2010. The average selling price of $6,403 was up 29 percent and total sales revenue was up more than 135 percent.