05/28/2004 11:00PM

Canterbury: Native Hawk returns


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Native Hawk, who began his career at Canterbury Park last summer, returns for the first time this meet in the $40,000 Honor the Hero Turf Express Stakes Monday. Ten horses plus an also-eligible were entered in the Turf Express, for 3-year-olds and up going five furlongs.

Trained by Kitty Cheeks, Native Hawk made four starts here last summer. He won two of his first three starts and then closed out his Minnesota campaign with a second against older horses in the John Bullit Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

He then shipped to Chicago where he set the early pace and faded to seventh and last in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 16.

Native Hawk didn't race again until December, when he began a six-race campaign at Tampa Bay Downs. His best races there included a victory in a one-mile turf allowance in January and a second-place finish, beaten a head, in the 1 1/16-mile Bud Challenger Stakes on the main track in March.

Native Hawk will be ridden Monday by Paul Nolan.

Rapid Raj draws the rail in the Turf Express, and his two front-running victories over the Fair Grounds turf course last winter suggest he might be the runner to catch. Most recently, Rapid Raj went wire to wire in a one-mile allowance on the turf at Hawthorne.

Trainer Richie Scherer named Seth Martinez to ride Rapid Raj.

Ehorse makes his first start in North America after beginning his career in Australia. Unraced in over a year, he has posted a string of bullet works at Fonner Park. Martin Escobar has the mount.