08/11/2012 7:07PM

Canterbury Park: Heliskier takes Minnesota Derby in another romp

Coady Photography @ Canterbury Park
Keewatin Ice, with Juan Rivera aboard, wins the Minnesota Oaks.

SHAKOPEE, MN - Heliskier wasn't 1-20 this time and there wasn't $200,000 in win wagers, but he stretched out to a mile and 70 yards in style, dominating seven other Minnesota-bred 3-year old males in the $65,000 Minnesota Derby, with Derek Bell riding at Canterbury Park.

"You always have concerns stretching out a horse," said trainer Mac Robertson. "Derek gave him a perfect ride sitting behind the speed, and it turned out to be a pretty easy race."

In his last two starts, Heliskier has not only dominated the race but also dominated the win pools, with $200,000 coming into the win pool from offtrack sources on the final turn of the tote board. While such heavy action was absent Saturday, Heliskier was very much on track and on task.

Heliskier sat behind the quick early pace set by Sue's Stormy for the first half of the race. Bell angled him outside entering the far turn, and Heliskier responded by passing Sue's Stormy and opened up five entering the stretch. He continued to stretch the lead through the lane under a hand ride by Bell.

"We were going to let the horse decide if he wanted the front or settle," said Bell.  He's a classy horse and decided to settle in behind the speed. He only really ran a quarter of a mile."

Heliskier crossed the finish line 13 1/4 lengths ahead of Sue's Stormy. Tez Virat finished third. The final time of the race was 1:43.08, and Heliskier returned $2.40 to win.

"Having a horse this good in the barn makes it look like you know what you're doing," said Robertson.

"I'd like to try him on the grass because of his pedigree," said Robertson in addressing Heliskier's future.  "I'm somebody who doesn't like change, so at this point and time we'll be keeping him on dirt."

He added that the gelding was most likely done for the year and will come back next year to run at Canterbury for the additional money being offered via the Mystic Lake Purse Enhancement Fund.

In the $65,000 Minnesota Oaks for 3-year old fillies, Keewatin Ice stalked the early pace under Juan Rivera, took command in the stretch, and outfinished stablemate Talkin' Bout to win by 1 1/2 lengths after the anticipated quick early pace failed to materialize. Jills Summer Raine was third.

"I told Juan to see how things go," said trainer Bryan Porter. "I didn't expect her to be that close, but once she settled in I was pleased."

"She has a pretty quick turn of foot," said Rivera. "When you ask her, she just vrooms!"

Keewatin Ice finished the mile and 70 yards in 1:44.89and paid $4.80 to win.

"This was one of our main targets this season," added Porter. "She was pretty well fit coming out of the MTA Lassie Stakes, so we didn't have to do much, and she was ready to go."